I have a full bill of DirecTV games this week (15!!!), so don’t feel hurt if I just say a few words about a couple of these. Ha. Well, no more precursors, I’m off to the meats and cheeses…
Pittsburgh Panthers (-15) at Syracuse Orange (12:00pm): Like I said in my NCAA Picks for Week 5, there is no easier place to play than Syracuse, and Pittsburgh will easily run on the Orange. Seems like a three touchdown win from my point of view.
Kent State Golden Flashes at Ball State Cardinals (-17.5) (12:00pm): The Cardinals are legit. I’ll be making a small play on them at home this weekend, and if the value stays right, probably for the duration of the college football season. When normally mediocre programs have solid teams, their value stays high for most of the season.
Maryland Terrapins (+12) at Clemson Tigers (12:00pm): The Terps play close games and the Tigers have disappointed me. Clemson hasn’t been able to throw the ball, and while Maryland has struggled as well, this game just looks like a close one to me. Close games call for bets on dogs larger than a touchdown. This one is at 12 right now, so it seems like good value.
Northern Illinois Huskies at Eastern Michigan Eagles (+7) (12:00pm): My knowledge isn’t extensive about either of these teams, but let me tell you what I like. I like that the Eagles are getting 7 points at home against an NIU team that isn’t very good at all. I also like that Eastern can, unlike NIU, pass the ball if they need to. With a little passing game to go with their running attack, the Eagles look like a nice 7 point dog at home. NIU has won 6 of the last 7 contests against the Eagles, but Eastern won the last one.
Mississippi Rebels (+22.5) at Florida Gators (12:30pm): I definitely like the Gators to pull this one out, but something about this game has me walking the dog. Mississippi is just 2-2, but with tough losses to Wake Forrest (28-30) and a good Vanderbilt team (17-23), and the fact that Florida is 3-0 without any close games on their schedule thus far, I just like what a 22.5 point dog brings to the table this week against the Gators.
Fresno State Bulldogs (-7) at UCLA Bruins (3:30pm): If nothing else, because the Bulldogs have more talent, with more experience, and a sense of toughness that UCLA just doesn’t have yet. After a tough loss to Wisconsin, the Bulldogs barely snuck past Toledo. This game will be easier, 28-7 wouldn’t surprise me in this one.
Colorado Buffaloes (+6) at Florida State Seminoles (3:30pm): There’s no question who has more talent in this game, the Noles are loaded with speed and athleticism. But this Buffaloes team can put their head down and get a yard when they need it most. I won’t be surprised at all when Colorado comes all the way into Florida to upset the 25th ranked Seminoles. Everybody is claiming Colorado’s win over West Virginia was because the Mounties are falling, I disagree, that win was because Colorado is good.
Marshall Thundering Herd at West Virginia Mountaineers (-14) (3:30pm): Marshall walks into this game with just one tough loss, playing in Wisconsin against a solid Badger team. That being said, I’m betting that Pat White finally takes a game over this week. The Mountaineers have been thrown around pretty good of late, losing bad to East Carolina (3-24) and getting ousted by Colorado (14-17) – but this game is in West Virginia, and I like the Mounties chances to get an easy win.
Cincinnati Bearcats (-10.5) at Akron Zips (3:30pm): This is a very tough one for me. Both teams look like solid value, and while starting quarterback Dustin Grutza is out for Cincinnati, Tony Pike was very accurate and productive in his first start against Miami of Ohio. Both teams are solid, but I’m betting on the Bearcats defense being a little much for the Zips, even on Akron’s home turf.
Arkansas Razorbacks (+28) at Texas Longhorns (3:30pm): I don’t think Texas is this good. Arkansas was made to look like a fool last week against a very tough Alabama team, I just think they come out with a little fire this week in Texas. I still like the Longhorns to win, but Texas hasn’t played anybody to start the season, (Rice, UTEP, Florida International), so I’m betting on this conference game taking them a little longer to get going. 4 touchdowns is an awful lot for a team that hasn’t played anyone yet.
UAB Blazers at South Carolina Gamecocks (-24.5) (7:00pm): Honestly, I would stay away from this game if I didn’t have to bet every single DirecTV contest. Counting the NC State game to start the season, South Carolina hasn’t showed me that they should be favored against anyone by 3+ touchdowns. UAB is close, but boy, this is a tough one. I cap this game right around 21-24, but I must say, if the Gamecocks come to play they should barely irk out this spread. Still, if you don’t feel inclined to take every single game I picked, then leave this one alone.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (+21) at Kentucky Wildcats (7:00pm): Stand back! Because this is my train of thought. The Hilltoppers aren’t better than the Wildcats, but given a 21-0 head start I believe they have great value here. This is why – I generally trust the oddsmakers to put up a spread that is pretty close to what the final should be (not always, surely they miss from time to time, but usually). That being said, a couple weeks ago, a very good Alabama team got just 26 points, at home, against the Hilltoppers. This is why I’m taking WKU here – the Crimson Tide are at least two touchdowns better than the Wildcats. See that? That’s value hunting son! This line should be around 12-14, so 7 extra points to play with is nice.
Illinois Fighting Illini at Penn State Nittany Lions (-14.5) (8:00pm): Since opening weekend, Juice Williams has been very mediocre at best. He put up 5 touchdowns with just two interceptions against a very good Missouri team, but has followed up with just two touchdowns and 3 interceptions against the likes of Louisiana Lafayette and Eastern Illinois in games where the Illini didn’t dominate. I think Penn State is a couple touchdowns better than Illinois, as they have proven to be one of, if not the best team in the Big 10. They do a lot of things very well, and nothing is left out with them. I like Penn State as a two touchdown favorite at home.
Virginia Tech Hokies (+7) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (8:00pm): Nebraska’s opponents thus far; New Mexico State, San Jose State, Western Michigan… Va Tech’s opponents: East Carolina, Furman, Georgia Tech, North Carolina… Here it is, Va Tech is ready, Nebraska isn’t. This is where that marshmallow schedule to start the season hurts. Well, it doesn’t hurt me, Va Tech plus a touchdown against an overrated Cornhusker team, I like that, but it hurts the Cornhuskers.
New Mexico Lobos (-3) at New Mexico State Aggies (8:00pm): Make this six in a row for the Lobos. After beating Arizona they stumbled last week, but after such a high that kind of business is expected. Don’t sleep on them this week, though, against their instate rival they will be ready to play, even on the road. The Lobos are 5-0 against the Aggies since 2003, I like their shot at six straight.