Some of you may have noticed there were no weekly picks last week. That's because I was on vacation, out to lunch for a full week without any contact with the outside world. Yeah, sure, I cleaned up some posts for the beginning of the week, but since I was lying out in the sun and enjoying margaritas, there was no chance of me being able to submit any gambling picks.
So I return this week to hopefully win you some more money in your weekly gambling pools. I hope this doesn't skew anyone's hopes and dreams from last week, but I did a very good job in putting together another 4-1 week a couple of weeks back. I'm really hitting stride at this point, which means let's strap in for the end of the season. There's only a few more opportunities to really hit the iron while it's hot.
Last Week (sort of): 4-1
Texas Tech at Texas (-1)
I've never been a big fan of Texas Tech's decision to never play defense, but it's paid off with some dividends. At 6-5, they're going to a bowl game regardless of outcome on Saturday. That came after winning a wild 59-44 victory over Kansas State.
I guess my biggest complaint about Texas Tech is that when their offense is really clicking, their opponent is blown away. But when their offense doesn't click enough, which is to say they require perfection, they get absolutely shredded because the defense is on the field way too much. Earlier this season, they coughed up 55 points to TCU, 63 points to Baylor, 63 points to Oklahoma, and 70 to Oklahoma State.
The point is that you should never score 50-plus points and lose, but that's Kliff Kingsbury's way of thinking.
Texas, meanwhile, needs to beat Texas Tech and Baylor in order to go to a bowl game. Ultimately, I don't think the Longhorns are going to a bowl, but I don't think they're losing at home to their little brother school that doesn't play any defense.
Texas can score points when they're rolling, and I think playing a team with no defense is something that helps them out. They need to come up with one or two stops in this one in order to win. They will.
#4 Iowa (-1.5) at Nebraska
Either the gambling community knows something I don't or this is one of those too good to be true bets. This is a lot like when Utah plays USC earlier this year. I don't have a very good feeling about it after that game, but let's be honest - you can't really pass up Iowa getting 1.5 against a Nebraska team that's 5-6 and fighting for its bowl lives.
Nebraska isn't Nebraska anymore, and Iowa is on a mission to make that College Football Playoff. I can't wait for absolute chaos, though, if Nebraska wins this game and Iowa somehow wins the Big Ten championship.
Massachusetts at Buffalo (-6.5)
UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford shot back at some Minutemen fans on Twitter last week after they called him out for the direction of the football program.
They're not winning this game, by the way.
Maryland at Rutgers (+1)
Can we deem this the "We should've stayed where we were" bowl?
Florida Atlantic (-4) at Old Dominion
I've been buying on FAU for the majority of the season, even if I haven't been betting on or against them. There's something about the school that's very scrappy of a football team, playing in Boca Raton as opposed to Orlando, Tampa, or Miami. They're unheralded, and they're good enough to hang with good teams and destroy bad teams. Old Dominion, although 5-6, is not a team I really fear, given their recent conversion from FCS team.
Old Dominion is 5-6 and I believe would be bowl eligible with a win. FAU is 2-9, but it's a much better 2-9 than the stats would indicate. I don't necessarily think they're going to win this game, but I don't think they're going to be blown out. Four points is a tight ship, but I'll take the Owls to cover.
LOCK OF THE WEEK
Boston College (-3.5) at Syracuse
Syracuse is one of the worst offensive and defensive teams in the nation. Even if BC stinks up the Carrier Dome on offense, they're going to absolutely dominate the Orange on the other side of the ball. Getting 3.5 in this seems like a steal, simply because the offense is going to be in a situation where they're playing a team substantially worse than they are on one side of the ball. That'll create more opportunities in juicy spots, playing against a team that's much more readily available for the picking.
After a season of playing top 10 or 20 ranked defenses, playing a team ranked somewhere below 100 is honestly going to be fun to watch. I know I said at the beginning of the year to make a list of teams you can't bet against with your heart - and never bet on them. But in this case, I think....what is that that I hear??
GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY! THAT'S BALDWIN JR'S MUSIC! CAW CAW!