Don’t mention the streak, don’t mention the streak, don’t mention the streak…
Matt: Hey, not sure if you’ve heard but we’re on an 8-game winning streak.
Whoops! Eh, I’m sure it’s fine. You don’t believe in jinxes, right? Let’s just move on.
It’s a down year across the Pac-12. In truth, it’s been a down half-decade, but this season in particular has been ugly. Oregon’s been the class of the conference so far (again) but they’re pretty clearly a cut below the teams legitimately in the national title hunt and the rest of the league is mired in mediocrity or worse. Oregon State at 5-2 with some decent conference wins is probably the Pac-12’s second-best team, which is remarkable given that they haven’t even made a bowl game since 2013.
But these are not your older brother’s Beavers: they’re averaging 245 yards a game on the ground and on top of that sophomore QB Chance Nolan sports the nation’s 16th-best QBR. This is a good offense. I expect them to hang 30+ on a struggling, inconsistent Cal team that’s broken 30 just once against an FBS opponent this season (in a loss at TCU). Cal’s only FBS win came against even-worse Colorado last week, and beyond that I have nothing interesting to tell you about the boys from Berkeley—they just aren’t any good. Oregon State should be laying more than a point and a half but we will gladly avail ourselves of the narrow line.
Matt’s Saturday pick: Oregon State (-1.5) over CALIFORNIA
Andy: Ohio State already looks all the way back from their early season stumble against Oregon, and C.J. Stroud now has the third best Heisman odds just ahead of a month of Big Ten action that could put him in a position to give Bryce Young a real run. That starts Saturday when they blow out Penn State at home.
I’m not sure Penn State has the horses to keep up with Ohio State under the best of circumstances. But the bet here is that QB Sean Clifford plays at less than 100 percent after missing most of his team’s loss to Iowa and didn’t look right last week when he returned, following a bye, against Illinois in another loss. The wheels haven’t totally fallen off during Penn State’s two game losing streak but given Clifford’s status I’m happy to lay the points.
Plus, The Vigorish would really be at its best if we spent November overhyping the Ohio State-Michigan game, forcing Matt to spend even more time contemplating this guy.
Andy’s Saturday pick: OHIO STATE (-18.5) over Penn State
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I don’t like a single NFL line this week. Not even one. I’m seeing traps everywhere I look. One game I was talking myself into was Titans at Colts. It violates my rule against betting on divisional matchups, but the line opened at Titans -1 and I felt like the Titans had been playing some really good football this month. You can therefore imagine my surprise as I watched that line get hammered down all the way to Colts -1.5. This is not a big-ticket game so I highly doubt that’s just a deluge of square money. Must be the sharps, then, and I’m not about to break my own rule and go against the experts.
Instead, I’ll take the Broncos giving a field goal at home against WFT. Jerry Jeudy and Von Miller are finally healthy again. The thin air at Mile High is going to tire Taylor Heinicke out as he runs for his life. I don’t know, it’s something.
Matt’s Sunday pick: BRONCOS (-3) over Football Team
Andy: Like Matt, I don’t see much on the NFL slate that I like. Unlike Matt, I cannot resist a trap.
Two weeks ago, the Jaguars were in the middle of the second longest losing streak in NFL history and that wasn’t even the most embarrassing thing happening to the franchise. Then they beat the putrid Dolphins on a last-second field goal in London, where games are famously unpredictable, and now they’re just 3.5-point dogs in Seattle, where, admittedly, the Wilson-Carroll era is coming to an ugly end. There’s really nothing I like about Seattle right now, but given how Jacksonville has played this year, and that they’re coming off a fake bye after a London game, I’m going to overlook Geno Smith’s existence and jump on a line likely to entice a lot of casuals who still see Seattle as the team they were, rather than the team they are.
But seriously Jacksonville is trash and Seattle is 0-3 at home right now. They’ll win this one comfortably, then get back to falling apart.
Andy’s Sunday pick: SEAHAWKS (-3.5) over Jaguars
What do you think of the picks? Leave a comment.