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After a 1-3 week to open the season, I went 6-3 in my picks last week. So that puts us at 7-6 as we steamroll into Week 3. Nine games to pick (WVU vs. FCS Delaware State is not on the board.) Let’s go!
Note: All lines used are via MyBookie.ag
Kansas at Ohio
Both teams have struggled on defense, giving up at least 44 points last week. Ohio’s came in a loss to Purdue and Kansas’ came in a loss to Central Michigan. Purdue gashed Ohio for over 550 total yards last week and Kansas, even though they loss, amassed nearly 500 yards of offense. The weather will be in the high 70’s tomorrow in Athens, Ohio with low wind. Kansas say it wants to run the ball more, but it will still be a pass-first team. That’s how Doug Mecham rolls. Kansas and Ohio are a combined 4-0 against the over in the early season. The number feels low here so I’m riding with the OVER in this game.
The Pick: OVER 58
Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh
If Oklahoma State really believes it is a National Title contender, then the bar was set last week by Penn State in a 19-point win over Pitt. Now it’s the Cowboys turn. Oklahoma State has had an extra day of rest and have played two cupcakes so far this season. Meantime, Pitt is coming off a huge in-state rivalry match up where they struggled. Momentum is all with the Pokes. Also, last season the Panthers ranked 106th in points allowed and second-to-last in pass defense. How might that work out for Mason Rudolph and company? Additionally, home field means nothing for Pitt playing in the Steelers home of Heinz field. Here’s a stat for you: Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Pitt has gone 10-4 SU at Heinz Field but have covered the spread on just three occasions. So far this season, Oklahoma State is 2-0 against the spread while Pitt has yet to cover one. Roll with the Cowboys.
The Pick: Oklahoma State -12
Iowa State at Akron
Alright, as Matt Campbell said this week, Iowa State’s game against Akron will say a lot about where this team and program is after a brutal loss to Iowa. I don’t have a good feel on that aspect of this team. I do know they can put up points, and a lot of them, scoring at least 40 in their first two games. But I also know the defense remains suspect. Iowa State gave up 333 passing yards to Nathan Stanley last week, and could have been more if he didn’t miss some open receivers. ISU also allowed over 150 rushing yards. When Thomas Woodson played last season, the Zips scored over 30 points per game behind their quarterback. Warren Ball is a solid running back who should be able to get something going against the Cyclones skeptical front seven. Also, we don’t know the status of the team’s defensive leader Kamari Cotton-Moya. The OVER has hit in four of Iowa State’s last five games, so let’s make it five of six.
The Pick: OVER 63
Baylor at Duke
Zach Smith is in at quarterback for the Bears, Anu Solomon is out. What does it all mean? We’ll find out. But the problem is Duke is actually very stout on the front line. Last week their defensive front destroyed Northwestern with four sacks and held the Wildcats to 22 rushing yards. How is that Baylor offensive line going to hold up? Not well. Matt Rhule is hoping that his Bears can energized with nine new starters, but I don’t think it will matter much. Daniel Jones has been outstanding at quarterback for the Blue Devils and Baylor’s defense is ranked 110th in the country while playing Liberty and UTSA. It won’t be pretty. Baylor is too banged up and too young right now.
The Pick: Duke -14
TCU vs. SMU
It’s SMU’s Super Bowl and for TCU it’s just a game sandwiched between Arkansas and Oklahoma State. That’s a scary proposition, especially since this SMU offense has lots of power behind QB Ben Hicks and WR Courtland Sutton. Granted this is by far the best defense SMU has seen and will see all season long, but the spread is too big. Here’s an interesting tidbit: the Horned Frogs are 0-9 ATS in their last 9 home games. It just feels to me like TCU will take care of business and get out of town with a win as they look ahead to Oklahoma State.
The Pick: SMU +20
Oklahoma vs. Tulane
The Sooners are fresh off their huge win over Ohio State in Columbus. Chance of a hangover? Maybe early, but that will be it. Tulane is without its starting quarterback Jonathan Banks. That being said, they run an option with wishbone elements, unlike anything Oklahoma will see this season. For young players, that might take a quarter or so to get adjusted to. As a result, I think Tulane will score a couple of times. Defensively, Roderic Teamer, the Green Wave’s veteran starting free safety was downgraded to doubtful, while OU tight end Mark Andrews was upgraded to probable. A nice swing in the Sooners favor. Ultimately, OU will put up 40+ on their end to give us a solid OVER in this game.
The Pick: OVER 54.5
Kansas State at Vanderbilt
Kansas State quarterback Jesse Ertz and Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur are fourth and fifth, respectively, in quarterback rating, while both defenses rank in the Top 25 in yards allowed per play. That tells me that these two teams haven’t played anybody yet. They haven’t which makes these games tough to figure out. That being said, Jesse Ertz has shown an ability to get the ball downfield better than last season. He also has an underrated group of wide receivers. It’s a team that has been great on special teams, in turnovers, and has a veteran QB. Everything you’d expect from a Bill Snyder coached team. K-State is 5-1 ATS in its last six. The Vandy defense is really good, especially up front, but the K-State offensive line will be more than prepared.
The Pick: Kansas State -3
Texas Tech vs. Arizona State
The only good thing about Arizona State football right now is its pass rush. But because of Kingsbury’s air raid offense, Nic Shimonek will get the ball out so quickly that won’t matter. Add in the revenge factor on the minds of the Red Raiders, plus they’re home, and they just came off a by week, I believe this Tech team will look much different than last year’s did in the desert. The Sun Devils have given up 12 sacks through two games, which could open things up for Tech’s front seven. Texas Tech’s defense looked very solid in it’s one game, holding Eastern Washington to 301 yards, 10 points, and 81 rushing yards. Maybe this defense is starting to turn the corner? Kingsbury also knows that he’s coaching for his job, and while a loss won’t get him fired next week, it hurts his chances at getting to a bowl game, which would keep his job safe for 2018.
The Pick: Texas Tech -7
Texas at USC
Sam Darnold is the best quarterback in the sport and the Longhorns secondary looked absolutely awful against … Maryland in Week 1. USC gashed Stanford’s defense for 307 rushing yards last week. The Longhorns quarterback situation is a question mark, but Tom Herman’s offense will get points on the board. Do the math, if USC gets to 40 (which I think they will with ease), then Texas only needs to put four touchdowns on the board for an over. USC has hit the over in four of its last five games and is 2-0 against the over this season. Ride it.
The Pick: OVER 67