Week 10 (5-6) -1.16 units
Season YTD: 43-40 (+1.46 units)
FSU +3 (-117)
Penn State -6.5 (-109)
Northwestern - 2 (-106)
Texas -7 (-108)
Wisconsin/Iowa Over 37.5 (-111)
Tennessee ML (+102)
FSU +3 (-117) Risking 1.17 units to win 1 units
This is a bit of a contrarian play as this FSU team is in shambles after getting blown out 27-10 to Miami and Boston College blowing out Syracuse 58-27. But the firing of Willi Taggart couldn’t come soon enough and hopefully the terrible coaching decisions like starting James Blackman over Alex Hornibrook will have all come to an end now that Taggart is gone. In steps Odell Haggins who the team will be motivated to play under considering Haggins has been a life-long DL coach at FSU since ‘94. In 2017, when Jimbo moved to Texas A&M, Haggins stepped in as interim head coach in that spot too and won the remaining two games of their season, 42-10 and 42-13. The matchups on both sides plays into the strength of this FSU team. For a while now this Boston College offense has relied on it’s rushing attack to lead it’s offense but FSU’s rushing defense may be the best thing about this team. They are only allowing 3.7 yards per carry on the season ranked 33rd. FSU’s biggest weakness on offense has been there offensive line who gave up 9 sacks last week and are ranked 114th in sacks % allowed. Fortunately for them, the defensive pass rush has been non-existent for Boston College this season as they are currently ranked 122nd in sack %. I think they pull off the upset here in a good spot where they are only 3-5-1 ATS and Boston College is currently 6-3 ATS on the season but FSU has had a stronger schedule ranking 35th in sagarin ratings while BC is only ranked 67th in SOS ratings.
Penn State -6.5 (-109) Risking 1.09 units to win 1 units
Think we win this one easily due to the soft schedule of Minnesota. A big sign of an overvalued team can be seen by looking at a teams FEI ranking compared to their Opponent Adjust FEI ranking - for Minnesota it’s one of the largest I have seen all season. Minnesota defense is ranked 13th in FEI but drastically falls to 115th in Opp. Adjusted FEI. Almost as drastic of a drop is on Minnesota’s other side of the ball as they are ranked 11th in FEI but 93rd in opponent adjusted. In contrast, Penn State, OAFEI are actually better on offense then their FEI - ranking 20th in FEI but bumping up to 3rd when you factor in their opponents. Although their defensive OA isn’t great all of the other stat categories in FEI are - including 1st in explosive drive rate allowed, 3rd in touchdown drive rate allowed, 20th in first down drive rate, and 18th in busted drive rate allowed. We’ve all heard about their front 7 that ranks 5th in line yards, 2nd in opportunity rank 2nd in stuff rating and 27th in sack rate. This will be the toughest test to date for Minnesota and they have struggled with pressure, ranking 107th in sack % allowed. Penn State’s offense should achieve short yardage when needed as Minnesota’s defensive line is one of the worst in the nation ranking 118th in power ranking and 110 in stuff ranking - a huge mismatch for the Lions who are ranked 33rd in power ranking and 36th in stuff ranking.We also have a huge advantage in special teams as Penn State's FEI is ranked 6th while Penn State’s is ranked 102nd. The eye test and the numbers agree, Penn State wins in blow-out fashion.
Northwestern - 2 (-106) Risking 1.06 units to win 1 units
Stubbornly betting again on this Northwestern team but I can’t help it. In last weeks’ matchup, I have never seen such a poorly officiated job. I only watched the first half but after seeing 4 pass interference called in the endzone, that clearly were not PI’s, two of them on 3rd downs - I had to turn the game off. The NW line moved like 3.5-4 pts before closing last week and that's always a good sign there is heavy money on one side and IF a fix was in - it would be to that type of game. But still regardless of the conspiracies (likely ones in some games) the numbers still show strong advantages in this game. Again, Northwestern has some of the best opponent adjusted stats as they’ve had THE hardest schedule in the league - ranked 1st in Sagarin. This Purdue team has more injuries I have ever seen on a roster and will be starting it’s 3rd string QB since backup Jack Plummer went down last week. Brohm’s offense requires strong QB play or it totally falls apart. It doesn't have many other tools to rely on as last year Blough made all the plays. Northwestern should shutdown the run with the much stronger front as Purdue ranks in the bottom 15% of almost all line categories. Northwestern’s offense has struggled at giving their QB time to throw but that shouldn't be an issue in this game as Purdue’s offense is ranked 101st in sack rating. Almost bet this one for two units but thought twice considering Northwestern is 2-6 ATS.
