There’s really nothing quite like eating a few shit-sandwiches to kick off the college football betting season. We went 4-6 ATS last week, to bring us to 5-7 on the year. But hell. We’ve been here before. If you remember, we started off last season 7-12 ATS before ripping off like 8 or 9 straight winning weeks. Every famous prophet has had their moments and it all boils down to trusting the process and embracing the journey. We’re in this for the long haul, and I’m calling for a 58%+ season.
Vandy +7.5 @ Purdue
For all of last week’s bumps and bruises, one man didn’t let us down… The strategy to fade Jeff Brohm’s Boilermakers early in the season continues to pay dividends. For the record, that was a hell of a football game. His team finding a way to lose that one was nothing short of an absolute choke job, with a dose of misfortune mixed in for good measure. Calling the timeout to ice the kicker, seeing him miss wildly immediately after doing so, and thus affording him the opportunity to bury a 50+ yarder was just pure cruelty on behalf of the football gods.
Vanderbilt on the other hand ran into an absolute buzz saw. I wouldn’t take too much from that. Adjusting to life without Kyle Shurmur at quarterback is tough, but the Commodores still have some pieces at the skill positions. Particularly Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Kalija Lipscomb.
For all the shit I give Jeff Brohm, he does produce scrappy teams. But so does the dude down here in Nashville. Derek Mason’s Vanderbilt squads have never wowed anybody, but they play tough and they ain’t scared of anyone. Both these teams come into this one 0-1, so I expect this to be a dog fight. In a game I expect to be close, this line feels a little too steep. I get this is being played in West Lafayette, but Vanderbilt is basically an away team when they’re playing in their own damn stadium. Give me Vandy and the points to work towards repairing the SEC East’s currently fractured reputation.
Syracuse @ Maryland -2
You smell that? Good lord, this line is gross.
If you’ve been a Money Train passenger for any length of time, you’ve come to know how we treat these…
WE GET INTO TO THE MUCK AND THE MIRE BABY. WILL THE SQUARES PLEASE GO AHEAD AND TELL ME HOW MUCH THEY LOVE SYRACUSE HERE??
I’ve been on the fade Syracuse in 2019 wave all preseason, and its officially time to employ that strategy. Don’t get me wrong, I like Dino Barbers and what he’s doing. But the program is not yet at a place where they can just reload (in fact, they’re still downright below average in recruiting). Gone is Eric Dungey at quarterback, and this new kid Tommy DeVito still has a ways to go. They lost some key skill positions and three starters on the offensive line. People forget that before Syracuse exploded for ten wins they were on a string of 4 or less win seasons.
How did I forget that Maryland was starting Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson at quarterback? The dude is a solid player. The offense was rolling last week where they threw up a 79-0 dub on poor Howard. Don’t forget, this Maryland team beat Texas two years in a row and had Ohio State on the ropes. They can be inconsistent, but they have the talent to play with almost anybody.
Army @ Michigan -22.5
This is the Group of Five vs Power Five potential upset spot people had circled this summer. Would it be fun if Army was able to upset Michigan in the Big House? Absolutely. But you know what’s not wise? To structure your betting around the most ‘fun’ outcome. In fact, do the opposite. What’s the least fun outcome? Typically lean that way.
Sure, Army is on a 10 game win streak. But this ain’t 2018 anymore. There’s a reason this line opened at 24. I realize that Army took Oklahoma to overtime early last season, but this Michigan defense is a different animal compared to the Sooner’s arena league (I mean Big12) defense. Also, I knew that Army was losing some foundational pieces, but their game against Rice was a bit shocking. They’re obviously still a well coached football team under Monken, but aside from the quarterback, the offense just doesn’t look the same.
Harbaugh’s Wolverines typically haven’t covered large spreads (2-11 ATS in last 13 as 20+ point faves). But this is the new look Wolverines!! Modern offense, RPOs, Josh Gattis has this team finally out of the early 2000s. Shae Patterson is quietly working on a Heisman campaign of his own, and I can see him popping off again this week.
