Betting Stuff: The hidden value of Week 2
There are some weeks when everything goes right. My perfect 8-0 performance in Week 1 required some turnover luck, a few comebacks, and an epic meltdown from the Kent State kicker Andrew Glass.
The young man missed two kicks inside of 30 yards in the closing minutes to secure my Texas A&M-29.5 play. Next time I’m in Kent, Ohio, drinks are on me, Andrew.
And now for a quick accounting of where you would stand if you had been playing my picks throughout the season.
Last Week: 8-0, +9.75 Units
Season Record: 10-1, +10.65 Units
You’re only as good as your last winner, so it’s time to get back to the grind, and let’s start way, way, way down the board with a game only true gamblers could love.
Wyoming-6.5 vs. Northern Illinois
Since Craig Bohl got things rolling in Laramie in 2016, Wyoming is the 20th-most profitable team in FBS against the spread. Before the season started, I had this game pegged as Wyoming-13.5 in my power rankings. But a few things have significantly changed public perception of these teams since then. The first market mover was that the Cowboys needed a big fourth quarter to squeak past a top 15 FCS team (Montana State). And then NIU upset Georgia Tech after their starter, Jeff Sims, went down with an injury. Those outcomes have equated to a touchdown shift in the point spread vis-a-vis my power rankings. Simply put, this is an overreaction.
The Huskies had 301 total yards on just 3.9 yards per carry against Georgia Tech. And they were stuck on 14 points for 59 minutes of their game against the Yellow Jackets. This week they will be facing a stingy Wyoming pass defense, and their one-man wrecking crew at linebacker (Chad Muma). Offensively, Wyoming can expect Sean Chambers to shake off more rust, and Xazavian Valladay to bounce back from an off-game behind his experienced line. I foresee a double-digit Wyoming runaway.
Iowa+145 @ Iowa State
The public is still in love with Iowa State apparently. Even a near loss to in-state “rival” Northern Iowa wasn’t enough to take the bloom off the rose in Ames. But while the Cyclones were fighting for their lives against an FCS foe, Iowa was dismantling a Top 25 opponent. The Iowa pass defense was highly regarded coming in and somehow exceeded that hype. A pair of pick-sixes and a statistical pantsing of Michael Penix Jr., is not what Iowa State’s Brock Purdy was hoping to see when he turned on the film this week.
Offensively, Iowa just needs to protect the football and lean on Tyler Goodson and Sam LaPorta. Goodson delivered with 99 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and LaPorta led the way in the passing game collecting 5 receptions for 83 yards through the air. The Hawkeyes have won 4 straight in Ames and 6 of 7 in the series overall. I’ll take the moneyline and the team playing better football right now.
Baylor-47.5 vs. Texas Southern
Texas Southern has given up 40 points or more in 8 of their past 14 games. They just lost by 23 points to Prairie View A&M at home, which sinks them to the bottom 10 of the FCS. There’s no sugar-coating it, Texas Southern is horrific. Baylor, meanwhile, has plenty to be excited about on defense. The Bears forced 3 INTs, scored on a pick-six, and cashed in a safety at the buzzer. They also ran for 245 yards and eased into the Gerry Bohanon era.
What Baylor needs to do is hit more big plays than they did last week against Texas State. Bohanon averaged just 6.2 yards per attempt, with just one passing play exceeding 20 yards. Former Louisville Cardinal Jawon “Puma” Pass lit up Texas Southern for 354 yards through the air in Week 1, regularly torching the Tigers secondary for 20+ yard completions. Bohanon and company will get it together here and score close to 60 points while their defense suffocates Texas Southern.
Purdue-33.5 @ UConn
It’s UConn white flag time. The Huskies just gave up 38 points to Holy Cross. The Crusaders hadn’t scored that much against an FCS team in 2 years. This Purdue team left points on the board against Oregon State last week, and did it without a running game. They still scored 30 points, which is bad news for UConn. If Holy Cross could run for 226 yards, put the Boilermakers down for at least 200 in this one. And then’s there UConn’s offense or lack thereof. Kevin Mensah is the offensive bellcow and he can’t get out of the starting blocks. He has just 97 yards on 32 carries this season.
This is a spot to play Purdue -33.5 for the game, -10 in the first quarter and -17 for the first half. It’s going to be a bloodbath.
Georgia State+25.5 vs. North Carolina
It pays to read the paper. Or follow local beat writers at least. According to the local media, the Georgia State Panthers had a handful of players miss action due to COVID protocols and they’re all expected back this week. So the fact that the Panthers ran into the triple-option buzzsaw last week is wholly irrelevant to me. This team was 7-3 ATS last year, and getting back Sam Pinckney is going to help the passing game tremendously.
Then there’s North Carolina issues on defense. The Tar Heels couldn’t get critical stops on the road last week and played an uninspired brand of football as a whole. You can count on Sam Howell bouncing back and leading a pass-heavy attack into the 40s on the scoreboard. But I know a pesky G5 team when I see one, and Ga. State will keep that back door cover alive and burn the Tar Heels in the fourth quarter.
Over 61 Liberty-Troy
This will likely be the best Group of 5 matchup in Week 2. It will also serve as a showcase for Malik Willis (Liberty, QB) and Carlton Martial (Troy, LB), two of the best players at their respective positions in the country.
As a team, Liberty is the same dynamic offense we saw last year. Willis and Joshua Mack can run on anyone, and I was impressed with Demario Douglas as an emerging threat at wideout and punt returner. Troy settled on Taylor Powell as its QB1, and he rewarded that faith with one of the top performances of Week 1 (3 total TDs, nearly a 90 QBR). Kimani Vidal and BJ Smith form a great 1-2 punch against, giving the Trojans a chance to move the ball on the ground against what was a great Liberty run defense last year. If they chip in at least 100 yards on the ground, I think Troy will be able to keep pace in a shootout and help push this final score well past the posted total.
Bonus EA Sports NCAA Football ’14 Simulation
As long as they keep hitting, I’m going to keep serving them up. This week I fired up the old PS3 to see if Western Kentucky had the potential to knock off Army on the road, as my power rankings indicated they might.
And lo and behold, Bailey Zappe and the new-look Hilltoppers offense exploded on the Hudson. Western Kentucky dropped 491 total yards during a 41-24 upset of Army at West Point. That payout on the moneyline is +230.