Welcome back to Picks to Pound, our handicapping feature here at Elbow Deep. Keep an eye out for NFL picks with Bud deBurgh later this week and some NBA and college hoops blogs coming soon from yours truly. As always, all lines come via Bovada.
First, I must apologize. I took the last two weeks off of NCAAF, the only reason – besides laziness – being that neither slate was very exciting. Well, folks, my amateur football boner has regained circulation and is once again rearing his ugly, throbbing little head.
We’ve finally reached the thick of things with college and pro football, NBA, and college hoops rapidly approaching. November is like the sweet spot in a bone-in ribeye. You know that spot, about two inches off the bone. Pink, juicy, still a little bit of fat so your knife cuts through like butter. It’s incredible. The first bites of the season were killer because you hadn’t tasted football in a while. Still, you have to work around a bit of char and grizzled fat, pretending not to be a viscous degenerate as you mistakenly bet the over in a Pac-12 nightcap between Washington and the Vernon Davis-led Oregon Ducks. The football is still tasty, for sure, but by Week 7 there’s a bit of a lull and you begin debating the pros and cons of a doggy bag request.
Well, folks, prepare to hit your second wind. The College Football Playoff rankings are out (more on that below), #MACtion has returned to provide true gambling addicts sloppy midweek football over which to obsess, the NFL is rolling, and Fred Hoiberg’s Chicago Bulls are letting Niko Mirotic rain treys all over the UC. What’s better than this, Coach??
November is amazing, and that’s not just due to flannels, turkey, yoga pants, and whiskey. We’ve got major sports every night – college football Tuesday through Saturday! – which means countless opportunities to build that bank account and finally afford a Christmas gift that won’t cause your girlfriend to reassess her life choices.
In summary, if Bowl Season is desert and March Madness is that night last summer when all you ate was ecstasy, then the November sports schedule is the year’s best bite of steak. Let’s make sure we can afford to wash it down with a 50-year Single Malt.
Joe, Tunechi, tell em how we feel!
- Wednesday, 8:00pm – Ohio @ Bowling Green -21.
In keeping with the Degenerate’s Paradise theme, let’s kick things off with a Wednesday night MAC matchup. I don’t know much about Bowling Green, and I know less about Ohio, but I did have a helluva scare betting on Tennessee Week 1 vs BGSU. The Vols ended up pulling away, but it was evident that Bowling Green’s QB Matt Johnson is a legit talent.
One look at these team’s respective schedules tells two completely different tales. Bowling Green (6-2) has proven it can play with the big boys, averaging 39 points through the first 4 games against two ranked squads (UT and undefeated Memphis), and two B10 foes. BGSU beat Maryland and Purdue, and since losing by a field goal to Memphis, the Falcons have rolled, winning five straight while outscoring opponents 232-98.
Conversely, the Bobcats have gotten thwacked by MAC opponents the last two weeks, their best win is Week 1 over a bad Idaho team, and their “best loss” was by three to Minnesota. U of Buffalo, who BG beat by six, crushed Ohio. I like Bowling Green to do the same. Make me proud, Falcons.
- Thursday, 9:00pm – #20 Mississippi State -8 @ Missouri. LOCK.
This is one of those lines that seems too good to be true – like Vegas is having an A Christmas Carol moment and decided to spot all the Tiny Tim’s and Jimmy Junkies out there a handful of free points. Normally, if a line seems too easy I tend to stay away, but sometimes you catch one that you have to jump all over. Notre Dame -9 vs Texas was one of those lines. This is another.
Plain and simple, Missouri is horrible. This team CAN NOT score. Maty Mauk is gone for the remainder of the season, the freshman QB stinks, and the best thing to say about the Tigers’ run game is that it’s mediocre. Missouri’s defense is stout, only allowing 12.5ppg. This will obviously be key on Thursday, but I don’t see them hanging within 10 of Dak Prescott and MSU.
Then you have MSU. The Bulldogs score 35ppg and allow 17. Dak Prescott is an animal and will probably run for 3 scores while throwing for 1 more in this game. The dude is like a Bullmastiff at the doggy park with a bunch of terriers. Dak has thrown 14 touchdowns to 1 INT, so don’t expect him to give Missouri any extra chances.
Missouri is reeling; they mustered up just 3 points against Vanderbilt last week. There’s no way Mizzou hangs close against the best opponent since Florida. I like MSU to win 28-10.
Sidenote: Is Maty Mauk the dumbest dude on Earth? He finishes serving a four-game suspension, is set to come back for a huge game with his team having lost three straight, and then he gets in another “late-night drunken confrontation” at a pub? Maty, on behalf of Mizzou fans everywhere, please just smoke some weed and play Halo 5. No more booze for you, goddamn maniac.
