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Staff Picks - College Football Week 14

Rivalry week, y’all.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Record Last Week: 2-3-1 (DAMN YOU CORD SANDBERG) ATS; 5-1 Totals; 7-4-1 overall
Record for the Season: 80-64-2 overall; 54.8%

It me, the over/under savant. To be honest, the tie is the second time this year I’ve had my...vested interest...get a line at more advantageous position than what we posted here and pay out while I took a draw in what we listed here. So it goes.

It’s rivalry week. In theory this should be one of the toughest weeks to call, since we’re supposed to throw those record books right out the window (H/T Dan Rubenstein). Maybe that’s why it seems like most of the favorites this week aren’t giving quite enough points.

Michigan vs Ohio State (-8.5) (O/U 54)

SP+ Pick: Ohio State -11

The Buckeyes showed some cracks for the first time last week. They’ve now failed to cover back-to-back spreads (the other was failing to cover that ridiculous 50+ line at Rutgers). Meanwhile Michigan has really turned a corner since about the second half of their road loss to Penn State. I don’t know if Harbaugh finally got out of Josh Gattis’s way, or if the lights came on for Shea Patterson, but the Wolverines have looked like a top 10 team for several weeks.

That said, I think this line is a hair too low. I like Ohio State to pull away late. Maybe even a front-door cover with a game sealing touchdown run.
Ohio State 31, Michigan 20 (OSU covers; under)

Staff Picks

Josh Dub: Michigan 21, Ohio State 38 (OSU covers; over)
Drew Mac: tOSU 31-21 (OSU covers; under)
Ryan: Ohio State 34-21 (Ohio State covers; over)
Dr Will: Ohio State 45 Michigan 21 (OSU covers; over)
Josh Black: Ohio State 45 Michigan 28 (Ohio State covers; over)
Jack: Michigan 20 vs Ohio State 42 (OSU covers; over)
Nerd: Ohio State 38 Michigan 28 (OSU covers; over)
Chief: Ohio State 30, Michigan 17 (OSU covers; under)

Memphis (-11.5) vs Cincinnati (O/U 56)

SP+ Pick: Memphis -13.9

This one is the exception to the rule this week. Cincinnati is already the AAC East Champion, and they’re giving double-digit points to Memphis? Well, Memphis needs this game to lock up the AAC West over Navy, and they would get to host the championship game.

While the Bearcats have locked up the East, they haven’t been all that impressive in doing it. Since drop-kicking UCF on a Friday night back in early October, they squeaked past a bad ECU team, nearly face-planted while generating very little offense against USF, and needed to block an extra point last week to get past Temple. Meanwhile Memphis has been a rolling ball of knives since one bad half on the road against those same Owls. This is also about the lowest over/under you’ll see in a Memphis game, specifically because of Cincinnati’s defense. I think the home Tigers get it done and force the Bearcats to come right back to the Liberty Bowl next week.
Memphis 37, Cincinnati 22 (Memphis covers; over)

Staff Picks

Josh Dub: Memphis 56, Cincinnati 24 (Memphis covers; over)
Drew Mac: Tiggers 42-38 (Memphis wins; Cincinnati covers; over)
Ryan: Memphis 38-28 (Memphis wins; Cincinnati covers; over)
Dr Will: Memphis 42 Cincinnati 34 (Memphis wins, Cincinnati covers; over)
Josh Black: Memphis 41 Cincy 31 (Memphis wins; Cincinnati covers; over)
Jack: Memphis 36 vs Cincinnati 24 (Memphis covers; over)
Nerd: Memphis 45 Cincy 31 (Memphis covers; over)
Chief: Memphis 34, Cincinnati 17 (Memphis covers; under)

Minnesota vs Wisconsin (-2.5) (O/U 49)

SP+ Pick: Minnesota -1.2 (yes, SP+ favors the Gophers)

This one really feels like Vegas knows something we don’t. Minnesota has been fantastic as the year has gone on, save for being drug down to Iowa’s level in Iowa City, but that happens to everybody that goes to Iowa City. Wisconsin got in a groove on offense around the second quarter of the Purdue game last week, but that’s against a Purdue team having a season from Hell on the injury front. I definitely like the under here, and I just don’t have a good reason not to take the home-standing Gophers. The SP+ line serves to back me up here.
Minnesota 24, Wisconsin 20 (Minnesota wins outright; under)

