A couple of years ago, I was wagering college football with a guy in Scottsdale, Arizona. They were placing the bets locally, then used a middle man would go online and place the wagers. Week 1 that year saw a normal Week 1, games where big favorites had trouble covering the spread. As a result, I lost a significant amount of money.
The next nine weeks after that were a blur as I tore through the college football season with a vengeance. The end result is by time I got to the conference championship games the bookie had cut me off. Its a true story — I beat them up so badly they wouldn’t let me play anymore
So, fast forward to 2018. In the past four weeks, seven weeks into the college football season, I am back to my old tricks, having gone 7-1, 6-2, 6-1-1, and 7-1. This past week, I had LSU, Michigan State, Oregon at home, and Iowa State, just to name a few. Halfway through the college football season, I am up big, so lets see if we can pass some of that luck onto you.
Here is a look at Saturday’s games.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky: Two standout defenses face off in Lexington, KY in what promises to be a low scoring affair. Vandy has had about as much back luck as you can expect, but they have an experienced quarterback while Kentucky will try to control the football with running back Benny Snell. Last week at Texas A&M, Snell had 13 carries, 12 less than in any other game this year. Expect that to change this weekend against Vandy. Kentucky controls the tempo but Vandy covers the spread.
Pick: Vanderbilt plus 11.5
Colorado at Washington: Everyone knows what Washington’s record setting quarterback Jake Browning can do. Browning has broke virtually every Washington passing record during his time in Seattle. But, in my opinion, the game really comes down to Colorado quarterback Steven Montes and what he can do against the Dawgs secondary. Cornerbacks Jordan Miller and Byron Murphy are going to be tested by Montes, but how much still remains to be seen. Several of Colorado’s outside weapons are banged up including Laviska Shenault Jr., the Buffaloes’ top receiver. This game is tough to handicap because there are so unknowns, including the status of Shenault’s toe injury, but I am leaning towards taking Colorado and the 17.
Pick: Colorado plus 17
Michigan at Michigan State: It’s time for Jim Harbaugh to finally win a big game at Michigan. None are bigger than this. Harbaugh has struggled against Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State, so this is the start of something big in Ann Arbor if they can go to East Lansing and win. Michigan State’s run defense is the key to the game. They lead the nation with 60-plus years per game, but if you ever watch Michigan and Harbaugh, you know he will try to impose their will. Problem for Michigan is quarterback Shea Patterson is banged up, so not sure how much they can count on him to be mobile, accurate, and a play maker. At the end of the day, these games are close. I will buy the half point to 7 and take MSU at home.
Pick: Michigan State plus 7
Mississippi State at LSU: While LSU has dominated this series, interestingly enough they are 0-4 against the spread in their last four meetings. That changes this weekend. LSU is on a mission to convince people there is more to the SEC than Georgia and Alabama. They proved it last week with a dominating performance against a good Georgia Bulldog team. LSU is living example about an SEC bias in college football, having dropped to No. 13 after a loss to Florida, then jumped all the way to No. 5 after their big win last week. At the end of the day, LSU does one thing I like — play physical. I expect them to D Mississippi State up and cover easily.
Pick: LSU minus 6.5
Oregon at Washington State: Washington State’s Mike Leach is quietly doing one of the finest coaching jobs in the country. An offensive guru, expect WSU to give Oregon’s defense fits. Oregon showed us last week how physical they can be, which is a huge change from past years. Problem is Leach isn’t going to run the football, so for Oregon to win they are going to have to ramp up their offense every series. I think the wildcard in the game is one player — Duck quarterback Justin Herbert. A top draft pick if he comes out this year, Herbert isn’t just the best QB in the country, he is arguably the best player in the country. Tough call but Oregon is on a mission, so I am taking the underdog.
Pick: Oregon minus 3