Narrative for each game follows selection summary.
Top Positive Value Selections:
So Miss -10
Mississippi State -10
Other Selections with Positive Value:
Bowling Green -3.5
Michigan State +4
Texas Tech -14.5
Oklahoma State -14.5
Mississippi State -10:
Mississippi State only beat the Wildcats by 7 points at home last year and now must lay ten points on the road.
Although the Bulldogs have a losing record, they were competitive in all four losses to the likes of Auburn, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina. Kentucky, on the other hand, has been anything but competitive in their conference games as they have lost their last three SEC games 137 to 20.
These two teams have two common opponents. Mississippi St lost to LSU in a hard fought 19-6 game while the Tigers easily beat Kentucky 35-7. Last week, the Bulldogs lost to South Carolina 14 to 12 while the Gamecocks thumped Kentucky 54-3.
Miss St has a huge edge on defense and has only allowed 17 points in their last 2 games while Kentucky has only scored 10 points in last two FBS games.
Kentucky will have trouble putting up points against the Bulldogs while Mississippi State should be able to move the ball well enough on the ground to score a few touchdowns. The Bulldogs likely need this game to become bowl eligible, so they will likely come in focused and well-prepared off their bye.
So Miss -10:
Southern Miss is coming off a 27-3 win over an SMU team that had scored 38+ points in their previous four games. UTEP played SMU earlier in the season with an opposite result, losing 28-17.
UTEP has won six straight ATS while Southern Miss has won and covered every game since their shockingly poor start in the season’s first two weeks.
Hidden in the Miners ATS success is the 101 points they gave up in the two weeks prior to their past two games against poor offensive teams.
Southern Miss clearly has the better offense and also has a superior defense. The Eagles have scored 48+ points three times and is fully capable of putting up many more points than the public is anticipating here as they have averaged over 550 yards of offense the past few weeks.
UAB is coming in this week fresh off their first win, a 26-24 victory over a UCF team that beat Marshall two weeks prior 16-6.
UAB continues to improve, winning their last 5 games ATS. Last week, both teams had excellent offensive outputs, but the Blazers did so against a tough Central Florida defense.
This matchup should be a closely fought contest, so UAB should benefit from receiving points. Marshall has not won any games by a touchdown or greater as their three wins were only by margins of 4, 4, and 6 points, including a 4 point win over Rice in their last home game.
Iowa lost to Minnesota last year 27-24, but Minnesota has greatly regressed, losing their three Big 10 games by 58, 28, and 27 points.
Iowa has scored more than 40 points four times including their last two games where they have scored 86 points. Last week against Indiana, Iowa scored touchdowns on all five of their first half drives and added a field goal on their only third quarter possession.
Look for the Hawkeyes to repeat their offensive performance against a poor Gopher defense. Minnesota simply cannot score enough points to keep pace with the Hawkeyes. Last season’s loss likely prevents Iowa from losing focus and adds incentive to keep tacking on points until the game is well in-hand.
Michigan State +4:
Michigan State is coming off a miraculous 37-31 home win over a Wisconsin team that earlier had destroyed Nebraska 48-17 in Madison.
Michigan State’s win over the Badgers last week likely does notpunch their ticket to the inaugural Big Ten Championship game unless the Huskers lose another conference game. The Spartans should thus not have a letdown coming off three straight big games as they will want to hand that loss to Nebraska themselves.
Prior to the Badgers, Michigan State had only allowed four total touchdowns in their previous three games. Nebraska has a very good run game, but Michigan State is more than capable of limiting the Huskers ground game. NU quarterback Martinez is fairly effective throwing when he has the defense off-balance, but he can be a train wreck passing in third and long situations.
Michigan State’s offense has been far from stellar running the ball, but Nebraska’s defense is not playing up to expectations and is now without A-A defensive lineman Crick. Teams have had success running straight at Nebraska and then burning the aggressive Husker safeties on play action, just the kind of game the Spartans likely wish to play.
