Bench Points Bettor’s Pick ’em: Week 3

Alrighty. After a spectacular start to the season, I went 11-10-1 in week 2 ATS for an overall record of 20-15-1 and a winning percentage of .555. Not a stellar second week, but the picks are back with a vengeance. The lines appear as they were on Wednesday when I made the selections. No over/unders this week because they weren’t available at the time and looking back, none are particularly compelling. Let’s rock it!

Clemson -6.5 at Louisville

Why?! Why is Clemson so hated by Vegas? Less than a touchdown against a team that languished against a terrible Auburn team and that got upset by Houston this week. For a near top ten team, Clemson is seriously hated. This is my favorite line of the weekend. Too easy. Clemson off winning big and a short week versus Louisville losing embarrassingly and a short week. No brainer, take the Tigers to cover. I’m thinking 3 TDs. 

Florida State -7.5 at Boston College

I think FSU likely wins a close one, but after the ugly win against USF, I’m not confident in the Noles to cover. Steve Addazio will have his team amped to face the Seminoles. But FSU’s talent disparity should win the day. I can’t rule out BC winning outright, but I feel safe in saying that it’s closer than a touchdown. 

Illinois +9.5 at North Carolina

Illinois is a dumpster fire and are effectively the Kentucky of the Big Ten. North Carolina is emerging as an ACC challenger. While the Heels may not challenge for the conference this year, that’s a lot different than beating a bad Illinois team at home. Won’t be close. Carolina to cover. 

UCONN +21 at Mizzou 

Here’s another blowout game. The most impressive thing UCONN has done in years is completely fabricate a rivalry with a random opponent. Mizzou isn’t the team they’ve been in the past. But they will be able to put up points against Diaco’s lousy Huskies. Cover. Moving on. 

USF +7 at Maryland

Woof. What an awful game. The number of people watching this may be in the hundreds. Maybe. After Maryland getting boat raced by Bowling Green, I’m not going to be picking them for the rest of the season. The Terps are all kinds of awful, and that pile of hot garbage is not covering a 7 point spread. No way, no how. 

Nevada +34 at Texas A&M

Mercy. As tempting as the points are, I’m planning to use the always successful and bulletproof college football transitive property. Arizona State whooped Nevada, TAMU whooped Arizona State, therefore TAMU will slaughter Nevada. A&M to cover. 

Wake Forest -5.5 at Army

There’s bad, and then there’s Army bad. (See what I did there?) Wake may be the joke of the ACC, but they still field a better team than Army. Spotting Army less than a touchdown doesn’t make this line all that interesting. Wake to cover in another awful game. 

Northwestern +3.5 at Duke

Ok, I see this going one of two ways. NW to win close, or Duke to run away with it. The former seems more likely as Northwestern beat a good Stanford team earlier this season. As much as I love Cutcliffe, I just can’t pick Duke in a football game yet. But the time is coming. Still, this week it’s Northwestern to beat the spread. 

Temple -10.5 at Massachusetts

Irrelevant game pick warning. It’s the season of the Owls. The Minutemen lost to Colorado huge, while Temple whooped up on Penn State. I’m taking Temple to cover. I can’t pick a team that loses to Colorado to do much of anything. 

Georgia State +45.5 at Oregon

Hahaha…wait, really? I know I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help it. I am amazed this game has a line. Oregon is coming off a crushing loss to Sparty and looking to rebound and make a playoff run. Georgia State is going to get their clock cleaned. And GSU’s starters can’t beat the Duck backups or 3rd stringers. This is going to be a track meet. Georgia Tech’s 222-0 record may be in jeopardy. 45 points is a lot, but Oregon to cover. 

Nebraska +3.5 at Miami

I think this line would be more compelling (and a harder choice) if it was flipped. The Huskers lost to BYU on a Hail Mary, so you can’t fault them for the loss. They also just tuned up against the S. Alabama Jaguars. Miami got a backdoor cover against a bad FAU team last week following a crushing of Bethune. Miami didn’t look good, Golden is on the ropes. I think Braska wins outright, so I’ll take them to beat. 

Georgia Tech -2.5 at Notre Dame

Once again Notre Dame has proven it is woefully overrated. Question: is there another college football brand that has accomplished less in the past 15 years and been given the benefit of the doubt like the Irish? Short answer, no. The Irish had to manufacture a miracle against a UVA team that is ranked 13th in the most recent ACC power poll. Additionally, they lost their star, Malik Zaire, for the season. Tech to cover, and I don’t think it’ll be close. 

Auburn +7 at LSU

What a difference a couple of years makes. This game should be a thumping from LSU. I’m taking them to cover as there is no chance I’m taking Auburn to beat anything after that crap against Jacksonville State. I think LSU takes the wood to them by at least two touchdowns. Have a day, Fournette!

Northern Illinois +35 at Ohio State

Zero chance NIU wins this game, but they are a very good team and tend to play late in the postseason in very good bowl games. Based on that, I’ll take a five touchdown spot. My only concern is that Urban heard the criticism of his offense against Hawaii and “fixes” it. Still, can’t turn down the points here. NIU to beat the spread. 

Virginia Tech -6 at Purdue

The Hokies actually put together a decent looking effort against OSU–maybe that’s too kind, but they were just very overmatched. They won’t have that problem with Purdue, who hasn’t been good since Drew Brees was there. Purdue lost to Marshall by 10. I’ll take the risk on the Hokies covering on a spread that is less than a touchdown. 