Cincy @ Ohio State -15.5
Did I give Cincinnati the respect they deserve in Week One? No. Am I going to course correct and give them respect this week? Apparently not.
I kid. I think the Bearcats are tough as nails and could make a real run at playing in the AAC Championship game. They have a nice group of backs, and I like the way their defense plays. It looks like a Power Five defense. This is honestly more of a play on Ohio State than it is a play against Cincy..
You of all people should know how scary it can be to bet against the Buckeyes. We experienced that last Saturday. I had written FAU off in the first quarter. I still can’t believe they managed to cover that number… If you were watching late in the fourth quarter like I was, Ryan Day’s crazy ass was still playing plenty of starters (including Justin Fields) when the game was well in hand. I think this man is out to prove a point here early in the season. He’s not calling the dogs off. He’s out for blood. And I can kind of dig it.
For those of you ready to seed the Big Ten East to Michigan now that Urban Meyer is out of the picture, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump to that conclusion. This Ohio State team is absolutely loaded with talent. I know I said I wasn’t sold on Fields last week, but after seeing him in action, I’m already coming around on him. Its hard not to succeed with that supporting cast.
Texas A&M +17.5 @ Clemson
Listen. Clemson is damn good. I didn’t realize how fervently Dabo was interceding for his players in prayer (read the Sports Illustrated article that came out today, its interesting). I’ve been saying he’s the modern day Bobby Bowden (perhaps a better version, Dabo’s teams are actually clutch). How are other teams suppose to compete when the Tigers are taking performance enhancing drugs, paying for players, AND the Lord is on their side?
But 17.5 points?? This Texas A&M squad is good. Part of me feels like this is a bit of a trap. A too good to be true case scenario. But sometimes you just take the bait. The public has to win some money too.
Kellen Mond had his coming out party in this matchup last year. And even though the Aggies played lowly Texas State in the opener, I have to say Mond really caught my eye. I think he could be much better this year. And if he balls out and they somehow win this game, you’re looking at a guy that’s starting a Heisman campaign for himself.
Also, Dabo vs Jimbo is a familiar matchup. When these two coaches meet its typically close.
Nebraska -4 @ Colorado
Man, its beautiful seeing a traditional rivalry like this being played. I’m not sure why this is, but the color contrast on these jerseys is just picturesque. Its really a shame seeing both these schools currently placed in a conference that doesn’t quite feel right.
Home dog alert? After the Huskers’ sheepish performance against South Alabama, the line moved from 7 all the way down to 3.5, and now its back up to 4. I honestly understand the hesitancy to buy into Nebraska. I thought the preseason hype was a little much. Their defense was a disaster at times last season and the rebuild still has a ways to go. But perhaps people are overreacting to Week One. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. But one thing I do feel strongly about…
I don’t think Colorado is any good. Sure, they have one of the most electrifying wide receivers in college football (Laviska Shenault), but that only gets you so far. The defense gave up over 500 yards to Colorado State in the opener, which has to frustrate the defensive minded Mel Tucker. I like the prospect of Scott Frost dialing it up for Adrian Martinez (last year was injured in this game in an alleged cheap shot, chance for payback?) and getting out of Boulder with a win.
BYU @ Tennessee -3.5
What’s the definition of insanity again? And did you really expect anything different from me?
The way Tennessee looked last week was downright bizarre. The energy was subpar for an NFL preseason game. It was honestly mystifying. What happened to the fiery, kicking whiteboards on the sideline, Jeremy Pruitt? Show some life. SHOW SOMETHING.
This game isn’t big for Tennessee. Its gigantic. In fact, here’s the season. If the Vols lose this one, you’re talking about being lucky to get to 4 wins. I honestly don’t know how you come back from dropping a game as a 26 point favorite in your own building to a 2-10 Sun Belt, and then turn around and lose this one at home too. You’ll have completely lost your fanbase and Pruitt begins to have real heat on him IN YEAR TWO. If you’re going to get Tennessee’s best shot (if they have any pride at all), its here in this spot.
