Back after another winning set in Week 11: 4-1, +3.9 units. Not a single one of the games was a sweat. UVA (+5.5 vs Pitt) was the most immediate blowout possible with Brennan Armstrong throwing pick-sixes on their first two plays, but it was a perfect 4-0 thereafter with OU-WVU going 25 points under the 68 total, Penn St (-10.5 vs MD) winning by 30, TCU (+7.5 at Texas) winning outright, and Utah (-24 vs Stanford) cruising 42-7. Repeat results on this penultimate regular season Saturday is in sights, with the possibility of teams looking ahead to rivalry finales looming over plenty of lines.
Bet 1: Illinois +17.5 (-110) at Michigan (11:00am CT Sat 11/19, ABC; all odds via PointsBet)
This is about half lookahead, and half Michigan being sure to play vanilla and not put anything on tape. It’s tough because Illinois has descended rapidly the last two weeks, but the defense is still a capable unit. Harbaugh has a delicate balancing act because while he’d like to push the envelope as far as developing some downfield threats between JJ and the receiving unit, but against a pass defense like Illinois, he can’t risk a really poor performance that diminishes his confidence ahead of OSU. Bielema has been around the block enough to know what his team is capable of, and avoiding a self-inflicted beatdown.
Bet 2: Washington State -4 (-110) at Arizona (1:00pm CT Sat 11/19, P12N)
Comedown spot for Arizona after the Jed Fisch era’s biggest win at UCLA last week. Meanwhile, Wazzu has won two in a row as the back half of their Pac-12 schedule is lightening up. Crucially, WSU has tightened up defensively holding their last 4 opponents all to 24 or less, and allowed a respectable 30 to USC before that. Don’t let De Laura get in a groove, you get the road win by a TD+.
Bet 3: Boston College +20.5 (-110) at Notre Dame (1:30pm CT Sat 11/19, NBC)
After hitting rock bottom in their double digit loss to UConn, BC’s offense has looked significantly better the last two weeks against Duke and NC St. New QB Emmett Morehead has momentum, and the Irish have been very sleepy at home against teams perceived to be inferior. Navy’s second half gives BC a blueprint on how to slow Drew Pyne and company down.
Bet 4: USC at UCLA over 76.5 (-110) (7:00pm CT Sat 11/19, Fox)
I think UCLA will win, but the +120 moneyline is nowhere near high enough to justify greater confidence than this becoming a shoutout. Even if you buy into the theory that the Travis Dye injury will materially effect USC, it would only push them into passing more and a slower moving clock with bigger chunks. This could be 28-all at the half. There won’t be some drastic misperception as was the case with TCU-Texas.
Best Bet (2 units): Purdue -17.5 (-110) vs Northwestern (11:00am CT Sat 11/12, FS1)
Northwestern has been consistently terrible the last two years. Absolutely no reason to believe that a team with their first B1G Championship Game appearance nearly within their grasp will have any problem rolling the Cats. Mockabee, Charlie Jones, Payne Durham, any of them could go off. It’s going to be boring, cold, and one-sided. Boilers take care of business, proceed to pray Iowa doesn’t beat Minnesota again to stand in their way to Indianapolis.
Last week: 4-1, +3.9. Season: 20-19-1, +4.04 units.