Now that I’ve taken the lead in this contest, I can finally post the standings.
SportsChump: 12-7-1 Against the Spread $230
Celebrity Guests: 12-8 Against the Spread $180
TheWifeHatesSports: 12-8 Against the Spread $120
I’d like to take this moment to congratulate all of us for putting together some impressive results. Positive dollar figures and over .500 ATS across the board are solid ways to start the season.
Although we have more information on teams, picking NFL games now becomes a little trickier as there are fewer games to pick. Week Five brings with it the beginning of the bye weeks, which can’t come soon enough for teams that are trying to figure out what exactly is going on in their locker rooms, i.e., the Pats, Bengals, Broncos, Giants, Steelers, and the entire AFC North.
I won’t lie. This is the trickiest week so far to pick games. At first (and second, third and fourth) glances, nothing stood out, which means I’ll tell myself to take it easy on the gambling front, until last minute where I’ll see something I like only to have action and piss it away (which is generally bad advice unless said wagers are within you bankroll and you can justify losing money on the entertainment value provided).
Speaking of entertainment, let’s get to it, shall we? I’ll take…
$50 on Colorado Buffaloes (-4) at Arizona State Sun Devils
We bring you back to our regularly scheduled programming… in prime time. Three weeks ago, Deion Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes were all anyone could talk about. They followed up a night game against Colorado State, ESPN’s fifth most watched college football game ever, to having his cult of personality featured the following evening on 60 minutes. Then came consecutive Saturdays where most figured Prime’s time would be grounded. And it was. The Buffaloes proved they weren’t on a par of programs like Oregon or USC. At least not yet. This weekend, they get back to playing opponents they can beat, like Arizona State. The Sun Devils are dealing with four straight losses and only averaging 17.6 points per game which ranks in the bottom of college football. Colorado is scoring nearly twice that per game. As the Rock and Lil Wayne continue their whirlwind tour, this weekend in Tempe, the Sun Devils aren’t ready to host that kind of party with the Buffs looking to get things back on track. This line is only Colorado minus 4 so I’m jumping on Coach Prime to cover the number.
$40 on Maryland/Ohio State (under 57)
BCole is onto something (see below). One game stood out to her this weekend. She felt there was no way Ohio State would cover the 20-point spread against Maryland. While I wasn’t crazy about the suggestion, I looked up a few statistics along the way. After I pointed out that the Buckeyes had only allowed 14, 10, 7 and 3 points all season, she retorted that Maryland wasn’t all that bad defensively either. Of course, they haven’t had to play a team as loaded offensively as the Buckeyes but that doesn’t change the fact that the Bucks aren’t letting people into the end zone. When I looked up the over/under, I saw 57, which is only 8 points under the Utah State/Colorado State game (see below again) where both teams should be running up and down the field. While I can see Ohio State doing that to Maryland, I can’t see the Terps doing that in return. I’m laying off the point spread but feel pretty good that this game won’t see a total of 57 points scored in it. Give me this game to go under the number.
$30 on Colorado State/Utah State (over 65)
38, 106, 60, 83, 67. Those are the combined total scores for the five games Utah State has played in this year. 74, 78, 54, 61. Those are the combined total scores for the four games Colorado State has played this season. Both these teams average over 33 points a game scoring. Both these teams allow over 33 points a game defensively. In other words, if you’re attending this game, you may want to strategically plan your pee breaks. This over/under is 65 which is high but not absurdly so. There are higher numbers out there this weekend. Like most of America, the only football I’ve watched from either of these teams this season (or ever) are the three and a half hours of fame Colorado State received by playing Coach Prime’s Buffalos. And if you don’t believe Prime is drawing attention, I’m betting on both him and his instate rival this week, so what’s that tell you? 65 is daring you to go over and these two teams are giving you every reason to believe that’s possible. Give me Colorado State/Utah State to go over the number.
$20 on Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-10)
I can’t believe I’m going to do this. I don’t remember the last time the Detroit Lions were double-digit favorites over anyone, but I think there’s value here. If you don’t see the Detroit Lions as one of the best teams in the NFC, you’re not watching their brand of football. Sure, they’re not on the level of San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Dallas (maybe) but they’re not all that far behind. Their young defense is fourth in the league in yards allowed and they are nearly impossible to run against. This means Carolina will look to a young Bryce Young to air it out to his mediocre receiving corps. While Detroit’s offense is still struggling with a consistent attack, their dominant defense gives them plenty of opportunities to figure things out. Carolina’s defense is no slouch, but they’ll eventually crack. Detroit minus ten.
$10 on Kentucky Wildcats (+14) at Georgia Bulldogs
Alright, I’ll bite. We know who Georgia is. We know what they’ve done. They’re your back-to-back defending national champions and while they haven’t exactly looked as dominant as they have the last two years, they’re still the number one team in the nation, at least according to the rankings. They are still dominant defensively, allowing only 13 points per game. Not to be overlooked is that other 5-0 team in the SEC East who just handed Florida an embarrassing historical loss. While the Wildcats ran the ball all over the field, it should not be overlooked that Kentucky is similarly only allowing 15 points per game. This is Kentucky’s biggest game in years. The school has NEVER won the SEC East. They last won the SEC outright… in 1950. No one is crowning Kentucky quite yet as the SEC West is, as usual, an altogether different animal but with a win in Athens, at night, on Saturday, Mark Stoops will have done the unthinkable, and that’s put his Kentucky Wildcat football program in the driver’s seat to represent the SEC East in their conference championship game. Georgia has won thirteen straight in this rivalry with the margins of victory slowly getting smaller. Okay, okay, we can step out of our fairy tale. I’m not suggesting Kentucky wins but they are good and know what’s at stake. They’ll be prepared. Plus, I love the hook here. I’m getting fourteen and the half point so I will take Kentucky and cross my fingers for chaos.
