Dapper Dan Picks:
Week 8 Results: 4-6 (-2.17 units)
Season YTD: 44-28 (+14.91 units)
Wisconsin/Iowa under 37 (-105)
Auburn ML (-135)
UCF -11 (-105)
Texas Tech +19.5 (-105)
Penn State +18.5 (-105)
North Carolina +3.5 (-107)
UVA/BYU Over 64.5 (-105)
Wisconsin/Iowa under 37 (-105) Risking 1.05 units to win 1 units
Show me down to Squaresville where all the squares live because I’m making this square play, ALL DAY!. Oddly enough this matchup has gone OVER in 3 of the last 4 seasons with very low totals set but there’s a CLEAR CUT advantage to both defenses in this matchup that makes a write-up a piece of cake for this play. First - at the line of scrimmage, where Wiscy still reigns #1 in line yards, #1 in standard downs, #2 in passing down, #1 in opportunity rate, #2 in stuff ranking and #17 in sack rate. Unlike years past - Iowa has no run game this season, ranking #110th in yards per rush at 3.1 with line yard ranks even worse at #121, #128th in stuff ranking, and 100th in sack ranking. Whisky has no QB and they are well aware of that fact so they run the ball 65% of the time, but they will be running into the teeth of this defense as they rank #8th in yards per rush allowed, and 13th in PFF run defense. Iowa’s defensive secondary is ranked #2 in PFF and are ranked #2 in passes defended per game and they’re not about to give a bunch of yards in the air against a Wiscy offense who has struggled to protect their QB (Ranking 108th in PFF) and led by Graham Mertz who is ranked #133rd in QBs PFF passer and overall rating. Both teams tackle very well and rank in the top 5 of long scrimmage plays over 20+ yards allowed. Both offenses have been terrible at producing long scrimmage plays with Iowa ranking #110 in over 20+ yards and Wisconsin ranking #127th. Both teams will chew clock and be very conserative as both coaches know each other’s weaknesses well and both will look to not be the team that makes the mistake that makes the difference in what should be a close game. Stick with under and watch defenses reign.
Auburn ML (-135) Risking 1.35 units to win 1 units
As much as I love Ole Miss, I think this is a great spot for Auburn to win at home. Ole Miss's biggest defensive weakness has been stopping the run - especially on 1st downs (allowing opponents to average 4.91 yards per carry on 1st downs alone!) - ranking 115th in line yards allowed on standard downs. This is where Auburn excels, averaging 6.48 yards per carry on first downs! Tank Bigsby should have a huge day on the ground as their entire offensive line outranks Ole Miss’s defensive line by an average of 41 ranks across all categories. Auburn also has an advantage on the defensive line as they are one of the best in the league and outranking Ole Miss’s offensive line by an average of 25 ranks across all categories. PFF shows advantages on both sides of the ball as well and Auburn with the much stronger defense - ranking 14th overall. Ole Miss’s defense played well last week, but they struggle against up-tempo offenses with coverage and packages and Auburn is very capable of running a fast up-tempo speed and will most likely be doing the same, knowing that’s how Arkansas put up 51 against them a few weeks ago with a fast pace. Auburn is the much more disciplined team as Ole Miss ranks #126th in penalties per play, and Auburn is 23rd. Auburn has an edge in special teams as they’ve been solid ranking 5th overall in PFF and Ole Miss ranking 43rd. In tackling, and every defensive category Auburn has the advantage and you know I always prefer to bet the better defense so let’s go Tigers……!!!!
UCF -11 (-105) Risking 1.05 units to win 1 units
It’s been 6 weeks since starting Knight QB Gabriel got injured, fracturing his collarbone. Malzahn has hinted at his return and most collarbone fractures take 6-8 weeks, but I don’t think UCF will risk it, or will need to in this matchup as they should dominate this game regardless. Leading rusher BOWSER has been battling injury and returned two weeks ago but hasn’t produced huge numbers yet - expect him to feast on this Temple run defense that has given up 5.2 yards per carry (ranked 114th) and is outranked by 60 ranks across all line categories vs the UCF offensive line. Despite losing their starting QB, Gus’s run first offense has been explosive, ranking 19th in yards per carry averaging 5.3. According to PFF, Temple’s secondary is even worse and is ranked 100th in coverage, and 96th in tackling. All this with a much weaker SOS rank as Temple ranks 102nd and UCF 72nd. Sagarin Ranks show a huge ranking mismatch too as UCF ranks 59th and Temple ranks 139th rightfully so when you consider their offensive production - which Temple ranks 111th overall according to PFF. A few weeks back freshman D’wan Mathis took over the starting QB role which provided a little spark to the Temple offense, but don’t think it will make much of a difference when you factor in their other positional struggles as Temples receiving ranks 104th and run game ranks 114th - only averaging 3.7 yards per carry (ranking 90th) . Temple also recently lost it’s two top leading tacklers (both safeties - and good indicator of a shit defense as safeties are making all your tackles). Tyler is definitely out and Griffin is questionable. Last year Temple covered the big 28 point spread on the road and I think oddsmakers over-adjusted this line this year as UCF should cover easily despite their 2-5 ATS record this season.
