Illinois @ Northwestern
Northwestern +15 -106 over Illinois

Posted at 10:45 AM EST odds are subject to change.

Pinnacle +15 -106  BET365 +15 -110 SportsInteraction +15 -110 888Sport +15 -110

Illinois @ Northwestern +15

Ryan Field – Evanston, IL

Streaming: ESPN3

3:30 PM ET. We know what you are thinking, who on Earth would bet a team that has only one win on the year? A win which was not even attained in the geographic United States, no less. However, our mission as handicappers is to find value in obscure places; to look out for an inflated number and make a case to back the side that the market is so heavily tilted against. Henceforth, welcome the Northwestern Wildcats to the stage.

Last week, the #21 Illinois Fighting Illini played their hearts out in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a 17-point underdog, the Illini took a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter and didn’t allow Michigan into the end zone in the final frame. Yet, the Illini lost 19-17 by way of a Michigan field goal that edged the Wolverines to the front with nine ticks remaining. The loss was nothing short of demoralizing, that being squandering a program-defining victory in the final seconds. Illinois also saw its B1G Championship Game hopes evaporate, as well. This eventuality came by way of a controversial no-call on 4th and 3 that had skipper Bret Bielema calling out referees for a missed offensive pass interference call on Michigan which enabled the Wolverines to convert and get in position to steal the win. Now, after such a gut-wrenching loss with such significant consequences, the Illini are asked to play the role of the road favorite. A position we love to fade, even more so when said team steps in off a bitter loss and is asked to lay an enhanced tag.

Impressed by what it saw last week, the market saw the opening line here (-12) as an opportunity to spot reasonable points and now we find the ‘Cats taking back nearly an extra field goal after the efficient market got a hold of it. This signals overreaction before we factor in that the Illini go from a 17-point pup last week to a 14½-point favorite, this week. The 31½-point swing in conference is rare and also reinforces the inflated points position that we’re taking. Furthermore, the low over/under total of 38 would also suggest laying points of this quantity would not be conducive.

In case you were wondering, NW’s 10 losses this year included a loss to Duke by 8, to Ohio State by 14, at Illinois by 7 (31-24) earlier this year when the Illini were in a much better frame of mind, at Penn State by 10, to Maryland by 7 and @ Pursue by 8. Betting Illinois here is playing into a laundry list of bad practices. Northwestern has been extremely competitive and now we catch better than 14 points at home with them against a mentally wounded invader. An upset is on the table.

Our Pick

Northwestern +15 -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)

Kent State @ Buffalo
Kent State +4½ -104 over Buffalo

Posted at 10:45 AM EST odds are subject to change.

Pinnacle +4½ -104  BET365 +4½ -110 SportsInteraction +4½ -110 888Sport +4½ -110

Kent State +4½ @ Buffalo

UB Stadium – Buffalo, NY

Streaming: ESPN+

1:00 PM EST. The Bulls have some curb appeal by way of the “must win angle” along with the “revenge factor” coupled with Kent State’s low market status because of its recent inability to cash tickets. The Golden Flashes are 1-7 Against the Spread (ATS) in their previous eight MAC games and 1-6 against the number in their preceding seven games overall.

Then of course, there is the efficient market, which hammered the Bulls when they were offered up as a small 2-point choice early in the week to the present number you see here (+4½ at time of writing and it still might go up). We have to question why Buffalo came out as such a small choice when the oddsmakers have all the data that would have supported making Buffalo a bigger favorite. It doesn’t make sense why the oddsmakers would open so low on the Bulls, knowing that Buffalo would get hammered at that price. That is what we refer to as “the books taking a position” and when they take a position, they usually win.

Kent State is 4-7 overall while the Bulls are 5-5. The media loves wins more than anything but said media doesn’t do their homework. They just write what everyone else is writing. What you will not read anywhere but here is that Kent State is a potential beast. They played Georgia and lost by just 17, 39-22. There are some SEC teams that the Dawgs beat by more. They also played then ranked #8 Oklahoma where Kent State trailed by four at the half. Finally, the Flashed also played Washington, which now sits as a top-15 outfit. That’s three losses right there. Meanwhile, Buffalo’s non-conference slate included games against Holy Cross, Coastal Carolina and Maryland (31-10 loss to Terps).

Buffalo would somehow manage to weave its way to a winning record despite giving up tons of yardage weekly. They have been the beneficiary of bounces going its way but they are not the better team here. Buffalo has plenty of issues in this game, namely slowing down the Flash running game ranked 22nd and spearheaded by RB Marquez Cooper (1186 yards, 11 TDs) and QB Collin Schlee (448 rushing yards, over 2000 yards passing and 17 total TD’s). This is a Bulls defense that can’t get off the field on its best day.

