Ohio State Buckeyes (+7.5) @ Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines have been very good lately, making me look silly week after week (kind of like Houston) but that doesn’t mean that I’ve giving in. I know that Vegas is begging me to take the Buckeyes when they give me that extra half point, but I just think averages play out here. The Buckeyes have certainly been up and down this season – I just think Saturday in Michigan will be an up-swing kind of day for the chestnuts. Hopefully I can stick it to Vegas with this one!
Georgia Bulldogs (-5.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia’s the better team even if they never really can meet expectations. Georgia Tech is pretty one-dimensional, as they always are, but I see the Bulldogs’ defense being able to slow the Yellow Jackets’ attack just enough to cover this spread.
Alabama Crimson Tide (-21) @ Auburn Tigers
Alabama has a lot to lose in this contest and Auburn can play one heck of a spoiler in one of the biggest rivalry games around – but is it possible? I really don’t think so. Auburn has played close in some games they probably shouldn’t have, even winning a couple of them, but the Tigers aren’t on the same level as the Tide, and I expect it to show early and often this weekend.
Florida State Seminoles (-1.5) @ Florida Gators
This used to be “The Game” when I was just getting into football. I saw a few wide rights and a wide left, a couple upsets, and some great games between two programs that were up and coming and dominating college football. The old ball coach was getting Rex Grossman to do good things, and the Seminoles had Peter Warrick making dirty cuts in the middle of the field. Those were the days. Neither program is on top right now, but both have the talent to make this one heck of a game. I just think Florida State has a more complete team, so they are the bet here.
Virginia Tech Hokies (-1) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Virginia Tech is a tough, physical, and fast defensive team – Georgia Tech has had some trouble with that type of defense. I think that trouble continues. Both teams can run the ball, though GT certainly has better numbers in that category. But numbers don’t really matter, and they types of defense GT has trouble with just happen to be very similar to Virginia Tech. The Hokies are sound and physical and fast. The Yellow Jackets will find it tough work deceiving the Hokies up front, and VT has good enough athletes to commit to the run and still hang on over the top in the passing game.
Houston Cougars @ Tulane Green Wave (+35)
Tulane isn’t a 35 point underdog type team, they aren’t that bad, just a bad record. They are the home team in a game where they are getting nearly 10 more points than the team that played Houston last week. They are much better than that team. Hype-inflation is a good thing to be on the right side of, and the right side is Tulane. This Case Keenum kid is going nuts, no doubt, but this is all about value folks, and while Tulane might not strike a guy as a good value pick, the proof is there if you look.
Purdue Boilermakers (+14) @ Michigan Wolverines
I just really like Purdue here, I mean they play mistake free football and as good as Michigan can be, they’ll keep lesser talented teams in the game with their mental errors – that’s a fact. When you add to that little tidbit that Purdue has been playing decent football, you got yourself an upset in the making.
Wisconsin Badgers (-7) @ Ohio State Buckeyes
I know that the Buckeyes will have most of their cats back and they obviously are a talented football team with their entire season riding on upsetting the mighty Badgers – but hey, the Spartans took that glory last week, making the Buckeyes’ plans a little second fiddle(ish). The Badgers probably just come out and kill it for a few quarters and ride it out to victory.
Arizona Wildcats @ Washington Huskies (-4.5)
The Huskies are still good, despite their late struggles against Stanford. People forget that they were marching down the field offensively against the Cardinal, but it did get out of hand. Still, with suspensions on an already soft defense, the Wildcats might take a step back in Seattle.
Clemson Tigers (-3.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
People keep expecting the Tigers to drop a game, and I can see why. You look at them and you see the same thing you see from a lot of teams that put up points like it’s their job – defense just isn’t a part of the equation. I get why the Jackets aren’t that big of a dog in this one, I mean they run the ball right down your throat, hold onto the ball for long periods of time, and don’t do things to give their opponents extra opportunities. While that’s all fine and dandy, and maybe the smart play here is taking the Techies, I just can’t look past that mountain of offense coming at them when Clemson comes to town on Saturday. Taj Boyd is legit and there are just too many weapons there to team up on any one guy.
Oklahoma State Cowboys @ Missouri Tigers (+7)
The Missouri Tigers are pretty good, and I think they sneak up on Oklahoma State a little bit. Everybody is crazy about the Cowboys, but they can struggle defensively and I think Missouri will put some points on them. The Tigers play well at home, and with the undefeated Cowboys coming to town, a big upset could be right around the corner.
