It’s Week 13 (Week 14 if counting Week 0) as we’re into Thanksgiving Week with Championship Week right around the corner.
We took a step backward last weekend as we went 1-3 ATS with losses on Colorado +4.5 in an ugly 56-14 loss at Washington State, Utah +1 in an equally ugly 42-18 loss at Arizona and Nebraska +5.5 in a bit of a bad beat in a 24-17 OT loss at Wisconsin. Our lone win was on UNLV +3 at Air Force as the Runnin’ Rebels pulled off the 31-27 outright upset.
For the season, we still stand at a respectable 24-20-2 (54.5%) for a net profit of 2 units based on laying the standard -110.
Let’s get to the Thanksgiving Weekend menu!
As stated above, we should have won with Nebraska vs. Wisconsin after taking the game to overtime as 5.5-point dogs, but they lost by 7. Still, this pick isn’t with revenge in mind (I don’t believe in making knee-jerk reactions with our bets that way), but because we do believe that the wrong team is favored. Clearly, Iowa (9-2 and ranked No. 17) is better than Nebraska (5-6) by any measure, and even though the Cornhuskers are 2-1 at home in Big Ten play, they lost to 13-10 vs. Maryland in their last game in Lincoln, so the oddsmakers can’t give them too many points for home-field advantage. We all know Iowa games have historically low Over/Unders (this one is 26!!!) and they’re usually not low enough as the Hawkeyes have stayed Under in their last six games and 9-2 on the season. We don’t expect Nebraska to be able to crack the code and Iowa just needs to avoid turnovers to pull the minor upset.
Again, we get the better team plus points with Arkansas State (6-5) visiting Marshall (5-6), though not as glaring of a difference as Iowa-Nebraska. Marshall is coming off a 28-0 loss at South Alabama, and it’s noteworthy that Arkansas State only lost to South Alabama 21-14 a week before. Other recent common opponents include Arkie State only losing 27-17 vs. Coastal Carolina while the Chanticleers routed Marshall 34-6. In addition, Marshall only gained 201 yards in its last game while Arkansas State comes in hot with 487 yards gained in a 77-31 rout of Texas State
As many of my readers know, I grew up in the Chicago suburbs (shout-out to our homies in Glendale Heights and our other readers in Carol Stream, Hanover Park, yada, yada) and went to Northern Illinois, so this game is a battle between two schools that I was unable to get into. LOL! As an aside, I know I didn’t bother applying to Northwestern with my “B average” and just a 23 on the ACT, and not even sure I applied to UofI, but I like my original joke better as reality isn’t as funny. The IIllini is (or is it “Illini are”? … if I knew that I would have gone to one of these schools) on the verge of bowl-eligibility, but I’m not convinced they can win this game by a full touchdown that the spread is asking it (them?) to do, especially with uncertainty at the QB position earlier in the week. Besides, Northwestern is already bowl-eligible in a season that was considered lost after the firing of coach Pat Fitzgerald and is coming into this game off back-to-back wins over Wisconsin and Maryland (and only lost 10-7 vs. Iowa the week before).
There’s no doubt in this SEC matchup that LSU (8-3) should be favored at home over Texas A&M (7-4), but it’s a case where the number is inflated too much to pass on the dog, even if we’re not sure the Aggies can pull the outright upset. However, +11 gives us a lot of wiggle room to cover. I mean, if this line was around 3 or even 7, I would probably pass. Texas A&M QB Max Johnson was listed as questionable earlier in the holiday week with an “undisclosed issue,” so that’s something to monitor. But I often stick with teams plugging in a backup QB, especially if the line gets inflated even more. Besides, the key to keeping this game close is A&M’s defense, ranked No. 8 in the country in yards allowed per game and No. 26 in scoring defense. LSU’s defense is No. 106 in yards allowed per game and No. 87 in scoring defense.
Tuley Noted: After winning the prior four weeks with my first bet dropped from these columns, I lost with Southern Mississippi +14 at Mississippi State in a 41-20 defeat. This weekend’s first dropped play is Texas-San Antonio +3.5 at Tulane on Friday, so do with that what you will.