NCAAF Season: 24-17-1, +5.3 Units
NCAAF Week 5: 7-4-0, +2.6 Units
The solid start to the season continued with a 7-4 showing in Week 5. Took a loss with BYU on Friday, but then rebounded to go 7-3 on Saturday. Hoping to keep the good times going this week…
Navy (+17): Houston is an excellent team. I’m fully sold on Greg Ward Jr. and Tom Herman is doing some of the best work in the nation as a head coach. This line being at 17 though is absurd to me. Before the season began I lined this game at 10.5 and since then my opinion of Navy is even higher than it was before the season. Right now the hype machine is in full force with Houston and you’re seeing it with this line. Navy has a solid squad this year, and as usual they can run the ball down your throat. On the year the academy is averaging over 250 yards per gam rushing, which is exactly what you want against a team like Houston. The Cougars have that explosive offense, so being able to run the ball and work that clock is critical. I won’t try to critique Houston as a team, as I mentioned earlier they are very good and there’s no point in saying otherwise. Like I always say though, you’ve gotta look for spots to go against a team when they are at their peak, and I certainly think that’s where Houston is now. All their lines are inflated, the public loves them, the media loves them, etc etc. It’s not a comfortable task to go against this team, but the line here I truly feel is about 4-5 points too high. Navy for me.
Georgia State (-10.5): Again, here’s one on the surface that won’t be a comfortable play to make. Who wants to lay 10.5 points with an 0-4 team? You normally won’t see people lining up to make such a play, but here I am playing Georgia State. To put it simply before the season began I had Texas State ranked as one of the worst teams in the country. They’ve found their way to a 2-2 record with wins over Ohio and Incarnate Word, but my opinion of them hasn’t changed much. This is still an awful, awful football team. Georgia State on the flip side isn’t as bad as their 0-4 record would lead you to believe. I’m sure as hell not saying they are good, but they are coming off a pretty rough 3 game road stretch against Air Force, Wisconsin, and Appalachian State. Now to get back home and face an inferior team it feels like your classic take out your frustration kind of game. The Panthers are probably mad at the world right now, and if they get a chance to take it out on someone that’s exactly what I expect to happen. Talent wise Texas State is in over their heads here, and if not for that 0-4 Georgia State start this line would probably be north of 2 TD’s. I’ll take the discount due to the slow start and expect GSU to roll.
Virginia Tech (+2.5): This is a real tricky spot for UNC this week. Coming off a huge road win at FSU, and with a road trip to Miami on deck, Va Tech falls right into the middle of your classic sandwich spot. Not to say that the Heels don’t respect the Hokies, but I find it hard to believe they’ll have this game on par with FSU last week, or Miami next week. Mentally I just don’t think they’ll be able to get where they need to be for this one. I’ll make it clear I’m not playing Va Tech simply because of the sandwich spot for UNC, the Hokies are a very solid team this year. In their last two games they’ve combined to beat East Carolina and Boston College by a 103-17 margin. Those teams aren’t world beaters or anything, but they are respectable teams that Va Tech just manhandled. One big thing they have going for them is QB Jerod Evans, if you haven’t had a chance to watch Evans play you need to check him out. He’s a dual threat, 6’4″, 235 lbs monster who is having a huge year. Passing he’s completing 67% of his passes at an average of 9.4 yards per attempt to go with 13 TD’s and only 1 INT. Plus he’s rushing for over 50 yards a game and over 5 yards per carry. In short, Evans is a nightmare to deal with. There’s more than enough here for me to make a play on the Hokies.
USC (-4.5): I’ll start by saying that I do like Colorado this year. This is the best roster they’ve had in recent memory and this should be a team that finds it’s way to a bowl game and has a nice season. All that said they aren’t ready to hang with USC, especially on the road, quite yet. Yes the Trojans already have 3 losses, but they’ve come against Bama in a neutral site game, and then on the road against Utah and Stanford. In their only 2 home games USC has taken care of business by a combined score of 86-27. This is a line that if you asked me a month or so ago I’d have told you it would be USC by 14 or 15, so for it to be nearly 10 points lower now is too good for me to pass on. I’ll admit Colorado is better than I thought, but despite the 2-3 start I’m not sure how differently I really feel about USC than I did 5 or 6 weeks ago. I think they continue to get back on track, and continue their strong play at home. I’m fully expecting a double digit win for them Saturday.