Kent State owns three losses in conference play by a converted touchdown or less. Combine that with the aforementioned three losses and the picture is a lot brighter but not to a media that only sees W’s and L’s. Kent State may not be going bowling this year but that doesn’t mean for one second that they don’t want to take the Bulls down with them nor are they incapable of capsizing UB’s postseason hopes. We also love that Buffalo’s game against Akron was canceled last week because of a snow storm. Do not be afraid to take Kent straight up, as they are the superior team that may actually win in blowout fashion.

Our Pick

Kent State +4½ -104 (Risking 2.08 units - To Win: 2.00)

Minnesota @ Wisconsin
Wisconsin -3½ +100 over Minnesota

Posted at 10:45 AM EST odds are subject to change.

Pinnacle -3½ +100  BET365 -3½ -105 SportsInteraction -3½ -105 888Sport -3½ -105

Minnesota @ Wisconsin -3½ +100

Camp Randall Stadium - Madison, WI

Streaming: ESPN

3:30 PM EST. You didn’t think we’d pass up this opportunity to fade “Row the Boat” and his band of merry Gophers one more time did you? Truth be told this play has little to do with PJ Fleck, or the Badgers for that matter, as this is a straight up play on this price. However, we will point out that Fleck is not the genius he thinks he is, as he’s just treading water in Minnesota. The Gophers have not been able to find any consistency, especially on offense under Fleck. Last week, in his third start against Iowa, quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis was just 7-of-15 for 87 yards and threw the interception that cost his team the game. This is a tough spot to try and rebound.

PJ Fleck will give a rousing pregame speech filled with catch phrases. A video recording of the speech will leak at some point, and will show that he uses the phrase “Row the Boat” a total of 42 times in 9 minutes and “Ski-U-Mah” 17 times. At no point does he talk about football

The Badgers have not covered in two weeks, including last Saturday at Nebraska as a 10-point favorite. That 15-14 final does not show just how the Badgers dominated that game, but they did. Wisconsin had 21 first downs to Nebraska’s 12, it dominated the time of possession by nearly 14 minutes and the Badgers outgained the Cornhuskers by 147 yards. All that said, Whisky was down 14-3 going to the fourth quarter and it was never going to cover that number. What is the appetite going to be to lay points with the Badgers today as they battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe?

Barely qualifying for a bowl game is way below the Badgers’ standards, but it must be noted that interim head coach Jim Leonhard deserves a boatload of credit for turning the ship around after Paul Chryst was fired. It would have been easy for Wisconsin to roll over and die after that poor start, but it didn’t. The Badgers showed their character in the face of that adversity. That’s the kind of team we like to back when spotting a number.

When the oddsmakers throw up the “hook” on a “key number” like 3, 7, 10, or 17, they are enticing the market to bet on the underdog. There is a perception in the market that you are getting an “edge” when you take back a price that crosses those key numbers, but that could not be further from the truth.

Back to that freak P.J. Fleck for a moment. Nobody likes you, not even your wife. PJ Fleck is a modern retelling of the snake oil salesmen of the 1800s. In front of a bunch of drunk, cheese obsessed fans, we envision PJ Fleck’s Minnesota tenure coming to an end. A hysteric Fleck has to be taken off the field by security after the game, as he has chained himself to the goalpost after the AD told him earlier that week he would be fired the minute he was off the field following the game. Players cannot wait to get away from this arrogant prick and we highly doubt they are going to show up one last time.

Our Pick

Wisconsin -3½ +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)

Oklahoma @ Texas Tech
Texas Tech +114 over Oklahoma

Posted at 10:45 AM EST odds are subject to change.

Pinnacle +114 BET365 +110 SportsInteraction +110 888Sport +110

Oklahoma @ Texas Tech +114

Jones AT&T Stadium and Cody Campbell Field – Lubbock, TX

Streaming: FS1

7:30 PM EST. As we approach the holidays, a few things will be going around the fireside in addition to candied yams, stuffing, and cranberry sauce: bowl opt-outs, coaching carousel conversations, and transfer portal decisions. For a blue-blood like Oklahoma, a little bit of all the above may be served up, as this has been an atypical year under the first captainship of Head Coach Brent Venables but it is definitely one the Sooners would like to forget. OU went from a top-six ranked outfit at its apex to a program that may finish the season with just six wins on the docket. With such an outlier of a campaign for the Sooners, the Crimson and Cream faithful may still be willing to forgive Venables for the regression, as this was a transitional year with respect to the new regime and his first year at the helm. What transpires with bowl opt-outs and transfers is yet to be seen, but we are not here to circumspect. We are here to highlight the propensity for Oklahoma to leave its boots hung for this one. Verily, Oklahoma was flat-left by Lincoln Riley for the sunny shores of Southern California and he took their standout quarterback Caleb Williams with him, who is having a Heisman finalist-like 2022. Nevertheless, Oklahoma is a team with a pedigree and if it is not competing for a Big 12 title, a College Football Playoff berth, or even a New Year’s Six bowl, the Sooners may be very well looking to put this season behind it and move onto 2023. Oklahoma’s motivation in this game is 100% in question. We cannot say the same for the Red Raiders.

