Last week the picks improved but still there are some things we handicappers need to ponder as the season progresses. I will mention a few and then we will go quickly on to this week’s early plays.
On Sept. 20 Indiana goes into Columbia and beats Missouri straight up as a 13.5 point dog. Last week they get crushed at home by Maryland, 37-15, while Missouri goes on the road and beats South Carolina in Columbia, 21-20, in an amazing comeback?
Utah on Sept. 20 was on the road at Ann Arbor playing in front of more than 100,000 fans and beat Michigan, albeit a not a very good Wolverines team, 26-10, but a win there by the Utes is huge. This past week Utah lost at home as a 13 point chalk vs. Washington State, 28-27.
On Sept. 13 Boston College beat USC, 37-31, when getting 17 points, then this past week after beating up on Maine, 40-10, they lost at home, 24-21, as a 7 point favorite to Colorado State while USC was crushing Oregon State, 35-10.
In the NFL, the Steelers were on the road at Carolina on Sept. 21 and crushed the Panthers, 37-19, when getting a field goal. Last week they were at home -7.5 vs. the lowly Buccaneers and lost straight up, 27-24! I could go on but I’m sure you get my drift.
SMU +36.5 at ECU: In most cases I will never get involved in this game laying 36.5 but do believe it could go as high as -40 and it should. The Mustangs from Dallas were +33 vs. Baylor to open their season and lost 45-0. They were +3 vs. North Texas in their second game and lost 43-6, and +33 in game 3 vs. Texas A&M, losing 58-6. Last week they were +32 vs. TCU and lost 56-0. The Pirates offense is powerful and they can name the score in this fiasco. EAST CAROLINA.
Pitt +4 at Virginia: The visiting Panthers have failed to cover their last three games, including last week’s devastating home loss to Akron, 21-10, as a 20 point favorite. After the Penn State game the Zips got crushed by Marshall at home, 48-17. Virginia has gone 5-0 ATS and with a little luck could have beat UCLA (lost 20-28) and BYU (lost 33-41). They look for revenge from last year’s 14-3 loss in Pittsburgh. VIRGINIA.
Stanford -1 at ND: Very strange that last week the Irish were sitting as a 11.5 point favorite, then late on Wednesday there was some news about the team’s suspensions, which had already taken place, and the number dropped to -9.5. The books rushed to lower the line as fear set in. The Irish won 31-15. And so it goes.
Stanford just did get by Washington last week, 20-13, in Stanford and the Irish have had this game marked on their calendar. Look for another low scoring game but the beads will be rattling in the stands with the “gipper” doing his thing in the shadows. NOTRE DAME/UNDER.
Texas A&M +1 at Miss St.: If the Bulldogs can go into Baton Rouge and beat LSU we believe they can win this game at home. They almost got the Aggies last year in one wild and crazy game at College Station, losing late, 51-41. A&M was very lucky to get by Arkansas last week in OT. After this game they play Mississippi and Alabama. Now that is a real deal schedule. MISS ST.
Cal +3.5 at Wash St.: We played the total on California last week and will come right back as they are giving up 45.2 PPG while averaging 47.5. OVER.
NC State +14.5 at Clemson: We just don’t think the Wolfpack are able to recover after last week’s super high energy game at home vs. Florida State. There will be a big letdown not to mention the physical punishment. CLEMSON.
Last week: 7-3-1
Cards +7.5 at Broncos: Both teams coming off bye weeks. The Cardinals come off a huge win vs. the 49ers, 23-14, while Denver was busy losing again to Seattle. The undefeated Cards, who are giving up an average of just 15 points per game, are getting +7.5. Come on man! Their wins have come against the Chargers, the Giants in New York and the 49ers. CARDS.
Don’t forget to play those 10 team parlays; you just may be walking around lucky and not even know it!
Last week: 1-0
Season record: 5-2
Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].