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Week 3 BTBS Picks

Be afraid, be very afraid: Vegas is catching on very early this year.  Eight games last week saw the BTBS projection and spread fall within two points last week, and there are nine more this week.  Finding safe picks is getting more and more difficult already.

Last Week's Results

Week 2 Season
Big 12 Games
Upset Picks
"Feeling Safe"
"Feeling Queasy"
0-5 point spread
6-3 .667
5-10 points
5-2 .714
10-20 points
8-11 .421
20-30 points
3-5 .375
30+ points
0-2 .000 3-6

As a whole, last week was the definition of a "meh" week.  We still did well in the games whose spreads fell between 5-10 points ... but there were only seven of those.  Meanwhile, there were 10 games with a 20-point spread or higher, and as is typical, we struggled in those games, going 3-7.  It's always very difficult to pick the spread in blowouts, as you just don't know what the backups are going to do.  Despite last week's trouble in the 10-20 point range, we're still nailing games with a spread below 20 at a .600 clip.  Something to be said for that. (Something to also pay attention to if you happen to be foolishly using these numbers to make real bets.)

This week's picks after the jump.  Buyer beware, etc.

Some notes (same as last week's):

  • "LOCKS" signify games where the spread and projection are more than 17 points apart.  Remember: locks don't seem to do particularly well for whatever reason, so don't take these picks as gospel.  I had to point them out somehow, so I chose "LOCKS".
  • If there is a "(!)" next to the spread, that means the projection and spread are within 2 points of each other ... and you should probably lay off of these picks if you are the betting type.  There is already a marked increase in these games compared to how many there were last week.  That's a bad sign for my overall win% down the line.
  • Verdicts in all caps signify games where the underdog is picked to win straight up.
  • Two weeks into the season, preseason projections are still factoring heavily. If Virginia Tech is truly as bad as they were last week, it will catch up to them ... but they're still being given (possibly too much) benefit of the doubt thanks to where they were projected in the preseason.
Date Time Game Projection Spread ATS Verdict
Thurs., 9/16
Cincinnati at N.C. State (ESPN)
Cincy by 1.4 Cincy +2.5
Fri., 9/17
Kansas at Southern Miss (ESPN)
Kansas by 8.2 Kansas +6

California at Nevada (ESPN2)
Cal by 6.8 Cal -3
California (L)
Sat., 9/18
Arkansas at Georgia (ESPN)
UGa by 1.6 UGa -2.5
Georgia (L)

Ga. Tech at N. Carolina (ESPN3)
GT by 1.6 GT +2
Ga Tech (W)

Ohio at Ohio State (BTN)
tOSU by 45.2 tOSU -30
Ohio St (W)

Kent State at Penn State (ESPN2)
PSU by 35.8 PSU -21
Penn St (W)

UConn at Temple (ESPN3)
UConn by 14.4 UConn -6.5
UConn (L)

Maryland at West Virginia (ESPNU)
WVU by 15.1 WVU -10
West Va (W)

North Texas at Army (CBSC)
Army by 4.2 Army -5.5 (!)
N. Texas (L)

N. Illinois at Illinois (BTN)
Illinois by 12.6 Illinois -7
Illinois (L)

Iowa State at Kansas State (FSN)
K-State by 3.9 K-State -4 (!) Iowa St (L)

Ball State at Purdue (BTN)
Purdue by 21.2 Purdue -17
Purdue (L)

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (ESPN3)
Ole Miss by 19.6 Ole Miss -12
Ole Miss (L)

E. Carolina at Va. Tech (ESPN3)
Va Tech by 31.2(?) Va Tech -19.5
Va Tech (W)

Hawaii at Colorado
Buffs by 17.2 Buffs -11
Colorado (W)

BYU at Florida State (ESPNU)
FSU by 4.1 FSU -9.5
Byu (L)

USC at Minnesota (ESPN)
USC by 15.8 USC -13.5
Usc (L)

Alabama at Duke (ABC)
'Bama by 37.0 'Bama -24
Alabama (W)

Colorado St. at Miami-OH (ESPN3)
Miami by 12.9 Miami -8 Miami-OH (W)

Air Force at Oklahoma (FSN)
OU by 27.4 OU -17
Oklahoma (L)

Nebraska at Washington (ABC)
NU by 8.5 NU -4
Nebraska (W)

Arizona St. at Wisconsin (ABC)
Wiscy by 17.5 Wiscy -14
Wisconsin (L)

Washington St. at SMU (CBSC)
SMU by 21.2 SMU -23 (!) Wazzu (W)

Florida at Tennessee (CBS)
Florida by 22.5 Florida -14
Florida (T)

Troy at UAB
Troy by 8.2 Troy -3.5 Troy (L)

C. Michigan at E. Michigan
CMU by 19.5 CMU -9
C. Mich (W)

Baylor at TCU (Vs)
TCU by 36.6 TCU -21.5

Indiana at W. Kentucky (BTN)
Indiana by 11.2 Indiana -12 (!) W'ern Ky (L)

