Well, our best bets finally had a losing week (from a dollars perspective at least), as the column went 2-2 for a loss of $130, bringing us down to a $510 profit on the season with a record of 14-7-2.
After that Louisville loss (and three brutal fumbles), we’re going to restrict the column from picking Friday night games (at least two weeks) and from betting on Louisville (maybe the rest of the season). That was a tough one. We also took our first loss on one of the Big 12 Principles as Texas Tech failed to hold up their end of the bargain, stalling out on their last drive with a chance at a backdoor cover. Luckily, the Dawgs and Tigers were able to make short work of their opponents. You know what they say: good teams win, great teams cover.
We’ve got another short card and an even shorter article this week due to a board I don’t like, a busy work week, a season that has been terrible for unders, and most of my attention and energy being devoted to a wonderfully insane Braves playoff run. Sue me (don’t actually sue me. We have more than a few lawyers reading this and we shouldn’t give them any ideas). Before I talk my self into any further trouble with our more litigious readers, let’s get into the actual football discussion with our locks of the week.
The “Cost” of KJ
Texas A&M -5 at Mississippi State
Bet: $110 to win $100
I fully understand that this line stinks. Mississippi State has been awful, and the fact that they are only getting 5 here against A&M should probably make it a stay away game. Plus, A&M is coming off of a big win against Florida (a fraudulent Gators team, but still) and Jimbo is not really the guy I trust to get this team refocused and back on track.
All that being said, let’s go back to the first sentence: Mississippi State has been awful. After torching LSU who for some reason decided to play press coverage against a Mike Leach offense despite their best corner missing the game, MSU has scored a total of 16 points in two games against Arkansas and Kentucky. The book is out on KJ Costello and company, and they have been unable to move the ball at all since teams started dropping 7 or 8 into zone coverage. In fact, out of the 24 interceptions that SEC quarterbacks have thrown this year, Costello is responsible for 11.
There’s a very simple formula for beating this team, and A&M should be able to follow it. Usually backing Mike Leach as a dog is a decent strategy, but he and this Mississippi State team has to show me more before I can back them as only a 5-point dog against any SEC team not named the Commodores. We’re taking the Aggies and laying 5 here.
The ‘Cane Comeback of the Week
Pittsburgh at Miami -13.5 (-110)
Bet: $110 to win $100
Back to back favorites! Shocking, I know. I spent last week’s post talking about how I didn’t think Miami was ready to compete with the big boys and how Clemson would thrash this team. I was right. That being said, I do think the Hurricanes have taken a big step forward and will be a problem for the rest of the ACC. That includes this Pitt team, who have an anemic offense and might be missing their quarterback this week. Pittsburgh has struggled running the ball, and Miami’s defensive ends have the talent to tear this line to pieces on obvious passing downs.
The Panthers have a lot of talent on the defensive line, but their secondary has been mediocre, and D’Eriq King should be able to pick them apart. A lot of smart gambling folks will be on Pittsburgh, and I wish I could have the opening line of -10, but I still trust the (much) more talented team to come back and cover the spread after getting beat down last weekend.
Can We Bet on the Dawgs?
Georgia ML at Alabama (+160)
Bet: $100 to win $160
Listen, am I guaranteeing a Georgia win here? No. Do I feel entirely comfortable going into Tuscaloosa as a short dog with a guy named Stetson Bennett as the quarterback and an offense that’s been fairly mediocre in the season so far? Not quite. Am I Charlie Brown sprinting once again towards a football destined to be yanked away from me at the last second? I won’t answer that question. But this is a pro Dawgs space, I’m an optimist, and we’ve gone 4-0 picking Georgia games this year, so I can’t rule out the possibility that I’m in control of some sort of black magic that determines the outcome of Georgia games. And with even the smallest chance of that cause and effect existing, I am morally obligated to pick the Dawgs, at least until this streak runs out.
But if you want some logic to let you know it’s ok to pick the Dawgs this week? It all starts with the defense. This is the best defense in the country, and they will have to play like it if Georgia is going to win the game. The Dawgs can score on this defense, but they won’t be able to keep up if this turns into a shootout like Alabama’s game last weekend. It’s up to the defense to turn this into the type of game Georgia likes to play. They won’t hold Mac Jones and company to 6 points like Auburn or the negative one rushing yards they allowed against Tennessee, but they can certainly slow things down and create negative plays to stall out the Tide’s high powered offense.
The two most important match ups will likely be Georgia’s defensive line against the Bama offensive line and Georgia’s slot receivers and tight ends against the Alabama nickel corners and linebackers. Ole Miss beat Alabama repeatedly over the middle of the field, with tight end Kenny Yeboah having a career game. Georgia will need to need Darnell Washington, John Fitzpatrick, or one of their extremely talented receivers (Kearis Jackson or Jermaine Burton, maybe?) to approximate that performance.
The Dawgs have the talent to take this. They really do. In fact, this is the first game that Alabama has faced a team that is more talented than them based off of the 247 Composite rankings in a loooooong time. So is this a homer pick with a strong dose of optimism? Sure. But do the Dawgs have a good chance to go into Tuscaloosa and grab a win? Is +160 a good value to get on Georgia in this spot? Absolutely.
Thanks once again for reading The Old College Try! I hope I’ll be back for next week’s edition, but if the Braves get pushed to game 6, my main goal for the weekend will be making it through Saturday night without having a heart attack. No promises there. Let me know if you’re fading or following the picks here in the comments or on twitter (@slapnslide). Best of luck on your bets this weekend; I’ll sign off with a big Go Dawgs and Go Braves.