Oregon (+8.5): If you’ve been following me for a while you know I often talk about buying low and selling high. I’m not sure how much of a better example of that you can get than this Washington/Oregon game. Washington is now into the top 5 after their blowout win of Stanford on ESPN Friday night for the whole country to see. Oregon on the other hand is fresh off an 18 point loss to Washington State which was their 3rd straight. Oregon right now is dangerous in that they are playing with house money. Nobody expects anything from this in this game, everyone thinks Washington will go in there and take care of business. Oregon playing fast and loose in my mind makes them far more dangerous. On paper there isn’t much to support this play. Washington is clearly the better team and they are rightfully favored, but I’m a sucker for a home dog especially in such a big buy low, sell high spot.
Florida State (+3): You get the idea by now, but here we’ve got another buy low, sell high spot. Three weeks ago if someone asked me what this line would be I’d have probably told you FSU -5.5 or -6. A full 8.5-9 points away from where it actually is now. So what’s happened since then? On the FSU side you have the blowout loss at Louisville and a close loss on a 54 yard FG at the buzzer against UNC. I’ll be the first to admit FSU isn’t as good as I (or anyone else) thought, but I feel there is some over-reaction in this line. As far as Miami goes I think there’s some big time over-reaction going on with them. They really haven’t beaten anyone good yet this year, and even Saturday they were outgained by Georgia Tech in total yardage. Of all things Miami took advantage of strip sacks for TD’s on back to back plays and ultimately that was the difference in the game. Aside from that you could easily argue that the Jackets outplayed the Canes. Maybe I’m being stubborn, but I’m not ready to say that Miami is a better team than FSU is. Again, I’m just sticking with my buy low, sell high angle and it fits perfectly here. Noles for me.
Oregon State (+12.5): Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but we’ve got another buy low, sell high spot here. Cal is a team that I feel I have pegged perfectly right now. 3 weeks ago I played them to cover against Cal, and they did. 2 weeks ago I took ASU to cover against them, and they did. Then last week I took Cal to beat Utah, and they did. Now this week it’s time to fade them again and look to make it 4 for 4 in the last 4 weeks. The Beavers come into this one off a 47-6 loss at Colorado so as far as a buy low spot goes, you’ve got what the doctor ordered here. Often times I talk about where lines are now based on where I would have had them a month or so ago. This is another one where I feel over-reaction to a few nice Cal wins, and a horrid Oregon State showing last week has the line inflated. A line that about 3 weeks ago I’d have put at 6.5 or 7 is now at 12.5 and for me that difference is enough to justify a play.
Stanford (-7.5): I’d say it again but you all know what’s coming by now. Again it’s a buy low, sell high spot. Washington State is off an 18 point win over Oregon and Stanford is off that humiliating loss against Washington. I truly feel that due to those results we’ve got some serious over-reaction in this line. If you asked me 5 days ago what this line would be I’d have told you 11.5 or 12. Now you take a Stanford clunker and a nice showing for Wazzou and the line is 7.5? I’ll bank on the Stanford bounce back and the Washington State come back down to earth angles both coming to fruition in this one. Stanford wins by 17 or so as order restores itself a bit in the PAC-12.
San Diego State (-14): This is a San Diego State team that seemingly had everything going it’s way before last weeks game at South Alabama. They were up to #19 in the polls, they were in a position to cruise to an undefeated regular season thanks to a weak schedule, RB Donnell Pumphrey was getting Heisman talk, etc etc. Now after a clunker that’s all gone. Overall it was a very weird game. On the surface you’ll see the 42 points from South Alabama and assume the Aztecs defense got chewed up, that however wasn’t the case. The Aztecs only allowed 331 total yards and there were a bunch of fluke plays and turnovers that blew this game wide open. Regardless of how it happened though this is now an angry and fired up Aztecs team that’s looking to take it out on someone. Unfortunately for the Rebels that team is them. Last year in conference play SDSU just beat the hell out of everyone, including a 52-14 win in Vegas. This line honestly should be about 19 or 20, but with the SDSU clunker last week we get a discount and I plan on taking advantage of it. I really think this game gets ugly and the Aztecs just go to work. Something similar to the 52-14 we saw last year really wouldn’t shock me.