LW: 5-4 , +0.6 units
We were burned by bad beats in Oregon and Wisconsin/Iowa game. Week should’ve been 7-2. Whatever, it’s all about the process baby. The bad beats will even out by the end of the season. Back on the horse and READY TO ROLL.
2018: 18-20, -4.15 units
Jack Mac’s Stay In The BLACK Picks:
OSU -3 (1 unit)
Notre Dame -5.5 (1 unit)
BC/Temple under 54 (1 unit)
WVU -3.5 (1 unit)
Kentucky pk (1unit)
Baylor +24 (1 unit)
Wyoming +17 (1 unit)
6-point teaser: Mississippi State -1/North Texas -1.5 (1 unit)
Cincinnati -17.5 (1 unit)
BYU +17.5 (1 unit)
Tennessee +30.5 (1 unit)
Colorado -9.5 (FRIDAY) (0.5 unit)
Virginia/NC State under 54.5 (0.5 unit)
I changed up this article a bit to make it more readable. For each play, I will give bullet points on why I like it, followed by stats backing it up. The stats I use can be defined here. How I see a team winning a football game is simple: control the ball (success rate), combined with explosiveness (IsoPPP), not turning the ball over (expected turnover margin), field position, and scoring when you are inside the opponents 40 (points per scoring opportunity). All of these stats can be translated to defense and specific parts of the game (passing, rushing, 3rd downs, red zone).
Ohio State (-3, O/U 71) @ Penn State:
-Ohio State will control the game on offense: Looking at efficiency, OSU ranks 2nd overall, while Penn State’s defense ranks 43rd. When inside the 40, OSU scores the 6th most on average. Penn State is allowing the 39th least in those situations. That’s nothing to scoff at, but the difference matters in a game like this.
-Ohio State loves to throw the ball and they won’t have a problem against Penn State’s secondary: On standard downs, OSU throws the ball the 54th most in the country. On passing downs, that number goes all the way up to the 27th most. This makes sense considering they rank 5th in passing efficiency. Penn State’s defense ranks 61st in that metric. Haskins will have his way.
-Give the ball to JK Dobbins/Mike Weber and let them rock: OSU may not run the ball a lot, but they will be able to on this PSU defense that ranks 73rd in rush defense efficiency. Thanks to their double-headed monster in the backfield, OSU ranks 31st in that metric.
-Penn State won’t be able to take advantage of Ohio State’s poor defense against explosiveness: Ohio State’s biggest issues right now is allowing explosive plays on defense, a place they rank 105th. In past years, Penn State would’ve been able to take advantage of this. This year? Not so much. Without Joe Moorhead, PSU’s offense ranks 75th in explosiveness.
I’m not overly confident in this play, but I see the Ohio State offense getting what they want against a lackluster Penn State defense while stopping the PSU offense enough to win. Am I concerned about Dwayne Haskins in the whiteout environment? Not really. This guy is a gamer. Let’s not forget about how he came into the game against Michigan last year in Ann Arbor and won it for Ohio State.
I Don’t Support Their Morals, But It’s A Damn Good Team Pick: Ohio State -3
Stanford @ Notre Dame (-5.5, O/U 53):
-Ian Book adds a whole new dimension to Notre Dame: Brian Kelly finally switching over to Ian Book from Brandon Wimbush was long overdue. Just look at what he did against Wake Forest: 25/34, 325 yards, 2 TDs, 43 yards rushing, 3 TDs. Stanford is a much better team than Wake Forest, but they do rank 54th in success rate and 52nd in explosiveness. Book will be able to put up decent numbers on this defense.
-Stanford’s Offense Is BLAHHHH: There are only 19 teams with a worse success rate than Stanford’s offense. Their best trait? Explosiveness, where they rank 7th. Notre Dame will combat that with their defense that is 12th best in the country defending against explosive plays.
-KJ Costello will struggle: I’m sick of seeing KJ Costello throw the ball up in the air and it somehow working. Notre Dame’s pass defense, that ranks 36th in efficiency and 25th in explosiveness, will be able to make life difficult for Costello and Arcega-Whiteside.
