Let's go in a reverse order from the usual, and roll out some college guesses first because honestly, the tilt and the happenings tonight at UC are a tad more exciting than Sunday's doings at the stadium next to the where the music venue we can't have would've been built.
Cincinnati +3.5 over Central Florida. I'll be honest, I grabbed it at 4.5 early in the week, but even if I admit that I'm leaning into this with my heart, I'm reasonably comfortable taking the Cats at +3.5.
A few reasons why...
I believe playing against Ohio State's speed will have a helpful effect against UCF's quickness.
Cincinnati has gotten healthier in the backfield, and I believe the Bearcats can shorten the game by running the ball against the same UCF defense that gave up 197 on the ground against Pitt.
Scientific? Not as much as it needs to be, but after hitting on the Rams and ECU last night, we're playing from ahead, enough so that I might throw some money on the under, which has climbed to 60.5
Bearcats 28 Knights 27
Other college tilts I'm investing in....
West Virginia (+11) over Texas. I'm getting double-digit points, a team that's one of the best in college football at not giving up chunk plays against a Longhorns team with tons of defensive backs either out or questionable. I'm locking in a Mountaineers cover. I'm leaning on a moneyline play.
Army (+2.5) over Tulane. Count me in on the Green Wave bandwagon, but I bet the kids from West Point can control the clock and the line of scrimmage.
Florida (+2.5) over Auburn. The Tigers were a value wager of mine to play in the College Football Playoff, and they've been impressive, but this line seems like a slight overreaction. The teams Auburn has beaten aren't as good as they've been made out to be.
Navy/Air Force under 46. From the Action Network. Service academy unders have gone 33-8-1 since 2005. I'll side with history. This number seems staggeringly high.
Illinois (+14) over Minnesota. Look for teams that have poor metrics against bad schedules. When you do, you'll find the Gophers. PJ Fleck's crew is 116th offensively in havoc allowed against a schedule that's outside the top 100 and they rank in the bottom five nationally in rushing yards per attempt. Illinois is tenth in havoc rate on defense, and they're getting two touchdowns. Giddyup.
Now, for Sunday's fun at PBS.
Arizona (+3.5) over Bengals. Depending on were you play, you'll find this at 3 or 3.5. It illustrates how bad the Cardinals are that the Bengals have been a disaster as the home team is still a favorite.
There are reasons why. Arizona's back seven is awful. Their O-line is shaky. Kyler Murray is playing like a rookie. They don't force turnovers. Their coach was hired mainly because he's good-looking.
The Bengals are everything you and I know they are. Bad. Everywhere. And as awful as it's been, it's only going to get worse as injuries and perhaps trades take their toll.
Far more important than what happens in this game is what happens with AJ Green at the trade deadline in a few weeks. It's a simple equation: If what the Bengals can get in exchange for AJ via a trade is more valuable to what the Bengals are doing in the coming years, then make a trade. There are no other considerations.
Anyway, I wouldn't touch this game. I do think the Bengals will win, for what it's worth, which is nothing. But how could you ever expect them to cover.
If you have to invest, take the road team and root for the home team. Or don't. At this point losing is probably better. FML.
Bengals 23 Cardinals 21
Other NFL tilts I'm spending on...
Know what I like about this week's schedule? How heavily weighted it is toward 1pm kickoffs. There are two 4:00ish games, the one Sunday night match, and everything else is at 1pm. 1pm games are awesome. Of course, I'll be at Paul Brown stadium like a schnook, so....
Philly (-13.5) over the Jets. This week, I decided that "spleen" is the funniest name of a human body part.
Minnesota (-4) over the Giants. Jay Gruden is gonna get fired. Hue Jackson is doing God knows what. Mike Zimmer is the flag carrier, and that doesn't seem to be going well. I'll still wager on his team this week.
Carolina/Jacksonville under 41. From the Action Network: The Panthers are allowing only 3.9 net yards per pass and should force the Jags to drive the length of the field to score. Meanwhile, the Jags have allowed 5.7 net yards per attempt and 14.7 points per game excluding the Chiefs game, which would rank ninth and fourth, respectively. Good enough for me.
Denver (+6.5) over the Chargers. The Broncos played better last week than Vegas is giving them credit for. The Chargers weren't as good last week as Vegas is giving them credit for. I'll take the points.
Good luck, and have a pleasant weekend.
NFL mark in 2019: 14-7
College football mark in 2019: 14-9