Narrative for each game follows selection summary.
Last Week: 7-3
Top Positive Value Selections:
Western Michigan -1.5
Other Selections with Positive Value:
Miami Oh -3.5
Georgia Tech -7
In their last four games, New Mexico has given up over 50 points and nearly 600 yards per game. That includes games against Sam Houston State and New Mexico State who both put up over 500 yards of offense against the Lobos.
Now New Mexico has to go on the road to face a Nevada squad the won last week 37-0 over UNLV. Nevada should have won that game by much more as they put up 699 yards of offense but turned the ball over 5 times.
New Mexico has not won outside the state of New Mexico since they beat San Diego State by 3 points in 2007. While Nevada has to lay 29.5 points, in the last three years the Lobos have suffered road losses of 35, 31, 41, 72, 35, 33, and 49 points.
These teams have one common opponent in Texas Tech. Nevada only lost to Tech by one point on theroad while New Mexico lost to them by 46 points at home.
If Nevada takes better care of the ball this week they should put 50 points and easily cover.
The line has moved above a touchdown in this game, but for very good reason: Toledo is a much better football team than Bowling Green.
Toledo beat Bowling Green 33 to 14 last season, and this year’s Rockets team is improved on both sides of the ball.
Toledo defeated a very good Temple team by 23 on road two weeks ago scoring 36 points against an Owl defense that has only allowed a total of 31 points in its other five games. The Rockets followed that up with another impressive and balanced performance in a 54 to 16 win over Eastern Michigan.
Toledo has three losses, but that includes a near upset of Ohio State on the road, a loss to Boise State that was closer than the final score indicates and a tough overtime loss at Syracuse.
Bowling Green has been outscored 100 to 31 the last two weeks, as they gave up over 1,200 yards on defense. While those losses were to two very good offensive teams, Toledo’s offense is on par with Western Michigan’s and they should put up five or six touchdowns this week. Bowling Green does have a decent passing game, but their one-dimensional approach will not allow them to keep pace with the Rockets.
Western Michigan -1.5:
Western Michigan has covered seven straight regulation games and yet remains undervalued and underappreciated by the public.
The Broncos have a fantastic passing attack and average 44.5 points scored in their two MAC games. Western Michigan’s offense appears to be improving every week as they have over 1,000 yards of offense in their last two games.
Northern Illinois also has a quality quarterback, but Western Michigan has a far better defense than the Huskies who have allowed 48 points to Central Michigan; 30 to Cal Poly; 49 to a kindly Wisconsin effort; 45 to lowly Kansas; and 26 to Army. The Huskies only good defensive effort was last week against the struggling Kent State offense.
Western Michigan has also played more competitively against ranked opponents. The Broncos gave the Illini a scare, only losing by 3 and they battled Michigan until two turnovers changed the game. Northern Illinois has only played one top notch team where they were easily beaten by Wisconsin, 49-7.
These teams have one common opponent in Central Michigan. The Broncos soundly defeated the Chippewas 44-14 while Northern Illinois fell in defeat to the same squad by seven points.
Northern Illinois is somewhat overvalued due to the reputation they earned in prior years, but it is now the Broncos that have risen to be the top dog of the MAC. We keep riding the Broncos.
Wyoming does not rise to the top of teams one might wish to back after being clobbered 63 to 19 by Utah State last week. The Cowboys did start well taking a 12-0 lead before trailing by just 21-19, but Utah St scored 42 unanswered points to embarrass them.
Forget about backing the Cowboys, rather focus on laying UNLV. The Rebels are a very poor road team having lost their last dozen away games by 37, 52, 34, 38, 34, 48, 33, 39, 23, 28, 28, and 41 points.
UNLV was shut out last week giving up nearly 700 yards of offense while only putting up 110 yards of offense including a 1 for 14 passing performance that totaled just 8 yards, less than a yard per attempt!.
Wyoming has a balanced offense that should move the ball both running and passing. The Cowboys should manage at least four touchdowns which should be enough to cover against this poor road dog.
This was a better early week play as the line has risen over the five touchdown mark. Yet, there is still value here as Kansas has given up more than 60 points and 600 yards a game in their last three matches. Even if they can somehow hold Oklahoma to 52 points, it is difficult seeing Kansas putting up three touchdowns on the tough Sooner defense.
Oklahoma has one of the best passing attacks facing off against one of the worst passing defenses. Just as the Oklahoma State squad did last week, the Sooners should be able to jump out to a huge early lead. With the Sooners presently competing with Wisconsin and Stanford for the second slot in the national championship, they will not be inclined to allow Kansas to make the score look respectable.
Another big line move that still offers value up to -17 as Washington has not lost against the spread to an FBS school since losing by a half point ATS to Oregon last year. Since then, they have covered in 8 straight FBS games.
Washington is 4-1 on the season including a pair of 8-point wins over Hawaii and Cal which Colorado lost by 17 points and 3 points (in overtime), respectively.
Washington has scored at least 30 points in every game including 38 points against Nebraska in their only loss while Colorado has given up 31 or more points in five of their six games. The Huskies should thus be able to score five touchdowns against a Colorado defense that has a beaten up secondary as the Huskies already have 17 touchdowns through the air. The Huskies also have a strong running game with Polk running for over a 100 yards a game which should keep the Buffalo defense off balance.
Washington’s defense has not been stellar either, giving up 108 points in their first three games. They have shown improvement, though, holding Cal and Utah to 23 and 14 points, respectively, in their last two games.
The biggest difference in this game is that the 1-5 Buffaloes have been a poor road team in recent years. They have lost all three of their road games this year by 17, 20, and 41 points with two of those losses to teams I have rated lower than Washington. Colorado has lost 20 straight road games overall. Washington is a noisy stadium that should provide enough of an advantage to cover.