- Friday, 8:00pm – #22 Temple -13 @ SMU
Looks like I’m going favorites this week. Fine by me. If the books keep giving ’em, I’ll keep taking ’em.
The Owls looked much better than I expected last week in the College Gameday matchup with Notre Dame. Temple lost by four but hung around until the end and ruined my weekend by covering the second half. In two weeks prior to the ND game, Temple looked a little sloppy, playing down to their inferior opponents (UCF and ECU). I’m guessing that Vegas is looking at this as a “trap game,” anticipating a letdown after an emotionally draining Notre Dame week.
I’ll call Vegas’ bluff. I like the Owls to come out determined to prove their worth after taking their first L and almost falling out of the top-25. Maybe that’s why I’m the sucker. Either way, SMU is fucking horrific. The Mustangs are 1-7 and allow 45ppg. Watch for Jahad Thomas to run rampant for Temple. Givin’ 13 all day. Great game to include in some teasers, as well.
- Saturday, Noon – Duke +8 @ UNC
A battle for supremacy in the ACC Coastal! I’m taking Duke solely because of how hard they got jobbed last week in the “loss” to Miami. That kick return was the best finish that I’ve seen in a long, looooong time, but Duke should have won that game. Alas, the Blue Devils were defeated. Now Duke’s back is against the wall and any hope of reaching a big bowl game depends on them beating UNC and shaking up the rest of the ACC. UNC can score with anyone in the country, but the Tar Heels are also prone to turnovers (Marquise Williams 7INTs) and will allow a lot of yards. I like Duke’s defense and rushing attack to give the Blue Devils a good chance to win. Gimme those points.
- Saturday, 7:00pm – Navy @ #13 Memphis -8
Not only does Paxton Lynch have the best name in college football, he’s also got a laser rocket arm and has displayed pinpoint accuracy. Lynch has thrown for over 2,000 yards with 18TDs to just 1INT. Navy is a good team, but Memphis can light up the scoreboard. Watch the Tigers win this game by double digits and continue to wreak havoc as an unbeaten non-Power 5 team in the College Football Playoff picture.
Speaking of the CFP, the Selection Committee released its first rankings of the season this evening. Here’s our current CFP top-10:
1. Clemson (8-0)
2. LSU (7-0)
3. Ohio State (8-0)
4. Alabama (7-1)
5. Notre Dame (7-1)
6. Baylor (7-0)
7. Michigan State (8-0)
8. TCU (8-0)
9. Iowa (8-0)
10. Florida (7-1)
Given the current outlook, Notre Dame and Baylor would be the first two teams left out of January’s playoff. We don’t have to wait long for a guaranteed shake-up, however, as #8 TCU takes on #14 Oklahoma State and – more importantly – #2 LSU visits #4 Bama this weekend. Which reminds me…
Saturday, 3:30pm – #8 TCU -5 @ #14 OKST
Looks like I found my teaser match with Temple. If pressed, I would also take TCU -5, but I love the tease in this game. Take the 5 down to what essentially becomes a pick ’em. TCU is not losing this game.
If it weren’t for LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Trevone Boykin might be leading the Heisman conversation. He is absolutely lighting it up with almost 3,000 yards and 28 TDs. The Cowboys have looked good thus far, but they’re due for a loss. This is a classic OK State “good” team. They rack up wins against sub-par opponents, but then some Brandon Weeden 2.0 faces the meat of the Big12 and OK State finishes at a respectable 10-2. Don’t be surprised to see the Cowboys drop two or three games this November. Take TCU -5 and for godsakes TEASE ‘EM!
- Saturday, 8:00pm – #2 LSU +6 @ #4 Alabama
This line tells me the powers that be expect Alabama to win by a touchdown. I’ll take my chances on that. People love to say you should “pick a storyline when betting a game.” My storyline for this heavyweight bout is that Fournette and Bama’s Derrick Henry will both run for 100+, Jacob Coker will throw two touchdowns for Alabama but also turn the ball over twice, leading to at least one defensive score for LSU. Brandon Harris will do what Brandon Harris does: manage the game, avoid turnovers, and give Les Miles’ squad a chance to win. I like Harris a lot and expect him to outplay Coker. Miles will probably do something weird like go for a 2pt conversion in the first half. In the end, I think this game is decided by a field goal. LSU wins 25-23.
Locks of the Week:
BH – Northwestern -2.5 vs Penn State
Bud deBurgh– Baylor -17.5 @ Kansas State
Matty Fudge – Mississippi State -8 @ Missouri
BH – tbd
Bud – Arkansas over Ole Miss
Matty Fudge – Washington over #12 Utah