GOY Best Bets Update
By Brian Edwards
We’ve hit on Games of the Year throughout the summer, whether it was ones released at the South Point, The Golden Nugget or the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas or various other offshore shops. One of those books, 5Dimes.eu, has recently released additional GOY that I haven’t seen posted at any other books.
Let’s hit on a bunch of those, including a pair of Friday night games in Week 2. South Alabama will host a Power Five team for only the third time in school history when Oklahoma State comes to Mobile on Sept. 8. 5Dimes has installed the Cowboys as 27-point road favorites.
USA lost at home to N.C. State by a 63-13 count two years ago and dropped a 35-3 decision to Dak Prescott and Mississippi State in 2014. However, the Jaguars won outright at Mississippi State in last year’s opener and also blew out then-unbeaten and 19th-ranked San Diego State 42-24 as 19-point home underdogs in ’16.
OSU will bring an explosive passing game to Ladd-Peebles Stadium featuring QB Mason Rudolph and WRs James Washington and Jalen McCleskey. This trio won’t have to face South Alabama’s premier cover corner Jalen Thompson, who has been ruled academically ineligible for the 2017 campaign. Thompson finished ’16 with 31 tackles, a team-high four interceptions, six passes broken up, one-half sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.
The other game that night is Ohio at Purdue. The Boilermakers are one-point home ‘chalk’ at 5Dimes. They’ll open the Jeff Brohm Era the previous week in Indianapolis where his alma mater (Louisville) will serve as Purdue’s opponent. Ohio opens at home against Hampton.
Frank Solich’s team finished 8-6 straight up and 7-7 against the spread last season. Ohio returns seven starters on offense and six on defense. The Bobcats have covered in their last three games on the road against Power Five schools. They took the cash in a 2015 loss at Minnesota (27-24) as 10-point underdogs, and then won outright at Kansas (37-21) last year and covered easily in a 28-19 loss at Tennessee. Solich’s club is 5-1 ATS in six games as a road ‘dog over the last two seasons.
Other Week 2 numbers include Northwestern -2 at Duke, Louisville -6 at North Carolina, Michigan -28 vs. Cincinnati, Boston College pick ‘em vs. Wake Forest, Alabama -42.5 vs. Fresno State, Virginia pick ‘em vs. Indiana, Missouri -1 vs. South Carolina, FSU -41.5 vs. ULM and Mississippi State -4.5 at La. Tech.
When Mississippi State last visited Ruston in the final season of Sylvester Croom’s tenure (’08), it lost outright by a 22-14 score. Northwestern won 19-10 at Duke two seasons ago and prevailed 24-13 in Evanston last year. We should note that Alabama has limped to a 3-13 spread record in its last 16 spots as a favorite of 35 points or more.
Since UCLA’s Week 3 game at Memphis was slotted for a noon Eastern kick several weeks ago, I’ve been talking on radio shows and my Games Galore podcast about how advantageous this game is for the Tigers from a situational standpoint. Obviously, flying East for the Bruins won’t be easy and the early kick will have their body clocks all messed up. In addition, the heat at the Liberty Bowl in mid-September during an early-afternoon game will be brutal compared to the more moderate temperatures UCLA players are accustomed to in Southern California.
I’ve been saying I like Memphis to win this game for weeks and will like the ‘over’ if the total is 75 points or fewer. 5Dimes has the Bruins favored by 2.5 points, so sign me up for the Tigers, who will have a dynamic offense led by QB Riley Ferguson and WR Anthony Miller.
One week after venturing to Mobile, Oklahoma State is on the road again to take on Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. 5Dimes has the Cowboys favored by six points. We should note that the star of Pitt’s defense, junior safety Jordan Whitehead, won’t be in uniform due to a three-game suspension that will end after this game. Remember, the Pokies won a 45-38 decision over the Panthers in Stillwater last September.
Whitehead, who Phil Steele has listed as the third-best strong safety that’s draft eligible for the NFL in 2018, recorded 65 tackles and one interception in nine games last season. Also, Pitt has dismissed senior starting DE Rori Blair from the program. Blair had 22 tackles, 3.5 sacks and five QB hurries in ’16. Therefore, Oklahoma State’s Rudolph will have some good fortune in these back-to-back road contests due to the absences of USA’s Thompson and Pitt’s Whitehead in the secondary. (And hey, we liked OSU to go ‘over’ 9 wins, win the Big 12 and get to the College Football Playoff before learning about Thompson, Whitehead and Blair.)
Other Week 3 lines are Notre Dame -7 at Boston College, South Carolina -2.5 vs. Kentucky, Missouri -11.5 vs. Purdue, Baylor -3 at Duke, Virginia Tech -21.5 at East Carolina, Washington State -11 vs. Oregon State, Alabama -28.5 vs. Colorado State, Kansas State -6 at Vanderbilt, Ohio State -30 vs. Army, Ole Miss -3.5 at California, Georgia Tech -6.5 at UCF and Texas Tech -2.5 vs. Arizona State.