Auburn Tigers @ LSU Tigers (-21)
The Tigers are that good. Even with suspensions and injuries and all that business that normally disrupts a good football team, the Tigers are just that good. Defensively they should be able to shut down what Auburn does. Auburn isn’t special offensively, and even with the suspension of quite possibly their best player, the Tigers should keep Auburn in single digits. Auburn’s defense isn’t good enough to hold LSU, and because of this I expect a cover.
Air Force Falcons (+31) @ Boise State Broncos
I think Air Force runs the ball well enough to put some scoring drives together on Boise State, slow down the game just enough, to cover this spread. I have this eerie feeling that I’ll be covering this game by a field goal – but I’ll take it!
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Miami Hurricanes (-3)
The Yellow Jackets took a step back last week, losing a game the just flat out shouldn’t have. Miami has been up and down this year, really struggling at times and putting some good games together here and there. I had the line wrong in my newsletter, but I meant to take the Canes as a 3-point favorite. They fit well in my lesser rated favorite schema – always take the lesser rated favorite!!
Air Force Falcons @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl Free Pick: The Yellow Jackets are always tough to predict because they are so up and down. Every season it seems like they’ll play a very good team tough and suck up the crud against a few mediocre teams. I guess that’s kind of how they got to 6-6 this season. They played pretty well against Georgia, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina – but they lost to Kansas, barely beat Duke, lost to Miami by 25 points, and NC State beat them by 17. Sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense.
The Falcons have been a little more predictable, struggling with the very good/great teams they’ve played (only 4 losses came against Oklahoma by 3, San Diego State by 2, Utah by 5, and TCU by 31) and beating everyone else. This Air Force team is a good football team – and yes, don’t be confused, San Diego State is a very good football team. Most of Air Force’s losses look pretty good – I wouldn’t be ashamed with a single one.
But all this talk only means a little bit. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets live and die with their heart and soul quarterback, Joshua Nesbitt. The tough-nosed run-first quarterback can be a beast to tackle, and he always makes huge plays for his Yellow Jackets. Nesbitt is doubtful for this weekend’s game and with that doubt comes my doubt in them to stay close. These are two running teams going at it, and it should be a good battle. The Air Force Falcons have only been out-rushed by TCU and Colorado State while the Yellow Jackets haven’t been out-rushed once in their last 10 games.
It’s tough, but I just don’t see any reason the Falcons wouldn’t be a nice value bet with Nesbitt out and the fact that they’re the better team anyway.
Air Force Falcons (-2.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Virginia Tech Hokies Pick & Preview: While this game has been historically close over the last few years, I just happen to think Virginia Tech is the much better team. They get a lot of crap for their first two games of the season, but remember, all they did in Week 1 was lose to one of the best college football teams in the Nation, and one of the all time greats when they get extra time to prepare. Oh, and they lost 33-30. Week 2, I’ll give you – they came in thinking they’d just walk by a pretty dang good sub-division school. Despite out-rushing and out-passing James Madison, the Hokies just couldn’t put enough points on the board, eventually losing 16-21. Now that’s a black eye, no doubt, but the Hokies aren’t the only team to wear a black eye this season.
Now, I don’t think the value is great here, I just think the game ends up on the Hokies side of the spread. When the rushing games are close (meaning when Georgia Tech doesn’t dominate on the ground) the Yellow Jackets have a hard time covering the spread. The Yellow Jackets only two road wins came against a depth-ridden North Carolina team and a bad Wake Forest team (where they only won 24-20).
The Hokies have one loss at home, and have really dominated in each of their last 6 games. They’ll never be able to make up for that James Madison loss, but they aren’t ready to stop trying.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ #22 Virginia Tech Hokies (-12)
North Carolina State Wolfpack @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Pick: The Yellow Jackets fought back last week after really struggling against a mediocre Kansas Jayahawks team in Week 2. The Yellow Jackets out-rushed the Tar Heels of North Carolina by 229 yards. The game was close despite North Carolina’s multiple suspensions, as the Jackets won on the road 30-24.
As for the Wolfpack, they won again. NC State built a big lead then hung on to beat the Cincinnati Bearcats by 11 points. NC State is 3-0 against the spread this season as they continue to impress the sportsbooks.
Russell Wilson has been awesome, throwing for 744 yards and 8 touchdowns while not throwing a single interception. The Wolfpack have emphasized limiting mistakes, and it’s working like a charm. They have a tough defensive assignment this week, stopping the run, but NC State has out-rushed each opponent so far this season, and a lot of that has to do with stopping opposing rushing attacks.
