Last week was a disappointing 3-3 finish for us. Alabama inexplicably got legitimately outplayed at A&M and they've now actually lost a contest while almost losing another. Meanwhile, and I'd like to talk about this a bit more, Akron's backup quarterback came in and torched Bowling Green for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns on 14/15 passing in the 2nd half after the starter (who was 6/10 with 91 yards and an interception) went down with an injury. A sure-fire under 47 cover where the score was 13-7 at halftime turned into a shootout in the second half. I can't help but think about how poetic it is for me to lose a bet to a backup quarterback as a Tennessee fan. And how is the Akron Zipsâ backup (and realistically he was the 3rd string) better than what Penn State has to offer? It's total madness. Plus, UVA-Louisville combined for 1,025 yards of offense with only 67 points to show for it (including 3 missed field goals, along with 4 field goals and a turnover inside the opponents 30 yard line)..... Anyway, this week gives us some intriguing matchups to consider so let's get to it, including trying to be on the right side of the luck spectrum this week. I'm feeling good about this one.
#21 Texas A&M Team Total Over 34.5 @ Missouri
This is my favorite play of the week, and here's why: Missouri has been outgained in every game they've played this year, including their first game against Jim McElwain's 3-3 Central Michigan, and last week against 1-4 North Texas. Jimbo Fisher might be the greatest college quarterback coach that ever lived having Zach Calzada come out with the performance he did against Bama. But realistically, against the Tigers, he won't even have to do anything. They're allowing 360 yards per game (YPG) ON THE GROUND ALONE against Power 5 teams (128th of 130 in that category), and I promise you the Aggies won't have to have any sort of special game planning to dominate Mizzou into submission this weekend. A&M are rushing for 5 yards per carry (YPC) this season and Missouri will have the worst defense they've faced yet. I could understand a bit of a let-down factor after beating Bama, but the entire offensive gameplan is to run through and around the other team, there isn't much room for a "let-down" spot. Finally, every team Mizzou has played thus far has exceeded their team total set by Vegas.
#17 Arkansas -3.5 vs. Auburn
You know that meme where the two cartoon Spider-Mans are pointing at each other? That's exactly what these two teams are. They're both 4-2 with newer head coaches, outperforming expectations, dual-threat quarterbacks, exceptional running backs, embarrassed by Georgia, and tough road losses. That said, two weeks ago, people were calling for Arkansas to beat Georgia. Now suddenly they drop two in a row and they're only a field goal favorite over a visiting team with an inconsistent quarterback? Another thing to be noted is the coordinator positions, where Auburn's are decent, but Arkansas absolutely holds the edge. Further, the Razorbacks will not have played at home in a MONTH. The fans will be more than just a factor in a game they'll expect to win. Expect some positive progression in favor of Arkansas going against the third best offense in three weeks for them. And don't forget about the blown officiating in this game last year against Arkansas, because I know they haven't. Revenge spot win for Arkansas to right the ship.
Ohio @ Buffalo Over 57.0
Buffalo has a ton of talent from their incredible offense a season ago. There was a coaching change which is sure to cause a few hiccups, but they seem to be getting back to where they left off a year ago. Their defense, however, has allowed 430+ yards of offense in their 5 FBS games, surrendering 32.4 points per game (PPG). Meanwhile, the Bobcats are giving up 32 PPG themselves in FBS action. Both of these teams prefer running the ball, and their defenses are both outside the top 108 in rushing defense. I don't see how this game could go under, as these are two of the worst defenses either team has gone against in 2021. I lean Buffalo -9 as well, but we'll just stick with the over instead of picking a side.
Virginia -11.0 & Team Total Over 40.5 vs. Duke
2020 Virginia at home versus on the road: 35.4 PPG at home and 18.75 PPG on the road. This year will ultimately prove a similar pattern for them as well. Duke comes into the game allowing 464 YPG and 305 YPG through the air. Duke's 3 wins coming into this game are against an FCS team and the worst Big 10 and Big 12 teams. I'd also argue this is a stylistic advantage in favor of Virginia, as the Blue Devils' defense is particularly susceptible through the air, where Virginia thrives and prefers the game to be played. I like Brennan Armstrong to torch the Blue Devils defense, while Duke struggles to keep up.