This is Stanford’s second consecutive game on the road against a top-25 team. I see it being too much for an overrated team. Last week’s win was a miracle. David Shaw is a great coach, but this situation will be too much for his team. There won’t be any miracles happening on Saturday with Touchdown Jesus overlooking the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame wins 28-17 and puts themselves in prime position to make a CFP push.
Don’t Bet The Nerds Game Of The Week: Notre Dame -5.5
West Virginia (-3.5, O/U 73.5) @ Texas Tech:
-WVU offense will get what they want: Mountaineers ranks 3rd in success rate and 26th in explosiveness (IsoPPP). Texas Tech’s defense ranks 59th and 126th in those same metrics.
-WVU will limit TTU explosiveness: Kliff Kingsbury’s offense depends on explosive plays to stay in games, although they rank just 69th in explosiveness in 2018. West Virginia’s defense ranks 16th in explosive plays allowed.
-WVU loves to throw the ball, TTU can’t defend it: WVU throws the ball the 18th most on standard downs and 59th most on passing downs. Overall, they rank 1st in passing efficiency and 27th in passing explosiveness. Compare that to Texas Tech’s pass defense that ranks a lowly 94th & 85th in those same statistics.
-WVU will dominate on third down: Texas Tech’s offense ranks 89th in 3rd down success rate, WVU’s defense ranks 8th. Texas Tech’s defense ranks 55th in 3rd down success rate, WVU’s offense ranks 20th.
-WVU pass defense will be enough to slow down Texas Tech’s passing attack: Texas Tech has an advantage here, but it’s not massive. TTU ranks 17th in passing success rate and 76th in passing explosiveness, while WVU’s pass defense has put out an impressive 55th & 27th in those same metrics.
West Virginia matches up well with Texas Tech this week. This is their toughest matchup of the season so far, but I see Will Grier and a relatively good West Virginia defense taking down Texas Tech in Lubbock.
Vine Star Game Of The Year: West Virginia -3.5
South Carolina @ Kentucky (pk, O/U 50.5):
-Kentucky will run all over South Carolina: Kentucky runs the ball the 24th most on standard downs and 13th most on passing downs. Why? Benny Snell. It’s worked so far this season, as they rank 37th in rushing efficiency and 16th in rushing explosiveness. I see that continuing against South Carolina on Saturday, a team that ranks 100th in rushing efficiency. The lack of a passing game from Kentucky won’t matter on Saturday thanks to controlling the ground game. In every position on the field, Kentucky will get what they want when they hand the ball off.
-Good luck scoring on Kentucky’s defense: Kentucky’s defense ranks 7th overall according to S&P+. Their success rate ranks 19th while holding a top-5 showing in explosiveness. They are allowing the 6th least points per scoring opportunity in the nation. South Carolina’s offense does rank 25th overall according to S&P+, but will struggle on Saturday.
-Turnovers: Kentucky ranks 39th in expected turnover margin, while South Carolina ranks 110th.
This is Kentucky’s biggest football game in years. I expect them to dominate in the trenches and give South Carolina’s offense a rough time. Lexington will be rocking and Kentucky will move to 5-0.
Basketball School NoMo Game Of The Month: Kentucky pk
Baylor @ Oklahoma (-24, O/U 68):
-Baylor’s offense will be able to put up points: Baylor’s offense ranks 30th in efficiency, 22nd in explosiveness, and 41st in points per scoring opportunity. Oklahoma’s defense in those same categories: 78th, 17th, and 35th. Oklahoma’s defense is better than a lot assume, but I still see Baylor’s offense being able to move the ball due to the discrepancy in efficiency and the next bullet point below.
-Baylor’s pass offense will give Oklahoma problems: I’m a big fan of Charlie Brewer (22nd in FPI QBR), who has led a passing attack that throws the ball the 14th most on standard downs and 55th most on passing downs. Baylor’s passing efficiency ranks 24th in the country and 46th in explosiveness. Oklahoma’s pass defense ranks 91st in passing efficiency and 76th in passing explosiveness. Brewer will have his way.