Northwestern was looking like an easy cover last week as they had a 24-14 halftime lead as touchdown dogs. However, they could not score in 2nd half while allowing Michigan to score 28 straight points.
Northwestern can put up points on anyone, but their defense can certainly struggle at times as they have given up80 points in their last two games.
Fortunately Iowa’s offense is not nearly as impressive as the Illinois or Michigan squad the Wildcats had to face the past two weeks. Iowa was only able to score 3 points last week against Penn State, they lost to Penn State and had to come back late to beat Pitt.
The most compelling reason to ride Northwestern is their track record against better Hawkeye teams in previous years. The Wildcats have won the last three games against Iowa, all as underdogs. They have also won in their last three trips to Iowa City.
Iowa may very well score four touchdowns this week, but Northwestern has their number and should match points with Iowa like they did with Illinois two weeks ago and as they did in the first half against Michigan. Take the points.
Missouri comes in with a losing record at 2-3, but all their losses are to ranked teams. Those losses provide value as the Tigers are not receiving the respect they deserve.
Missouri should be able to run the ball well against an Iowa State team that gave up nearly 400 yards rushing last week. Overall, Baylor converted 37 first downs and had over 600 yards of offense against Iowa State last week and could have scored well more than 49 points if they had not turned the ball over in Cyclone territory on two occasions.
The Tigers should be able to pick up many lessons from Baylor and move the ball easily all night against Iowa State. The Cyclones are a scrappy team, but that do not have the ability to trade points with a Tiger team that can not only score points, but play much better defense than the ‘Clones saw last week in Waco.
We have recommended going against Iowa State the past two weeks and recommend laying the Clones for the third straight week.
After giving up 63 points in their first two games, Georgia has limited its last four opponents to a total of just 35 points including an interception and punt return for touchdowns.
The Bulldogs greatly improved defense now faces a struggling Vandy offense that has only scored a total of three points in its last two games, converting only 2 of 24 third-down conversions
Georgia won last year’s matchup 43-0, but the Vandy defense is playing well despite receiving little help from their offense, so don’t expect the Bulldogs to put up as many points this year.
Georgia may not light up the scoreboard, but they should manage a 2-handle which should be enough to cover against a Vandy offense that will struggle to find double digits on the scoreboard.
Ole Miss qb Mackey had a winning debut versus Fresno two weeks ago, throwing 8-18-0-214 against a defense that gave up 57 points last week. This week he is facing a Crimson Tide defense coming off its second shutout of the season while only giving up 7 points per game against a schedule that includes three ranked teams.
The Rebel’s 98th ranked scoring offense will have a hard time reaching double digits against the Tide’s #1 ranked defense. In their two SEC games, Mississippi only scored 7 against Vandy, which came with only 2:13 remaining; and, 13 points against Georgia which included a punt return for a touchdown.
Alabama has scored between 34 and 41 points in each of their last four games. Their strong running game should wear out the Ole Miss defense and put up another 3-handle which should beat the spread for the sixth time in seven games.
Miami Oh -3.5:
Kent State has a good defense but the same cannot be said for their offense which had just 7 rushing yards and 70 total yards last week against Northern Illinois’ 108th ranked defense. It was not just an off week for them as, against FBS competition, they have only scored 7, 12, 0, 10, and 10 points. The only time they had more than 200 yards of offense was the 217 they put up against Ohio.
Miami’s defense is not too shabby either holding Missouri to just 17 points on the road and a Cincinnati team that has scored 44 or more points in every other game to just 24 points.
Against such a poor offense, Miami Oh may only need to score 17 points to cover the spread. The Redhawks scored 21 points in the final 17:30 minutes in their comeback win over Army. The Redhawks should sail on that momentum and cover on the road.
Georgia Tech -7:
Georgia Tech should have easily covered last week as they took a 21-3 lead over Maryland. However, they became too conservative with their lead and nearly lost as the Terps took the momentum and outscored the Yellow Jackets 13-0 in the fourth quarter.
That effort not only provides value, you can expect Georgia Tech to keep their foot on the gas as they visit Virginia this week.
Georgia Tech scored nearly 52 points in their first five games and average 46.5 points per game for the season. The defense has not been stout, yielding 24 points per game, but they are improved from last season.
Virginia’s offense is not in the same league as Georgia Tech’s. In their last game against a week Idaho defense they needed overtime to manage 21 points at home.
The Cavalier defense is good, though, but North Carolina, Southern Miss and Indiana scored 29, 30 and 31 points against them.
These two teams have only faced one common opponent, as Georgia Tech beat North Carolina by 7 while the Tar Heels defeated Virginia by 11 the previous week.
Virginia does have an extra week to prepare for this game, but they are going to need it as Georgia Tech put up 477 yards rushing last year. Georgia Tech has also improved its passing game this year, despite numerous dropped passes. Thus if Virginia overplays the run, Georgia Tech could burn them for long passes as they did against many of their opponents this season.
Georgia Tech has only lost ATS once this season while Virginia has not covered versus an FBS school. Look for these teams to continue their trends this week as Virginia looks to score 21 to 24 points while Georgia Tech puts up a three-handle.
Temple is off a 42-0 win playing a Buffalo team they beat last year by a score of 42-0.
Temple is better in every phase of the game, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Owls have held 4 of 6 of their opponents to 7 or fewer points while holding Penn State to just 14 points in a near upset of the Nittany Lions.
Temple has won each of their four games by 31 to 42 points, including road wins against Ball State and Maryland which I have rated as better teams than the Buffalo team that has to travel to Philadelphia.
Ball State is the only common opponent between these two teams. Temple beat them on the road last week 42-0 while Buffalo lost to them by 3.
Although Buffalo has been competitive in most of their games, including a one-point upset of Ohio last week, look for another Temple to win in another route.