Texas Tech +19.5 (-105) Risking 1.05 units to win 1 units
Against FBS opponents this season, Oklahoma’s average margin of victory is 8.7 points (remove a 21 points win against TCU and the number drops to 6.6). This is simply not a defense that can win by more than 3 possessions, and the numbers show that would be very unlikely in this game. Despite Texas Tech firing head coach Matt Wells, Sonny Cumbie remains the offensive coordinator and play caller (and promoted to interim head coach) and this offense has been very productive against it’s weak BIG 12 opponents (like oklahoma!) FEI Shows this offense is in Top 15 in almost all categories - which outranks Oklahoma's weak defense by an average of 57 ranks across all FEI categories. Surprisingly - this is more-so than Oklahoma FEI outranksTexas Tech’s defense (by 1 rank - ha!) Oklahoma’s biggest weakness on defense is their secondary that ranks 94th according to PFF and 82nd in tackling. Texas Tech’s offense can be explosive and have averaged 4.8 yards per rush. They’ve had more explosive plays of 40+ yards than anyone in the league with 20 on the season and 3 of more than 70 yards. Their receivers have plenty of speed, rank out to 30th in PFF, and have averaged 9.2 yards per pass (ranking 11th in the nation). Texas Tech’s defense was gouged on the ground by Texas and TCU heavily skewing the numbers - but aside from those games they played very well against their inferior running opponents holding 5 of their 8 opponents to under 100 yards - including last week’s game against Kansas State. Texas Tech’s defense is more disciplined and their kicker has yet to miss a FG This season so let's take the points with the big road dog who’s been beat badly the last two seasons by the same team - so they may be a bit underestimated from their undefeated opponent.
Penn State +18.5 (-105) Risking 1.05 units to win 1 units
Who in the hell has this Ohio State team played to warrant this absurdly high line? Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers, Akron, Tulsa, Minnesota, Oregon? Oregon beat them and smashed them at the line of scrimmage averaging 7.1 yards per carry and only allowing Ohio State to run for 4.1 yards per carry. Penn State has beaten Auburn, Wisconsin, and only lost to Iowa because Clifford got hurt but since they lost two straight we’re going to make them 3 possession dogs? Even with their losses their defense remains one of the best, especially in the secondary where they rank 5th in PFF, 9th in total passes broken up and 9th in passes defended, 1st in yards per pass allowed - at 4.9, #15th in completion % allowed. Although their run defense struggles according to PFF, they have only given up 3.7 yards per carry on the season (ranking 37th). FEI has their defense in top 10 of almost all categories, and average ranking of 15th across all categories. I think this will be much closer than a 3 possession game by the numbers, especially if you consider the SOS mismatch. Ohio State has also been hit by the injury bug with 11 players recently listed as Questionable on their injury report. Most teams are susceptible to let-down spots and poor performances on any week, Penn State was due for one last week after a heartbreaking loss to Iowa, a bye week, and Ohio State on deck against a struggling Illinois team but they still should keep this one close and I love this pick, but will hold back to just 1 unit.
North Carolina +3.5 (-107) Risking 1.07 units to win 1 units
Last year, UNC lost big to Notre Dame and were dominated at the line of scrimmage only averaging 2.9 yards per carry, and Notre Dame averaging 5.53 yards per carry in their matchup - they also gave up 6 sacks. But this year it’s revenge time and the offensive/defensive line numbers show a mismatch in favor of UNC on both sides of the ball - by an average of 20 ranks across all categories. Notre Dame has only mustered up 3 yards per carry on the season! (ranking #119th). Both offensive lines have struggled in pass protection but UNC’s has shown improvement from the start of the season. I was surprised to see the FEI numbers show an edge to UNC’s defense (as they've been horrible) over Notre Dame’s and they were heavily skewed due to the fact that Notre Dame has really struggled in first down drive rate, and busted drive rate, ranking #103rd and 124th and that's where UNC’s defense is at it’s best, ranking 39th in first down drive rate and 19th in busted drive rate. Notre Dame also lost starting Safety and 2nd leading tackler on the team this year, Kyle Hamilton, so expect the big play UNC offense to test them early and often and look for the big plays they’ve been hitting all season, ranking 2nd in 30+ yard plays. This is a revenge game for Mack Brown and this Notre Dame team is not the same with their offense losing 4 year starter Ian Book nor is their defense since losing their defensive coordinator guru - Clark Lea. I bought this to 4 at my bookie and you should too but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tar Heels pull off the upset on the road against the 6-1 team who has had a pretty soft schedule to date. Tar Heels are also coming off a bye week and Notre Dame is coming off a double digit win against USC but a game where they were outgained in yards per play and had quite a few red zone stops to make the win appear larger than it really did - much like what happened against Wisconsin too.
BYU/UVA over 64.5 (-105) Risking 1.05 units to win 1 units
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the situational total trends for BOTH of these teams have gone under in 6 of 8 games they’ve played. My spreadsheet lights up GREEN in every category for both teams - indicating STRONG advantages for the offenses for both teams. Across all FEI stats, Virginia’s offense outranks BYU’s defense by 61 ranks. BYU’s offense outranks UVA’s (HORRIBLE) defense by 70 ranks. At the line of scrimmage same thing, with Virginia's offensive line outranking by 31 ranks on average across all categories and BYU’s offensive line by 40 ranks. PFF, equally mismatched, with positional offensive matchups outranking their defensive counterparts by an average of 40 ranks for UVA and an average of 85 ranks for BYU (85 ranks!). I’ve talked a lot about Brennan Armstrong and his receiving corps as I back UVA a lot, and there isn't a defense they can’t put up big numbers against if they are in sync. BYU’s Jaren Hall has shown improvement every week in PFF scales and currently ranks 16th overall - he has more weapons than Brennan as his receivers are ranked 6th overall according to PFF. Both defenses suck on 3rd downs and both offenses are great on 3rd down. Both team defenses give up a ton of big plays, and both offenses account for big plays. Yada yada yada. Easy game to fire away on the over especially with the nice situational trend in favor of the under for both teams forcing oddsmakers to put a lower number then expectations to balance the market.