Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread. The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.
Judging Last Week: After two failed weeks in a row, it’s safe to say we’re jumping off of the N.C. State bandwagon. Baylor and Ole Miss cleaned up easily against their 40 plus point spreads, proving to not be scared of those big numbers when you’re Goliath, and the opposition is David. . .
Eastern Michigan (+29) at Toledo
The Toledo Rockets are everyone’s “Cinderella” team this year. The small school from the MAC Conference who finds themselves undefeated and in the Top 25. Toledo stands at 5-0, and in all truth could be 6-0 if their season opener against Stony Brook wasn’t postponed. Toledo’s rushing attack is first in the MAC with 197 yards per game and second in the MAC with 5.0 yards a carry. The backfield carries are split evenly between Terry Swanson and Damion Jones-Moore who average 6.5 and 5.5 yards a rush, respectively. Toledo’s defense has also been stout this year allowing only 11.8 points per game, which is spearheaded by a rush defense allowing less than three yards a carry. Toledo was the team that exposed an over-rated Arkansas, early in the season with a 16-12 victory and is proving to be ahead of the class in the MAC. Eastern Michigan hasn’t had quite the fortunes of Toledo, and are holding a 1-5 record and will definitely lose this match up. Of course, if you’re here it’s not about if you lose the game, it’s by how much. Eastern Michigan’s run defense is prime pickings for this Toledo attack, but the Eagles have their own star-back. Darius Jackson is averaging 5.7 yards a carry and has amassed 585 rushing yards so far this season. His backup Shaq Vann is averaging one more yard per carry. Eastern Michigan is actually right there with Toledo in average points and yards in a game and as an offense are actually more balanced than Toledo.
The Pick: Eastern Michigan +29
Texas Tech (-31) at Kansas
Sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahommes has been leading the nations number one pass offense and has given the Texas Tech Red Raiders the offense that coach Kliff Kingsbury has been wanting to see. Mahomme has thrown 19 touchdown passes and over 2200 yards so far this year. Their defense makes the offense play “catch-up” on the scoreboard week to week, but when your opposition is Kansas. . . there is not much to be worried about. Kansas was the whipping boy in last week’s column and that trend may very well continue as they are proving to be one of the worse programs in the nation. The Kansas Jayhawks rank at the bottom of the Big 12 in total defense and total offense and are showing no improvements on either side of the ball. This is a team that will go win-less this year and they’ll look terribly doing so.
The Pick: Texas Tech -31
Boston College (+16.5) at Clemson
The spread seems to be just where it needs to be because the Clemson Tigers average 35 points a game while the B.C. Eagles average 20. Boston College has the best defense in the ACC, letting opponents only average 7.2 points per game. Is that stat smoke and mirrors? Yes and no. See, the Eagles opened up the season with wins against the likes of Maine and Howard at a combined score of 100-3. They held Florida’s offense to 14 points in a shut out loss and held Duke to 9 points in a 9-7 loss. Even those losses are somewhat statements for the defense, but losing 3-0 to Wake Forest last week – that just confuses things. Boston College is a team that can’t throw the ball at all and seemingly can’t help themselves from losing. Clemson has their eyes set week to week on getting closer to a playoff birth. Their offense has looked prolific against lesser opponents but in wins against Louisville and Notre Dame, their defense looked “steady” at least. Quarterback Deshaun Watson has been more of a game manager than a gunslinger, which is his best option with this offense. There is so much speed and talent around him, Watson defers to take what the defense gives him and lets his play-makers do the work. Clemson has a steady defense itself and put the clamps down on a good rushing attack in Georgia Tech last week. Boston College’s rush game is more straight up the gut, then Georgia Tech’s but it’s hard to believe a team that struggled against Duke and Wake Forest defensive fronts will do much better against Clemson. The Boston defense is good, but Clemson is a team that is ‘feeling themselves’ right now and they capitalize well off of other team’s mistakes. The home crowd will be unbearable.
The Pick: Clemson -16.5
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills
While writing this, it is currently Tuesday, October 13th and the spread is in favor of the visiting Bengals at three and half points, but you better believe this line will jump up at least, one and half more points. The reason being, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has a reported MCL sprain and will “miss some time.” This means a worse possible scenario for the Bills who are now forced to start former first-round pick E.J. Manuel. In 2014 Pro Football Focus graded Manuel simply as a “poor” starting quarterback. His completion percentage hovers at around 58% and has the reaction time of a dead-man in the pocket. This week Manuel will be going against a Cincinnati Bengals team that might be one of the best in the NFL today. The Bengals defense gives up, on average, twenty points a game and this Buffalo Bills offense is one that is one-dimensional and currently, terrible at that one dimension – running the ball. It is very unlikely neither Lesean McCoy or Karlos Williams will be active for this game, leaving the likes of Anthony “Boobie” Dixon who had a disgusting seven carries for nineteen yards against the Titans on Sunday. . . Sure this Bills defense is tough, but they have shown as of late that their secondary needs a lot of help from it’s front seven. Andy Dalton has looked the best he’s ever looked, and having a huge comeback win against Seattle last week, has certainly boosted the Red Rocket’s confidence. The Bills defense will be gassed because this offense will not sustain long drives, let alone put up points against this Bengals team.
The Pick: Bengals -3.5
If You Must: The New England Patriots seem almost unbeatable. This “chip on their shoulder” is legit and they are looking to embarrass teams they face. The Patriots have always had their way with the Colts and that will not change this time around. The Colts are 3-2 and riding a three game winning streak in which they struggled to get by three of the leagues worst teams. Patriots as a -8 favorite is a slam-dunk.
Teaser of the Week: (Four Gamer) – Bengals +8.5, Patriots: +4, Panthers/Seahawks Under 53 and Michigan +3.5
Good Luck and Wager Wisely