I am currently on the worst run of my life. The Six Pack went 0-5-1 last week after going 1-5 the week before. I’ve never finished a season with a losing record as long as I’ve been giving picks here at CBSSports.com, and I currently find myself sitting at 24-29-1 on the season.
The way I figure, this means one of only two things. Either I have no idea what I’m doing anymore, or I’m due for some good luck soon. For my sanity, I’m going to pretend it’s the latter while living in fear it’s the former. Either way, if you choose to take the opposite of every pick I make here, I’m all for it as long as it works out for you. As long as I’m making money for somebody, it’s all good.
So will you #TrustTheProcess or #FadeTheProcess? The decision is up to you, and absolves me of all responsibility! Hooray, I’m already winning again!
Games of the Week
No. 1 Alabama at No. 3 LSU (Under 54): Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson once said that “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” To this point in the 2018 season, nobody has even managed to lay a finger on Alabama, let alone punch it in the mouth. Is this the week it happens? I don’t know, but defensively, LSU is capable of making life uncomfortable for the Tide. There aren’t many secondaries in the country as good at limiting the explosive plays Alabama’s offense has made a living off of in the passing game this season. With Greedy Williams and Kristian Fulton at corner, LSU has a pair of guys it can trust to line up across from Alabama’s big play receivers. The Tigers also have Grant Delpit and John Battle on the back end to help out.
Theoretically, this will allow LSU the opportunity to use its front seven to find ways to put pressure on Tua Tagovailoa. The problem is I don’t trust LSU’s offense enough to take the Tigers and the points. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Alabama’s defense is pretty good too, so even if LSU slows down Alabama enough to make Tagovailoa take snaps in the fourth quarter, I don’t know if LSU can score enough to keep pace over 60 minutes. So instead, I’m going to trust both defenses to keep things reasonable out there. I mean, the under isn’t exactly a new phenomenon in this series. The under has hit in the last four meetings between these two and the last five meetings in Baton Rouge. In fact, during Alabama’s current seven-game win streak over LSU, these two have averaged a total of 33.9 points per game. Alabama 27, LSU 14
No. 6 Georgia (-8.5) at No. 9 Kentucky: So Georgia and Kentucky are playing with the SEC East on the line, just as we all predicted would be the case back in August. Honestly, I don’t know how Kentucky keeps doing what its doing, but darn it if those wily Wildcats don’t figure out a way to keep scraping out wins.
And that’s why I can’t bet on it here. I know Kentucky is at home, and I know it has a terrific defense, but it can’t score. Scoring points is a pivotal part of winning football games in 2018, and I don’t think a one-dimensional Kentucky offense will be able to do much against this Georgia team. Georgia has one of the most efficient offenses in the country, and even if Kentucky slows it down, it’s not going to be able to stop it altogether. Georgia 28, Kentucky 14
Lock of the Week
Air Force at Army (Under 44): This is an automatic play for me every time it happens. As I wrote in this same column a few weeks ago, you want to bet the under any time two service academies are playing one another. Why? Well, because the under has gone 24-6-1 in games between Army, Air Force, and Navy since the 2008 season. I was fortunate enough to get this line at 49.5 shortly after it was first posted, but it’s been bet down by sharps to 44 now, and it’ll likely go down further before kick on Saturday. So get in as quickly as possible. Army 24, Air Force 17
Underdog of the Week
Florida Atlantic (+3.5) at Florida International: Every once in a while you’ll see a line that’s set based on the perception of the teams involved rather than the ability of each team. This is one of those times. Casual bettors will see that FIU is 6-2 and FAU is 3-5 and think FIU being favored by only 3.5 points is easy money. Well, the record doesn’t tell the whole story. According to Sagarin ratings, FIU has played the 143rd ranked schedule in the country (Sagarin ratings include FCS teams) and the 122nd ranked schedule according to S&P+. FAU, on the other hand, has played the 60th most difficult schedule in the nation according to Sagarin and 42nd according to S&P+. Just because their records are different doesn’t mean the talent level of these teams is all that different. In fact, I’m of the inclination that FAU should be favored in this one, and I’m taking them to win outright as well. Florida Atlantic 34, Florida International 31
Revenge Game of the Week
UCLA (+10.5) at Oregon: Chip Kelly returns to Autzen Stadium to take on his former team. No, he’s not out looking for revenge, but I needed something to call this pick and Revenge Game of the Week sounded good. Anyway, I just think this spread is a little too large. After pulling off a win against Washington three weeks ago, the Ducks have lost their last two, and they’ve looked worse than the week before in each performance. UCLA, meanwhile, hasn’t been great, but it’s not as bad as its record suggests. I mentioned the difference in schedule strength between FAU and FIU in the last pick, and UCLA’s SOS ranks third in Sagarin and first in S&P+. The Bruins have had a hard road, and I expect that this game will be important for Kelly for all the obvious reasons, and the Bruins will play well. Oregon 35, UCLA 27
The Other Under of the Week
Duke at Miami (Under 51): There has been little to no consistency on Miami’s offense in recent weeks. The Canes have gone from Malik Rosier to N’Kosi Perry and back to Rosier, but none of these changes have led to Miami’s offense being anything better than average. Miami has scored 27 points in its last two games, but aside from the first quarter of last week’s loss to Boston College, the defense has continued to be sturdy. As far as Duke is concerned, the Blue Devils have lost four straight to Miami and have averaged 16 points per game in those losses. Miami has one of the most disruptive defenses in the country, and Duke has struggled with pressure this season. It just feels like a bad matchup for them and one in which I don’t expect either team to score a lot of points. Miami 27, Duke 17
SportsLine Bonus Pick of the Week
No. 4 Notre Dame at Northwestern: Notre Dame looks to keep its College Football Playoff hopes alive on the road against Northwestern. The Irish are 9.5-point favorites with the total set at 53.5. I have a strong play on the spread at this game, and you can read my explanation for the pick over at SportsLine.
Game(s) of the Week
Lock of the Week
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