Welcome to week two, everyone! We survived the roller coaster of college football’s 5-day bonanza (barely, if you’re Mike Norvell and a few others), and are now getting ready to settle in for the long haul. And when I say “long haul” what I really mean is the greatest regular season in all of sports which also seems to go by in about one-tenth of one second. But still, we will try to enjoy every last drop of it!
This week is always tricky, because there’s a huge area in which to underreact (not a word, apparently but whatever), and/or overreact to the opening week’s results.
Is Arizona really that improved, or does San Diego State just stink all of a sudden?
The combo of Michael Penix and Kaelen De Boer looks like the Camaro-less duo that was Don James and Billy Joe Hobert! They were also playing a mid-level MAC team!
Oregon State is a darkhorse conference title candidate! But maybe Andy Avalos is driving Boise to the depths of the MWC like he tried to do with Justin Herbert’s NFL prospects!
Colorado might not win a game!
Ok that one is true.
The trick here is to cut through the chaff and uncover the true sportsbook overreactions, in order to take advantage and make the books pay. Easy, right! If you’re thinking “yep!” you must be new here. Welcome!
So, are we skilled enough to find the needles of value within the Everest-like haystack? Probably not! Are we gonna plow ahead and make picks anyway? Damn straight! Why are we asking so many questions of ourselves? We’ve never pretended to be any good at this writing business!
Last Week: 12-6 (Hooray, Twitter!)
After a gut punch on Friday, thanks to that Illinois choke, the Gamble-Tron is eager to get back on track with a couple early picks.— PJ Kendall ✈ ⚰ (@Deathby105) September 3, 2022
So. Dak St. team total Under 16.5
Air Force -14.5
Heels +3 was never in doubt as far as we could tell!
Season Total: 18-10
Best call of the weekend: UCLA (-23.5 and Over 57)
UCLA begins its Bataan Death March-like gantlet through the non-conference schedule with a visit from the team that doesn’t even know whether its school is in Ohio or Kentucky. The Bruins have a star-studded backfield with Zach Charbonnet and Dorian Thompson Robinson, who is still in Westwood after assuming the starter’s role upon Cade McNown’s departure. Over the past few days, this line has sunk below the key number of 24, and that’s more than enough for us to lock in the powder blues, even though BGSU returns nearly all of its production.
Needless to say, this wasn’t looking to be our best call when Bowling Green took a 17-7 lead. And it didn’t help that UCLA has a terrible kicker. But eventually the Chipster got things going and we hit the spread and total double dip.
Worst call of the weekend: San Diego State (-6)
Sure, Arizona is better, especially at quarterback, but that isn’t saying much given where it was last year. Jedd Fisch is raising the bar on the recruiting trail as well, which will pay off around 2024. And even though the Aztecs lost a ton of production while unfortunately not losing Brady Hoke as their coach, they absolutely live for these games against Pac-12 opponents. Plus, NOBODY WALKS INTO THE NEWLS-CHRISTENED SNAPDRAGON STADIUM AND SAUNTERS AWAY WITH A VICTORY!
Narrator: “Arizona sauntered away with a 38-20 victory.”
It’s hard to find a pick that was worse than Oregon +17, but I’ll give SDSU the award because at least I hit the Under 52.5 with Oregon. A true “no doubter” there! In all seriousness, Jayden de Laura looked pretty good, and Arizona’s batch of transfers may have them in a good spot this season.
Gut punch of the weekend: Illinois (Money Line +100)
Ever since I attended Iowa for two years, I’ve always disliked Illinois. However, it looked good in the opener, and now was facing a bad Indiana squad. So, what happened? Illinois outgained Indiana, 451-362. Illinois outrushed Indiana, 216-32. Illinois held the ball for more than 36 minutes. Easy win, right? Well, Illinois also turned the ball over four times. Illinois faced 1st and goal from the Indiana 6 yard line in the fourth quarter and didn’t score. Oh, and you think #Pac12refs are a thing? Apparently they’ve infiltrated the former partner conference!
The worst part? Not only did the receiver catch the ball once, HE CAUGHT THE BALL TWICE AND THE DUMBASSES IN STRIPES ALONG WITH THE MORON IN THE REPLAY BOOTH STILL RULED THIS AN INCOMPLETE PASS. BUT I’M TOTALLY OVER IT AND HAVE MOVED ON WITH MY LIFE SO WHY DO YOU KEEP STARING AT ME!!??
All odds courtesy of DraftKings, and are (-110) unless otherwise noted.
