Hello folks, your regular host Matt is on assignment today (AKA he's
getting lit celebrating Thanksgiving), so I, your fellow degenerate, am taking the reigns for the week. I hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving so far, and remember, if you need to distract your family away from awkward interactions, there's always Adele:
This week's games are actually split pretty evenly with some on Friday and some on Saturday, and two more tonight. So, if you're like me and like to rely on the if-bet, this week is perfect for you. On to the picks!
Required reading: Penn State vs. Michigan State (-11)
This line opened at -1.5 offshore, and when we assumed Connor Cook would be out, the line made sense. Dantonio, however, subscribes to Franklin's "Health and Privacy" newsletter, so Cook's status has changed to day-to-day. Since Cook is now a gametime decision, oddsmakers smartly readjusted the line to what properly reflects a game where Cook plays.
If we've learned anything about our Nittany Lions this season, it's that they're predictably unpredictable. That said, the only game this season where they visibly gave up was against Temple, and for good reason. Ever since that game, though, Penn State has fought tooth and nail in every game, even the one(s) where they knew the effort was futile. I expect the same kind of effort from Penn State, and for me it would depend on whether Connor Cook plays. That said, Michigan State has only beaten two Big Ten teams by more than seven points, and those two teams happen to be Maryland and Indiana. There's a good chance this game goes in that direction. If you don't feel comfortable taking Penn State +11, consider the total at 46.5. One is reflexively conditioned to assume under when Penn State plays, but the over has hit in the last two games, so I wouldn't be surprised if it does again.
Supporting Materials: Top Plays
A lot has been made of Nebraska's win over Michigan State. So much so that the line for the Iowa/Nebraska game is a measly 1.5 in favor of Iowa. Folks, I have no love lost for Iowa, but even I have to admit that Iowa is a good team that's getting it done this season. Nebraska is playing for bowl eligibility and a young but healthy rivalry, but there's no way Iowa lets this one slip past them with a playoff berth on the line. Take Iowa and the points. As always, buy that half-point if you want, but you shouldn't need to this week.
Navy has the inside track to an AAC West championship, having already beaten Memphis. But one game stands between them, and that's going to be one of the better ones on Friday's slate. Houston lost some luster after they lost at UConn, but they still have the playmaking ability to keep up with Navy. I'm honestly surprised the total in this game is only 61, so please, go ahead and take the over.
Purdue has shown some fight this week, so much so that they're the reason Nebraska is playing for bowl eligibility this week (well, that and Nebraska lost five other games). However, they're the only thing that stands between Indiana and a coveted bowl game, one they haven't reached since 2007. At the very worst, this game will be a shootout, but what I'm envisioning is a game just like Indiana's tilt with Maryland last week. Indiana starts out slow, letting Purdue hang around for a little bit, then they score three straight touchdowns that Purdue can't match in the third quarter, and that's all she wrote. This is another line that seems surprising to me. Take Indiana -6.5 and buy me something nice with your winnings.
SMU is not a good team by any stretch of the word(s), but they've actually been pretty decent ATS. They've given teams fits all year. Memphis proved to be human after their 3-game skid, so I'm not so sure they have the ability to win by more than 21 points at the moment. Take SMU +21.5.
Extra Credit: Matt's #HOT #PICKS
Northwestern -3.5 vs. Illinois
Northwestern gets a pseudo-home game down the lakeshore at Soldier Field, with a chance for 10 wins. The Illini are just 1-5 in their last six games, with the only win coming against hapless Purdue, and the losses have not been that close. Take the Cats and give those points.
Clemson -17.5 at South Carolina
I know you throw out the records in rivalry games, but well, Clemson is really really good, and South Carolina lost to The Citadel last weekend. 17.5 is a lot, but Dabo isn't letting up now.
Last Week's prop bet results
Crazy Carl Nassib Sacks - O/U 1.5: 0
Anthony Zettel Tackles For Loss - O/U 2.5: 0
Kyle Carter Receptions - O/U 3.5: 1
Honorary Senior Austin Johnson Sacks - O/U .5: 0
Honorary Senior Christian Hackenberg Touchdown Passes - O/U 1.5: 1
This Week's Prop Bets
Penn State Total Yards: O/U 150
Saquon Barkley all-purpose yards: O/U 150
Special Teams Turnovers: O/U 1.5
Carl Nassib game time: O/U 15 game minutes
Defensive Scores: O/U .5