-Oklahoma does hold the edge in explosiveness when they have the ball: Overall, Oklahoma ranks 4th in IsoPPP (explosiveness). Baylor’s defense is 89th in that statistic. Although, they are decent against defending against big passing plays (38th).
-Oklahoma has Texas next week: LOOOOOOKAHEAD!
In a lookahead situation, Baylor is getting too many points. This is not the Baylor team from last year. They have a good offense led by a great QB and a phenomenal receiving core. They’ll come into this one looking to pull of the upset and keep it within 10-20 points.
Red River Lookahead Game Of The Month: Baylor +24
Cincinnati (-17.5, O/U 58) @ UConn:
-I don’t have to tell you this, but UConn’s defense STINKS: They are allowing 9.22 YPP and 54.5 POINTS PER GAME. Dead last in success rate. 6th worst in explosiveness. 129th in points per scoring opportunity (inside 40-yard-line).
-Cincinnati offense will have a field day: They rank 36th in success rate and 17th in points per scoring opportunity. Their passing attack ranks 30th and will be going up against UConn’s pass defense that ranks dead last. The rush defense for UConn? 2nd to last.
-Good luck scoring on Cincinnati: You may look at UConn’s final scores and see they can put up some points. The offense does rank 77th in success rate and 75th in explosiveness. The bad news for them? Cincinnati has a great defense: 44th overall, 20th in success rate, 22nd in explosive plays allowed and 30th in points per scoring opportunity.
-Field position: Cincinnati, on average, starts with the 36th best FP in the country. UConn? 4th worst.
I’m going to keep fading UConn until they prove me wrong. I still don’t think enough people understand how bad this UConn team really is. Cincinnati wins this one by 4+ scores. 17 points is too low.
Randy Edsall Fade Of The Week: Cincinnati -17.5
Louisiana Tech @ North Texas (-7.5, O/U 64) & Florida @ Mississippi State (-7, O/U 50.5):
-North Texas will dominate Louisiana Tech on offense: Ranking 34th in success rate, North Texas holds a big advantage over Louisiana Tech’s defense that ranks 109th in success rate. North Texas is scoring at a top-50 rate inside the 40, while Louisiana Tech is allowing the 5th most points inside the 40.
-North Texas Field Position: North Texas is starting with the 2nd best FP in America. Louisiana Tech?! 123rd.
-Turnovers: North Texas expected turnover margin ranks 44th. They take care of the ball. LTech? 101st.
-North Texas defense is LEGIT: Louisiana Tech has a great defense that ranks 42nd in success rate and 52nd in explosiveness. North Texas will match up well with their top-30 success rate and explosiveness.
-Special Teams: LT has the 11th worst ST unit in the country. North Texas ranks 6th.
-Mississippi State will win explosiveness battle: MSU’s offense ranks 18th in creating explosive plays. Florida’s defense ranks 87th in that metric on defense.
-Mississippi State will control ground: Last week was a disappointment for the Bulldogs run game. However, they still do rank 2nd in rushing efficiency, 24th in rushing explosiveness, 1st in opportunity rate, and 1st in stuff rate. Florida in those statistics? 24th, 82nd, 44th, 37th.
Louisiana Tech and Florida are both relatively good teams, although I don’t see them winning their games this weekend. North Texas holds matchup advantages all over the field, while Mississippi State’s motivation will be high going up against their ex-coach for the first time since he left. Let’s tease these two down to 1/1.5.
#ItJustMeansMore Teaser Of The Week: Mississippi State -1/North Texas -1.5 (6-point teaser)
BYU @ Washington (-17.5, O/U 45.5):
-BYU will keep Washington’s offense in check: Washington has surprisingly struggled on offense in 2018. Putting up a success rate that ranks just 65th. Where do they stand in explosive plays? 61st. Points per scoring opportunity? 59th. BYU’s defense does rank in the bottom 45 of success rate allowed, but their allowing the 9th least explosive plays and giving up the 20th least points per scoring opportunity. Washington will be able to move the ball, but BYU will limit their damage.
