After two weeks, the “Fading Kevin Wheeler” series is stuck at .500 following another week in which I pushed fading Wheeler.
My picks got off to a great start when Washington crushed Stanford on Friday night but Michigan missed multiple field goals to blow a cover versus Wisconsin, and Tennessee’s decision not to kick the extra point following their dramatic “Hail Mary” touchdown versus Georgia sunk me as well.
In the NFL, I hit the Bears and Vikings, but Wheeler covered with the Broncos, leaving us 3-3 for a second straight week.
Me vs. Wheeler, all tied up still at 3-3.
With Kevin’s picks now up for the week, here are my three pro and three college games that fade Wheeler this weekend.
Alabama @ Arkansas
Wheeler writes that it wouldn’t surprise him if Arkansas kept it close and covered but he ultimately laid the points with ‘Bama.
The Razorbacks want to be physical with their running game but they have a solid quarterback in junior Austin Allen, who has thrown for 1,232 yards with 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions to date.
If their rushing attack can’t get going, Allen should be able to make enough plays to keep drives alive and the Hogs in the game. Arkansas is 6-2 against the spread in its last eight conference games and while ‘Bama wins, I’ll take the two touchdowns with the home dog.
Wheeler: Alabama -14
Stalter: Arkansas +14
Washington @ Oregon
This one pains me because I’ve loved Washington since the start of the season. The Huskies were one of my sleeper playoff teams entering the year and so far, they’ve haven’t disappointed with their 5-0 record. That said, they’re coming off an emotional blowout victory versus Stanford and are now facing an Oregon team that couldn’t stop a nose bleed.
Even though the Ducks have owned the Huskies in the past, this is a natural letdown spot for Chris Petersen’s squad. Washington is 0-6-1 against the spread in its last seven games in Eugene and 3-12-1 ATS in its last 16 games overall versus the Ducks. Give me the home dog.
Wheeler: Washington -9.5
Stalter: Oregon +9.5
Tennessee @ Texas A&M
It doesn’t look like Jalen Hurd will play today for the Vols, which hurts, but it’s not like they don’t have a capable back in Alvin Kamara to carry the load. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs is also a threat to run at quarterback and assuming Tennessee doesn’t spot A&M a massive lead in the first half, then I expect the Vols to keep things close.
A full touchdown is a lot to hand a team that is 5-0 on the year, regardless of how Tennessee has won games this season. The Vols are 4-1 against the spread in their last five road games and 6-2 ATS in their last eight conference games.
Wheeler: Texas A&M -7
Stalter: Tennessee +7
Falcons @ Broncos
I don’t blame anyone for doubting the Falcons. They got off to a 6-1 start last season before collapsing down the stretch to finish 8-8. Carolina was supposed to slow down Kyle Shanahan’s offense last week but the Panthers clearly have bigger problems than what people thought. Thus, Denver will be the toughest test that Matt Ryan and Co. face to date.
Still, give me the points with a team that is confident and that has hung 35-plus points on the board in three straight weeks. Atlanta has a slew of linebackers out, but Denver has questions at quarterback with the injury to Trevor Siemian. The Falcons have been an underdog three straight weeks and have cashed every time. I’ll take the points.
Wheeler: Broncos -4.5
Stalter: Falcons +4.5
Redskins @ Ravens
I thought the Ravens were the most fraudulent unbeaten team entering Week 4 and they proved critics right by losing to the Ravens. That said, they seemingly discovered their running game last week as Terrance West rushed for over 100 yards and now they get back Kenneth Dixon, who showed promise a year ago.
I’ll take a ticked-off Baltimore team coming off a home loss, over a Washington squad that I’m having trouble believing has suddenly figured things out now that its 2-2.
Wheeler: Redskins +3.5
Stalter: Ravens -3.5
Titans @ Dolphins
I admit that I don’t love this pick (funny, neither did Wheeler), but I do see some appeal in Tennessee. When two crap teams are playing each other in the NFL, give me the points – especially when there’s a hook involved off a key number.
Miami is 2-10 against the spread in its last 12 home games and 7-19 ATS in its last 26 games overall. Tennessee hasn’t been great at the betting window either, but I see this as a field-goal game either way.
Wheeler: Dolphins -3.5
Stalter: Titans +3.5