The Clemson/Nebraska game lived up to its billing and Boston College may be pretty good this season. The conferences started the Challenge with one win apiece, but here at Streaking the Lawn, we’re 2-0. Tuesday gives us six games of goodness, so let’s keep the heater going (and by heater I mean after these six games 6-7 is legitimately in play).
Virginia Tech @ Penn State
KP: Virginia Tech +1, O/U 139
Vegas: Virginia Tech -2.5, O/U 139
Tuesday kicks off with a battle of strengths with Virginia Tech coming in ranked seventh in offensive efficiency and Penn State coming in ranked tenth in defensive efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy. I knew Virginia Tech would be good, but I’ve been impressed up until this point. One of the keys to their offensive efficiency and the reason why I think the Hokies are the play, even on the road, is their turnover percentage. The Hokies are turning over their opponents at a 28.2% clip, good for second in the country. Penn State on the other hand ranks 142nd in turnover percentage against. Those extra possessions, even against a stingy Nittany Lions defense will be the difference...
Not so fast. This line has moved up 1.5 points in the early betting. If this gets to Penn State 3.5, I do like the home team. But for now, though it pains me, it’s still the Hokies.
Pick: Virginia Tech -2.5
Illinois @ Notre Dame
KP: Notre Dame -7, O/U 146
Vegas: Notre Dame -6, O/U 148
This is a very irrational call and not really based on any evidence, but I don’t love this Notre Dame team. With a loss to Radford already on the record, I’m not sure they’ve moved on from Bonzi Colson and Matt Ferrell. Illinois meanwhile sits at 2-4 but those losses were against Georgetown, Gonzaga, Iowa State, and Xavier. I wish we were getting a few more points based off reputation and record, but either way I still like the Illini.
Pick: Illinois +6
Michigan State @ Louisville
KP: Louisville +5, O/U 155
Vegas: Louisville +5, O/U 153.5
As I talked about last week ahead of their game with Tennessee, Louisville is playing a bunch of dudes none of us have ever heard of and it showed with the Cardinals going oh-fer in Brooklyn falling to the Volunteers and Marquette. That’s not necessarily a knock, just a fact that makes the Cardinals tough to back. In comes Michigan State off their tourney victory in Las Vegas, Louisville’s third test in a tough four game stretch (Tennessee, Marquette, Michigan State, and Seton Hall). 1-3 in that stretch would be fantastic for the Cardinals, but it doesn’t start Tuesday
Pick: Michigan State -5
Pittsburgh @ Iowa
KP: Pittsburgh +12, O/U 150
Vegas: Pittsburgh +13, O/U 154
I was impressed with Iowa’s performance in Madison Square Garden in the 2K Classic, in particular their win over Oregon. I also like Pittsburgh, but in a “not to finish last in the ACC” kind of way. However, none of that makes me think these teams can go over 154 points. For the most part I’ve been skeptical of totals over 150 in the early season and this is one of them. Pitt plays to 69 possessions, and while Iowa plays to 73, I can’t see Pitt scoring their implied 70 points meaning Iowa will have to go well over 84, something I don’t think they’ll need to do.
Pick: Under 154
North Carolina State @ Wisconsin
KP: North Carolina State +8, O/U 144
Vegas: North Carolina State +8, O/U 142
I don’t think it’s any secret that Wisconsin is going to grind this game to a halt. When Ken Pomeroy projects 68 possessions in a game between one team that plays to 73.2 possession (NC State), you know which team is going to dictate the place. However it’s actually NC State that I think will be the key to this game being played at a slower pace. While they like to go on offense, they’re actually pretty slow on defense ranking 302nd in average possession length on defense. That pace will be just fine with Wisconsin.
Pick: Under 142
Indiana @ Duke
KP: Duke -11, O/U 153
Vegas: Duke -15, O/U 158.5
Indiana is headed in the right direction under Archie Miller and have a nice win under their belt over Marquette. But this is a whole different ball game. Duke is obviously not invincible, but Indiana doesn’t strike me as the type of team that can frustrate the Blue Devils and give them problems. Duke will be ready in this one, back at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils roll.
Pick: Duke -15
Season Total: ATS (4-0), O/U (2-1), Total (6-1)