With the Non-Conference season still in full swing, it gives us ten more games to bet on. That’s both a blessing and a curse as it gives us ten chances to get back to .500, but also 30 and 40 point spreads. It’ll be nice to get to a full slate of conference games that are a little less of a crap shoot to cap.
The only thing I hate more than big spreads, is big spreads featuring my team. I’m loathe to taking the favorite in games like this since the value is generally on the dog, no matter how bad they are. So, I’m going to avoid it and look at the total. The number has plummeted since the line first came. After opening at 52, the total is all the way down at 46.5. That’s some serious movement. But it also implies a final score of 37-10. ODU’s defense isn’t good. It was remarkable that they held VaTech to 31 points. They won’t have the same luck against Virginia and as much as I like the Virginia defense, giving up 10-13 points is definitely in the cards.
Pick: Over 46.5
Boston College, what are you doing? After rising up in the ACC Power Rankings, they laid an egg at home to, wait for it, Kansas. Now they travel to face Rutgers who hasn’t played since getting pasted by Iowa 30-0. I’m going to chalk up last Friday night’s effort as an anomaly and pick the Eagles to bounce back.
Pick: Boston College -8
It’s probably not a good sign when a September game against a MAC team could define your season, yet here we are with Syracuse. After back to back drubbings (one expected, one not) the Orange really need a win to keep things on track. Western Michigan is coming off an impressive 57-10 win over Georgia State (who had beaten Tennessee just two weeks earlier). Through the season, we’ve yet to see the Orange offense under Tommy DeVito. I think that changes this week and Syracuse comes away with the win. We’re also getting some value as this line was around 6 earlier in the week.
Pick: Syracuse -4.5
Elon Phoenix @ Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest -27.5; Over/Under 58.5
There’s one caveat to my loathing of big spreads and that’s a big spread for a quality FCS team facing an FBS team coming off a big win. Wake Forest made their statement for being the top team in North Carolina last week with their win over the Tar Heels. Now they face a good Elon team in a Noon game. I like the Demon Deacons, but I don’t see them being up to cover the four TDs.
Pick: Elon +27.5
While I try to utilize numbers and data as much as I can, often times I like to bet based on feel (perhaps that’s not a good idea based on my record). This game is a battle of competing narratives. Florida State showed me the team I thought they could be last week in Charlottesville, and if they play like that, they’ll do just fine in the Atlantic. After watching them in week one, I became a believer in Louisville and have been betting them (with much success) ever since. Something has to give, so I’ll go with talent. Even though they acquitted themselves admirably three weeks ago, Louisville still lost to Notre Dame by just under 20 points. Florida State’s talent will be just a little too much.
Pick: Florida State -6.5
Triangle area Twitter has been a lot of fun this week with North Carolina puffing their chests with arrogance as they welcome little brother to Chapel Hill. I’ve seen enough Virginia/VaTech games to know that when one team, one fan base, one school literally wants it more, any kind of talent discrepancy can be overcome. The funny thing is, there might not be that big a talent discrepancy between these two teams. Appalachian State will be up for this and with Clemson on deck, I’m not sure you can say the same for the Tar Heels.
Pick: Appalachian State +2.5
While Pitt will want to slow this game and try to ground and pound, Central Florida won’t let them. If the Knights get up, the Panthers will be forced to throw, and I like them to actually have success doing so. On the year, UCF hasn’t scored less than 45 points and when they played a team with an offensive pulse, they gave up 27 (to Stanford). Look for these teams to light up the scoreboard in an up-tempo game.
Pick: Over 61.5
If Wisconsin “only” beats Central Michigan by 40 instead of 61, this spread isn’t approaching 30 points. I got burned by Miami against Bethune-Cookman last week, but am going to back to the well and fading the Hurricanes with a large spread. The Chippewas bounced back nicely a week ago from their loss to the Badgers and destroyed Akron 45-24. They won’t come close to scoring half that against the Hurricanes defense, but I still like them to keep the loss under 30.
Pick: Central Michigan +30
What are you doing N.C. State? West Virginia is not good and they punked you. This week they return home to Carter-Finley and welcome the Ball State Cardinals to Raleigh. Ball State comes in 1-2 with a win over Fordham and losses to Indiana and Florida Atlantic. In all their games though, they put up points. N.C. State can score too, and this total just looks a little too low.
Pick: Over 58.5
Charlotte 49ers @ Clemson Tigers
Clemson -41.5; Over/Under 62
I wish this line were one point higher. Getting this over six touchdowns would be really nice. Alas, even if it doesn’t go up over 42, I still like the 41.5. With UNC on the horizon, I don’t think the Tigers keep the pedal on the floor, but even so, Charlotte is no pushover. The 49ers can put up points scoring over 41 points in each of this first three games. They won’t score 40 against Clemson, but even if they only score 20, it will be hard for the Tigers to cover 42.
Pick: Charlotte +41.5