I’m sitting in the Moneyline sports bar at Gold Strike in Tunica earlier this week, getting my game plan together for blowing our nest egg or tripling it, and staring at the line for the Ole Miss vs. Alabama game.
Thirty eight points.
Five touchdowns and a field goal.
I asked the good man working the sports book if they had seen a lot of action on the game, and he said, “yeah, a lot of Bama so far, but I’ve taken a few for Ole Miss.” Now, he was probably lying, because he saw my Ole Miss belt or knows me from previous weeks and felt sorry for my Rebel fandom.
Either way, 38 points is somehow just enough to make me think the line is just a little fat even though the game is being held in Tuscaloosa. Then the beers wore off, and I figured out exactly what I needed to do.
So, with that in mind and a 10-6 record so far this season, let’s get on to the four picks of the week.
Ole Miss @ #2 Alabama - O/U 61.5
Got to go with the under on this one. The Crimson Tide are potent on offense, and they are pretty fantastic on defense specifically an improved secondary from last season. I also think the changes at Ole Miss offensively and defensively will cause for a generally lower scoring game compared to the Phil Longo disasters of the last two seasons. Whether it’s Matt Corral or John Rhys Plumlee taking the majority of the snaps, the offense is going to be conservative, and the Rebel defense will be called on to keep it reasonable for at least the first half. Bama will eventually get pissed off at this and end it in the third quarter and some garbage football in the fourth quarter makes this spread kind of dangerous at 38 points. The last two games in this series averaged 64-5 final scores, but historically, an under here would be the better bet.
#18 Virginia (+12.5) @ #10 Notre Dame
My basis for picking Virginia to cover is that Notre Dame is coming off a very close and disheartening loss to Georgia, and the team has to feel like it’s chances for making the playoff have been significantly dimmed. Additionally, I checked the staff picks at the SBNation Notre Dame blog, and half of them are predicting a win by ten or less points. Bronco Mendenhall has made the Cavaliers competitive and sit at 4-0 going into South Bend. I don’t see the upset happening, but this one should end up close with neither team scoring 30.
Mississippi State @ #7 Auburn (-420)
These aren’t spectacular odds for you at 4-to-1 for the Tigers, but it is pretty easy money to bet Auburn beating State on Saturday. If you throw $840 at it, you’re going to walk away $200 richer. Do you like to be handed $200 for doing nothing? I sure do! State still has no offensive identity other than Kylin Hill getting 30 to 40 touches, and Auburn’s defense is quite possibly one of the best in the nation. Book it for an Auburn win with a 6 p.m. kickoff.
#5 Ohio State @ Nebraska - O/U 66.5 points
The Buckeyes have just been downright ridiculous so far with Justin Fields at quarterback. They have scored more than 40 points in every game they’ve played, granted against less than impressive competition. Nebraska is in rebuilding mode, but they seemed to be more consistent at 3-1 though not very defensively adept. I could see this game going a little off the rails and ending up with more than 70 or 75 points once it’s all said and done. The Huskers will be desperate for a good showing at home against a top five team, and I think they pull out all the stops and put up at least a few touchdowns to make this an over bet.
So where did we go right and what did we miss? Comment below or tweet @redcuprebellion with your locks this week.