Two Weeks Ago: 7-9
Since there was no betting guide last week, I’ve forgotten what picks were good and if there were any bad beats from the last picks. So, let’s just move on to this week’s contests.
Indiana at 3 Michigan (-24), O/U 51.5, 3:30 p.m.
After a long season full of ups and downs, the Hoosiers finally have themselves in a nearly ideal place -- two games to go, one win needed for a bowl berth. This week, however, probably isn’t the week they get the one. Although Wilton Speight will not play for the Wolverines on Saturday, Michigan is still a heavy favorite in this series that has feature some surprisingly close games in recent history.
On paper, with Speight out, this should be a defensive struggle. Michigan’s offense may struggle without its QB and the Indiana defense has been as stellar as an Indiana defense has been in two decades or more. Michigan’s defense, on the other side, may be the best defensive unit in the country.
Because it looks like it could be low scoring and because Speight is out, I’ll take the Hoosiers to cover and the under.
Pick: Indiana (+24) and Under 51.5
Top 25 Games
23 Florida at 16 LSU (-14.5), O/U 39, 1:00 p.m.
Both sides should just be glad they’re playing this game after it looked like they might not be able to get it rescheduled after Mother Nature was a douche with the hurricane. That said, Tigers fan will certainly be happier when it’s over. LSU went toe-to-toe with the Crimson Tide just two weeks ago, and Florida’s offense looks about as good as it has every season since Tim Tebow left.
But the question is whether LSU’s offense can score enough to pull away by more than two scores. Probably not, unless the Tigers pitch a shutout. I’ll take Florida, only to cover, in a low-scoring affair.
Pick: Florida (+14.5) and Under 39
22 Washington State at 10 Colorado (-4.5), O/U 61, 3:30 p.m.
If Indiana-Michigan gets ugly and you need to change the channel, tune in to this one. 61 points aren’t nearly enough for these offenses — they might have 50+ at halftime. Washington State is good, but Colorado, in my opinion, is the class of the Pac-12, better than Washington and USC (even though USC has already beat the Buffaloes).
Pick: Colorado (-4.5) and Over 61
9 Oklahoma (-3.5) at 14 West Virginia, O/U 66.5, 8:00 p.m.
Ah, this one will be fun. And it seems like Vegas is giving easy money with OU being the favorite on the road. West Virginia is one dud against Oklahoma State shy of serious playoff contention, and if you took a blind look at their resumes, West Virginia would be ranked ahead of the Sooners.
What I’m saying is that West Virginia is being overlooked and discounted. Remember what happened the last time experts thought something in the rest belt was a foregone conclusion?
Pick: West Virginia (+3.5) and Over 66.5
Big Ten Games
2 Ohio State (-22) at Michigan State, O/U 52.5, 12:00 p.m.
More easy money. Michigan State has gotten up for a game exactly twice this season — once in a win over lowly Notre Dame, who is 4-6, and once against rival Michigan. I’m not really sure what Vegas sees in this game, especially given the way Ohio State routed two teams better than Michigan State 62-3 in consecutive weeks. Sparty simply doesn’t have the fire power to hang with a Buckeyes team that is finally clicking, and just at the right time. Ohio State, with ease.
Pick: Ohio State (-22) and Over 52.5
Iowa (-10) at Illinois, O/U 44.5, 12:00 p.m.
Illinois is just really bad. It’s hard to imagine they have two wins until you realize they’ve played Rutger and Michigan State.
Pick: Iowa (-10) and Under 44.5
Maryland at 18 Nebraska (-13.5), O/U NL, 12:00 p.m.
These two teams got their asses kicked by Ohio State in back-to-back weeks, but only one of them is completely reeling. Maryland is in a sputter, and if they lose in Lincoln, they’ll face the reality that a loss to Rutger next week would not only be embarrassing, but would keep them from a bowl game.
That’s not enough, though, to keep the Terps in a ballgame with a Nebraska team who, though not as good as they thought they might be a few weeks ago, is still head and shoulders above Maryland.
Pick: Nebraska (-13.5)
7 Wisconsin (-28) at Purdue, O/U 48.5, 12:00 p.m.
Oh buddy, let me tell you something. I’ve gone back and forth on this a few times. I’m not convinced Wisconsin has an offense. But I know Purdue doesn’t have a football team.
I’m not sure what to do about the line, and if I wasn’t in a whole and was betting real money, I’d avoid it. Oh well.
Pick: Purdue (+28) and Over 48.5
Northwestern (-2) at Minnesota, O/U 45, 3:30 p.m.
Some people on this blog are rooting for Minnesota to somehow find its way out of the Big Ten West. They’re going to be disappointed when the Wildcats pick up a big win on the road to become bowl eligible.
Pick: Northwestern (-2) and Over 45
8 Penn State (-28) at Rutger, O/U 57, 8:00 p.m.
Existential crisis time. As most of you know, we love to dunk on Rutger here. But anyone who reads this column every week knows that my personal belief is that you should refuse to make money off this football program that should not exist.
So, for the first time, we’re going to balk at a game. I’m not making a selection here, because I’m not dumb enough to bet on Rutger and I’m not breaking my own rule.