Last week the column suffered its worst week of the season going 2-6 with some ultra bad beats. Virginia Tech had a 99% chance of covering with four minutes remaining, the Nebraska/Michigan under was 13-0 at halftime before both teams forgot how to play defense, and SMU had the ball at the goal-line to score but decided to kneel and not cover the spread or hit the over.
It was a disgusting weekend, but it happens. Can’t sit on it too long. This week the slate is light and a little gross so maybe we take the weekend to apple pick and leave the betting on the back burner? Nah. Let’s find some winners.
Florida (-12) @ LSU
Laying double digits on Florida heading into Death Valley isn’t generally something I would do but I think there are some big problems in Baton Rouge right now. This week, all the talk has been on injuries as LSU lost some top talent with cornerback Eli Ricks, pass rusher Ali Gaye, and wideout Kayshon Bouttee all being ruled out for the season. That is a detrimental blow to a team already reeling.
Additionally, there have been rumors swirling that LSU is going to have a handful of season opt-outs and players hitting the portal. It seems Coach O’s seat is getting very hot down South.
On the field, I also like some matchups for Florida as well. LSU has virtually no run game, ranking No. 127 in rushing offense. That inability puts it all on quarterback Max Johnson to make plays for the Tigers. That gives an advantage to Florida as the Gators come in ranking No. 44 in passing yards allowed and No. 12 in total sacks. With no running threat and LSU’s top receiver out in Bouttee I think putting up points seems daunting. Add in 16 MPH crosswind’s and you could see a stalled passing attack.
On the other side, LSU’s defensive line is thin and will have to try and slow the nation's third-ranked rushing attack. This just feels like a very tall task for an LSU team that seems like it may have punted on the season.
Michigan State @ Indiana Under 49
Michigan State has roared out to a 6-0 start on the season and their offense has looked incredibly explosive, especially on the ground with Kenneth Walker III. They’ve been a really good story for the Big Ten, but I am not sure if I am a buyer in the Spartans just yet when I look at their schedule and see the bad defenses they’ve beaten up on. Northwestern (No. 111 in total defense), Western Kentucky (No. 123), Miami (Fla.) (No. 75), and an FCS Youngstown State team. Not exactly a murderer’s row.
That said, I thought this game might be a trap for Sparty, but I am not willing to go there just yet. Instead, I will play on the total. Michigan State’s ground attack has been good but we saw what it did against a good defense like Nebraska’s (did I really just type that). Walker was slowed down and held to just 61 yards and the offense stalled out. They picked up just one first down in the second half and somehow won that game.
On the other sideline, Indiana should be able to present some challenges defensively. They have not been as great as they were a year ago but they’ve still got a pretty solid unit overall especially when it comes to limiting explosive plays. Additionally, they had an extra week to prep with a bye week.
It just feels like a dicey game for Sparty to step into, but I couldn’t quite call for the upset due to Indiana’s offense just being a dumpster fire. They rank No. 108 in total offense which is 29 spots behind Wisconsin’s offense (but 12 spots ahead of the Iowa Fraudeyes). Due to that, I’ll take the under in a spot where points should be at a premium.
Ole Miss @ Tennessee Under 83
Since we’re talking unders let's head on over to Knoxville where the total sits disgustingly high at 83. I mean, c’mon, again? A few weeks ago 80 was thrown up for Alabama/Ole Miss and the under cashed easily. Now we’ve got an 83 on the board. To be fair, the number makes sense when you consider the speed these teams play with. Both of these teams average 2.89 plays per minute which is third and fourth in the nation when it comes to pace. These teams like to play fast. However, they also like to run the football.
Coming into this week Ole Miss and Tennessee both rank in the top ten in rushing offense. While they move fast enough to counter it, the clock still keeps moving. Additionally, this Tennesee defense has shown that it can actually get stops. Coming into this week the Vols rank No. 30 in rushing defense so they have the ability to tighten things up and get off the field at times.
I’m not saying either unit will be completely stout, but I think they can both do enough defensively to stall out drives and keep this from getting to 83. With a total this high you need points nearly every possession and I don’t expect that to happen here.
TCU (+13.5) @ Oklahoma: I’d love this play if I knew TCU’s quarterback Max Duggan was going to play, but I am holding off until I know his status. If he does Oklahoma either wins this game by 30 or loses outright. No in-between.
Auburn @ Arkansas Under 54: Bo Nix on the road is usually always an under play for me. Additionally, I don't think the Razorback defense is as bad as they showed last week. I think they’ll get some things figured out.
Purdue (+420 ML) @ Iowa: Just going to sprinkle a little something here because it would be hilarious...