Mitch's Week Eight College Football Picks: Part Four
In case you didn't realize it, I don't like the Thursday games too much, and they don't seem to like me.
I felt more than a little uneasy about last night's picks, and I made sure I added a special paragraph to my blog and talked about it on my video as to why I don't pick as well when it comes to the weekday games, as in most cases they are games I wouldn't even pick if they were on a Saturday.
Well, at least two-thirds of them are past us this week, and with just tonight's game (another one I really am not thrilled about) to go before the weekend, we'll have some work to do, though I feel pretty good about the picks.
Barring any drastic line moves that we always cover on Saturdays, these are it—my last set of picks for this week, aside from those that will be emailed out in my free newsletter, so let's get on with them.
Boise State -23 1/2 Vs. Hawaii (Friday, Oct. 17, 8 EST): 5 out of 10
I'm not so sure how familiar we would be with Boise State if they didn't play so often during weeknights, but it doesn't matter as they seem to be one of those five or six teams we see all the time. When we last saw Boise they were scoring fairly effortlessly against Louisiana Tech in an easy cover at home, laying half a point more than they are laying in this game.
We get to see Hawaii fairly often as well, as they are usually the last game of the day and late night Saturday in games that may actually start on Sunday for those of you in the Eastern Time Zone. Both teams enter this game coming off a streak of covers, with Boise covering its last three in a row and Hawaii covering its last two.
While Boise State is always seen as an offensive team, especially when playing at home on the blue turf, they actually have the eighth-best scoring defense in the country. Of course, the offense is loaded at the skill positions, and they stock a rotation where everyone seems to get plenty of quality touches.
Hawaii is near the bottom of every offensive and defensive category, including 94th against the run, 98th in points allowed, 91st in rushing yards gained, and 88th in points scored.
The spread represents the statistical mismatch the game is, and the only real question is if Boise scores enough to cover—I think they do. Boise is just a tough place to play, and Hawaii isn't especially strong once they leave the Big Island, covering just once in their last six road trips. I look for Boise to score enough to cover.
Michigan State +3 Vs. Ohio State (Saturday, Oct. 18, 3:30 EST): 5 out of 10
Both of these teams enter the game at 6-1 overall and 3-0 in their conference. Both suffered what can only be described as "bad" losses on visits to the West Coast but have rebounded decently.
While neither team has an offense that really ranks among the best, they have both made up for their offensive deficiencies the same way: by taking the ball away and giving their offense decent field position to work with. As we see so often, turnovers are the biggest difference in close matchups, and both of these teams excel in that category.
While most of what we hear is about for Ohio State is about a few of their offensive players, the Buckeyes offense doesn't rank in the top half of any major category except for rushing yards, but their defense ranks in the top 20 in just about every major category.
For Michigan State, their numbers are even and moderate. When you see the +10 in the takeaway department next to their overall numbers, you can see just how important the turnovers are to them.
While Ohio State has been winning their games, they have been horrible against the spread, going just 1-5 against the number. Michigan State is 4-3 against the spread so far this season going up against a little lighter competition. The Buckeyes have dominated this series, covering five of the last seven times out, and the favorite has covered in four of the last five.
I'm lukewarm on the Spartans, as my five rating suggests. I know they'll need to play a perfect game and force turnovers to win, but I think they get it done in East Lansing this week.
See the rest of Mitch's Picks at The College Football Place.
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