I posted a very pedestrian 5-5 record in week 9, but I am still six games over .500 for the season. I also hit my lock of the week this past Saturday (Michigan), so I am now 6-3 on the season for my weekly lock. The theme of my week 10 selections is “home favorites”, as there are several squads who should be able to win at home by a larger margin than the oddsmakers are predicting. All of the spreads below are from the World Sports Exchange’s current lines and are ordered based on my personal confidence in each.
Pick # 1 (Lock of the Week): Florida (-12.5) vs. Vandy- This line opened at 11 and there’s a reason that it’s rising fast. The Commodores have played very well at home the past two weekends, nearly upsetting both Georgia and Arkansas, but the Dores are not nearly good enough yet to hang around against the Gators in the Swamp. In fact, I don’t even think it matters whether or not John Brantley is 100%. Florida is just so much more athletic at every position on the field. The Gators will also come in especially motivated in their efforts to end their first four-game losing streak since 1988. Expect Muschamp’s crew to win this one by at least 3 touchdowns.
Pick # 2: West Virginia (-13.5) vs. Louisville- My advice upon reading this entry is to go ahead and bet this line while it stays under two touchdowns. I have thought that WVU has been overrated all season, but they are a much better team at home than on the road and should be able to destroy the Cardinals in Morgantown on Saturday.
Pick # 3: Stanford (-21.0) at Oregon State- Even though it was a struggle, the Cardinal won and covered against the Trojans last Saturday. That brings Stanford’s record to 8-0 straight up and 8-0 against the spread this season. Until they finally fail to cover, you just got to keep picking this team every week. The Cardinal has been covering these 3-4 touchdown lines all season long (at Duke, vs. UCLA, at Washington State, vs. Washington), and there’s no reason to believe they won’t blowout the Beavers on Saturday night.
Pick # 4: Rutgers (+2.5) vs. USF- The Scarlet Knights Big East title hopes took a major hit last week against West Virginia, but they still played very well for most of the game. Overall, Rutgers has looked rock solid at home all year and should be able to win in Piscataway on Saturday against a USF team who has struggled mightily in Big East play (0-3 conference record).
Pick # 5: Iowa State (-14.5) vs. Kansas- The Cyclones played incredibly well in Lubbock last weekend as they torched the Red Raiders just a week after Texas Tech knocked off Oklahoma. Clearly, Texas Tech played a huge letdown game there, but Kansas is so bad that it doesn’t really matter if Iowa State brings it’s “A” game on Saturday or not. The Jayhawks have been outscored by an average of 42.3 points a game on the road this season, and have only played one Big 12 foe to within 30 points all year. A friend told me that he just couldn’t pick Iowa State here because he hates asking bad teams to cover double-digit spreads. My response was that I have no problem making that pick when the bad team I’m betting is playing against a middle school squad.
Pick # 6: Arkansas (-4.5) vs. South Carolina- This has been a guaranteed loss all season for the Gamecocks, and the Lattimore injury will only make this loss even more lopsided. The Hogs have absolutely dominated South Carolina over the years winning four of the last five in the series, including a 21-point beatdown last season in Columbia. The South Carolina defense is really good, but Arkansas’ prolific offense will find a way to score at least 20 points at home. Meanwhile, you just can’t count on the Gamecock offense to score more than a touchdown or two against anybody. South Carolina may keep it close for a quarter or so but Arkansas will eventually pull away and win by double-digits.
Pick # 7: Alabama (-5.0) vs. LSU- I have no doubt Bama will win here, as they are the better team and they’re playing at home. However, this is definitely going to be a defensive struggle so I’m a little concerned about the Tide covering this five point spread. Still, most of these overhyped “games of the century” end up being pretty lopsided, and I can definitely see Bama winning by a touchdown or two once LSU’s defense wears down and can no longer stop Trent Richardson.
Pick # 8: Wake Forest (+14.0) vs. Notre Dame- I like this line a lot better now that it has jumped from 13.5 to 14. The Deacons looked horrible against the Tar Heels last week, but if you live in the Winston-Salem area, like I do, then you understand just how big this game is for the Deacs. This is basically Wake’s Super Bowl as the athletic department has been hyping up the “Notre Dame game” ever since it was scheduled over a year ago. Meanwhile, the Irish have little to play for right now as they are guaranteed to make a bowl game but have no chance to make the BCS. Wake will be so much more hyped up for this one, and as a result, I think they keep it close, and who knows, maybe even pull off the upset.
Pick # 9: Indiana (+27.5) at Ohio State- My analysis for this game is pretty simple: Indiana is really bad but Ohio State just can’t score enough points to beat a Pop Warner team by four touchdowns. In fact, Ohio State hasn’t beaten a team more than 20 all season, with the exception of their season opener against a horrible Akron squad.
Pick # 10: Hawaii (-3.5) vs. Utah State- The Rainbow Warriors have been especially erratic this season (see losses to San Jose State and UNLV), but they’re still really tough to beat on the islands. In fact, they’re undefeated at home this season, while Utah State is winless on the road. Even though I hate betting the WAC, there are just too many factors here that support the notion that Hawaii will cover this spread easily.
Last Week’s Record: 5-5, Overall Season Record: 48-42