One of the unfortunate parts about living on the far East Coast is that when Oregon State decides to upset USC as a 25-point underdog on a Thursday night, you end up staying up until nearly 2 a.m. to watch it all happen.
What I’m trying to say is, I’m too darn tired to write a respectable introduction to my picks this week. Which works out well for many of you because you usually skip this part anyway.
Fortunately, I wrote my picks Thursday evening and those are a little more in-depth.
Let’s see if we can keep the wins rolling in. I’m 8-3-1 after a 2-2 performance last week. This week, I’m making a bonus fifth pick because we just have to bet on the Nevada-UNLV game, don’t we?
Purdue vs. Notre Dame (-1 ½, 46)
Rough week for the Domers.
They get hammered by Michigan State. A computer left in the coaches booth sparked Laptop Gate. A couple of players got arrested. And Charlie Wies officially learned he will never play football again following his knee injury suffered against Michigan.
Until now, I have refrained from talking about Notre Dame in this column but this is just too much to ignore. I mostly avoided the Irish because I wasn’t sure just how badly they sucked until they met Sparty.
That was obviously enough to convince many of you too because this line opened at -3 this week and has been bet down to as low as -1 at some books.
If the Boilers weren’t coming off a heartbreaker against Oregon, I’d say lay the rent on them. But I think a touch of a hangover from last week will keep this game close in a Purdue victory.
North Carolina vs. Miami (-7 ½, 45)
I dunno about you, but anybody named “Paulus” who starts in the Tobacco Road area makes me nervous.
You’ve likely heard by now that Mike Paulus is starting for the Heels in place of T.J. Yates, who broke his ankle in last week’s game. And like his older brother Greg – starting point guard for Duke – Mike isn’t so great at decision making.
He tossed two costly picks last week in the 20-17 loss to Virginia Tech and you can expect more growing pains against a tenacious Miami defense this week.
Alabama vs. Georgia (-7, 44 ½)
Hedge or no hedge, this is too many points.
I mistakenly faded the Tide last week against Arkansas and got some egg on my face for doing it. I had forgotten how much I like John Parker Wilson as a do-what-it-takes quarterback, who will never have glamorous stats but will help you win games.
On the other side, I reminded you last week of how I feel about Matt Stafford. Unlike Wilson, his stats hide his flaws. He can’t be gaining much confidence when his receivers are about as dependable as a Kevin Garnett condom, either.
This game is going to get nasty and I have a hunch that when the dust settles, we’re going to see a bunch of bettors gobbling up Bama as a 20-1 longshot to win the BCS. Those are tempting odds for this overlooked squad.
On a side note, this is the first time I’ve ever realized the double entendre with the word “hedge” when talking about betting on a Georgia game.
I gotta start wearing a helmet when I play contact sports.
Illinois vs. Penn State (-16, 56)
This line opened at -15 earlier this week and bettors have lifted it to as high as -17 at some sportsbooks. I think they’re on the right track.
I’ll be surprised if the Illini can hang with the Nits in Happyland on Saturday. Illinois coach Ron Zook has talked about having trouble motivating his players this season and it was painfully apparent after scraping out a 3-point win last week over La. Lafayette.
Penn State, meanwhile, is out to kill this year. The Lions have their usual scary defense but it looks like they finally have a quarterback too. The versatile Daryll Clark has seven passing TDs, two rushing, and just one interception. He also just looks more confident in the pocket than the last couple of PSU QBs have been and he has this offense averaging a ridonkulous 52.8 points per game.
Pick: Penn State
Nevada vs. UNLV (-4, 56 ½)
We never leave out the Bet Bowl in Four-play , a game that should be dear to all our hearts in the blessed state of Nevada.
The Rebs are coming off a pair of emotional overtime victories and that has to make you a little wary coming into Saturday’s game. But UNLV has lost the last three meetings against Nevada and it won’t have any trouble digging deep for this one.