Holy smokes, there is a barge-full of big lines. EXPECT CHAOS! Or not.
Washington State Cougars at Wisconsin Badgers (-17.5)
Here’s the deal - WSU is insane if the game plan is anything other than “we’re gonna put 9 guys in the box and make Graham Mertz beat us.” Wisconsin is just too good along the offensive line and at running back to do anything else and expect success. If Mertz suddenly finds what’s been eluding him, tip your hat and accept the ass-kicking. 75% of me thinks this game will be mostly noncompetitive, but here’s hoping the Cougs can kick in that back door.
The Pick: Fightin’ Dickerts
Colorado Buffaloes at Air Force Falcons (-17)
The Buffs hung tough last week, for like a half. Even though Colorado is lousy, this line is still jarring, given that it’s facing a Mountain West team. Granted, it was a 1AA opponent, but Air Force ran up 582(!!!) yards on the ground last week. That isn’t easy to do, no matter the foe. Meanwhile, Colorado surrendered 275 to TCU on just 28 attempts. Yikes. I really don’t like laying this many points. And yet!
The Pick: Aviation Cadets
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels at California Golden Bears (-13)
Is...is UNLV good? It’s probably way too early to believe that, given that its only win came over Idaho State, impressive as it may have been. Is Cal good? Probably not, but it covered over a decent FCS team last week. Cal scores late and Justing Wilcox is my hero.
The Pick: Tightwad Hill
USC Trojans (-8.5 / -105) at Stanford Cardinal (+8.5 / -115)
USC looked impressive in its opener against Rice, particularly on defense where it scored three touchdowns. Should be interesting to see how Alex Grinch parlays that into a raise. Stanford won its opener almost as convincingly against a school that I didn’t even know had a football team, which is good I guess? Even though it was just Rice, Caleb Williams and USC look to be at least 10 points better than Stanford at the moment.
The Pick: SC (while I plug my nose)
Arizona State Sun Devils at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-10.5)
ASU had a pretty good debut, albeit against a pretty bad team. Oklahoma State also had a good debut, until Fire Up Chips ran off 29 of the game’s final 36 points. Hard to tell whether that’s due to the Okies calling off the dogs, putting backups in or something more worrisome. Wither way, I think the Pokes will be more focused this weekend with the elevated competition.
The Pick: OAN Fan Club President / Over 57.5
Oregon State Beavers at Fresno State Bulldogs (PK)
Sneaky-good game here! OSU take on its second straight Mountain West foe, and this figures to be a much stiffer test for the Beavers than Boise provided last Saturday. Just like the odds, we’re just gonna flip a virtual Google coin and go with the winner. Heads equals Fresno, tails equals OSU.
Welp. (In all honesty we were gonna keep flipping until in came up with our lean, but we only needed one!)
The Pick: Fres-YES
Mississippi State Bulldogs (-10.5) at Arizona Wildcats
This is a compelling matchup. Too bad it doesn’t start until 10:00 p.m. EDT! Mike Leach recruited Jayden de Laura to WSU but then left for Mississippi State and now takes on the aforementioned de Laura who went to WSU anyway for two seasons but is now at Arizona. Got all that? College football 2022, everyone! We liked what we saw out of the Cats last week, and we can’t resist taking doubld-digits plus that hook.
The Pick: Bear Down
Three for the road
Louisville Cardinals at Central Florida Knights (-5.5)
Here’s a tidbit that should have you running to the window.
Is 7.7% (1-12-1) ATS bad??— Ralph Michaels (@CalSportsLV) September 6, 2022
When a team losses game #1 as an Away Fav and is on the road again for game #2, like Louisville
they are 1-12-1 ATS (7.7%)
I'll be breaking down that game plus A&M/App St and Iowa/ISU w/ @JoeRaineri, @davecokin & @MejiaDinero on @WagerTalk CFB Today pic.twitter.com/7rDu2gGDX3
The Pick: Orlando!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alabama Crimson Tide (-20) at Texas Longhorns
Nothing says “future SEC member” like being a three touchdown home dog to Saban.
The Pick: Tide
Iowa State Cyclones at Iowa Hawkeyes (Total = 40.5)
Gotta go back to my “One team has more punts than first downs and the other team craps itself every year in this game oh and also any game that once featured the most hilariously hideous trophy in sports history definitely won’t feature more than 40 points” principle.
My eyes! My eyes!
The Pick: Under
We’ve got a lot in the Twitter holster. That’s probably a bad thing.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.