One thing I do believe, is BYU has to be pretty deflated right now. That rivalry with Utah means everything to those Mormons. And they really thought they were going to beat them. Hell, I thought the emotion of the matchup would keep them in it. Now they’ve lost nine in a row to the Utes and I’m expecting a bit of a hangover.
LSU @ Texas +6.5
I’ve waffled on this one all week long. I honestly really like both these teams this year. I have LSU with a strong possibility of coming out of the SEC West and Texas is back baby.
Why am I hearing so much shit talk out of LSU’s camp leading up to this? I mean they are talking madddddd shit. I admire the confidence, but there’s such thing as pushing it too far. Look at the way Saban’s teams are. They keep quiet and then show up on Saturday and promptly beat your ass. Why give someone bulletin board material?
I understood this line at LSU -3. I think that was a good number. But 6.5 on the road? That’s a little steep for me. Joe Burrow impressed against GA Southern, but this is another top ten team.
Ehlinger has boat loads of swag and he may have lost his top target from last year but that receiving core still has plenty of talent. Including Collin Johnson who chose to return for his senior year. I get why a lot of people discount that UGA win in the Sugar Bowl. UGA didn’t have all of their guys playing. But that win was still impressive as hell to me. They took the Dawgs to the woodshed.
Ultimately, Tom Herman coaching as an underdog can’t be dismissed until proven otherwise. All the guy does is cover in these types of spots. I looked back, and as a head coach he’s 14-3 ATS in his last 17 when getting points.
Miami -3.5 @ UNC
I like this as a situational play more than anything…
On one hand you have a team in UNC that’s coming off a big Week One win. Mack Brown and the squad are ‘feeling themselves’ as the kids say. Miami finds themselves in a scenario where they’re 0-1, should be hungry, and are coming off two weeks of rest.
I know the offensive line struggled, but I like this Hurricane team. They also won’t see another defensive line like the Gator’s any time soon. In this matchup between two true freshman quarterbacks, Sam Howell should have a much tougher task moving the ball on Manny Diaz’s defense.
Stanford @ USC -1
Alright, Episode One of A-Rob bets USC did not pan out, but lets see how this edition goes. If you really like a trend, and at first it doesn’t succeed, that doesn’t mean you up and completely abandon it. Watching their game against Fresno State, I had to say, Fresno is going to be scrappier than I realized. Jeff Tedford has set a strong foundation and that team competes.
Kedon Slovis can ball? Still to be determined. They played conservative once he was thrust behind center Saturday. But the dude is a freshman and didn’t expect to play, so I would hold off on any solid stances. I hear good things about what he was able to do in camp, and he jumped over some guys to be the backup for a reason.
Obviously, the biggest piece of information surrounding the handicapping of this game is the status of KJ Costello. The dude took a vicious forearm to the face and had his head bounce on the ground like a Gronkowski spiked football, so even if the guy plays, I can’t imagine he’s not still a little foggy. Without Costello, Stanford looks downright pedestrian. Hell, even with him they looked average, even though they managed to win.
The public seems to be completely off USC, the tickets are coming in on Stanford, let’s fade the public baby.
Cal @ Washington -13.5
Put me down right here, right now, for being on the Jacob Eason and Washington Husky train. I got a little purple and gold fever.
As hyped as this team has been in recent years, (and Chris Petersen’s squad may still be the Pac12 favorite) it seems Utah and Oregon have received the majority of noise this offseason, thus taking some of the spotlight off them. That also tends to happen when you continually lose your bowl games / big out of conference matchups.
Washington did lose some key pieces, especially in that secondary. However, the Huskies have been recruiting as good as they have under Petersen and may not be reloaded with experience, but the overall talent level is good. And honestly, the biggest addition has been by subtraction. I freaking loved betting against Jake Browning. The guy was straight up, not good. Eason can ball. He lost his job at UGA due to injury, not performance.
Cal has a stingy defense, but the offense is beyond anemic. And this game is in Seattle? Cal will make some stops but Washington will ultimately out pace them.
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FYI: I’m putting out the college football picks late Wednesday night / early Thursday mornings. Thanks for reading. Let’s get rich.