By: Hunter Schmidt
Thanks to those of you who have read the first two weeks of “Finding The Edge.” the picks went 10-7 for a 2.3 unit profit in Week 2. Here is your weekly recap:
Week 2 Recap: 10-7, +2.3 units
Season Long Recap: 21-16-1, +4.25 Units
Texas A&M managed to cover the spread against Clemson last week, but Clemson got the win they needed to keep them on their path for a title game return. LSU managed to get a huge road win against the Texas Longhorns that gives them a significant bump in the playoff rankings.
Week 3 doesn’t bring us the big-time match-ups that Week 2 did, but we still have three games that look okay –
- Iowa will travel to Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa in the battle for the Cy-Hawk trophy. Iowa leads the all-time series 44-22 and has dominated this battle since 2003, winning 11 of the last 16 games. They have won four straight including a 13-3 win a year ago. Iowa State was off last week while the Hawkeyes had to play Rutgers which is just like having the week off.
- Stanford will travel to Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Florida to take on the University of Central Florida. UCF has complained for years about never getting playoff love because their schedule is weak and they finally found a quality opponent that stepped up to the challenge. Stanford won the first game of this home-and-home series 31-7 in 2015. UCF rolled over Lane Kiffin and FAU last week, while the Stanford defense was getting carved up by a true freshman quarterback at USC.
- Clemson will travel to Syracuse where they look to get revenge on the Orange for their 2017 loss at the Carrier Dome. Clemson won this game 27-23 a year ago at home after being down 23-13 in the fourth quarter. Syracuse either got caught looking ahead to this game or Maryland is going to score 50+ every week. Clemson is coming off a big win against Texas A&M at home.
Let’s get into the picks:
North Carolina @ Wake Forest; 5PM CT on Friday
They travel to face a Wake Forest team that is averaging 546 yards per game while putting up just 40 points per game. Their defense is a real problem and North Carolina should have no problem putting up points against the Demon Deacons. They’re averaging 436 yards per game against two defensive minded head coaches, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them put up 40+ in this game and over 500 yards.
Wake Forest is going to get their points, but I think North Carolina goes on the road and gets the outright win. I’ll take the dog and the over in this Friday night match-up.
The Play: North Carolina +3 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
The Play: Over 66 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Washington State @ Houston; 8:15PM CT on Friday
Washington State is averaging nearly 60 points and 600 total yards per game. They haven’t played anybody, but the Houston defense might as well be a turnstile on your way through the airport terminal.
They’re giving up over 500 yards per game through two weeks. D’Eriq King leads a high powered Houston offense that is going to put up at least 35 in this game which means we just need 40 out of Washington State. That shouldn’t be an issue for Mike Leach and his high powered offense.
The Play: Over 74 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
EMU @ Illinois; 11AM CT
Illinois won their first road game in nearly a decade after going down 13-0 last week to UCONN.
Illinois is back at home this week and looking to sweep the non-conference slate. They should get running back Reggie Corbin back this week, which should help the passing game get going.
Eastern Michigan threw the ball over 50 times a week ago and I would expect more of the same for this game. Their rushing attack has been nonexistent, averaging just 76 yards per game. Illinois is banged up in the secondary, so Eastern Michigan should be able to have mild success.
I think Illinois wins this game 38-20, so I’m going to take the over and the points in this match-up.
The Play: Over 55 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
The Play: Illinois -7 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Miami (OH) @ Cincinnati Bearcats; 11AM CT
The total has gone under in this match-up in 8 of the last 10 years with an average of 43.6 points being scored.
Cincinnati gave up 42 points last week to Ohio State, but went under the closing total because their offense got shutout. The good news for the Cincinnati defense is they face a true freshman in Brett Gabbert this weekend, instead of Justin Fields.
This game was 21-0 a year ago and both teams combined for a total of 431 yards. Cincinnati’s defense is going to be hungry for a bounce back after getting shredded by the Buckeyes and this under trend will continue for another year.
The Play: Under 49.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
North Carolina State @ West Virginia; 11AM CT
Both of these teams were featured in my “Teams to Play, Teams to Fade” series as teams to fade this year. West Virginia has played a tougher schedule, but they are 0-2 ATS, while North Carolina State has dismantled their two opponents by a combined score of 75-6.
The impressive part for the Wolfpack is they have out-gained their opponents by 335 yards per game. Take this as a grain of salt because the competition hasn’t been tough, but West Virginia has been out-gained on average by 122.50 yards.
The more concerning stat for West Virginia is they are only averaging 32 yards per game on the ground. North Carolina State is only giving up 24.5 per game and I think that’s the difference here.
I’m ready to admit I might have been wrong about North Carolina State. I think they win this game by double digits.
The Play: North Carolina State -6.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Air Force @ Colorado; 12PM CT
Colorado is coming off a huge win against rival Nebraska putting up a substantial number in the second half. This week they get rewarded with a sneaky match-up against a good Air Force team.
