Last week, not such a hot start. FSU was the only pick that came through for me…a lot of close calls, but that doesn’t matter, if you lose you lose and it really doesn’t matter if it was close or a never even a contest…and hey, the same goes the other way…so we just need some ugly wins to get back on track and boy do we have some smelly dogs to get to today. So, let’s hop right to it…my stone cold locks of the week in the NFL and college football!
UCF (-5.5) home against Louisville tonight- UCF at home against Louisville tonight in a rematch from last season where everything went wrong for the Knights, not only did their defense allow 42 points and 500 total yards from scrimmage, they also lost the game, and their starting QB Dillon Gabriel for the season – and he has since transferred to OU. But fear not, because John Rhys Plumlee is in the house! This is a classic revenge spot for the Knights, and they play a team that just lost 31-7 to Syracuse – hard to explain that one…but the number has dropped to a point where its palatable for UCF. -5.5 as home favorites, I’ll take that. UCF -5.5, lock it up.
Kentucky (+6.5) @ Florida- This game is tough and the last thing I want to do after that incredible win @ the Swamp last Saturday is to go against the Gators, but this # is simply too high. In order to evaluate this properly, I have to remind myself how I viewed this matchup going into the season, and not based on the hype created in week 1. Kentucky matches up really well with florida and going into the year, they were supposed to be the better team, so the fact that they’re nearly a touchdown underdog is a bit much. Will Levis can sling it, and if the Wildcats find themselves in the Gators redzone as often as Utah did, I expect them to convert those opportunities into points – which the Utes could not. The Gators benefitted last week from a Utah team that scored just 3.5 points per red zone possession. Won’t be the case this week, I’m threading the needle, Gators win but Kentucky covers, lock it up.
Stanford (+8.5) welcoming in the All-Hype USC Squad- What did USC do last weekend to warrant being 8.5 point favorites against a good Stanford team, with a good QB, on the road? Beat up on Rice? Color me unimpressed. Look, I know USC has talent, no denying that, but Stanford is well coached, and they’ve got some players too. Tanner McKee @ QB can sling it, and they’ve got EJ Smith, Emmitt’s kid – great gene pool. I’ll back the Cardinal at home in prime-time. Lock it up!
Lions (+4) standing room only home game vs Philly- Call it Hard Knocks hype, call it whatever you want, but I’m bought in. It’s GRIT season baby and the Lions are coming out swinging. They face a tough opponent here with the Eagles coming to town, but the Lions play teams really close, and they were cover monsters last year in the betting world. Solid o-line play, decent weapons, improved defense, and a great home field advantage. This is a field goal game either way so take the bonus point here and run to the window. Lions +4. LOCK IT UP!
Steelers (+6.5) visiting the Bengals- Originally, I wanted no part of this game when looking at it, but sometimes, those are the ones you need to reexamine. When do you ever get a Steelers team, in a divisional matchup, as a 6.5 point underdog? Answer: Doesn’t happen. This is crazy value. I know the Bengals owned the Steelers last season outscoring them 65-20, but this is a brand new season. Big Ben is gone and believe it or not, they actually have an upgrade @ QB. Mitch Trubisky is better right now than what Big Ben was last year. The Steelers have a dominant RB, great receivers, and the best edge rusher on the planet in TJ Watt. They’re keeping this one close. Pittsburgh +6.5. Lock it up.
Cowboys (+2.5) SNF Prime-Time vs Brady/Bucs- As long as Dak Prescott’s cleats don’t foul him up, the Boys have an opportunity to steal one at home. I’ve always loved backing the Cowboys in prime-time, they seem to get up for these spots. A lot will be made of what the Cowboys have lost offensively with Tyron Smith, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup. But a lot of the same can be said for Bucs team that’s trying to the fill the void of multiple missing pieces on the o-line, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronksowski. Plus, we still aren’t sure if Chris Godwin will play. Cowboys, prime-time, 2.5 point home dogs, I have to take this. Lock it up.