If there’s one game that stands out to me among those in the above paragraph, I’m all about South Carolina -2.5 vs. UK at Williams-Brice Stadium. I’ll also mention that I would lean to Vandy as a home ‘dog vs. K-State. The Commodores are 7-1 ATS in their last eight such spots.
On a Friday game (9/22) in Week 4, Virginia is listed as a nine-point ‘dog at 5Dimes for its trip to the smurf turf to take on Boise State. UVA not only has to fly West, but it must do so on a short week. This obviously gives BSU a major advantage.
(Quick Note: These “new” games have double juice both ways (-120 to bet either side). On the flip side, the games that have had numbers on them (like Texas A&M vs Arkansas in Week 4 at Jerry World) have -110 odds either way.)
Other Week 4 lines include Clemson -25.5 vs. BC, UNC -8 vs. Duke, West Virginia -13 at Kansas, Ohio State -36 vs. UNLV, Maryland -4.5 vs. UCF, Miami -15 vs. Toledo, FSU -19.5 vs. N.C. State, Georgia Tech -2 vs. Pitt, Oregon -3 at Arizona State, Florida -5.5 at Kentucky, Alabama -23 at Vandy, Washington -9 at Colorado, South Carolina -11 vs. La. Tech, LSU -20.5 vs. Syracuse, Georgia -10.5 vs. Mississippi State, Auburn -13 at Missouri, Michigan -22 at Purdue and Appalachian State -3 vs. Wake Forest.
Keep an eye on Toledo in its trip to South Fla. If the Rockets have their druthers, they certainly want this game to be played at night to alleviate some of the intense heat in Miami. Toledo catches the Hurricanes one week after they play a rivalry game at FSU and before they go on the road to play Duke in a nationally-televised Friday night game. The Rockets have Logan Woodside, who completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 4,129 passing yards with a 45/9 touchdown-to-interception ratio last year. Since 2011, Toledo is 14-5 ATS as a road ‘dog.
Florida has won 30 in a row over Kentucky, which is college football’s longest current winning streak in a head-to-head rivalry. Colorado will be looking to avenge the 41-10 beatdown it took from Washington in last year’s Pac-12 Championship Game. If I had to throw out a few leans in these Week 4 tilts, I’d look at Missouri as a double-digit home ‘dog to vs. AU and N.C. State (my ACC sleeper) catching the big number in Tallahassee. I want to add Appalachian State as well, but I want to see how it fares in its opener between the hedges before showing too much confidence in the Mountaineers (although they’re my pick to win the Sun Belt ahead of Troy).
Moving on to Week 5, Texas is a nine-point ‘chalk’ at Iowa State on Thursday night. There are four games on Friday, including three “new lines:” Miami -11 at Duke, BYU -10.5 at Utah State and Nebraska -10.5 at Illinois. The fourth Friday game is Washington State +10 vs. Southern Cal, and I like the Cougars. They’ll be playing their fifth consecutive home game in Pullman, while the Trojans will be on a short week and on the road again after facing Cal in Berkeley the previous Saturday.
Other Week 5 lines are N.C. State -10 vs. the ‘Cuse, FSU -19.5 at Wake Forest, Oklahoma State -10 at Texas Tech, PSU -21 vs. IU, Michigan State pick ‘em vs. Iowa, Minnesota -10.5 vs. Maryland, Wisconsin -13.5 vs. Northwestern, Washington -14 at Oregon State, Auburn -14 vs. Mississippi State, Alabama -25 vs. Ole Miss, Texas A&M -6.5 vs. South Carolina, LSU -23 vs. Troy, Florida -14 vs. Vandy and Notre Dame -19.5 vs. Miami (OH.).
I like Miami (OH.) catching the big number in South Bend. The RedHawks started ’16 by losing their first six games (three one-possession L’s) mainly because QB Gus Ragland wasn’t fully healthy yet. Ragland returned to the starting lineup and promptly led his team on a six-game winning streak to earn a postseason bid.
In the St. Petersburg Bowl, Miami (OH.) had a potential game-winning field goal blocked on the final play of a 17-16 loss to Mississippi State. Nevertheless, Ragland finished the year with 17 TD passes compared to only one interception. He has a 20/1 career TD-INT ratio and gets back both of his top WRs and the three leading rushers. The RedHawks return nine starters on offense and eight on defense. They also have their five leading tacklers back. Don’t be shocked if Ragland has Miami (OH.) in this game against the Fighting Irish for four quarters.
Another team to keep an eye on in a non-conference clash is Troy for its trip to Baton Rouge. LSU will have a huge revenge game on deck at Florida, meaning it will fall into a vintage look-ahead scenario. The Trojans finished last season 10-3, losing by only six on the road in the other Death Valley against the eventual national champs (Clemson obviously).
Neal Brown's Troy team returns eight starters on offense and six on defense. QB Brandon Silvers has a 54/22 career TD-INT ratio and was the first-team All Sun Belt QB in '16. Silvers has all of his skill players of note returning, including RB Jordan Chunn (1,288 rushing yards & 16 TDs), WR Emanuel Thompson (80 catches, 820 yards & 6 TDs) and WR Deondre Douglas (60/740 & 6 TDs).
