Last Week: Another week in college football, another split at the betting window. Purdue cashed as a 13-point home dog by beating Ohio State outright and Nevada also upended Hawaii as a 3-point dog. My misses were Mississippi State +5.5 at LSU and Oregon +3 at Washington State. Neither was competitive.
My season record in college football now stands at 15-19 (44%) so if you’re not fading me, you’re not trying.
Here are my picks for Week 9…
187 Purdue Boilermakers at 188 Michigan State Spartans, 11:00 a.m. CT
This could very well be a trap game with Purdue coming off a shocking upset of Ohio State and Michigan State losing at home to “big brother” Michigan. That said, this Spartans team just isn’t any good. The only reason they scored last week was because it started raining and Michigan fumbled deep in its own territory. They had one weapon for QB Brian Lewerke to throw to outside the numbers and that was Felton Davis III, who is now out for the season after suffering an Achilles injury last week.
On the other side of the ball, MSU’s run defense ranks fourth in the nation but Sparty can be had through the air (275.7 passing yards allowed per game, 118th). As everyone saw a week ago, Purdue’s strength is its passing game. The combination of David Blough and Rondale Moore has been unstoppable at times.
After earning a signature victory over the Buckeyes last week, could the Boilermakers suffer a letdown on Saturday in East Lansing? Perhaps, but it’s more likely that after starting the season 0-3, this Purdue team is ascending and last week’s win over OSU was just the beginning.
Prediction: Purdue +1
168 Florida Gators vs. 167 Georgia Bulldogs, 2:30 p.m. CT
There appears to be differing thoughts when it comes to Georgia. Either you believe the Bulldogs used their bye last week to fix problems that arose in the loss to LSU or you think UGA simply isn’t as good as it was last season when it ran into ‘Bama in the national championship game.
I fall into the latter category. Georgia has been tested one time this year: Two weeks ago in Baton Rouge. The Dawgs got rolled by LSU. The loss of stud middle linebacker Roquan Smith is a bigger deal than I thought it would be coming into the season. Sure, the Dawgs still have athletes on that side of the ball but their run defense has been vulnerable this season.
Dan Mullen was known for getting the most out of his talent in Starkville and we’re seeing that again in Gainesville. There was more talent at Florida a year ago than what was being shown on the field and Mullen is taking advantage. The Gators aren’t explosive offensively but they have a trio of backs that I expect to have success against the Bulldogs front seven. On the other side, Florida’s defense should be able to harass Jacob Fromm into a couple of mistakes to keep the game close.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see Florida win outright so getting 6.5 points with the Gators provides bettors with a lot of value in my eyes.
Prediction: Florida +6.5
175 Kentucky Wildcats at 176 Missouri Tigers, 3:00 p.m. CT
A week ago I said on-air that Mizzou wouldn’t just beat Memphis but they’d also cover the spread as a 10-point home favorite. It was the perfect buyback opportunity on a Tigers team that looked like it was merely trying not to get embarrassed a week ago in Tuscaloosa. (Not to mention Memphis had just lost a heartbreaker to rival UCF in its prior game.)
I’m going back to fading Mizzou this week. The Tigers have never beaten a ranked opponent under Barry Odom and while the Wildcats are one-dimensional offensively, I haven’t seen an opponent drag Kentucky into a shootout yet. Texas A&M had the athletes and the offense to do so a few weeks ago in College Station but Kentucky’s defense kept the team in the game – even scoring a defensive touchdown to tie the game late – before finally surrendering in overtime.
Missouri should win this game. The Tigers have been stronger at home than on the road this year and the Wildcats struggled to beat a bad Vanderbilt team at home last week. That said, this is too many points and until Odom proves that he can beat a ranked opponent, I don’t see why I wouldn’t grab the touchdown with Kentucky.
Prediction: Kentucky +7
173 Texas A&M Aggies at 174 Mississippi State Bulldogs, 6:00 p.m. CT
I’ll keep this short and sweet: The wrong team is favored here. Texas A&M nearly beat Clemson as a 12-point home dog in Week 2 and gave Alabama more of a game than any other opponent this season. They struggled with Arkansas, needed overtime to beat Kentucky and won by only three against South Carolina but the fact is they’ve won three straight and four of their last five (with the one loss being in Tuscaloosa).
Meanwhile, Mississippi State lost three of its last four games with its lone victory over that span coming against a beleaguered Auburn team at home. In losses to Kentucky, Florida and LSU, the Bulldogs scored a combined 16 points. Despite having a solid veteran under center in Nick Fitzgerald, MSU has struggled to find any sort of cohesion offensively against quality opponents.
I hesitate to play road dogs at night but I’ll make the exception for the Aggies. They’re simply the better team playing better football.
Prediction: Texas A&M +1.5
179 Texas Longhorns at 180 Oklahoma State Cowboys, 7:00 p.m. CT
I’m not one of these fans that hates the blue-bloods. The Big 12 and college football in general are better when Texas is good. I loved Mack Brown and I’m a believer in Tom Herman so this isn’t some anti-Longhorn statement.
That said, I think Texas is slightly overrated and starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger is dealing with a shoulder injury. He should play but how effective he’ll be is another question. This Longhorns team isn’t explosive either and despite their 4-3 record, Ok State can still move the ball.
The Cowboys are a rare home dog. Stillwater should be rocking on Saturday night and while I’ll gladly take the field goal to have in my back pocket, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the Cowboys pulled off the outright upset.
Prediction: Oklahoma State +3
Season Records Against the Spread
College Football: 15-19 (44%)
MLB: 54-31-2 (63%)