It took a few weeks but a clean sweep finally happened. All part of the plan—like a veteran who skipped minicamp, The Vigorish was playing its way into game shape.
What’s that? You want to know if it’s because Andy didn’t make picks? Oh, we’re sure that’s not why. Just a coincidence. Probably. We’ll keep an eye on it.
Andy: [muffled noises]
Matt: Oh, hey, sorry, yeah, so I got both of my picks right last week when Andy was out. I’m a little superstitious, so I’ve tied him to a chair and left him in the attic for another week. Unless I go 2-0 again, that is.
Andy’s Saturday pick: 🙊😈
Matt: Completely opposite seasons collide when #10 Michigan State rolls into Bloomington to lay 4.5 at Indiana. The Hoosiers were something of a preseason darling coming off a surprising 2020 campaign, whereas Michigan State, well, here’s how Yahoo Sports put it: “I don’t think a bowl game is out of the question, but I think 4-8 is more likely than 6-6 here.” I couldn’t find a single media expert who picked Michigan State to finish ahead of Indiana in the Big Ten East Division. Suffice to say things haven’t gone that way. Sparty is undefeated and red-hot while the Hoosiers are in serious danger of missing out on bowl eligibility.
At first blush, the spread didn’t make sense to me, and the more I looked at it, the less sense it made. One glaring point is that Michigan State is gashing opponents on the ground—averaging 217.2 yards a game—whereas Indiana has been surrendering an unimpressive 128.6 yards per outing. Just as importantly, Spartans QB Payton Thorne has been very efficient with the ball, sporting a completion percentage over 60% and a TD/INT split of 14 to 2. Can’t say the same about Indiana’s quarterbacks, who’ve tossed three more picks than touchdowns this season. Making matters worse, Indiana starting quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. is expected to miss the game with a separated throwing shoulder.
If there was something, anything, the Hoosiers did especially well, I could maybe understand setting the line this tight. But there isn’t. They just aren’t very good. I’m not sure Michigan State is the tenth-best team in the country, but I certainly think they’re more than 4.5 points better than Indiana.
Matt’s Saturday pick: Michigan State (-4.5) over INDIANA
Andy: [muffled noises continue; you think you can faintly make out the chorus to “Sweet Caroline”]
Andy’s Sunday pick: 💀
Matt: We all agree that nobody who isn’t terrible likes the Cowboys or the Patriots. If you are a fan of either team and you’re reading this, test this thesis by asking someone you know, “I’m not terrible, right?” If their initial reaction is scrunching up their face and tilting their head, don’t say I’ve ever lied to you.
When teams like these play each other, it’s great for the rest of us because we are almost assured to see one of them lose. I like to put action on games like this because there’s no chance any emotion will subconsciously seep in and impact my pick. No sir, no residual ill will here. Certainly not still holding the “I resign as HC of the NYJ” napkin against anyone in particular.
Look, the Patriots are not a good football team. They can’t run the ball. Their rookie quarterback is sporting a QBR of 50.9, clocking in at 23rd in the league. The defense ranks 5th in both yardage and scoring, but three of their five games have come against three of the four worst offenses (and teams) in the league in the Texans, Jets, and Dolphins. The Saints put 28 on them at Foxboro and the Cowboys have more talent on offense than the Saints do. Dallas is built to thrive in the regular season and they have been doing just that, beating the Chargers in LA in Week 2 and then steamrolling their next three opponents. It has felt like some of these spreads are giving the Patriots credit for past glories, but keep this in mind, folks: Bill Belichick is just 63-74 without Tom Brady.
Matt’s Sunday pick: Cowboys (-3.5) over PATRIOTS
What do you think of the picks? Leave a comment.