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: Looks like your boy “The Heartthrob” underestimated the speed and athleticism of Michigan, as Jim Harbaugh made me feel downright foolish for believing BYU would cover the spread. . . The Jets entered the game against the Eagles with Chris Ivory and Eric Decker on the bench – this is a team that cannot afford to lose what they have on offense, at any cost. The pick of Ohio University was an easy one at +10. It looks like Vegas caught wind of my pick and by kickoff the spread dropped to +7. . .
Louisville (+4.5) at N.C. State
Louisville enters this game with a 1-3 record including a season opening loss at the now disappointing Auburn Tigers as well as back to back three point losses at home. Coach Bobby Petrino is one of the best in college football, but this may be a “down” year for Louisville in terms of talent. The N.C. State Wolfpack can be a “sneaky” team in the ACC Conference this year and Louisville is their first real test of the season. While Louisville is 1-3, they have actually played real competition this year while N.C. State has been facing some lowly opponents. While this rhetoric usually means something favoring the team facing better competition, the truth is, N.C. State is slated for a 9 or 10 win season and this game against Louisville brings them half way there. Running backs Matthew Dayes and Shadrach Thorton are both averaging at least six yards a carry while quarterback Jacoby Brisset’s completion percentage is a decimal point below eighty. Louisville is a shade below mediocre defensively which is perfect for a team like N.C. State who doesn’t get greedy on offense, but more or less takes what opposing defenses are giving them. Expect the final score to be somewhere along the lines of 27-20 or 23-17. . .
The Pick: N.C. State -4.5
Texas Longhorns (+15) at TCU Horned Frogs
Although the line is at fifteen, the number we are concerned about for all entertainment purposes is the over/under which is set at 71. The Big 12 is the spot for high flying offenses and terrible defenses. Remember, once upon a time, coach Gary Patterson, coached TCU and they were one of the best defensive teams in the nation? This was a team putting out NFL talent from the defensive side of the ball but once this team moved to the Big 12, he converted to the Church of Offense. TCU gives up 28 points per game and Texas gives up 35 per contest. While TCU was expected to be able to rack up points against anybody this year, Texas’ offense has been surprisingly effective the last two weeks. They lost by one point (at home) to a pretty potent Cal offense and last week put up 27 against an Oklahoma State team many thought would put them away early. TCU may actually cover this spread and win with a final score of 55-27 when it’s all said and done.
The Pick: The “over” at 71
Army (+24) at Penn State
With all due respect to our military forces, the Black Knights of Army are just a pitiful football team. Any team that loses to Fordham and then UConn in back to back weeks, should ask to leave Division I football. . . Not that Penn State has looked fantastic in their 3-1 start this season but this is the kind of game that Penn State should have wrapped up by the end of the first half. Expect Penn State to open it up early with the running attack of Akeel Lynch and Saquon Barkley – which will open things up for Hackenberg. Christian Hackenberg has been mostly disappointing since last season, but take into consideration what is around him. If UConn’s quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was able to throw for 270 yards on 19 of 25 passing, Hackenberg should easily be able to use this game to inflate his stat for the season. Army doesn’t have the speed or size to contend with Penn State, who is actually one of the tougher teams Army will face this year. In true Penn State fashion, they’ll make you worry but they should have complete control of this game and win 38-7.
The Pick: Penn State -24
Detroit Lions (+10) at Seattle Seahawks
Here’s a situation where you don’t want to over-think things. Seattle is at home against a Detroit Lions team that is sloppy on offense and has taken a step down, defensively. If Russell Wilson is able to display talents that are above adequate, then this should be an easy victory for Seattle. Seattle has the secondary to take care of Calvin Johnson because they have the physical presence of Kam Chancellor back in the swing of things and Matthew Stafford’s offensive line will have no answer for the blitz packages that Seattle has to offer. Throw in the crowd noise, under the Monday Night Football lights in Seattle and the fact that the Lions ground game has not taken off – this one could be over quickly. Bottom line – Seattle will win the battle in the trenches and because of that will the field position battle, making things easier for their vanilla offense to take shots against this Detroit defense.
The Pick: Seattle -10
If You Must: Take the Green Bay Packers -8.5 points going into San Fran. The 49ers fan base has already had it, Colin Kapernick looks lost and the Packers are making it all look easy on the offensive side of the ball.
NFL Football Tease of the Week: (three gamer) Green Bay Packers +1.5, Arizona Cardinals +3 and Seattle Seahawks PK.
Good Luck and Wager Wisely.