Will the health and return of LeMichael James factor into an Oregon win on the road Saturday against Stanford? The Ducks highlight one of my picks in Week 10.
Vegas sportsbook lines are something that caught my attention when I started college. I had a few friends who had played the lines for years, but I never got a hold of the field. I knew sports well, but from a gambling perspective I never participated. That changed fast. I’m now glued into the industry.
For me, it’s the best part of a week to study lines from Monday to Friday. I find great joy in breaking down a game from a different perspective. Once you're in the field, you don’t want out. Like many others, I’m not invincible in my picks by any means. But I’ve had enough success to remember my big wins.
Let me now talk you into three of my top picks for this week in Week 10:
Don't let a loss from LSU scare you away from another week of picking Alabama. The Tide are still the No. 1 ranked points against defense in the country.
Alabama @ Mississippi State
I came into the 2011 season with Mississippi State being my sleeper team. I told everyone I could about them. They had an up and coming coach with Dan Mullen and surprised a lot of folks down south with a 9-4 2010 season that was capped off by routing Michigan in the Gator Bowl. But things have hit rock bottom in 2010 and it started when LSU came to Starkville.
At the beginning of the year, their season literally went south. I’ve since jumped off the ship. Although they’re still a game over .500, I don’t believe in this team. Too many turnovers. Too many bad possessions. Not getting one yard when it matters. I think Alabama is top notch and very dominant. And even after a loss to LSU, they aren’t reeling from last week.
Though this is SEC ball, the Tide have a talent edge on the Bulldogs. And that talent will make a difference when the No. 1 points against defense in the country faces a middle of the pack Bulldog offense. I see Alabama giving up no more than seven points and covering their side of the spread.
My pick: Alabama -18.5
Kellen Moore is one of the most accurate passers in the country, pin-pointing around 75 percent of his throws. Boise State as a team averages over 40 points a game and face a high scoring offense in TCU on Saturday.
TCU @ Boise State
This will be the last time we see this familiar Mountain West dual for a while, as TCU hits the road for new conferences starting next year. And boy would this battle have been fun to see for the next few years.
When you think of either of these teams from a recency standpoint, you think of fireworks. Wins. Points on the board. And this year is no different. Boise and TCU rank atop the Mountain West, averaging over 40 points a game. Both teams are sharp on offense. Even if Doug Martin doesn’t go for Boise because of a leg injury, TCU will have fits stopping a 75 percent passer in Kellen Moore.
Boise is just a battle offensively. TCU meanwhile comes sprinting into this game having won 21 straight games against conference foes, and you know that won’t want to stop. Little respect is coming from Vegas as a 13 point underdog. Although the last two meetings have seen 33 points and 27 points combined, I see defenses struggling and lots of players seeing the end zone.
My pick: Boise State and TCU over 58 points.
Nick Toon is a difference maker in the Wisconsin offense. When a bullseye is on the Badgers running game, Toon is there to offset it in the passing game, and has caught six touchdowns this season.
Wisconsin @ Minnesota
When I think of this Wisconsin Badger team, I think of an explosive offense who can not only run the ball, but throw the ball really well. Three dimensionally, the Badgers have a combination of Russell Wilson, Montee Ball and Nick Toon who just wreak havoc for any defense. When you think the run is coming, the pass hits you in the face.
The Badgers are by no means an up and down team. After losing on back-to-back weeks to Michigan State and Ohio State, they came back last week and controlled Purdue 62-17. The Boilermakers were on their heels the under game. I think this win gave Wisconsin some more confidence as they dominated for four quarters.
Minnesota is not a high scoring team. A 2-7 team on the year, this team will not scare you. Although they hung around with their best test of the year, USC in week one, that was an early season, find your personality as a team type of game. I see Wisconsin going around and over the top on Minnesota Saturday. Even with a so-so performance, the Badgers can handle the Gophers.
My pick: Wisconsin -27.5
Other plays: Nebraska -4, Michigan State -3, Kansas State and Texas A&M over 65.5 points, Washington and USC over 63.5 points, Oregon +3.
Follow me on Twitter: @audio_adam