SPREAD AWARENESS WEEK 4: WE COME FOR THE PUNTS AND UNDERS

By Nickdo on September 23, 2022 at 11:15 am
R U ready?
© Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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G’day mate, welcome to week 4 of Spread Awareness, where we are preparing for what is likely to be the greatest punting contest in the history of punting contests. We will talk about Puntapalooza/Puntchella later, but first, we must address the elephant in the room…

The Spread Awareness season-opening hot streak came to a screeching halt last week. After going 9-5 in back-to-back weeks, we went 7-9 and, if we are being honest, had some HORRIBLE picks (Michigan State, Auburn, New Mexico State????). We also had a few good ones (Oklahoma -10.5 may have been the easiest bet we have ever placed).

But, let’s not dwell on the past. We have some BIG games this week, including Iowa vs Rutgers which has a total currently sitting at 33.5. ohhh yeah, that’s the good stuff.

BIG TEN GAMES OF THE WEEK OF THE CENTURY

Iowa -7.5 @ Rutgers (6:00 PM CST, FS1)

ITS IOWA. ITS RUTGERS. IT’S A GAME WITH A TOTAL OF 33.5. FEEL THE EXCITEMENT!      

We could talk about how Iowa finally scored some touchdowns last week, or how their defense dominated a bad Nevada team. We could talk about how Rutgers barely squeaked by Temple, or how they don’t have a quarterback…but we aren’t going to do that. We are here to talk about what really matters: Punts.

Those booms you hear in Piscataway Saturday night won’t be the remnants of Hurricane Fiona rumbling off the coast of New Jersey. It will be the sound of Tory Taylor and Adam Korsak, blasting punts into the stratosphere. This is a big-time battle. Think Rocky vs Drago, Steve Irwin vs Sting Rays, Ferentz vs the Forward Pass. It could be something special. Taylor has punted for over 1,000 yards this year already while Korsak has yet to have a punt returned. These Australians are two of the best punters in the country and you are going to see a lot of them because these offenses are horrible.

The total for this game is 33.5 which makes it the lowest total in the history of organized football (or, at least, the lowest CFB total since 2004). If we are being honest though, 33.5 seems high. With these two punters combined with these defenses PLUS the terrible offenses, there is a greater than 50% chance that this game ends with a final score of something like 6-4.

As we get closer to game time, be sure not to listen to the people telling you to take the OVER. Need some reassurance that the UNDER is the best bet? OK, the last SEVEN college football games that have had a total under 37 points have gone UNDER.

Take the UNDER. Also, if you feel obligated to take a side, which I don’t recommend, take IOWA, because betting on Rutgers is never a good idea and is currently banned by Spread Awareness (due to coaching changes, this is being evaluated by the SA Make Good Bets Task Force).

PICK: UNDER 33.5, Iowa -7.5

Maryland +16.5 @ #4 Michigan (11:00 AM CST, FOX)

Michigan finished up its treacherous non-conference schedule with a dominating 59-0 win over UConn. Yes, their schedule has been bad and they should really consider playing a real team or two in the first few weeks of the season, but they did what they had to do and dominated everyone.

They open up Big Ten play against an undefeated Maryland team that is looking a lot like they did through the non-conference schedule last year. Taulia Tagovailoa has started hot, throwing for 895 yards and 6 touchdowns through three games. That is great! He started last season almost the same way before running into an Iowa defense that intercepted him FIVE times and broke him for the rest of the season.

Michigan is going to do to Maryland what Iowa did to them last year. Sorry, Terps.

PICK: Michigan -16.5

Central Michigan +27.5 @ #14 Penn State (11:00 AM CST, BTN)

Boy, was I wrong about Penn State. I thought they were phonies and would fall apart at Auburn. Instead, they won 41-12. Yes, Auburn isn’t great and will probably fire their coach in the next few weeks, but I am man enough to admit I was very wrong, which MANY people would refuse to do. Crazy to think Penn State would easily win the West division but instead will probably finish third or fourth in the East. Tough!

PICK: Penn State -27.5

Minnesota -3 @ Michigan State (2:30 PM CST, BTN)

Boy, was I wrong about Michigan State. I thought they were really good and would go to Washington and destroy them and that did not happen. Their defense didn’t show up, and Michael Penix tore them apart. Was this just a random letdown game or do the Spartans have some significant issues? We are about to find out because Minnesota could be a problem for a lot of teams in the conference. Tanner Morgan, who is starting for the 12th straight season, is currently completing 71% of his passes. In the backfield with him is Mo Ibrahim, who ruptured his Achilles last season and is now somehow even better than he was before. The Gophers haven’t really played anyone, but they are the Spread Awareness favorite to win the West. All that really means is that they are due for an epic loss.

