We hope this email finds you well and not contemplating your own mortality while sweating through Charlotte (-3.5) at Florida International at 4pm on a Friday.
Matt: Someone’s 0 has got to go! That’s right folks, it’s the one we’re all waiting for: in a true clash of the titans, an epic battle the likes of which we have never witnessed, the two unquestionably very worst teams in America square off this weekend to crown an undisputed winless king. UConn at UMass? You bet. I am disturbingly excited for this game. UMass is giving up over 47 points a game. Incredible. UConn lost at home to FCS school Holy Cross. Outstanding. They’ve played eleven games combined with nary a win betwixt them, but all that will change Saturday. I cannot wait.
For more context, here are some statistical rankings, and remember there are 130 teams in the country:
Total offense: UMass (127), UConn (126)
Total defense: UMass (129), UConn (118)
Rushing yards: UMass (123), UConn (112)
Points allowed: UMass (130), UConn (125)
Scoring: UMass (128), UConn (125)
I do not recall a match-up between two winless teams so clearly at the absolute bottom of the national barrel this late in the season. I almost feel bad sullying an event this pure with base behavior like making a pick against the spread, but that’s why we’re here. As you can see, there isn’t much separating these two, but UMass is nonetheless getting 3.5 points at home. I assume the oddsmakers are crediting UConn for a couple of near-misses against Wyoming and at Vandy, whereas the closest UMass has come is a two-touchdown defeat at home to Eastern Michigan.
We don’t give credit for near-misses here at The Vigorish, though, and a deeper dive into the stats tells us that there’s nothing to choose from – turnover ratio, completion percentage, 3rd down efficiency, they’re all similar. So, since we’ve got a home dog getting more than a field goal, that’s who I’m taking.
Will this encounter birth new legends? Most assuredly yes. Is it on TV? Not where I live. Will I pirate a stream? I’m taking the Fifth. Just enjoy the ride, friends, for we shall not pass this way again.
Matt’s Saturday pick: UMASS (+3.5) over UConn
Andy: zzz… zzz… [Andy’s out this week. He wanted me to tell you that his pick was very good and was definitely going to be correct, which would be a nice change of pace. In truth, he’s on the injury report for a chronically sore ass on account of it getting kicked all season.]
Andy’s Saturday pick: BYE WEEK (-1) over Andy Keatts
Matt: As I’ve said before, I never bet on the Jets. I was dumb, though, and bet tangentially on the Jets last week by picking the under in their game, which they promptly botched in the last minute of regulation. Shame on me. This week the Jets also fulfill a second betting rule of mine, which is to never bet on the London games. You just never know who’s going to be jetlagged, who’s going to get sick from trying spotted dick for the first time, etc. Avoid it. I’d short Urban Meyer, too, while you’re at it.
Another rule is that I try to swerve divisional matchups. Teams in the same division know each other too well. They cook up new schemes just for these games. They throw the kitchen sink at each other. The games simply aren’t as predictable as others. With that in mind, I went hunting for a non-divisional matchup that I like this week and I ultimately settled on the Bills getting 2.5 at Kansas City. The Bills have been hotter than the leather seats in your car after being in the sun all day, but my pick is an indictment of the Chiefs’ defense more than anything else.
The Chiefs have given up less than 30 points just once so far – and in that game they gave up 29. I watch a lot of the Chiefs (I have a latter-day Chiefs fan at home, loves Andy Reid) and that defensive unit really is poor. It’s not just that they’re giving up a lot of points – they also can’t get off the field on third down, they aren’t generating turnovers, and teams are running all over them. The Bills will be geared up for this one and I think they’ll win outright. We’ll gladly take +2.5, though, because a late Mahomes comeback is always on the table.
Matt’s Sunday pick: Bills (+2.5) over CHIEFS
Andy: zzz… [One thing that’s interesting about Andy is that he doesn’t really present as a typical Phish/Grateful Dead fan: he’s a huge sports guy, he still plays rec league basketball, he’s a crusading investigative journalist. None of that screams “hippie.” And yet…]
Andy’s Sunday pick: Bye Week (+1) over ANDY KEATTS
What do you think of the picks? Leave a comment.