The road team has taken this rivalry in 4 of the last 5 match-ups. Georgia Tech has covered in 4 of the last 5, and done most of the winning over the years (taking 8 of the last 10 from North Carolina State). But this game is almost always close. Not once in the last 7 years has them game been decided by more than 10 points. The Wolfpack might not be winning, but they are keeping it close.
North Carolina State Wolfpack (+8.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ North Carolina Tar Heels Pick: This is a match-up between two teams that lost their pre-season rankings in the matter of two weeks. The Tar Heels sure got a lot of help from the NCAA – losing more than a dozen players in their Week 1 loss to the LSU Tigers to suspension and unknown rules violations.
The Yellow Jackets took one on the helmet last week on the road against a Kansas team that was pretty blah in Week 1 and isn’t expected to make much noise in the Big 12 this season.
The Tar Heels still have 12 players listed as questionable for Saturday’s tilt against their fellow ACC rival, and I really don’t expect any of them to play. Now, they fought hard in Week 1 without those guys, and they are still talented – but it’s tough to keep doing that, and I think they’ll struggle a little bit more this week against Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels are hurting up front, on the defensive line most of all, and that’s right where the Yellow Jackets attack opponents most.
The Yellow Jackets have been an interesting team over the years, they’ve beaten some good teams, lost to teams they should have beaten, and they can come right back and impress you after a big loss.
Their offensive attack is just very up and down. They are tough to gamble on. However, usually after they struggle they get it back together and put up a nice effort the following week. That’s what I expect to happen here, and I see those rushing yards turning into a road win for GT.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+1.5) @ North Carolina Tar Heels
Please. This is the ACC where toward the final half of the season any team always has a chance against any other team, especially when that team is as talented up front as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Sure, Duke could win this one by 20, and it will almost certainly be decided at the 3 point line, where, despite their size down low, the Blue Devils continue to make or break their living.
The Yellow Jackets have just 5 losses this season, and not one single loss has been decided by more than 7 points. The Yellow Jackets already beat Duke once this season, so those Blue Devil head trips aren’t going to be too much of a factor. Playing at Cameron Indoor should swing the odds into the Blue Devils favor, sure, but Duke isn’t that kind of dominating team, and G-Tech plays their best ball against their best opponents.
The Yellow Jackets have five losses this season, one to Dayton, 2 against Florida State, one against Georgia and one against Virginia. Now Georgia is better than their current unranked situation insists, and Florida State is solid too, but those five losses have one thing in common, not one of those teams is currently ranked.
They can be lackadaisical at times, not doubt about that, but when it comes to bigs dominating down low and creating a consistent attack against any opponent, there’s not many teams that have much on the Yellow Jackets. Gani Lawai and Derrick Favors are beasts on the block, and I see them giving Duke plenty of trouble. Duke is up and they are down, they are how they shoot – but the bet has to be one the Yellow Jackets and their toughness on the glass.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+13) @ Duke Blue Devils
Syracuse Orange (+4.5) @ West Virginia Mountaineers: The Syracuse Orange are one of the biggest surprises of the young NCAA Basketball season. After falling to a sub-division school in the pre-season, some thought the Orange wouldn’t have much fight this season. Well, they’ve only lost one game since, and they are getting production from multiple sources. West Virginia plays hard, out-boarding just about every team they’ve faced all season long, but I think they will be in trouble against the plethora of shooters for Syracuse. Seven guys average more than 8 points per game, and their rotation is 10 players deep. They will match any opponents energy. I like them to win outright on the road.
Mississippi Rebels (+7.5) @ Tennessee Volunteers: I like how Tennessee has responded to the trouble their teammates got in a few weeks back, but I wonder how long they can continue to play minus some very important pieces. And there are some key players gone, none more important than guard Tylers Smith. Smith averaged more minutes than anyone on the team, is still 3rd on the team in assists despite playing 3 fewer games than anyone else. He leads the team in FG% and is second in points per game, and his athletic ability and aggressiveness will eventually be missed. Tennessee is undefeated at home this season, but on the road or in a neutral stadium, the Rebels are 5-2, and they’ve played tough. They can really score, and I think they put some pressure on the Vols at home.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+7.5) @ North Carolina Tar Heels: This is a tough one for me, being a Heels fan, as I am – but I like the size and strength the Jackets have up front, and if you can limit the Heels opportunities down low, and make them a guard centric offense, I think you can get to the root of their struggles lately. Carolina is very young and inexperienced in the back-court, especially off the bench. Now the bigs really struggled against Clemson, and I don’t expect Deon Thompson and Ed Davis to go 4-22 combined ever again, but Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors can compete hard with the Heels, and I think they, at the very least, keep this one close in Carolina. The Jackets seem to play up to the top level of opponents, and I think they do it again.