Those that wear the Wreck Em Red and Black will undoubtedly hear about “The Streak.” This is a reference to Oklahoma’s present 10-game win streak against the Red Raiders. Though Tech has come close to ending this streak in previous iterations, this may perhaps be the best time for Texas Tech to get Oklahoma. After five losing seasons and two head coaches later, the Red Raiders were able to finish out 2021 on a high note under Interim Head Coach Sonny Cumbie when the Red Raiders won the Liberty Bowl and wrapped up a 7-6 campaign accordingly. Now, the Red Raiders under new boss Joey McGuire come into this game not only with the chance to match last year’s high watermark but also take down the bully of the Big 12 while doing so.

With home cooking behind them, the Red Raiders will be turning it up for this game and their motivation levels will not be in question like their counterparts. Moreover, both teams are 6-5 heading into this tilt but the resumes of both parties are far contrasting. Texas Tech has faced six ranked teams this season and won two of those games while three of those four losses were by 10 points or less. The four losses incidentally all came on the road at NC State, TCU, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State. In Lubbock, the Red Raiders are unscathed. They defeated both Houston and Texas who were ranked accordingly. Oklahoma has faced two ranked teams and won these contests but the situation was different, as Oklahoma caught Kansas on a down-swing after it lost to TCU and they also got a beat-up Oklahoma State at the end of the season; both of whom came to Norman for the proceedings. If one removed Oklahoma’s name from the team that represents it, we wouldn’t be shocked if they were the underdog in this game but because of OU’s namesake and winning streak in this series, the wrong side is favored. Tech outright is the call.

Our Pick

Texas Tech +114 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.28)

Washington @ Washington St
Washington St +105 over Washington

Posted at 10:45 AM EST odds are subject to change.

Pinnacle +100 BET365 +105 SportsInteraction +102 888Sport +100

Washington @ Washington St +100

Martin Stadium – Pullman, WA

Streaming: ESPN

10:30 PM EST. Last week, we faded Washington when we believed they were subjected to an overreaction from their stock being catapulted when they defeated #6 Oregon in Eugene, two weeks ago. Much to our chagrin, the Huskies would demolish Colorado by a score of 52-7, despite granting the Buffs 30½ points at kickoff. It is easy to jettison any notion of coming back against UW in their follow-up but we will “stick with it here” as we are certain that if Washington’s stock was accentuated last week, it is even higher this week in their follow-up. In spite of this, the #13 Huskies are laying a porkchop to the unranked Cougars in Pullman. Hmmm.

Our goal as handicappers is to make a case for the team we are backing as we mine for value. In the case of Washington State, it is indiscernible as to the asking price here considering that the Cougars’ best win this year on paper is when it upset Wisconsin in September as a 17-point pup. However, the result would not age well, as the Badgers will finish the season with five losses at minimum. Rounding off Wazzu’s collection of victories, includes Stanford (a team you could puke blood watching) Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado State, and Idaho. In other words, a bunch of dregs and cupcakes, none of whom are going to a bowl game and one of which isn’t even in the FBS. Yet this same Washington State team is priced like it has a chance against Washington who defeated a then #6-ranked Oregon, a then #11-ranked Michigan State handily, and the present #23 Oregon State. Once again we are scratching our heads with this one. When we consider the fact that Washington’s stock is high, we really are poised to take a closer look at the Cougars.

A 10-win season is on the line for the Huskies in this game, but it’s worth noting they’ve played just the 56th toughest schedule in the nation. It’s also worth noting that one of their two losses came as a 13-point favorite at Arizona State. The other was a 3-point favorite at UCLA. Recent results are what matters most, so it’s that win over Oregon and the 50-burger the Huskies put up last week that are going to resonate most.

We’ve spent little time on the Cougars, but that is kind of the point. They are under the radar despite playing well. The Cougs knocked off Arizona on the road last week in what could have been a lookahead spot, and they beat the same ASU team that knocked off Washington by double digits (28-18). WSU is 7-4, but it was a run of three losses in the middle of the season that ruined a hot start. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that the Cougars were a pooch in those defeats to USC (+11½), Oregon State (+3) and Utah (+7). The Cougs lost to Oregon and Utah by a combined seven points.

In this Apple Cup, the role of spoiler is one to be relished. Not only can Wazzu keep the Huskies from having any chance to play for a Pac-12 title, but the Cougs can also deny their biggest rivals of that coveted 10-win season. That the Huskies have shot up the rankings and are now the 13th ranked team in the nation only adds more fuel, as the Cougars can add a signature win to their résumé. That is just one of many boxes this game checks. Wazzu for the win.

Our Pick

Washington St +105 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.10)

RangeWLP+/- (Units)
Last 30 Days18170.00+3.94
Season to Date55500.00+17.47