Full on contrarian was an improvement from Week 7’s 0-for, but still sub-.500. 2-3, -2.2; could’ve been better if I just took the points with Wazzu instead of a long shot moneyline (OSU, NU wins, Tenn, IU other losses). This is the last Saturday with a noticeable amount of teams on byes, so the menu will be completely full once the calendar flips to November. The last trimmed down slate has a few big games, but nothing on the level of OSU-PSU, which played out exactly as predicted. Going to try and stay contrarian, just dial it down from +760 ML’s, and making the B1G’s, and maybe P5’s, worst team the best bet. (chronological, best bet aside)
Bet 1: Florida St -20.5 (-115) at Wake Forest (11:00am CT Sat 10/28, ABC; all odds via FanDuel)
This bet blew up in my face when I laid 20+ with Clemson against Wake 3 weeks ago, but I haven’t learned my lesson. FSU struggled mightily in the early road kick at Boston College, but it was really more of a case of losing focus after building a lead. The takeaway wasn’t that they’re incapable of rolling an inferior ACC opponent on the road. Johnny Wilson’s questionable status might even sharpen the Noles mentally as they know guys will need to step up. Wake is coming off their first ACC win in dramatic fashion with the game winning TD over Pitt in the last 10 seconds. FSU should come in fired up having lost the last three straight in this series during the Sam Hartman era.
Bet 2: Northwestern +14 vs Maryland (11:00am CT Sat 10/28, BTN)
The Cats are playing very hard under interim coach David Braun. The defense is vastly improved, holding Nebraska under 250 total yards on the road. The secondary is the defenses strength, which should help them stay in touch. The only way Maryland covers a spread like this on the road, is a large turnover margin in their advantage (see MSU game). NU backup Brendan Sullivan will be starting his third straight, and has done a good job protecting the ball (only INT on a hail mary to end the first half) in his first two, despite being under constant pressure. With PSU at home on deck for the Terps, just get out of Evanston with a win as healthy as possible.
Bet 3: Duke +6.5 (-115) at Louisville (2:30pm CT Sat 10/28, ESPN)
Duke was much better than the final score in Tallahassee indicates, and that was with Riley Leonhard only playing briefly, and something like 30% strength. Cardinal fans got a taste of Jeff Brohm in the role of Top 25 favorite at Pitt, and the results didn’t surprise B1G fans. Elko has the defense playing too well to not take the points. Look for Duke to bog the game down, keep them game in the teens, as they were able to do through three quarters in the most hostile of atmosphere’s last week.
Bet 4: Auburn -6.5 (-110) vs Mississippi St (2:30pm CT Sat 10/28, SECN)
Chalk this one up to the power of Jordan-Hare. Hugh Freeze is still looking for his first conference win with the Tigers, and MSU, with all indications that Will Rogers will be out again, should provide it. Auburn has started SEC play 0-4, but upon examination, losing at Texas A&M and LSU, and at home to UGA and Ole Miss in one score games, doesn’t stomp out any promise for this team in 2023. Saturday is the start of a 4-game stretch (at Vandy, at Ark, vs New Mexico St) leading into the Iron Bowl which presents a very real opportunity to enter their rivalry game with momentum. MSU picked up a 19th centuryesque 7-3 road win at Arkansas a week ago, getting another team to play that bad at home right away would defy physics.
Best Bet (2 units): Georgia -14.5 (-105) vs Florida (2:30pm CT Sat 10/28, CBS)
Georgia has just been too terrible ATS to not think things will start evening out after the bye. I don’t know how much the Brock Bowers injury effects the spread, probably 3-3.5, but I don’t see the Gators being able to last close to 12 rounds vs a team as good as UGA away from Gainesville. The week one loss at Utah doesn’t look as bad given the Utes’ play since, but they were totally blown out in Lexington, and South Carolina had them on the ropes. The Dawgs’ schedule was too light, and Kirby Smart to focused, to not come out of the bye sharp in a rivalry game.
Week 8: 2-3, -2.2 units; Season: 19-24, -10.34 units. Good luck!