I posted another 5-5 mark in week 10, and while.500 is par for the course in sports betting, a good handicapper can do better than that. Thus, I have decided to change things up in week 11. I picked predominantly home favorites over the past two weeks, but I’ve come to realize that this is my year of picking great underdogs (see my upset of the week columns) so I’m going that route this weekend. 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): Auburn (+13.0) at Georgia- This is just way too many points for a rivalry game between two teams who are relatively evenly-matched.
Pick # 2: Syracuse (+3.5) vs. USF- I can’t really figure out why Syracuse is getting points here at home. They’ve looked really good in the Carrier Dome this year with their only loss coming in overtime to Rutgers. In fact, the last home game the Orange played they beat the 15th ranked team in the country by 26 points! Meanwhile, USF has clearly packed it in for the year, as they have now lost four straight games and are winless in Big East play.
Pick # 3: Colorado (+11.0) vs. Arizona- I understand that the Buffaloes record is horrible and they’ve gotten blown out in most of their games. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll see that their woodshed losses all came against vastly superior teams and that they almost and/or should have beaten the other Pac-12 bottom dwellers they’ve faced. Arizona definitely qualifies as a Pac-12 bottom dweller, so I think the Buffs cover here and may even have a chance to win this one at home.
Pick # 4: Eastern Michigan (-3.5) vs. Buffalo- I don’t really understand this line at all. EMU has had a solid season and is in the running for a bowl berth. Meanwhile, Buffalo is one of the worst teams in the MAC. You’ve got to like the Eagles to win this one by more than a field goal, especially at home.
Pick # 5: Clemson (-16.5) vs. Wake Forest- The Deacons always get destroyed in Death Valley, and Clemson has been dominating ACC opponents at home all season long. Quite simply, this game has woodshed job written all over it. Nevertheless, this is the ACC Atlantic championship game, so even if Wake does lose, I believe they deserve a rematch in the national title game. If Bama gets one, then I want one for my Deacs too.
Pick # 6: Idaho (+21.0) at Brigham Young- At first glance, it seems like a 21 point spread is about right between a 2-7 WAC squad and a 6-3 Independent. However, if you look closer, you will see that Idaho hasn’t had a blowout loss since late September and BYU hasn’t beaten an FBS opponent by more than 13 points all season.
Pick # 7: Wyoming (+16.5) at Air Force- The Cowboys traveled to Forth Worth last weekend and gave the Horned Frogs all they could handle before eventually losing by 11. I therefore see no reason to believe Wyoming will beat by more than that against an erratic and inconsistent Air Force squad. I still think oddsmakers are sleeping on this Cowboy squad who is quietly 5-3 and standing alone in third place in the MWC.
Pick # 8: Louisville (-3.0) vs. Pittsburgh- Here are two teams headed in opposite directions. After a sluggish start, the Cards are looking solid on both sides of the ball and are now a legitimate contender to win the Big East after winning three straight conference games. Meanwhile, Pitt has lost three of four and is without their stud running back Ray Graham for the remainder of the season. Also keep in mind here that the Panthers are winless on the road in 2011.
Pick # 9: Arkansas (-14.0) vs. Tennessee- The Razorbacks proved last weekend just how much better they play at home than on the road. If the Hogs can beat the Gamecocks by 16 in Fayetteville, then they certain should beat the Vols by at least that many.
Pick # 10: Mississippi State (+18.0) vs. Alabama- I don’t think people are realizing just how much the Bama offense has regressed throughout the season. After some great offensive games against Arkansas and Florida, the Tide have relied almost entirely on their defense to setup their scoring drives. However, last weekend Bama’s offense was so bad that their stellar defense, which picked off Jarrett Lee twice, couldn’t even help them score a touchdown. I just don’t think Alabama can score enough points against MSU’s stout defense to cover this spread. Expect a 17-7 type game.
Last Week’s Record: 5-5, Overall Season Record: 53-47
Bonus NFL Game of the Week: Washington (+4.0) at Miami- This is the first-time I’ve published an NFL spread on this column, but there is one line I really like this week so I thought I’d go ahead and post it here. The Dolphins finally got their first-win last weekend at Kansas City, but Miami plays much better on the road than at home. If Denver can win in South Beach, then Washington should at least stay within 4 points.