Finding an Edge in the Power Five: Week 8

If you listened closely last week, you may have heard me yelling at the TV late on Saturday as Stanford scored a meaningless touchdown near the end of the game to dismantle our over.  It brought us to a 3-2 record for the week and we now sit at a solid 19-16 on the season.  I found this week to be difficult across the entire slate but was fortunately able to find a few gems in the power five conferences.  Here’s to another great week!

ACC: Clemson at Boston College (Under 56.5 at Stations)

College Gameday arrives in Chestnut Hill for a pivotal tilt that will likely determine the winner of the ACC Atlantic Division.  Clemson comes in riding high with four consecutive blowout wins in a row.  The QB transition from the departed Kelly Bryant to Trevor Lawrence has been seamless.  Clemson’s defense looks like the powerhouse we expected.  Gameday is here because Boston College has righted the ship after a loss to NC State four weeks ago and they’ve put themselves in a position to win the Atlantic Division. Seemingly every week the health of star running back A.J. Dillon is in question.  He looks on track to play but won’t be 100% after re-injuring his ankle late in the game last Saturday.  BC has glaring holes on the passing side and I can’t fathom them putting up very many points against this vaunted Clemson defense that’s loaded with seniors.  The weather also appears to be a factor with cold temperatures and heavy winds throughout the contest.  I believe Clemson will win handily in a low scoring affair with a score of 31-10.

Big 10: Ohio State at Michigan State (Ohio State -3.5 at W Hill)

Sports betting is fun.  I was most confident backing Michigan State last week against Maryland and they were able to cover for us easily.  This week it’s the polar opposite with Ohio State being one of our best selections on the entire slate.  This is a great matchup for OSU and a game where I’m expecting them to dominate throughout the entire contest.  Michigan State does not pose the same issues on offense that OSU has had to deal with in recent weeks.  They’ve had numerous injuries on the offensive side of the ball this season and the lack of continuity between the skill positions and the offensive line will show on Saturday.  We all know MSU obliterates opposing running backs on a weekly basis so QB Haskins will use his arm to decimate this defense with Dobbins providing the finishing touches on the ground at the end.  MSU is a well disciplined team and tough to rout so I expect this game to be relatively close with Ohio pulling away late.  Final score 27-17.

Big 12: TCU at West Virginia (Under 56 at Wynn)

Just like in the ACC, this game sets up well for an under.  TCU has surprisingly imploded this year on offense.  QB Shawn Robinson has been removed as the starter and many believe backup Michael Collins isn’t a better option.  TCU RB Darius Anderson has had issues with fumbles all season long which has made it difficult to lean on the running game in these turbulent times for this program.  That said, Coach Gary Patterson still has a top tier defense and their defensive backs are elite.  They will need to be great against the tremendous passing attack of WVU.  WVU is coming off a miraculous comeback win against Texas last week.  There’s no doubt WVU’s intensity level will come down.  They also face the aforementioned 28th ranked pass defense in the country and I’m expecting a rough game here.  It will be cold with winds gusting over 15 MPH as well.  WVU wins this game 30-20.

Pac 12: Washington State at Colorado (Colorado +6.5 at W Hill)

Finally another classic Tony Johnson fade the public game!  This line opened at 4.5 and has crept up slowly as the week has gone on.  I would have been content with only 4.5 and love these extra points here.  Despite being the #8 team in the College Football Playoff, Wazzu has struggled of late and looked relatively pedestrian on both sides of the ball.  They were fortunate to get recent wins over Cal and Stanford the last two weeks.  It seems like a combination of believing in their own hype and wearing down after an exhausting schedule of big conference games.  QB Minshew looks out of sync and all of the rushing touchdowns they scored earlier in the season have eluded them.  Colorado is in a great spot to circle the wagons and restore order in Boulder.  Offensively Colorado has had back to back 34 point games.  Running back McMarion has been stellar alongside a veteran offensive line.  There are too many upperclassmen on Colorado for them to fade away this season.  I believe Colorado has a great shot to win this game outright and I will predict them to do just that in a 31-28 victory.

SEC: Vanderbilt at Missouri (Vanderbilt +17 at W Hill)

Here’s some more love/hate for us.  Last week we were on Mizzu and this week we fade them picking up a whopping 17 points!  Vanderbilt is coming off a bye and the week before played a nice complete game at Arkansas.  Derek Mason’s Vanderbilt team has been uncharacteristically unstable on defense this season.  They were routed against Georgia and South Carolina earlier in the season but I think those days are behind them.  That said, the game for Vanderbilt may hinge on whether QB Shurmur can stretch the field.  This team is finally fully healthy after the bye so I expect them to have a complete offensive game.  We also continue the theme this week of fading teams coming off a big win the previous week.  Missouri needed a conference victory and got it going away at Florida last week.  The big bonus for them is finally getting their best WR Emanuel Hall back from a groin injury.  They are 4-0 when he plays this season.  I like Mizzu to win the game but Vandy to keep it close enough throughout.  Final score 30-24 Mizzu.

I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone to listen to the Picks and Chatter podcast that airs every Friday here on http://www.VegasSquares.com.  You can also listen Saturday mornings at 11am eastern (8a PST) on 12 Oz Sports Radio.  Have a great weekend!

Results

ACC: 4-3

Big 10: 3-4

Big 12: 4-3

Pac 12: 3-4

SEC: 5-2

Overall: 19-16

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