Week 5 CFB Plays from @SandmanPicks

CFB Season Record 5-3 (+1.4u)

Michigan +1.5 (-105) 1u & under 43.5 (-110) 1.5u

I’ve been pretty spot on with my Wisconsin plays this year, as it’s a team I know pretty well and have a good sense of where they are as a team. Right now, they’re not in a good spot. Yes, this would be a classic Harbaugh Michigan letdown spot after a great start to the season. Seems to happen every year. However, I just have no confidence in Bucky to move the ball on this team. The Badgers love to run the ball, but they just have not been very effective doing that this year. Take out the walloping of a terrible Eastern Michigan team, and the Badgers are averaging under 3 yards per carry on the year. Since 2015, they’ve only rushed for under 3.3 YPC in 8 games. They are 2-6 in those games and have already rushed for 3.1 and 2.9 YPC in 2 games this year.

Since Mertz has taken over at QB, they have not beaten a ranked team, losing by 10, 8, 21, 6, and 28. Mertz has averaged just 205 yards through the air in those games, which are games they trail in, and he still can’t even rack up the yards. He has thrown 2 touchdowns in those games COMBINED and has thrown 11 INTERCEPTIONS. Predictably, the Badgers are 0-5 ATS in those games.

Michigan has given up just 5 touchdowns this year. They are not outstanding against the rush so far, giving up 3.75 yards per carry, good for 60th in the country, but they have turned the other team over 4 times this year and have yet to turn the ball over themselves. Michigan have not lit it up through the air this year on offense either, but are in the top 10 in yards per attempt and Cade McNamara has yet to throw an interception. 

The Badgers defense is the #1 team in the country against the run, allowing less than 2 yards per carry and 25 yards per game. They will be tested against the #4 in rushing this year, but I expect them to limit the big plays. 

The Badgers are 8-12 ATS at home since 2018, and 7-11 as home favorites. Michigan has only been a road underdog twice since 2017 and is 1-1 in those games, but is 4-8 ATS on the road since 2018. However I do expect that to change.

In summary, I like Michigan in this game as I think both teams struggle to run the ball effectively and although neither team has a proven QB, Mertz has proven he can’t do it, and McNamara hasn’t had to sling it through the air yet. The same logic can be applied to the total, as I think both teams try to establish the run just like they have so far this season. When they are forced to throw, I don’t know that either QB has the ability to put up huge numbers.

Alabama -14.5 (-110) 1u

I gave out this same exact line for Bama a few weeks ago vs Florida and after leading 21-3, they failed to cover. That game was also on the road. This week, I’m back for more action. They are still 8-1 ATS in their last 9 home games and 6-0 vs the SEC in that span. Ole miss is 4-8 ATS in their last 12 on the road, all in SEC play. 

Both these teams like to air it out, as reflected in the 79.5!!! point total for this game. Both rank inside the top 20 in passing yards and Ole Miss has put up better numbers on the ground, ranking in the top 10 in virtually all categories. However, they have played Tulane, Austin Peay, and Louisville while Bama has faced Florida and Miami. 

On the defensive side, Bama has yet to give up more than 195 yards through the air. They did struggle a little bit against the run against Florida, but that was a large part due to the dual threat QB Emory Jones rushing 19 times. Ole Miss’ Matt Corral can run, but is definitely not as big a threat as Jones. 

I mean really, this play just comes down to Nick Saban’s Bama at home in the SEC going against the newfound Cinderella story in Ole Miss. We can look at Ole Miss stats against teams outside of the top 50, but trying to apply stats from a game against Austin Peay really doesn’t mean much. Call me a poor handicapper if you want, but I’m rolling with the Tide in part just because they are Alabama.

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