I want to take MSU so badly in this game, I really do. A home game to open conference play coming off of a tough road loss…it's all right there. Unfortunately, I am #DONE with Michigan State for a while, I just think it is best we part ways for a bit, like when we had to officially end #MSUnders because they kept scoring too many points. Gophers row their way to victory in this one.

PICK: Minnesota -3

Indiana +16.5 @ Cincinnati (2:30 PM CST, ESPN2)

Indiana is 3-0. It has taken a comeback win over Idaho, a late TD to beat Illinois, and an overtime field goal to beat Western Kentucky, but they are still undefeated. That ends against Cincinnati. The Bearcats aren’t the team they were a year ago, but they are still pretty good and should be able to do whatever they want on offense. Can Indiana ugly this game up enough to keep it close and cover? No. The Hoosiers' luck is about to run out.

PICK: Cincy -16.5

Miami (OH) +7.5 @ Northwestern (6:30 PM CST, BTN)

Remember when Northwestern beat Nebraska and everyone was like OMG EVEN YEAR NORTHWESTERN LOOK OUT!!! Yeah, that may have been a bit premature. Northwestern is AWFUL. They only have a win because Nebraska was somehow worse. We didn’t even make a prediction on their game against Southern Illinois last week because that is a game any semi-competent team wins by 30 but nope, not Northwestern, they found a way to lose.

Now they get to deal with a Miami (Ohio) team that is a serious contender to win the MAC. Not exactly the type of team you want to run into when you need to turn things around. The Redhawks were up two scores on Cincinnati last week before giving up 31 unanswered points. That isn’t great, but Northwestern doesn’t have the firepower on offense that Cincy has. We are rolling with the REDHAWKS to cover and won’t be surprised if they win this one.

PICK: Miami (OH) +7.5

Wisconsin +19 @ #3 Ohio State (6:30 PM CST, ABC)

Ohio State looked unstoppable after scoring 77 against Toledo last week, but I was more impressed with Wisconsin scoring 66 against New Mexico State. I didn’t think they had it in them but they found something (a bad NMSU defense is what they found). Can both of these offenses stay hot in a B1G battle under the lights of the 'Shoe?

Probably not. There will not be 77, or even 66 combined points scored in this one. The Wisconsin defense is going to do everything in its power to shut down the OSU offense as Notre Dame did in Week One. Their offense will then give the ball to Braelon Allen 55+ times in an attempt to shorten the game. Not sure if this is a plan that can work, but I think it will do enough to keep it close and keep the scores low.

PICK: WISCONSIN +19, UNDER 57

Florida Atlantic +17.5 @ Purdue (6:30 PM CST, BTN)

Purdue? More like what the hell are you Purdoing???? The Boilermakers lost to Syracuse last week in what can only be described as pure chaos. 42 points were scored in the 4th quarter, and some of the weirdest kickoffs you will ever see happened. What is going on here?

Purdue just couldn’t stop committing dumb penalties and doing stupid things and I am wondering if Jeff Brohm decided to bring in Scott Frost as an assistant coach because that is the only explanation. The Boilermakers will roll in this one, but they have some serious issues that need to be addressed before they head to Minnesota next week.

PICK: Purdue -17.5

OTHER GAMES THAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER BETTING, OR NOT, WHATEVER, DO YOUR OWN THING

#21 Wake Forest +7.5 vs Clemson: This is where we find out if Clemson is BACK. They have dominated everyone so far, but they have struggled against the pass and Wake Forest is probably going to throw it 50 times with Sam Hartman at QB. Wake airs it out and WINS, beating Clemson for the first time since 2008.

Kansas -7 vs Duke: Two basketball schools that have somehow found their way to 3-0 starts. Kansas has won AT West Virginia and AT Houston to open the season and scored over 45 points in every game. Absolutely no one saw that coming. Duke is undefeated, but they have played schools like Northwestern and North Carolina A&T who shouldn’t even field football programs. ROCK CHALK, Kansas wins BIG.

#7 USC -5.5 @ Oregon State: The Beavers are feisty and a trendy pick to take down the Trojans this week. We don’t believe that. USC wins and covers in a high-scoring #PAC12AFTERDARK contest.

#10 Arkansas +2 @ #13 Texas A&M: The Aggies have been a mess on offense so far this year and we don’t see them getting back on track vs an Arkansas team looking to start a season 4-0 for the first time in 40 years. Razorbacks go to College Station and put Jimbo on the hot seat.

SPREAD AWARENESS YTD

  • Overall: 28-22
  • ATS: 21-15
  • O/U: 7-7
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