-BYU will be able to run the ball: Squally Canada is one of the best G5 backs in the country. The BYU rushing attack ranks 41st, while Washington’s rush defense ranks 44th.
-Special teams: BYU has a top-25 special teams unit. Washington ranks 87th.
-3rd downs: While on offense, BYU ranks 48th in third-down success rate, Washington’s defense ranks 125th.
BYU isn’t afraid of big-time opponents. We saw that earlier in the year with their upset victory over Wisconsin. Do I see them doing it again here? Probably not, but I see them keeping it within 2 scores.
Mormon Doggy Style Game Of The Week: BYU +17.5
Boise State (-17, O/U 46.5) @ Wyoming:
-Wyoming’s rush offense will be able to control the clock: Wyoming’s rush offense ranks 36th in efficiency, while Boise State’s rush defense ranks 85th. In overall marginal efficiency, Boise State’s defense ranks 54th, while Wyoming’s offense ranks 65th.
-Wyoming’s defense will give Boise State trouble: Boise State has an electric offense thanks to their passing attack (passing the ball the 2nd most on standard downs and 7th most on passing downs). In efficiency, the Broncos passing attack ranks 10th and 41st in explosiveness. Wyoming’s pass defense? 57th in efficiency and 46th in explosiveness. Boise State will be able to pass the ball, but Wyoming’s pass defense will give it enough problems to slow it down.
-Field position: Wyoming ranks 61st. Boise State? 47th.
-Points per scoring opportunity (inside 40-yard-line): Boise State is allowing the 119th most PPSO in the country. If Wyoming can get the ball across the 40, they’ll be able to put up points.
-Wyoming will take care of the ball: Wyoming ranks 34th in expected turnover margin. Boise State ranks 108th.
In their last three meetings, Wyoming has kept the game within 20 points each time, including a victory over BSU in Laramie in 2016. I expect Craig Bohl’s team to keep this one close in a home game.
Don’t Mess With Laramie Game Of The Month: Wyoming +17
Temple @ Boston College (-13, O/U 54):
-Boston College offense excels at big plays and scoring inside the 40, Temple excels at stopping that: BC ranks 11th in IsoPPP and 8th in points per scoring opportunity. On defense, Temple ranks 8th in both of those categories.
-Both these teams protect the ball: Temple ranks 16th in expected turnover margins, while BC ranks 5th. No turnovers in this one.
-Field position: Both of these teams start deep in their own territory. BC starts with the 75th best FP, while Temple starts with the 93rd best FP. Most drives will start inside their own 30’s.
-BC defense will dominate Temple’s offense: According to S&P+, Temple has the 28th worst offense in the country. That’s not good news for them going up against a top-50 defense that is looking to prove a point after a terrible performance at Purdue. Boston College is going to give Temple’s offense problems all day.
54 is too many points in this one. This is going to be one of those Noon games that takes 2 hours and you forgot was even on after seeing BC won 20-13. Legs are going to be dead. The crowd will be out of it. Give me the under.
Newton Mass Isn’t A Football Town Game Of The Year: Under 54
Tennessee @ Georgia (-30.5, O/U 52.5)
-Tennessee will be able to run the ball: Tennessee has a rushing attack that ranks 58th in efficiency. Georgia ranks 108th. They’ll be to control the clock when they have the ball.
-Georgia loves to run the ball, Tennessee is decent defending it: Georgia ranks in the top-10 in efficiency while running the ball. They won’t have a problem, but Tennessee’s defense ranks 46th.
I am buying low on Tennessee here. We are getting 4+ scores in a game Georgia couldn’t care less about.
Buy Low Game Of The Week: Tennessee +30.5
Leans (24-12, 7-5 LW): Michigan -14, ECU -7, Nevada +5.5, Arkansas +20.5, Arizona +3, Buffalo -7