Now, THAT'S more like it! After a first weekend betting all college football with no prior 2018 data off which to work, as treacherous as it gets, we bounce back in Week 2 of college football and Week 1 of the NFL season with a nice 4-1-1 card against the spread. 80 percent hit rate! We will take that all day, every day.
So let's keep this thing going, shall we? Here are my six picks for you this weekend:
SYRACUSE +3.5 over Florida State
When Florida State got blown out at home by Virginia Tech, I figured "OK, first game for Willie Taggart, maybe the Hokies are much better than we give them credit for." Then the Seminoles let Samford hang around for the entire game last Saturday in Tallahassee, giving up nearly 500 yards of offense in the process, and I thought "Wow, FSU might legit suck this year." All evidence here is that Florida State is getting a number based solely on reputation and pedigree, and we ALWAYS bet against lines solely based on reputation and pedigree, especially when it's FSU's first road trip, against a decent QB in Eric Dungey, and one of those wonky noon Eastern Time starts. Syracuse will be the team that shows up awake on Saturday.
SAN DIEGO STATE +5 over Arizona State
OK, I'll admit it, the Herm Edwards Era has shocked me so far in Tempe. The Sun Devils are 2-0, including a nice 16-13 win as a home dog against Michigan State last Saturday night. It may just be, though, that the Spartans aren't all that great. (Week 1, they barely beat Utah State at home.) Now the Sun Devils go on the road as the hunted, a five point favorite, over a San Diego State team that is well coached and played Stanford tougher than the 31-10 score would indicate in Week 1. Take the points here. Herm is gonna Herm at some point.
ARMY -6.5 over Hawaii
Hawaii is one of the more surprising teams in the country, with a 3-0 record on the young season. However, there is a concept in betting called "negative body clock," usually used for a Pacific coast team playing an early game out East, where a noon kick FEELS LIKE 9 a.m. to the team from out West. Well, this is a noon Eastern kick for a team from HAWAII, so it will feel like 6 a.m. Dealing with Army's option attack at 6 a.m. body time is suboptimal.
FALCONS -6 over Panthers
The Panthers got off to a nice 1-0 start by handling a withering Dallas squad in Week 1, in a 16-8 defensive struggle. That's all well and good, but the Falcons are a different animal offensively. They only scored 12 points in the opener versus Philadelphia, which is all the more reason to think this talented group should have a break out trying to avoid going 0-2. The Falcons also have three extra days of rest and preparation, as they were in the Thursday night game in Week 1. Also, they've handled their business against Carolina at home over the last ten years, going 8-2 SU and ATS. Dirty birds get their beaks wet on Sunday.
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Patriots -2 over JAGUARS
The two AFC title game participants meet again, this time down in Florida. The Patriots really surprised me in Week 1 with their pass rush against the Texans, although with two green tackles and Deshaun Watson holding onto the ball like it was made of platinum, some of that pass rush may have been due to the Pats' opponent. Nevertheless, after going against Deshaun Watson in Week 1, going against Blake Bortles should feel as easy as a color by numbers, especially if Leonard Fournette is hindered, which he should be, with a hamstring injury.
BRONCOS -5 over Raiders
On Monday, the Raiders looked competitive for a half at home against a Rams team that didn't play their starters in the preseason. Then the real Rams showed up, Gruden made no adjustments at halftime, and the Raiders were summarily run off the field 23-0 in the second half. I say all this to say that the Raiders are going to be bad this season. Very bad. Traveling on a short week into the altitude to play a division game is not a great way to follow up a 33-13 loss at home in your opener. Oh well.
Last Week: 4-1-1
Season Record: 6-5-1 (54.5%)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.