Staff Picks

Josh Dub: Minnesota 24, Wisconsin 17 (Minnesota wins outright; under)
Drew Mac: Gophers 27-20 (Minnesota wins outright; under)
Ryan: Minnesota 27-24 (Minnesota wins outright; over)
Dr Will: Minnesota 24 Wisconsin 17 (Minnesota wins outright; under)
Josh Black: Wisconsin 28 Minnesota 24 (Wisconsin covers; over)
Jack: Minnesota 27 vs Wisconsin 21 (Minnesota wins outright; under)
Nerd: Wisconsin 28 Minnesota 20 (Wisconsin covers; under)
Chief: Minnesota 29, Wisconsin 28 (Minnesota wins outright; over)

LSU (-17) vs Texas A&M (O/U 63)

SP+ Pick: Texas A&M +14.4

It’s revenge time. A&M’s game plan is likely to be exactly what they did against Georgia: control the pace and try to beat the spread. While I think Mond can make some plays against LSU’s defense, I don’t see A&M’s secondary holding up for long against this offense. Don’t be surprised if LSU declines to take their foot off the gas this week.
LSU 45, Texas A&M 20 (LSU covers; over)

Staff Picks

Josh Dub: LSU 42, Texas A&M 28 (LSU wins; A&M covers; over)
Drew Mac: Coach O 42-17 (LSU covers; under)
Ryan: LSU 48-20 (LSU covers; over)
Dr Will: LSU 51 Texas A&M 24 (LSU covers; over)
Josh Black: LSU 63 A&M 24 (LSU covers; over)
Jack: LSU 48 vs Texas A&M 28 (LSU covers; over)
Nerd: LSU 52 A&M 31 (LSU covers; over)
Chief: LSU 42, Texas A&M 17 (LSU covers; under)

Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma (-12) (O/U 73)

SP+ Pick: Oklahoma State +12.1

Bedlam is one of the most unpredictable games in college football from a gambling standpoint. If you’re picking winners, you take Oklahoma and move on down the line. But there has been no feel for what Oklahoma will do against the number. Line under 10? Oklahoma wins by 40. Line up around 21? Oklahoma wins in overtime. It nearly always renders this game a stay-away.

For this rendition, I really don’t like the Cowboys defense, and for all their issues, Oklahoma is actually better on a yards per play basis than they were last year. Their only weakness is holding on to the football. If they can limit some of the turnovers, I think they have enough to cover, but I don’t feel good about it.
Oklahoma 41, Oklahoma State 28 (Oklahoma covers; under)

Staff Picks

Josh Dub: Oklahoma State 35, Oklahoma 45 (Oklahoma wins; OK State covers; over)
Drew Mac: OU 48-38 (Oklahoma wins; OK State covers; over)
Ryan: Oklahoma 41-28 (Oklahoma covers; a very nice under)
Dr Will: Oklahoma 41 Oklahoma State 35 (Oklahoma wins; OK State covers; over)
Josh Black: Oklahoma 44 Oklahoma State 38 (Oklahoma wins; OK State covers; over)
Jack: Oklahoma State 31 vs Oklahoma 38 (Oklahoma wins; OK State covers; a nice little under)
Nerd: Sooners 42 Cowboys 38 (Oklahoma wins; OK State covers; over)

Virginia vs Virginia Tech (-2.5) O/U (49.5)

SP+ Pick: Virginia -4 (remember, SP+ doesn’t care about momentum)

Sixteen years. It’s been 15 straight Hokie wins since Virginia won this game. That’s so long ago that I wasn’t even taking classes in my major at Auburn yet, and I graduated over 12 years ago. The first game in the streak was won by the Hokie team that won the ACC and got to the Sugar Bowl against Auburn. A member of that Auburn team has had an entire professional career and returned to be the sideline reporter.

As for this year, these teams are trending in opposite directions. Back in September, when UVa was playing solid defense with just enough offense and VT was being blown out at home by a mediocre Duke team, it seems like this might be the year. Instead, VT has found a quarterback, its defense is experiencing a renaissance to its glory days, and UVa has been ravaged by injuries. The winner of this game is expected to get the Orange Bowl bid guaranteed to the ACC’s highest ranked team not in the playoff, so there are “stakes”. Given all of that, I don’t think there’s any way I can take the Hoos. Make it 16 straight.
Virginia Tech 19, Virginia 14 (VT covers; under)

Staff Picks

Josh Dub: Virgina 24, Virginia Tech 25 (VT wins, UVA covers; under by the hook)
Drew Mac: Turkies 31-28 (VT covers; over)
Ryan: VT 26-20 (VT covers; under)
Dr Will: Virginia Tech 27 Virginia 24 (VT covers; over)
Josh Black: Virginia Tech 27 Virginia 21 (VT covers; under)
Jack: Virginia 7 vs Virginia Tech 24 (VT covers; under)
Nerd: Hokies 27 Hoos 20 (VT covers; under)
Chief: F*** Virginia 27, Virginia Tech 23 (UVa wins outright; over)