BCole’s Picks for the Week (Career 4-6, -$100)
($50) Sam Houston @ Liberty (Liberty covers the -21) Based on this being a home game for Liberty who has bludgeoned teams with their high scoring games (total of 179 points scored) all while SH has a combined total points scored in the last five games of 45, I believe Liberty will easily cover the -21.
($40) Maryland @ Ohio State (OSU doesn’t cover -20) MD and OSU are both currently undefeated, both beating their mutual opponent Indiana handily. While OSU is favored by Vegas to win by 20, I believe MD will put up a larger fight than anticipated, leaving OSU not covering the spread.
($30) Jets @ Denver (O/U 43.5, taking the under). The Jets offense is struggling to score while their defense is rather proficient and not allowing opponents to score either. That being said, Russell Wilson’s offense is not faring well against other defenses so I certainly believe this will be a low scoring game as a result of the Jets defense as well.
($20) Chiefs @ Vikings (O/U 52.5, taking the over) With the “Taylor Swift Effect” in full swing, I see the Chiefs continuing to have a decent scoring game. With Kirk Cousin’s back against the wall with the potential of a 1-4 losing season, I believe Mr. Gold Chains will put some points on the board all while asking the Swifties, “You like that?”
($10) Bengals @ Cardinals (O/U 44.5, taking the under) I am honestly not sure if it’s his calf injury, his ego, or he still is embarrassed by his Cincinnati Mayor’s “Burrowhead Stadium” comments regarding the Chiefs last post season, but whatever it is…the Joe Cool’s offense seems more frozen than anything. The Dobbs-led Cardinals’ offense is also struggling this season to put enough points on the board to win games, so I believe overall this will be a low scoring game.
KP’s Picks for the Week
$50: Jacksonville Jaguars vs Buffalo Bills (-5.5)
Hold onto your fish and chips, as the Jags get a second straight game in London. Perhaps the two- week time zone adjustment will benefit Jacksonville. Only, this time, there will be no Woody or Buzz Lightyear to save them. This week’s game is versus a Bills team that is chock-full of proverbial superheroes and a group that dismantled the explosive Dolphins last week. These Jags have been wildly consistent. Ten point road dub over the Colts followed by a 17-9 loss to the Chiefs. Then a 20-point blowout loss at home to Houston, followed by a 16-point win against the Falcons in London. What is consistent? It’s the Bills offense and Josh Allen ever since its Week 1 loss to the Jets. Add in Buffalo’s defense, with a league leading 16 sacks and the team’s +6 turnover margin and it’s “Cheerio, Jags”. Bills cover in London.
$40: New York Giants at Miami Dolphins (-12.5)
Miami fell back down to Earth in a big way last week. This week’s recovery is a home game against the hapless Giants. Considering where I’m going with this pick, the Bears taught me nothing on Thursday night (destroying the “Commander-skins”). No, I’m focusing my eyes (and mind) on season stats, where Miami leads the NFL in total offense (511.0 ypg). The Giants, meanwhile, are second to last (252.0 ypg). New York has just four sacks in four games, meaning plenty of time in the pocket for Tua. That’s more time for Tyreek to get open. No pressure against one of the league’s most potent offenses, well – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a SportsChump) to figure out what’s coming. Dolphins cover.
$30: Alabama Crimson Tide (-2.5) at Texas A&M Aggies
After its loss a few weeks ago to Texas, the world seems surprisingly quick to push aside Nick Saban and the Tide. Alabama has won 10 of its last 11 meetings in this series (dating back to 2013). Yes, A&M’s only win during that stretch was at home back in 2021, albeit by a slim 41-38 margin. Alabama’s pass defense ranks 23rd in yards allowed/game (194.2) and has more INT’s (6) than TD’s allowed (5). That defensive unit will be the toughest that A&M has had to face this season. Plain and simple, we aren’t used to seeing Saban-led Tide teams dropping two games with Halloween still weeks away – and I don’t see that happening this year either. Alabama covers on the road.
$20: Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-10)
It took time to commit to it, but I’m taking Detroit as a double-digit favorite. We know this team is for real, but that doesn’t make it easier to put it in writing. Defensively, both teams have been aggressive in the trenches, combining for 25 total sacks (Detroit has the edge with 13). What sets them apart is offensively, where the Lions are 8th in total offense. Featuring weapons in both the run game and passing game, Detroit is creative and explosive. The winless Panthers – while featuring a handful of crafty veterans – has scored just 67 points in four games. Rookie QB Bryce Young ranks 33rd in the NFL with an abysmal 24.7 QBR. That simply won’t get it done facing Dan Campbell. Lions cover at home.
$10: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-6) at Louisville Cardinals
The Irish came up golden for me last week, topping the pesky Blue Devils on the road. Another week, another road game against a ranked team. Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman (14 TD, 0 INT) has yet to throw an interception this season, and the Irish have added another dozen TD’s on the ground. Statistically, the Cardinals rank a respectable 56th in pass defense, allowing 218.2 ypg. Louisville has 5 INT with just 7 TD allowed through five games. However, let’s consider the opponents: Georgia Tech, Murray State, Indiana, Boston College, and N.C. State. That’s why I like an efficient Hartman and the Notre Dame offense to outlast the Cardinals, pulling away in the second half. Notre Dame covers on the road.