Western Kentucky Team Total Over 40.5 @ Old Dominion
Old Dominion possess a pretty good run defense. It wouldn't make the Great Wall of China proud by any means, but pretty good nonetheless, and that's their plan to negate other teams' offensive success. That means nothing in this matchup though. Western Kentucky toss it around more than any team in the country behind Mississippi State, and they're led by a quarterback with a 22-3 TD-Interception ratio. And the defenses they've faced, you wonder? One of the best in the group of 5, two top-tier Big 10 defenses, and undefeated UTSA. These are their point totals compared to the next highest point total allowed: scored 35 on Army who's only given up 28 in one game otherwise. 31 against Michigan State compared to 21 otherwise. 46 (!) against UTSA compared to only allowing 30 in a game otherwise... Regardless of who they're playing, they put points on the board. This will be the weakest defense they've played to date and they're hungry for a good win. Points will rain down as Bailey Zappe leads the Hilltoppers to 45+ points.
Iowa State @ Kansas State Under 50.5
This is a bit of a revenge spot for KSU as they were bullied into a 45-0 defeat last November (though we aren't picking a side here). The Cyclones had the second best success running against the middling defense of KSU last year, but this team's defense is better. Brock Purdy also had one of his best games that year against KSU, but he's been inconsistent so far this season, to put it nicely. Also, both of these teams will be coming off byes, with both being in pretty important spots as far as their season outlooks. I tend to prefer the under in these types of matchups. The Cyclones defense, particularly their secondary, have been great so far, allowing just 300 yards in a game ONE TIME all season (currently rank 3/130 in FBS YPG allowed). Barring any pick-sixes or crazy special teams game-altering plays, the familiarity between these two teams will keep the total somewhere closer to the low 40s. Let's hope for a snooze fest in this one.
Army +14.0 @ Wisconsin
We were with the Badgers last week, but now it's time to go against them. Why, you ask? First, Army will be well rested coming off a bye. Second, Wisconsin has 9 interceptions in 5 games this year, including at least one in every single contest. Army allowed just 15 PPG last year, good for 2nd in the nation, and they return a decent amount of production from that team. Unsurprisingly, they're well-coached and highly disciplined, and for Wisconsin it's tough to prepare mid-season for a triple option team. Both squads have given up just 470 rushing yards all season in 10 games, which is an insane 47 yards per game allowed on the ground. Truth is, Army will likely find points at a premium in this game. But I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me you trust Graham Mertz to get Wisconsin to cover 14 in a game where they'll be in known passing situations for most of it. Not going to happen. Finally, according to a Wisconsin online article (bucky5thquarter), they haven't faced the triple option since 1979!!! Phew, that's a tough ask for the defense. I'll trust Monken's squad to keep the game within two scores in what I'll assume will be a low scoring affair.
Rutgers Team Total Over 23.5 @ Northwestern
Northwestern is allowing 6.1 YPC this year which plays into Rutgersâ wheelhouse. They're also off a bye though so there's a chance they've gotten their ducks in a row. However, their longtime Defensive Coordinator of 12 years retired after last season, so maybe the team just doesn't have somebody capable of getting their ducks straightened out.
Fresno State -3.5 @ Wyoming
Assuming Jake Haener plays and the rest of the roster comes into the contest well rested, they should roll against an inferior Wyoming team. Their health ultimately remains to be seen, though.
Kansas @ Texas Tech Over 66.5
Huge fan of the Lance Leipold hire at Kansas as he can put points on the board with decent players. They're also off a bye week here. Ultimately, these defenses are in the echelon akin to Shaquille OâNeal's free throw shooting. They're not just bad, they're terrible.
#13 Ole Miss @ Tennessee Over 82.5
These defenses are average at best. Forget the stats though, these coaches have had this game circled for months for Lane's first trip back to Knoxville. My advice is to not blink during the game, because I guarantee the play-callers will have numerous trick play sets. Get your poopcorn ready.
#18 Arizona State -1.0 @ Utah
Betting the Pac-12 is almost like buying a lottery ticket, just probably slightly more unpredictable. That said, I don't see how this line is even within a touchdown spread. When Utah somehow finds a way to win something like 46.5-4, though, don't come yelling at me. Like I said, it's the Pac-12.
Written by Alex Hill