Back after a 3-2 Week 4 managed to be a net loss (-0.36) thanks to a complete dud in USC as a heavily juiced best bet. They were closer to an embarrassing outright loss in Tempe than a cover (Oklahoma, FAU, Iowa St winners; SMU ML other loser). Week 5 doesn’t have the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” feel of last week’s OSU-ND, Oregon St-Wazzu, Northwestern-Minnesota, Indiana-Akron string of finishes, but winners abound throughout the day. Cincinnati has my attention late Friday night in essentially a pick’em at BYU, but I’ll stick to Saturday for official picks (chronological, best bet aside).
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Bet 1: Penn St -26.5 at Northwestern (11:00am CT Sat 9/30, BTN; all odds via FanDuel)
My Wildcats don’t tend to follow up big wins well, even when they’re good. So far they’re better than expected thanks to last week’s dramatic comeback, but PSU’s defense is too formidable to expect this to stay within 4 TD’s. NU will be able to start the rest of their schedule with a win versus FCS Howard next week, but backing up the emotional win against one of the country’s best teams is too unlikely to pass up the Nittany Lions.
Bet 2: Florida -105 moneyline at Kentucky (11:00am CT Sat 9/30, ESPN)
Guilty as charged of being unimpressed by Kentucky’s 4-0 start against putrid competition. I guess they kinda looked good early on at Vandy last week, but wins over Ball St, Akron and Western Kentucky mean nothing. And the last of that bunch, who lost to Cincinnati by 53, made it a game. Devin Leary has thrown a pick in every game. On the other side, UF scored just one TD in an ugly 22-7 home win over Charlotte last week, but the game between Tennessee and Kentucky was a predictable lull. The defense that took down Tennessee remained stout and should handle the UK offense.
Bet 3: Virginia +146 moneyline at Boston College (1:00pm CT Sat 9/30, CW)
My first bet on a CW televised game! This could easily blow up in my face, but I think UVA picks up their first win of the season on the road Saturday. They suffered close losses at home to James Madison and NCST, but the Maryland game was much closer than the final score. BC, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as good as their Red Bandana Game scare of FSU would lead you to believe. Louisville put 42 on the Eagles in the first half alone last week. When mediocre-at-best teams like Boston College are expected to win (ie. the opposite of the FSU game), that is when they tend to perform at their worst.
Bet 4: Iowa -12.5 (-105) vs Michigan State (6:30pm CT Sat 9/30, NBC)
Winless Virginia outright, and now Brian Ferentz’s offense laying nearly 2 TD’s. I might be too emboldened by Iowa St’s perverse cover, but these are the right sides. MSU is a zombie program at the moment. Getting blown out by Washington was excusable, but there wasn’t the necessary showing of life at home versus Maryland to believe they’ll handle the Phil Parker defense. Five turnovers at home cycling through three QB’s in the process isn’t a good precursor for keeping it close at Kinnick. Something like 24-3 should suffice.
Best Bet (2 units): Georgia Southern -6.5 (-110) vs Coastal Carolina (6:00pm CT Sat 9/30, NFLN)
I’m back on the Davis Brin, Clay Helton train after a week off. The Wisconsin loss was just a day from hell with so many turnovers while driving on UW. They got right in a thorough road domination of Ball St, and now return home to take on Grayson McCall without the aid of Jamey Chadwell’s offense. GSU’s defense is going to step up in this one, creating more of the problems that plagued Coastal in their home loss to Georgia St last Thursday. It’s just too unlikely that GSU doesn’t bring it in their Sun Belt opener (divisional game too) in a year they have every reason to believe they can challenge for the conference title.
Week 4: 3-2, -0.36 units; Season: 13-10, +0.96 units. Good luck!