Louisville at Oregon State (FS Pac)
OSU by 19.9 OSU -19.5 (!) Ore St (L)

Clemson at Auburn (ESPN)
Auburn by 3.8 Auburn -7
Clemson (W)

Akron at Kentucky (ESPN3)
UK by 26.8 UK -24.5
Kentucky (W)

Mississippi St. at LSU (ESPNU)
LSU by 16.8 LSU -8
Lsu (W)

Marshall at Bowling Green (ESPN3)
BGSU by 0.2 BGSU +3
Bgsu (W)

Tulsa at Oklahoma State
OSU by 19.8 OSU -7
Okla St (W)

Middle Tennessee at Memphis
MTSU by 9.5 MTSU -5.5 Mid Tenn (L)

Northwestern at Rice
NW'ern by 20.3 NW'ern -6.5
NW'ern (W)

San Diego State at Mizzou
Mizzou by 34.4 Mizzou -14
Mizzou (LOCK) (L)

Florida Int'l at Texas A&M
A&M by 27.1 A&M -27.5 (!) Fla Int'l (W)

C. Florida at Buffalo
UCF by 3.6 UCF -8.5
Buffalo (L)

Navy at Louisiana Tech (ESPN3)
Navy by 9.9 Navy -4
Navy (W)

Toledo at W. Michigan
WMU by 8.1 WMU -4 W. Mich (L)

Notre Dame at Michigan St. (ABC)
ND by 0.4 MSU -3.5
Notre Dame (W)

Texas at Texas Tech (ABC)
Texas by 7.6 Texas -3
Texas (W)

Fresno State at Utah St. (ESPN3)
Fresno by 10.8 Fresno -6
Fresno St (W)

Utah at New Mexico (The Mtn)
Utah by 21.7 Utah -23 (!) New Mexico (L)

UL-Monroe at Arkansas State
Ark St by 3.1 Ark St -4 (!) UL-Monroe (L)

Boise State at Wyoming (CBSC)
Boise by 36.1 Boise -24
Boise St (W)

New Mexico St. at UTEP
UTEP by 19.9 UTEP -15
Utep (W)

Iowa at Arizona (ESPN)
Iowa by 7.1 Iowa -2
Iowa (L)

Houston at UCLA
Houston by 1.9 UCLA +3 (!)
Ucla (W)

UNLV at Idaho (ESPNU)
Idaho by 1.0 Idaho -7
Unlv (L)

Wake Forest at Stanford (ESPN2)
Stanford by 9.5 Stanford -17
Wake (L)

Picks I am Feeling Safest About:

(And FYI, I feel MUCH queasier about the queasy picks than I feel safe about the safer picks.)

  1. LSU -8 Mississippi State.  My torrid-but-scorned-and-stressful relationship with LSU continues. They're finally using their athleticism to their advantage this year, and they would be a possible Top 5 team if they were getting anything consistent out of the QB position.  Giving 8 points isn't much in Baton Rouge. (W)

  2. Illinois -7 Northern Illinois.  No logical basis for this. I just think UI will show well, and NIU's a bit of a mystery with their coach in the hospital. You never know how a team will respond to that. (L)

  3. Mizzou -14 SDSU.  For the record, I don't think they'll win by 34.4 (for one thing, how do you score 0.4 points??? kidding), but I do think 14 isn't very much.  They beat Illinois by 10 on a neutral field, meaning it would have likely been 13-14 at home ... and you can't convince me (yet) that SDSU is better than Illinois.  I like Brady Hoke, but I need a little more proof that they've gotten things together this year.  They'll be a nice test, but I still say Mizzou wins by 17-21. (L)

  4. UCLA -2.5 Houston.  I'm completely and totally doubling down on UCLA. (W)

  5. Honestly, I'm not sure there's a fifth one.  We'll go with Buffalo +8.5 Central Florida. That just seems like a weird road trip. (L)

Picks I am Feeling Queasiest About:

  1. Navy -4 La Tech.  La Tech handled Navy's option reasonably well last season (4.2 yards per carry ... albeit under a different coach), and the Middies are coming off of an uninspiring win over Georgia Southern. (W)

  2. W'ern Ky +12 Indiana.  I'm not convinced WKU could stay within 20 points of ANY major conference opponent at the moment (except maybe Washington State). (L)

  3. New Mexico +23 Utah.  I'm not convinced UNM could stay within 23 points of ANY FBS opponent at the moment (except maybe New Mexico State). (L)

  4. Va Tech -19.5 East Carolina.  For what should be very obvious reasons. (W)

  5. Florida -14 Tennessee. Florida is having an identity crisis and just lost one of its proven offensive weapons. Meanwhile, I maintain that Tennessee might be better than people think.  They got blitzed by Oregon in the second half last week, but Oregon's really, really, really good.  At this exact moment, they're better than Florida.  And Tennessee still hung tough for most of three quarters. (T)