Last week I once again had a down week, going 3-5 in my picks. That puts the column at 14-17 on the season, but we’ve got some time to get things right and that starts here. This week we’ve got an absolutely loaded slate of games with huge contests in the SEC and Big Ten. With that, let’s take a look at the games and see if we can find some winners to get things back on the right track in Week 5.
Indiana @ Penn State (-13)
Last week I played a lot of favorites and I got burned. This week I’ve got a lot of totals, but I do like one favorite and that is Penn State in this spot. For me, this goes back to last year’s wild contest between these two teams to open the season. Of course in the end Indiana won the game on the backs of a controversial call (nice way of saying incorrect call) and sent Penn State spiraling to an 0-5 start.
All offseason Penn State fans and players had to see the image of Michael Penix Jr. diving for the pylon, and I am guessing that left a little bit of bad taste in their mouth. Now, a year later, Penn State has the Hooisers in Happy Valley for a revenge spot. I think due to that bad taste that Penn State may come out and put a number on this reeling Hooiser team. 13 is a big number, but if there is one coach out there who will know the number and will be pressing to cover it, it’s James Franklin.
While I love the situation, I think the numbers back this one up too. Indiana is a team that is struggling mightily right now. Currently, the Hooisers rank No. 110 in rushing yards, No. 117 in yards per play, No. 124 in points, No. 124 in turnovers, and No. 127 in first downs.
This offense is Wisconsin Bad y’all. Insert the Spider-man meme. I don’t think the Hooisers can keep up with Penn State, especially when Franklin is keeping the pedal down until the final whistle.
Ole Miss/Alabama Under 80
C’mon...80? What are we as a nation if the mighty SEC has totals out there in the 80’s? The foundations of this nation are crumbling and I will not stand for it. If Greg Sankey won’t put a stop to it I will. I know this game was a shootout last year with 111 points scored but I have trouble believing we’ll see the same thing this time out.
Firstly, this Alabama team is not the same team as last year’s. Last year’s Alabama team was one of the greatest teams in the history of the sport. This year’s team is talented, but they are not that. Secondly, all off-season and lead up to this game has talked about how much Nick Saban’s Alabama defense gave up in that contest. You have to think that might not sit well with Saban here and that he will have things tightened up against the Rebels this time around. On the flipside, if Alabama gets a lead, they may try to control the clock and keep the ball out of the Rebel’s hands entirely.
Lastly, this is the first big road test for Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corrall. In 2020, Ole Miss played just four road games. At LSU, at Vandy, at Arkansas and at Kentucky. None of those stadiums allowed full capacity or will be anywhere close to what Tuscaloosa will bring on Saturday. I think the offense will still score points, but 80 feels like A LOT.
Arkansas @ Georgia Under 48
Speaking of SEC unders, I’ve got another one here in the early slate as the Razorbacks travel to take on Georgia in between the hedges of Samford Stadium. So far this season I think Georgia has looked like the best team in the country, but Arkansas has shown to a competitive out as well, knocking off Texas and Texas A&M.
For me, the under seems like the correct play here. On one sideline you have Arkansas who has clearly liked to run the ball early and often to set up play action. Arkansas quarterbacks have thrown the ball just 78 times, but he leads the nation in yards per completion. What Arkansas wants to do is run the ball, and then hit for big plays. However, I am not sure they’ll be able to do either consistently against this Georgia defense that currently ranks as the top unit in the country.
On the other side Georgia has picked up the pace quite a bit compared to what they do historically, but they’re still running the ball 67% of the time and sit at No. 38 in the nation in terms of time of possession. They don’t stretch the field all that much, and Arkansas’s defense is great at limiting explosive plays.
Add in the fact that Georgia quarterback JT Daniels in banged up and dealing with a lat injury and I think you’ll see the Dawgs try to win this game with their defense and running game.
Lastly, in the last 11 games Georgia has played against ranked teams the under has hit nine teams. In tight contests, Kirby Smart likes to keep it in check and run the ball, and I don’t think that changes here.
Iowa @ Maryland (+3.5): I love the Terps in the snakepit as home dogs here. Iowa has no explosiveness and has survived off turnovers thus far. I think that ends here. I might give this a dash on the moneyline as well.
Cinncinnatti @ Notre Dame under 50: There is a lot of familiarity between coaches on these two teams. I think that coupled with a putrid Notre Dame offense should keep this one as a slugfest.
Auburn @ LSU under 55.5: Anotha one. This game has gone under in four of the last five meetings. Auburn Quarterback Bo Nix is a completely different player on the road. He was ok at Happy Valley under the lights but the total still went under. Death Valley at night is another tough spot.
Eastern Michigan (+2.5) @ Northern Illinois: I make this EMU -2.5 so I have to take the value here. Wrong team is favored.
Troy (+7) @ South Carolina: This number is a massive overreaction to Troy losing to UL-Monroe last week. I made it +2.5 last week, so I’ll take Troy to rebound.