Nebraska has only been able to cover the spread against two teams they could simply over-power with their run game (Wyoming and Minnesota.) Nebraska will be forced to pass more than they like this week and will likely fail to cover for the sixth time this year.
Bowling Green -3.5:
Bowling Green is coming off consecutive home games against the top teams in the MAC. The Falcons suffered a narrow 7-point loss to Toledo and an upset Temple last week.
Prior to last week’s bye, Kent lost 9-3 to a Miami, OH team that Bowling Green defeated 37-23.
Bowling Green’s greatest weakness is their run defense, but they were able to beat a strong running Temple team last week. Kent simply is not a good running team and likely will not be able to fully exploit this weakness in the Falcons D.
Kent’s offense is struggling as they only average 7 points a game against FBS schools, including just 3 points in their last game. If Kent cannot run the ball, they will likely have trouble scoring against a Bowling Green defense that held Temple to 10 points last week and Toledo to 0 first half points two weeks ago.
Bowling Green’s offense is not finding the end zone often, as they have averaged less than 17 points in their last four games. However, two touchdowns may be enough to cover, just as Miami OH did against the tough Kent D, winning 9 to 3 two weeks ago on the road as 3.5 point favorites. If the Redhawks can cover here as 3.5 point favorites, a better Falcon team should cover as well.
Texas Tech -14.5:
Coming off a huge upset win against Oklahoma and a big match against Texas next on the docket, this week’s game against Iowa State could be a poor situational matchup for Tech. However, the Red Raiders likely will not forget their 52-38 lost to the Cyclones last season, so they should be focused
Iowa State lost big on the stat sheet again last week against Texas A&M, but only managed to lose by 33-17, providing some value this week. Tech also lost to the Aggies 45 to 40, but they were much more impressive offensively in their loss.
Texas Tech scored at least 34 points in every game and are now going against a Cyclone defense that is allowing over six touchdowns a game in Big 12 play.
Iowa State only scored 17 points in each of their last two games and is only averaging 18.5 points in Big 12 play. They likely won’t be able to keep pace with the Texas Tech team that should easily score at least 5 to 7 touchdowns.
Hawaii beat Idaho on the island last year 45-10, but this year it is Hawaii having to make the long and difficult journey.
Although travelling to Idaho is not an easy trip for Hawaii, Idaho has lost home games to Bowling Green by 17; Fresno by 24; and La Tech by 13; all teams I rank below Hawaii and two of which had fairly long road trips
Both teams previous game was against New Mexico State. The Warriors won their match against the Aggies 45-34 while the Vandals lost to them by a score of 31-24. In Idaho’s previous game, they lost to La Tech 24-11, a team Hawaii previously defeated44-26.
Hawaii’s offense is playing well and should be able to put up several scores on the weak Vandal secondary. Idaho, on the other hand has not scored more than 24 points against any FBS team this season nor have they beaten an FBS team. Unless Hawaii repeats the turnover performance they had at San Jose, they should easily cover the touchdown spread.
Oklahoma State -14.5:
Oklahoma beat Baylor last year by a score of 55 to 28, which ironically matches the score of Baylor’s last game, which they lost against a Texas AM squad that Oklahoma State had earlier defeated 30-29.
Oklahoma State is rolling offensively as the only teams they have not beaten by more than 2 touchdowns are Texas and Texas AM.
While Baylor can put up points, their defense will have trouble forcing Oklahoma State to punt. Look for the Cowboys to top 50 for the fourth time this year and win by at least two touchdowns.
Stanford won a close 37-35 game against USC last year, but the closest game Stanford has been involved in this year was a 37-10 win over an Arizona squad USC only beat by a touchdown (48-41.)
On offense, Stanford not only has one of the best college quarterbacks to come along in several years, they can also run the ball effectively as they demonstrated last week. While most of the focus has been on the Cardinal offense, the defense is no slouch as they have held 5 of their 7 opponents to 14 or fewer points.
USC has a good run defense, but they have allowed more than 40 points twice as their pass defense is below average. Don’t be surprised if Stanford becomes the third team this year to top 40 points on the Trojan defense as Luck shreds their secondary.