I’ve often told people that if I were any good at picking games, especially against the spread, I would have chosen another profession. As my old buddy Wes Durham says: “There is a reason them boys in Vegas live in big houses and drive nice cars. They know stuff.”
Well, with the knowledge that betting on college sports may soon be legal From Sea to Shining Sea, I’m going to have to buckle down and study this stuff. So each week, with the assistance of my fellow Media Guides, I will wade into these uncharted waters without a life jacket. Now I am pretty decent at picking winners and losers straight up. But you factor in the point spread—which means a team can win even though they actually LOSE—and my very limited knowledge of math tends to kick in.
We’ll keep a weekly tally and, compared to my brethren on this site, my success rate won’t be impressive. Any advice would be more than appreciated.
And here we go:
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The game: LSU vs. Miami (minus-3.5) (Arlington, Tex.) 7:30 p.m. Sunday, ABC
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami 24, LSU 17
The Skinny: Joe Burrow, the transfer from Ohio State, makes his first start for LSU against the Hurricanes, who are favored to repeat as champions of the ACC’s Coastal Division. Burrow will find himself under a good deal of duress during the game. LSU coach Ed Orgeron will find himself under duress after the game, especially with a road trip to No. 9 Auburn coming up in two weeks.
The game: Tennessee vs. West Virginia (minus-10) (Charlotte, N.C.), 3:30 p.m., CBS
The Pick: Tennessee
The score: West Virginia 35, Tennessee 30.
The skinny: Tennessee, in its first game under new head coach Jeremy Pruitt, can win this game outright if the Volunteers can hold Will Grier and the high flying West Virginia offense under 30 points. That’s pretty iffy. Tennessee is going old school under Pruitt and will try to run the ball, shorten the game and keep the score in the 20s. West Virginia wins but they don’t cover.
The game: Auburn (minus-2) vs. Washington (Atlanta). 3:30 p.m., ABC
The Pick: Auburn
The score: Auburn 24, Washington 17
The skinny: As good as Washington is, the Huskies will not be able to block the monster front four of the Auburn defense. Look for the Tigers to be living in the Washington backfield all day long and to make quarterback Jake Browning most uncomfortable. Auburn easily covers the two points.
The game: Alabama (minus-24) vs. Louisville (Orlando), 8 p.m, CBS
The Pick: Alabama
The score: Alabama 42, Louisville17.
The skinny: Assuming Tua Tagovailoa gets the start, this is going to be one of the most potent offenses that Nick Saban has ever had at Alabama. Bobby Petrino knows the passing game, but he doesn’t have Lamar Jackson pulling the trigger any more. Petrino does have a skilled new quarterback in Jawon “Puma” Pass, who turned down a scholarship offer from Alabama to sign with Louisville. Maybe that’s why the line in this game has dropped from 28 to 24.
The game: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech (minus-2.5) (Houston), Noon, ESPN
The Pick: Ole Miss
The score: Ole Miss 42, Texas Tech 35
The skinny: The over/under in this game is 67 and brother, you better take the over. Neither one of these teams can play a lick of defense. Ole Miss has two of the best wide receivers in all of college football in A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. They are matchup nightmares. First team to 50 wins.
The game: Michigan at Notre Dame (minus 1.5), 7:30 p.m., NBC
The Pick: Michigan
The score: Michigan 20, Notre Dame 17
The skinny: The Wolverines will again field one of the nation’s best defenses. Now Michigan has a proven quarterback in Shea Patterson, the transfer from Ole Miss. If Jim Harbaugh knows how to use Patterson, then the Wolverines will march into Notre Dame Stadium and come out with the win. I’ve got the Wolverines, a slight road dog, winning straight up. Coach Khaki Pants is due.
THE DOUBLE PLANTINUM, TAKE-OUT-TWO-MORTAGES ON THE HOUSE, DEAD-SOLID-PERFECT LOCK OF THE WEEK
The game: Oregon State at Ohio State (minus 38.5), Noon ABC.
The score: Ohio State 52, Oregon State 6.
The skinny: Urban Meyer won’t be there. In case you had not heard, he’s been suspended for the first three games. Meyer and the school have been getting hammered (and deservedly so) for weeks. The players are frustrated and have to take it out on somebody. So they welcome their friends from Corvallis, Oregon, who went 1-11 a year ago.
As one of my old coaches told me after a difficult loss, “Tony, somebody is gonna have to pay.”
For Ohio State, that would be Beavers. Lay the 38.5 because the Buckeyes will show no mercy