Last Week Recap:
Last week we went 4-2-1 (with an added bonus of going 2-0 on the leans) which, obviously, could’ve and should’ve been 5-2 had Arkansas’ kicker not hit the top of the right upright to essentially put them up by one and seal the game. Oh, or if K.J. Jefferson didn’t try to dive in for a touchdown from 3 yards out with a two-step run up over a pile of people, fumble the ball, and let Texas A&M run it back for a 14-point swing. Maryland and Northern Illinois’ offenses played much better than expected so kudos to them. We’re now at 18-10-1 through four weeks this season, and we’ll obviously look to keep the good times rolling heading into a loaded week 5. Now, let’s look to go 6-0.
Illinois at Wisconsin Under 44.0
Agree or disagree: Wisconsin’s defense is exceptional, and their offense is sometimes serviceable at best. Yes, I know I’m right. Well then this works out perfectly, because the exact same thing can be said about Illinois (well, the defense might not be “exceptional” but you know what I mean). The point is, points will be at a premium in this matchup. Last year saw 24 total points scored, and the defenses are arguably better this year. For reference, the Fighting Illini own the 5th best scoring defense, whilst the Badgers are only giving up 19 PPG, and that includes their matchup against Ohio State. I’m not going to hazard a guess as to who wins and by how much, considering how the wrong bounce of a ball can be so detrimental to such a low scoring game, but one team wins something like 20-17 and we get under the total.
#4 Michigan -11.0 at Iowa
I’ve seen a few people on Iowa to cover here early this week and I can’t seem to quite understand it. So, here’s a question for you: Do we think Michigan can score at least 12 points in this game? Yes? Okay, well then, the Wolverines will cover the 11, and we’re on to the next one… But seriously, Michigan’s run defense is still very stout, and the way to beat them is through the air. So, when I tell you Iowa has 524 passing yards ON THE SEASON to go with 1 TD to 2 INTs and completing 50.5 percent of their passes for 5.5 yards per pass, what do we expect them to do in this game to score? And not to mention they’re going for just 3 yards per rush against powerhouses San Diego State, Iowa State, Nevada, and Rutgers. Yes, I know Iowa’s defense is elite, but there’s only so much they’re capable of doing when they’ll be on the field for 80 percent of this game. Michigan wins this game by two-plus touchdowns unless there are unpredictable interceptions, fumble recoveries, or special teams scores for Iowa. Not to mention this is an 11:00am kick, so we don’t have to worry about Kinnick Stadium at night. J.J. McCarthy goes for at least three touchdowns himself. This is one of my most confident picks of the week.
#20 Arkansas +17.5 vs. #2 Alabama
You’re giving me 17.5 points for Arkansas at home? Okay, I’ll bite. I was one of the (many) people on Alabama to beat the brakes off Texas earlier this year, but we saw how that turned out. And realistically, the Longhorns gave us all the blueprint to make things for Bama more difficult than it otherwise would be for them. Since that game, though, Bama’s played UL-Monroe and Vanderbilt, so they obviously haven’t been challenged since that outing. Now, clearly Alabama’s defense has performed much better than the Razorbacks to this point of the season, but I still expect K.J. to find relative success at home in a game where he gets to redeem himself of the costly turnover from a week ago. Bryce Young should also have success here as well, even with the pressure Arkansas brings, and I flirted with the idea of the over, but I’m not completely sold on it. So, I’m expecting a raucous crowd and environment and for Alabama to leave with a 10-14-point win, as Arkansas keeps it respectable in Fayetteville.
Iowa State at Kansas Over 58.0
Iowa State is in the second game of what will be a pretty difficult five game stretch coming up. And in my opinion, their defense is a bit overrated to this point, as they’ve played the 58th, 67th, and 131st ranked offenses in FBS, and an FCS program. Conversely, Kansas’ offense is pretty intricate to try and prepare for and Jalon Daniels is a natural playmaker. For reference, against WVU, Houston, and Duke, the Jayhawks are averaging a staggering 465 YPG on 7.2 yards per play. To be fair, though, they also gave up 6.5 yards per play, as their secondary is extremely susceptible. I expect Hunter Dekkers to have an exceptional game in a matchup where two of the underrated QBs in the country match up against each other. I like each team to reach 30, but I’m too much of a coward to put Kansas at 5-0 this year so we’ll just look to make money on the over 57.5 instead.
#17 Texas A&M at Mississippi State Under 45.0
Texas A&M’s best WR, Ainias Smith, will miss the rest of the season, and to put into perspective how important he is, he’s received over double the passing yards as the next closest receiver, and is the only one to have multiple TD catches this year. MSU would be undefeated this year had they not had a melt down at LSU in the fourth quarter (being outscored 21-0 and making numerous mistakes). But aside from that quarter, they’ve only given up 64 points on the season. Realistically, the Bulldogs defense shouldn’t have hardly any issues stopping the Aggies’ attack. On the other side, Texas A&M’s defense has been lights out, and even more so when you look at how many plays they’ve been on the field. They’re giving up a somewhat pedestrian 4 yards per rush, but only allowing opposing QBs to complete passes at a 52.5 percent clip for 5.2 yards per pass. Essentially, we should see a game where TAMU’s offense doesn’t get much going again against a stout defense, while Mississippi State will need long, time-consuming, sustained drives to score. Points will be at a premium and I see this game resulting in something like a 21-17 win for MSU at home in a really pivotal game for each team’s season.
#1 Georgia -28.0 at Missouri
Everything is slowly falling apart in Columbia, Missouri for Eli Drinkwitz and company. They managed to find a way to lose on like three separate occasions last week, their star Freshman WR has gone ghost on social media (and they refuse to get him any touches on offense), and they aren’t capable of doing anything right. You can hardly see a path forward where Eli keeps his job and to make matters worse, Georgia played horribly last week against Kent State, so I expect Kirby Smart to send a message to the rest of the conference this week that they’re still the top dogs. It’s hard to imagine the Tigers eclipsing 10 points, and so all the Bulldogs have to reach is 38, which I believe they’re capable of doing with their second string in for most of the second half. Missouri’s locker room, athletic department, and fanbase are all checked out for the season, and we should expect the product (or lack thereof) to show up on the field this Saturday. There’s a chance you see more Georgia fans than Mizzou fans this Saturday as the Dawgs win by four-plus touchdowns.
#7 Kentucky +7.0 at #14 Ole Miss
If you believe Kentucky’s O-line will be improved from their previous showings this year, then this should be an auto bet. The Rebels defense has been very disruptive this year, so that’s the only reason I’m staying away from this one as an official play, especially if Zach Evans ends up being listed as a late scratch.
#18 Oklahoma -6.5 at TCU
TCU is an underrated team this year in my opinion, in terms of being looked at and talked about by the national media. It will just be interesting to see how first-year HC Brent Venables responds after a tough loss at home against a pretty talented offense. For what it’s worth, I think Oklahoma has decent success scoring on TCU, but will Oklahoma be able to stop the Horned Frogs? I’m not 100 percent sure, so this remains as a lean for the week.
Written by Alex Hill