After a 8-2 showing in Week 1 I hope to avoid the regression train here in Week 2. If tailing don’t get crazy, and certainly don’t expect the success I had in Week 1 to be the norm. That was just one of those great weeks where it all come together, keep expectations in check. All that said, here we go…
U Mass (+17): Boston College just lost a hard fought, close battle in Dublin and now have to turn around without a bye and lay 17 the following week? I’ll happily fade that, thank you very much. Even under ideal circumstances BC isn’t the kind of team that should be 17 point favorites against just about anyone. As always the BC offense is very vanilla, and with Kentucky transfer Patrick Towles at QB it won’t be any different in 2016. U Mass is far from anything special, but to their credit they did hold Florida to 10 points through the first 3 quarters last week, and actually were only down 10-7 in the 4th quarter. That game slipped away late and ended at 24-7, but U Mass was actually competitive for the majority of the contest. This game might make your eyes bleed if you tune in to watch but money is money and if I can find a cover I’ll take it. This game kind of reminds me of last week when I took Tulane getting 16 against Wake Forest. Some teams flat out just aren’t built to cover these big numbers. I do think in general BC will be improved this year, but 17 points is too much here. Especially when you factor in the travel and lack of bye week to recover.
USC (-16.5): I think we’re getting a little bit of value here with USC due to the pummeling they took against Bama in week 1. I know it’s never easy to back a team coming off a 46 point loss, but I think USC takes out some frustration in this one. If you’d have asked me last week what I expected this line to be I’d have said 20 or 21, but due to that Bama beating we get 16.5 instead. You’ve gotta be careful not to over-react to one game, and as bad as USC looked this is actually still a solid team. They returned just about their entire starting offense, and have more overall depth now then they have in years. Utah State is off a 45-6 beatdown of FCS Weber State so they’ll come into this one feeling pretty good. In short this feels like a nice spot for USC to get back on track, and for Utah State to get brought back down to earth a bit.
Notre Dame (-28): Similar story here with Notre Dame as the USC angle. This is a take out your frustration and beat the hell out of your opponent spot. Notre Dame is fresh off that double OT loss in Austin to the Longhorns and now poor Nevada has to travel to South Bend to face the angry Irish. Last week Nevada pulled out a 30-27 OT win over Cal Poly in a game where they were out gained by nearly 80 yards. Cal Poly rushed for an absurd 383 yards on the ground. You can connect the dots and imagine the damage this Notre Dame team is going to do to that Nevada defense. Brian Kelly is the kind of guy who isn’t afraid to run up the score either. I feel like Notre Dame can almost name the score in this game, and that’s pretty much what they’ll do. This thing is going to get very ugly. ND rolls.
Western Kentucky (+28.5): Alabama is the best team in the nation. Period. It’s just that easy. This play isn’t about on field talent or how the teams matchup, it’s simply a situational spot where I think the Tide could be a bit flat. As you all know Bama is coming off that 52-6 thrashing of USC and after WKU checks in this week, they have a road game with Ole Miss waiting on deck. This is your typical sandwich spot. A big game, a ho hum game, and then another big game. It’s important to remember these players are human beings, not robots. It’s easy to get a college kid pumped up for a game with USC or Ole Miss, not as easy to get them pumped up for a battle with Western Kentucky. For what it’s worth WKU isn’t complete garbage though, they can actually play a bit. In week 1 they trounced Rice 46-14 and QB Mark White went 25-31 for 517 yards. Obviously he won’t come anywhere close to those numbers against Bama, but with the sandwich spot in play and WKU having at least a bit of talent I think they can do enough to stay within 4 TD’s.
Duke (-5): What I saw from the Wake Forest offense in week 1 was absolutely disgusting. They can’t run, they can’t pass, their O-Line was constantly getting blown off the ball, and they couldn’t sustain any kind of rhythm or success at all. Duke on the other hand, granted against a far inferior opponent at least showed they have some weapons on offense. At QB there is the respectable duo of Daniel Jones who is the passer and Parker Boehme who is the dual threat guy. RB Jela Duncan looks to be primed for a big Senior season after averaging 6.9 yards per carry in 2015, and the defense which returned 6 starters seems more than capable of keeping a horrid Wake Forest offense under control. Frankly as long as the lines are reasonable I’ve got Wake Forest on auto fade until their offense isn’t puke inducing.
Cincinnati (-6.5): Cincy slept walked through the 1st half last week against UT Martin before finally picking things up and taking care of business in the 2nd half. Due to the lackluster performance I think we’re getting them a bit cheaper here than I thought we would. This is a game where I thought they’d be favored by 8.5 or 9, so at 6.5 I’ve got no problem getting involved. I’ll chalk up that sloppy start against UT Martin to them looking ahead a bit to a road game with a BIG 10 team and nothing more. This is a team that on paper I think is one of the best in the AAC, and clearly more talented than Purdue. As far as Purdue goes I’ll admit should have the best team they’ve had in the last 3-4 years, that isn’t saying much however when you consider how bad the past few seasons have been. The offense for Purdue should actually be respectable this year with some decent weapons at QB, RB and WR, but the defense should be flat out awful. They gave up 398 yards last week to Eastern Kentucky and I expect the Cincy offense to go through them like a knife through warm butter.
Middle Tennessee State (+5.5): An SEC only laying 5.5 at home against a C-USA team eh? Ok, you’ve got my attention. Lines like this almost always attract the casual bettor. They just can’t resist taking the team from the power conference at home against a team from a weak conference. To me this feels a lot like Southern Miss/Kentucky last week. Southern Miss ended up pulling out the upright win and I wouldn’t be surprised a bit to see MTSU do the same this weekend. MTSU returns 15 starters from their 2015 team which won 7 games and made a bowl game. The most important of which is now Sophomore QB Brent Stockstill, who had a monster Freshman season. Last week in a tune up against Alabama A&M, MTSU won 55-0 so things are clearly running as should be for the Blue Raiders right now. Vandy on the other hand is just the same old Vandy, they flat out can’t move the football. Last week against South Carolina they managed only 242 yards of total offense in an absolutely disgusting offensive display. Vandy’s defense is still respectable, but as weird as this will sound they are outmatched offensively in this game. Yes, a C-USA team has more talent and more skill on offense than an SEC team, here it’s a fact. I would have made this line 3.5 or 4 even before the season and based on what I saw in week 1 would have probably brought it to 3. Getting 5.5 here is basically a no brainer for me, there’s just no way I’m staying off this.