Furthermore, Troy has covered the number in five consecutive games as a double-digit underdog. The Trojans are 12-5-1 ATS in their last 18 as double-digit 'dogs, and they're 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 outings as road puppies.
In Week 6, we have new numbers for these contests: Notre Dame -2 at UNC, Clemson -21.5 vs. Wake Forest, Duke -1 at UVA, Texas Tech -7 at KU, Washington -23 vs. Cal, Oregon -2.5 vs. Washington State, Stanford -4 at Utah, South Carolina -1.5 vs. Arkansas, UGA -7.5 at Vandy, UK -5.5 vs. Missouri, Auburn -14 vs. Ole Miss, PSU -7 at Northwestern and Ohio State -28.5 vs. Maryland.
None of those Week 6 games are screaming at me, but I'll mention slight leans to Missouri +5.5 and Auburn -14.
5Dimes has Miami as a 7.5-point home favorite vs. Georgia Tech in a Thursday game during Week 7. On Friday, Clemson is favored by 17 points for its game at the Carrier Dome against the ‘Cuse. Other Week 7 lines include FSU -18.5 at Duke, U of L -17.5 vs. BC, UNC -13 vs. UVA, Pitt -3 vs. N.C. State, Iowa State -12 vs. KU, Oklahoma State -8.5 vs. Baylor, WVU -7 vs. Texas Tech, Minnesota -4 vs. Sparty, UCLA -4.5 at Arizona, Colorado -1.5 at Oregon State, Washington -14 at Arizona State, Mississippi State -3 vs. BYU, UGA -14.5 vs. Missouri, Tennessee -10.5 vs. South Carolina, Ole Miss -6 vs. Vandy and Michigan -13.5 at IU.
I have several matchups I like in Week 7 such as South Carolina +10.5, West Virginia -7, Oklahoma State -8.5 and Mississippi State -3.
New Week 8 spreads include a pivotal AAC game that falls on a Thursday in Houston, where the Cougars are favored by four vs. Memphis. Other lines for Oct. 21 are Pitt -3 at Duke, Georgia Tech -7 vs. Wake Forest, Miami -17 vs. Syracuse, UVA -2 vs. BC, Virginia Tech -7.5 vs. UNC, Texas Tech -4.5 vs. Iowa State, TCU -20 vs. KU, Northwestern -3 vs. Iowa, Cal -3 vs. Arizona, Utah -6.5 vs. ASU, Mississippi State -3 vs. UK, LSU -10 at Ole Miss and Sparty -4 vs. IU.
My Week 8 likes are Mississippi State -3, Houston -4 and Northwestern -3.
On Thursday in Week 9, 5Dimes has Stanford installed as a 9.5-point favorite for its Thursday trip to Corvallis to face Oregon State Then on Friday, FSU will probably have a cold-weather game at BC as a 22-point road ‘chalk.’
The spreads on Oct. 28 look like this: Miami -5 at UNC, Pitt -12 vs. UVA, Virginia Tech -14 vs. Duke, U of L -8 at Wake Forest, TCU -6.5 at Iowa State, K-State -17 at KU, Oklahoma -23 vs. Texas Tech, Iowa -4.5 vs. Minnesota, Nebraska -11.5 at Purdue, Washington State -6 at Arizona, USC -15 at ASU, Colorado -10.5 vs. Cal, Ole Miss -3 vs. Arkansas, Texas A&M -6.5 vs. Mississippi State, Tennessee -3 at Kentucky, South Carolina -4 vs. Vandy, Northwestern -7.5 vs. Sparty and Notre Dame -4.5 vs. N.C. State.
The Week 9 leans for me are Arkansas +3 and Florida +2 vs. Georgia.
In Week 10, we have new lines for games like FSU -25.5 vs. Syracuse, Georgia Tech -6.5 at UVA, K-State -6 at Texas Tech, Baylor -12 at KU, WVU -15.5 vs. Iowa State, Maryland -3 at Rutgers (Yankee Stadium), Michigan -14.5 vs. Minnesota, Nebraska -3 vs. Northwestern, Wisconsin -15.5 at IU, Cal pick ‘em vs. Oregon State, ASU -1 vs. CU, Auburn -7 at Texas A&M, Florida -9.5 at Missouri, Mississippi State -22.5 vs. UMass, UK -2 vs. Ole Miss and Tennessee -21 vs. Southern Miss.
I’ll be on Mark Stoops’s Kentucky squad if its laying three or fewer against the Rebels. The line on my Gators at 9.5 looks a tad rich for their trip to Missouri. I say that because I think QB Drew Lock and WR J’Mon Moore are poised for huge seasons. Also, UF be facing the Tigers one week after a crucial game vs. UGA, leaving the Gators in potential letdown mode.
As for Weeks 11, 12 and 13, 5Dimes has a lot of new games listed on its board, but the offshore shop hasn’t lined those games as of yet.
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