Another rough week at the window for me last week, but I’m unbowed. I’m still making money by Las Vegas standards, although my bankroll is shrinking. Let’s get right into this week’s games and what I’m going to optimistically call “bounce back week.”
Alabama at Georgia (minus-2), 3:30 p.m.
The biggest game in the SEC this weekend is setting up great for Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. He started the week talking about how Georgia reminds him of his teams from a few years back. You know that got his players steaming from their ears.
The Crimson Tide has been favored to win 72 straight games, which is a modern era record that will end unless some big money comes in on the Tide right before the game Saturday. The last time Alabama wasn’t favored to win a game was the 2009 SEC Championship Game, but I want to go back further than that. The last time Alabama wasn’t favored to win a regular season game was when they went to Athens in 2008. The Tide led that game 31-0 at halftime and won 41-30.
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Baylor (minus-17) at Texas Tech, 3:30 p.m.
Texas Tech is not a bad football team. The Red Raiders will be able to score enough points to cover this spread but not to win the game.
ATS: Texas Tech
Boston College at Duke (minus-6.5), 3:30 p.m.
The Eagles allow 2.34 yards per play, that’s not just the best in the NCAA but the best by 1.1 yards per game. That’s strong and more than enough to cover against the Blue Devils (who have a pretty good defense themselves at No. 5 in the country in yards per play, 3.73).
Straight: Boston College
ATS: Boston College
North Carolina at Georgia Tech (minus-7), 3:30 p.m.
What has happened to my Yellow Jackets? I thought Georgia Tech was a good team, but it’s lost to the only two decent teams it has played. The Tar Heels have won three in a row, including a 48-14 over Illinois, since losing to South Carolina in the opener.
Straight: Georgia Tech
ATS: North Carolina
Texas at TCU (minus-15.5), Noon
The Horned Frogs defense has been gutted by injury and other factors, but that shouldn’t matter much against a Texas offense that can’t get out of its own way. The Longhorns are last in the Big 12 in offense with 345 yards per game. (In fact, I like TCU’s offense so much and Texas’ offense so little that I’m going with the Horned Frogs as my “lock of the week” for $30.)
West Virginia at Oklahoma (minus-7), Noon
The Mountaineers might be better than people think. They lead the nation in scoring defense, allowing 7.7 points per game. They also lead the nation in turnover margin. If they win the turnover battle today, they’ll win the game straight up.
ATS: West Virginia
Ole Miss (minus-7) at Florida, 7 p.m.
The Gators just jumped into the Top 25. They are 4-0 in Jim McElwain’s first year after a come-from-behind win over Tennessee last week. The Rebels are second in the nation in scoring with 54.8 points per game, but this will be the best defense they have faced and The Swamp will be electric.
Straight: Ole Miss
ATS: Ole Miss
Arkansas at Tennessee (minus-6.5), 7 p.m.
This is a bounce back game for both teams. The Razorbacks let Texas A&M off the hook, and the Vols gave the game to Florida. The loser of this one is going to have a tough time regrouping for the remainder of the season considering their dark horse division title hopes will be crushed.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M (minus-6.5), 7:30 p.m.
If you think you’ve got the Bulldogs figured out, you’re a better football mind than me. They are 3-1 this season with the only loss coming by two to an LSU team that we all think is pretty good now. Mississippi State is the only team to hold Leonard Fournette under 200 yards this season.
Straight: Texas A&M
ATS: Texas A&M
Arizona State at UCLA (minus-13.5), 7:30 p.m.
I’ve hung onto my love affair with the Sun Devils long enough. Something’s wrong with Todd Graham’s crew, and there’s not much wrong with the Bruins despite a rash of defensive injuries it seems.
Notre Dame at Clemson (minus-1.5), 8 p.m.
There’s no way of knowing exactly what the conditions will be like when this game is played if it is indeed played Saturday night. An absolute deluge, which is in the forecast obviously, renders most analysis moot because then it likely comes down to who can stay onto their feet and hold onto the ball for 60 minutes. If conditions are somewhat reasonable, I like the Irish.
Straight: Notre Dame
ATS: Notre Dame
Arizona at Stanford (minus-14), 10:30 p.m.
After losing to Northwestern to open the season, Stanford has won three straight, including a win over Southern Cal. Arizona is coming off a 26-point loss to UCLA, but the Wildcats won’t go away easily.