Take it to the Bank: The Games of Week 4

Vegas is fast becoming a party pooper. After two weeks of lines so flimsy that David Patterson could see through them, the oddsmakers present us with a number of legitimate point spreads in week 4. Still, the PhogBlog Handicapping Service stands unfazed by this challenge. In fact, we welcome it. We scoff at Vegas as if it were the illegitimate child of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and had brothers named Lehman, Merrill and Iggy.

You might notice that the KU scrimmage vs. Sam Houston State is not included in this week’s picks. In the past, when there has been no official line on a KU game, I have devised a reasonable one to ensure having the KU game in the mix. This week, though, there is no reasonable line. This is truly a name the score game. What kind of line would make sense: 35? 42? 50? 60? Whatever the Big M wants, he will get. And I don’t claim to be a mind reader. Ergo,

The Jayhawk-less Games of Week 4:

1. Miami (Fl) -4 at Texas A&M

The team that cost Franchione his job takes on A&M again—this time in College Station. When I mentioned that there were a number of legitimate lines this week, I didn’t mean they all were. . .

2. Rice +30.5 at Texas

The thing is, we don’t usually do 30+ point games. But here’s what happened: This spread is so seductive, I made an exception. You’ll thank me later.

UT

3. Iowa St +3 at UNLV

Iowa St is on the way to being a respectable team. Do away with a few correctable mistakes, and they are in last Saturday’s game at Iowa to the bitter end. Unfortunately, the end was still bitter. I might be a wee bit apprehensive about them when the Hawks visit Ames two weeks hence. But I don’t see them as ready to win on the Road yet.

UNLV

4. Temple +28.5 at Penn St

Like I said, not ALL of the lines are legit. Vegas has yet to wise up to the rising juggernaut in State College.

PENN ST

5. Ohio +11 at Northwestern

Don’t be fooled by Ohio playing their in-state rivals tough in Columbus. If the Buckeyes have not been exposed by now, what will it take? They were last year, and still are, KU-lite.

NORTHWESTERN

6. LSU -3 at Auburn

Ouch, Vegas. I REALly prefer easy lines. I am reluctant to go against Auburn as a Home dog, but until they can pull a Mizzou and Show Me they can win a game of this magnitude, what choice do I have?

LSU

7. Alabama -9 at Arkansas

Maybe Vegas just has an SEC thing. The Crimson Tide should roll over the dismal Hogs. But Arkansas, even when bad, has a penchant for not rolling over at Home.

ALABAMA

8. Va Tech +1.5 at UNC

Is UNC developing into a team that Psycho T can be proud of? Or is Rutgers just that bad? I will go with the Home team in the shadow of the Roy Dome.

UNC

9. Wake Forest +4 at Florida St

Three years into the Demon Deacons’ resurgence (or insurgence as the case may be), Vegas has still yet to Wake up. You might say, they can’t see the Forest for the trees. W.F. might not beat FSU, but they are hard-nosed competitors. This game will not get out of hand.

WAKE

10. Notre Dame +8.5 at Michigan St

The Fighting Irish are taking baby steps toward becoming the Fighting Irish again. Staying within a TD in East Lansing is the next step.

NOTRE DAME

11. Wyoming +29 at BYU

I had to pass on Boise St +11.5 at Oregon and AU +2 t UCLA to make room for this game. But there are enough difficult lines this week. So let’s do the game that makes you scratch your head and say, “Helloooooooooo! Earth to Vegas: Anybody home? You do realize that this game is in Provo, not Laramie, don’t you? You’re aware that last weekend, BYU hung 59 on the team that took out Tennessee in Week 1? That they don’t stop scoring just because they get ahead by four TD’s or so? You have been paying attention. Or have you?

BYU

12. Utah -7 at Air Force

Oops. Don’t tell anyone, but this is another Vegas faux pas. (That rhymes with Joe Pa for you k-staters).

UTAH

13. Idaho +4.5 at Utah St

This is what ABC wanted USC/Ohio St to be. The top two teams in the country going at each other.

Bizarro ABC that is.

That said, why would one expect one of the two worst teams in Division 1 to stay within 5 points of anyone on the Road? Even the other?

If it were but on a neutral field—say a blue field in Boise—this would be a classic.

UTAH ST

14. Florida -7.5 at Tennessee

Somebody check Vegas’s meds. Its bipolar pills are not working. It vacillates between happy-go-lucky, devil may care, what-me-worry spreads to ones—like this—that are absolutely diabolical. If my only concern were finding the easiest games to pick, this one would find its way to the cutting room floor. But without a few challenges, it would be no fun, right? Gotta believe that the Vols can stay within a TD of almost anyone at Home. That extra ½ point is the difference-maker.

TENNESSEE

15. Georgia -6.5 at Arizona St

Another sick line. Wouldn’t be if Georgia had thus far resembled the Pretend National Championship contender it was reputed to be ever since dispensing of Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. But the Bulldogs have not yet looked like a team that can go on the Road and take out a competitive BCS conference team by a full TD. Or is ASU a competitive BCS team? Sure didn’t look like one last Saturday vs. UNLV. Or were the Sun Devils caught looking ahead? A lot of unanswered questions make this a tough game to figure. I will take UGA to wear ASU down and pull out to a two score lead in the waning moments.

GEORGIA

--Mark

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