Texas -7 (-108) Risking 1.08 units to win 1 units
Although this Texas defense is banged up they should be rested after the bye and have some of their players back that have decimated this secondary. Herman is 3-1 ATS after bye since coming to Texas. The biggest mismatch will be at the line of scrimmage as Texas’s offensive line strongly outranks Kansas State’s defensive line with an average ranking of 102nd and ranks in the bottom 20% of all categories. Texas’s offensive line has been great ranking 17th in line yards, 8th in stuff ranking, and 23rd in opportunity rank. They should be able to run for 4-5 yards at will opening up their explosive passing offense that is ranked 42nd in explosive drive rate which should lead to some big plays against this Kansas State defense that is ranked 77th in explosive drive rates allowed. The joe public will see the Kansas State name as such a big dog in this situation has been situationally a great angle in the last few years - but unlike the last 3 decades, coaching mastermind Bill Snyder has retired. In stepped Chris Kleiman who has been impressive to date but should surely regress as his antics that raised him to the elite level of FCS football shouldn't fare well at this level. I also like how the majority of consensus sites I have seen (not affiliated with my enemy - the bookies) show a larger consensus on Kansas State but the line is moving in their favor. I think Texas wins this one handedly as their defense finally shows some life and “upsets” the team with the better record.
Wisconsin/Iowa Over 37.5 (-111) Risking 1.11 units to win 1 units
Despite these two teams being defensive powerhouses, I love this over play. First off we are getting an extremely low number considering that both of these teams have yet to have a game go over the total in their last 5 games. But the last two times these teams have faced off the last two years the game went over the total as it seems these coaches are very familiar with each other. Both teams QBs are well experienced and have faced many tough defenses before in this BIG 10 conference. The biggest reason to take this game is when you look at each teams opponents adjust defensive stats. Although Iowa is ranked 4th in defensive FEI and Wisconsin 5th in defensive FEI - when you account for their opponents their rankings drop significantly - Iowa drops to 78th and Wisconsin drops to 83rd. Neither team has faced tough offense yet and the game that they did they gave up a lot of points. Neither team turns the ball over much and I expect lots of long methodical slow drives but ones that result in TD’s and this game should end in 24-21 type fashion.
Tennessee ML (+102) Risking 1 unit to win 1.02 units
I love this play as Tennessee after losing and not covering in it’s 4 games against FBS opponents have turned it around and covered in the last 4 games by an average margin of 15 points. Kentucky is coming off a bye and a huge upset win over Missouri but the pouring rain conditions in that game largely favored Kentucky since Missouri is a passing team and Kentucky has a 3rd string converted WR playing QB now. They ran all over Missouri and Missouri had no deep threat. Last year in Jeremy Pruitt’s first year at Tennessee they smashed Mark Stoops and the Wildcats 24-7 when Kentucky had a much better team. Pruitt, a defensive coaching mastermind will surely draw up a strategy to defend against the team that can’t throw the ball deep due to its limitations at QB. The FEI numbers agree as Tennessee has had a much stronger schedule and opponent adjusted numbers are much better than their actual numbers ranking as high as 4th on defense thanks to their SOS. Tennessee although they’ve struggled to run the ball in the past - things should change against Kentucky who is giving up 5.1 yards per carry ranking 102 in the nation.. Kentucky runs the ball almost 60% of the time since they lost two QBs and converted Lynn Bowden Jr to QB but that’s the strength of this Tennessee team who allows 3.8 yards per carry. This should be a close, low scoring game and we also have a strong advantage at kicking as Tennessee's kicker has been hitting 90% of his FG’s while Kentucky's kicker has only been hitting 55%.