Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:15 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Vanderbilt -17½ over Hawaii
FirstBank Stadium – Nashville, TN
Streaming: SEC Network
7:30 PM EST. Spotting this amount of points is not in our wheelhouse, but there is a time and a place for everything and in the world of handicapping, nothing is 100% in stone. First off, Vanderbilt is rarely this big a favorite, thus the market propensity would be to grab the points. Truth be told, the last time the Commodores were favored in this range against an FBS team was back in 2019 when they were -15½ against a brutal UNLV squad. In case you were wondering, Vandy lost that day 34-10. While we don’t care for ancient history, the talking heads will use material like that to push the Rainbow Warriors and the points like it’s the must-play of Week O.
Next thing to note is that Vanderbilt is 3-10 Against the Spread (ATS) in their last 13 stints as a home favorite. While the market uses that useless trend, we use it too but we use it to apply it to Vanderbilt spotting less points than they should be because of all that useless info or statistical data the market and media uses to deflate the price.
Next case in point is that the Rainbow Warriors finished 3-10 overall last year but they covered like a madman to round off 2022, as they went 7-1 against the number to close out the season while Vanderbilt finished 5-7 against the spread overall. That’s another reason the narrative out there is to grab the points but once again, it’s the opposite, as we always stress to buy low and sell high. Vanderbilt’s stock is low and has been for years, it is undoubtedly characterized as the cupcake of the SEC.
The over/under on Vandy’s win total in 2022 was 2½ games but the Commodores easily surpassed that with five wins in 2022 and it is evident that Head Coach Clark Lea has this program clawing out of the doldrums. While that may not mean much when Vanderbilt is up against the likes of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, or LSU for example, it can yield dividends in a situation like this where Vanderbilt’s lack of market credibility allows us to move in on a sweet buy-low situation. Incidentally, these two sides met last year in Hawaii where Vanderbilt was an eight-point road favorite. Some dared say that Timmy Chang would pull off the shocker in his Honolulu inauguration as Head Coach of Hawaii. Instead, the Commodores would decimate the Rainbow Warriors 63-10 and now this same team with higher aspirations this year but still very much under the radar gets the Rainbow Warriors again on their own turf, under the lights, in prime time on the opening Saturday of the season in a rare chance to show what they can do when they dip their toe outside of the big, bad, SEC.
The zeal with which the fanbase has embraced Clark Lea and the positive vibes out of Nashville are undeniable and we can’t imagine for a second that Vandy will be flat or that they won’t blow this invader out.
Vanderbilt -17½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)