East Carolina +3.5 at Navy

This is a coinflip to me. Any time that happens I’m inclined to take the points. A cover by Navy would not surprise me, but if ECU can figure out how to gain and score against a defense as stingy as Florida’s they should be able to gain on Navy–yes, I know there are a lot of “yeah, buts,” regarding Florida, that’s not the point. This game should be high scoring, I’ll take the points with ECU. 

WKY +1.5 at Indiana

Indiana is always a very mediocre team.  WKY can score points. I’ll take the points here, and I think WKY wins by a lot. May be a good pick to fade me on, but this is another coin flip. Give me the points. 

Utah State +5.5 at Washington

I’m hopping on the Chris Petersen train for this one. Utah State managed to score against Utah but got shut down when it really mattered. They barely escaped their tune up game the first week of the season. Petersen’s Huskies aren’t playing a ranked team in Utah State, so I’ll take Washington to cover. 

South Carolina +16.5 at Georgia

This game has been decided by less than a touchdown for just about a decade. I get the feeling that this rivalry is one of those “tear up the polls” games. I think UGA manages to win, maybe even by 10. But I just don’t see Spurrier and Co. getting run out of the stadium. It could happen but I’ll err on the side of history. Cocky to cover. 

Charlotte +19 at Middle Tennessee

MTSU is better, but Charlotte has proven scrappier than Vegas has given them credit for this season. This is a three possession line. I think Charlotte gives MTSU hell, but probably not enough to win. That 3-3-5 defense for the Blue Raiders is a thing of beauty. I’m on the Niners to beat the spread. 

Texas Tech +11.5 at Arkansas

So, Biels shot his mouth off about OSU’s strength of schedule only to be snakebit by Toledo and only score 10 points on purpose–the Rockets gave them an intentional safety. Not to be outdone he told the media this week that teams came back from losing a game early last year. Apparently, he’s counting TTU in the win column. I think Kingsbury comes in and shocks Arkansas…for the second week in a row. So, I’ll obviously take Tech plus the points. 

Texas +6.5 at Cal

Cal isn’t the team they were a few years ago and Texas actually showed flashes of coherence last week. Additionally, the Longhorns are no longer burdened with idiot Athletic Director Steve Patterson. I think Strong is under less pressure going into this week and they keep it close with Cal, maybe even win. Although I’m not willing to call a win outright, I will take the points for Texas to beat the spread. 

Florida -3 at Kentucky

I am just as surprised as you are that Florida is favored. Maybe Vegas is counting on psychological milieu to set in on Big Blue. I think Florida should win by more than a field goal, but everyone is on Kentucky to break the streak. Feel free to take them to beat, but Kentucky gonna Kentucky. This will be an unpleasant game to watch for Florida fans. But, after the wake up call and tirade from McElwain last week, it’ll be interesting to see if Florida is actually ready to play. The Cats will be fired up, Florida will need to match their fire or a streak almost 3 decades old will crumble to ash. Gators to cover. 

Stanford +10 at USC

Lots of people lost their mind when Oregon lost, as if losing to a top 4 team in the country makes you bad all of a sudden. Next thing you knew, Southern Cal was being picked to win the PAC and make a run of their own. The Trojans need to handle business against a Stanford team that is better than their record would indicate. I’m taking the points here because I’m not sure USC can beat Stanford, but if they do, it won’t be by 10. 

Rutgers +10 at Penn State

Rutgers is a dumpster fire with Coach Flood being suspended for Academic Dishonesty and Penn State can’t figure it out. Hackenberg is a talented QB, but he only has a couple of seconds to throw passes because the OL is so bad. Despite the size of the spread, I think this game could go either way. I’ll take the points, but this is just going to be miserable football to watch. 

SMU +37.5 at TCU

With as crappy as TCU’s opponents are, and as good as Boykin looks, no spread is safe. SMU is still reeling from the Death Penalty from 30 years ago–that’s not a joke. They’re still just a basement program that wins occasionally. But, they’re no match for TCU. Take the Frogs to cover, despite the size of the spread. 

Iowa State +7.5 at Toledo

We make fun of Bielema’s karma a lot, but Toledo actually had to play well to be in a game with Arkansas. Toledo is a good team that is now riding high off a huge win. Take them to cover against the Cyclones. Iowa State just isn’t particularly good or talented. Take the Rockets. 

Ole Miss +7 at Alabama

This game on paper looks like one for the ages. A juggernaut Bama team plays host to an Ole Miss team that has wrecked its opponents leading up to this game. To make things more interesting, the Rebels have never beat Bama back to back. In addition, Saban will be out for blood after losing to Ole Miss last year. I expect the tide to roll, but it’ll be a tight one. This game is late (9:15). Stay up for it and thank me on Sunday. 

BYU +17 at UCLA

The Cardiac Cougars travel to LA to tackle the Bruins, incidentally another team picked to make the playoff after Oregon lost. To channel Fire Marshall Bill, “let me tell ya something!” BYU has not given us any reason to think they will be 3 scores out of a football game. UCLA may win, but if Vegas is giving me 17 points on a team that keeps it close, I’ll take it. Cougars to beat. 

There you have it. I tried to do better than last week, we will see. Look for the sprint option reacting to this week’s games on Monday. 

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