The triple-option is always tough to prepare for, but I still have questions about the Colorado defense being able to stop the run after giving up 31 points in consecutive weeks.
Air Force had a bye week after beating Colgate 48-7 in their opener. I wouldn’t be surprised if Air Force won this game outright, but I think at the very worst, Colorado wins on a late field goal.
The Play: Air Force +5 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Oklahoma State @ Tulsa; 2:30PM CT
These teams combined for 84 points just two years ago with the same coaching staffs. Oklahoma State probably spent most of their week prepping their defense for Texas next week, so I expect Tulsa to score in this game.
Oklahoma State and Mike Gundy are always going to be explosive on the offensive side of the ball. I’m a big fan of their skill talent which includes guys like Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace. Spencer Sanders has the chance to be the next quarterback in a long line of successful quarterbacks to play in Stillwater.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see this game played in the 80’s again and this line was the most shocking of the week in my eyes.
The Play: Over 64 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Colorado State @ Arkansas; 3PM CT
Colorado State won this game last season in Fort Collins and already had more yards than Colorado in a game I’d argue they should’ve won.
Arkansas on the other hand only managed to beat Portland State by seven in Week 1 before losing at Ole Miss in Week 2. Colorado State should be able to score against Arkansas and you’re getting 10 points. Give me the dog here.
The Play: Colorado State +10 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Arizona State @ Michigan State; 3PM CT
These teams combined for 29 points last year, but Arizona State lost their starting quarterback and first-round pick N’Keal Harry. Jayden Daniels, a talented freshman, has taken over at quarterback and this offense has struggled early on.
They only put up 19 points against Sacramento State last week and now face one of the best defenses in the country.
Michigan State pounded Western Michigan last week, but will get a tougher test defensively here. This game has Michigan State by two touchdowns after giving up less than 250 yards and 10 points.
Give me the favorite and the under.
The Play: Under 42.5 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
The Play: Michigan State -13 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Iowa @ Iowa State; 3PM CT
Two tough-nosed teams that will be conservative with the play calling early in the game face off this weekend. These offenses will be settling for field goals all night.
This game only saw 16 points scored a year ago and while we will see an uptick, the only way this game goes over is if it heads into overtime.
The Play: Under 45 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
UMASS @ Charlotte; 3PM CT
UMASS might be the worst team in the country.
They are giving up over 500 yards and 46 points per game so far. Charlotte gave up 56 a week ago to Appalachian State, but managed to score 41 against a tough defense and cover the spread.
I’m expecting an absolute shootout in this game and wouldn’t be surprised if Charlotte drops a 50-burger.
The Play: Over 66 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Texas State @ SMU; 6PM CT
SMU is averaging 43 points a game through two weeks and has been one of the most surprising teams in the country that nobody is talking about.
Texas State finally faces a defense they should be able to find the end zone against. They need to get the run game going after averaging just 29 yards through two weeks, but they have faced two defenses that’ll be in the Top-50 come December.
I hate that I love so many overs this week, but these lines just seem low.
The Play: Over 62 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Florida @ Kentucky; 6PM CT
Sawyer Smith is taking over for Kentucky at quarterback after Terry Wilson was lost for the year due to injury. He’ll have to face a Florida defense that is one of the best in the country in his first start.
Kentucky should be able to get enough stops to keep this game under the total. These are two good defenses against what will be mediocre offenses on Saturday night. Florida wins, but this game goes under the total.
The Play: Under 50 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Florida State @ Virginia; 6:30PM CT
Willie Taggert might not have a job by 10:00 on Saturday night.
The Seminoles look awful and nearly lost to Louisiana-Monroe last week, but escaped, thanks to a missed extra point in overtime. Virginia is going to wear this Florida State defense down and come to play.
Take the over this game in the second half. Virginia wins by double digits.
The Play: Virginia -7 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
Texas Tech @ Arizona; 9:30PM CT
Both of these teams are averaging over 500 yards and 40 points per game. Arizona can’t play defense and Texas Tech hasn’t played a soul.
That’s it. That’s all I need to tell you. You’re drunk on Saturday night and you need action, this is your play.
The Play: Over 76 The Risk: 1.1 Units The Win: 1 Unit
That’s 18 picks with breakdowns of why I like those numbers for every game. This is the first weekend since Week 7 of the 2017 season without a ranked match-up. That weekend saw seven ranked teams lose, including three of them as 16+ point favorites. Maybe we get some chaos when least expected.
The column will be out Thursday next week because there are a few Friday night games. It looks like we will have four Top-25 matchups next weekend, so it should be one hell of a preview.
Best of luck this weekend!
Cover photo via: Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan
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Follow Hunter Schmidt on Twitter:@hunterrschmidtt