I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. Through the first two weeks of the season, I’ve been trash. Garbage. Fresh dog doo-doo in the middle of the sidewalk about to ruin your day.
I’ve just been awful.
After going 3-3 in Week 1, I went 2-4 last week to bring my Pick Six record on the year to 5-7. Sure, if you take out the Hail Marys then I’m 5-5, but I’m not here to be right half the time. I’m trying to Make America Rich Again, and you can’t do that with a 50-percent success rate.
I’m not panicking, though. Everybody hits a rough patch at some point during a season, and I had my own last year while still managing to finish with a strong record at the end. So, in my mind, I’m just getting the bad picks out of the way early, and I’m going to finish strong.
And that strong finish starts this week. To the picks!
Games of the Week
No. 19 Ole Miss Rebels (+10.5) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide : The top three teams in the country — according to the AP Top 25 poll — are all playing on the road this week against other ranked teams, and the result of this is we have a lot of good teams playing the role of home dogs. Ole Miss is one of those teams. Now, as most of you know, Alabama has lost a grand total of three football games over the last two seasons, and two of those losses have been to Ole Miss.
I don’t know if I’m ready to say Ole Miss makes it three in a row against the Tide, but 10.5 points at home seems like an awful lot, doesn’t it? Well, how does it look after I tell you that Alabama is 2-3 against the spread when it’s playing as a double-digit road favorite since 2013? The two covers came against a 7-6 Auburn Tigers last year and a Kentucky Wildcats team in 2013 that finished 2-10. Alabama is also 5-6 overall as a road favorite during that span, though it did go 3-0 last season.
Ole Miss, meanwhile, is 5-2 ATS as a home dog under Hugh Freeze and has won outright three of the last four times its happened. I’m not going to go as far as saying Ole Miss will beat Alabama this time, but I am taking the Rebels to cover the spread. Alabama 27, Ole Miss 20
Twitter Pick: Alabama -10.5 (66 percent)
No. 10 Louisville Cardinals (+3.5) vs. No. 2 Florida State Seminoles : Oh man, I hate this game. Well, let me clarify a bit. I did not hate this game nearly as much before it was announced that Florida State safety Derwin James was going to miss the game. Before that happened, I was actually feeling pretty good about taking the Noles.
But it did happen, and the line in this game has shifted from the original 3.5-point line because of it. As I write this post, the line is actually at Florida State -2, but since I have my Twitter followers picking our Games of the Week as well, I have to stick to picking the line I gave them to choose on Monday afternoon.
I’d be cool with Florida State -2, but -3.5 without James on the road? I’m not nearly as confident. From top to bottom, Florida State has more talent on its depth chart, but James is just so versatile. He’s the one guy I believe the Noles would have used to slow down Louisville’s Lamar Jackson . Now it’ll have to be more of a team activity, and while I still think Florida State wins this game, it’s that hook on the three that keeps me from taking it against the spread. Florida State 30, Louisville 27
Twitter Pick: Louisville +3.5 (54 percent)
Lock of the Week
Mississippi State Bulldogs (+14) at No. 20 LSU Tigers : I don’t know who LSU’s starting quarterback will be in this game as of yet, but what I do know is that the options are Brandon Harris and Danny Etling . So, even if Leonard Fournette ‘s going to play, the Tigers still have some problems at quarterback. I mean, Etling came in last week and played better than Harris did, but at the end of the day he still finished 6-for-14 passing for 100 yards with a touchdown and an interception against Jacksonville State. Those aren’t exactly the kind of numbers that will instill much confidence. Plus, on the Mississippi State side of things, the Bulldogs are 6-2 ATS as road dogs since 2013, as well as 16-8-1 ATS in SEC games over that same time period. LSU 24, Mississippi State 17
Underdog of the Week
Virginia Cavaliers (+4.5) at Connecticut Huskies : Listen, Virginia has had an incredibly rough start to the 2016 season. It lost its opener against Richmond and then got beat up on the road by Oregon Ducks last week. But the Cavaliers also covered on the road last week against the Ducks, and I believe this line is too large an overreaction to the Cavs’ 0-2 record. This is a UConn team that only beat Maine by three points, after all, and even if it played tough on the road against Navy Midshipmen last week, I’m not buying it as a 4.5-point favorite. In fact, I fully expect Virginia to win outright. Virginia 28, UConn 20
Over/Under of the Week
Boston College Eagles at Virginia Tech Hokies (Under 42.5): When times are tough, you have to turn to something familiar. Something you can count on. I have a couple such security blankets, and one of them is the Under in any Boston College game. Since the beginning of the 2014 season, Boston College has played 27 games. The Under has come through in 20 of them, including 10 of 12 last season, both games this year, and seven straight overall. Boston College and unders are made for each other. Virginia Tech 17, Boston College 13
Hail Mary Parlay of the Week
If you aren’t familiar with the HMP, a quick refresher. It’s essentially a three-game parlay, but you only bet one game at a time. If the first game wins, you use the winnings on the next game, and so on. It’s a play that won’t come through most of the time (though it did work three times last year), but when it does, it pays off nicely.
Friday night: Arizona State Sun Devils at Texas-San Antonio (Over 60)
Saturday morning: Ohio Bobcats at No. 15 Tennessee Volunteers (Under 57.5)
Saturday evening: Navy (-6) at Tulane Green Wave
|Last Week||2016 Overall|
|Games of the Week||1-1||2-2|
|Lock of the Week||0-1||1-1|
|Underdog of the Week||1-0||1-1|
|Over/Under of the Week||0-1||1-1|
|Hail Mary Parlay||0-2||0-2|
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Pick Six: Ole Miss is way too big of a home underdog against Alabama