It felt good to get the first weekend of The Six Pack out of the way last week, even if the results weren't what we were hoping for. The good news is that it's not how you start, but how you finish, and although we're early in the season, we've seen some clues about what we can expect going forward.
This week we're taking our newfound knowledge and putting it to use to make some money.
Or at least some more valuable lessons! We're going to start with a game between two ranked teams. The first such game of 2020! Sure, nobody expected it to be Miami and Louisville, but it's 2020, and we're going to take what we can get this year.
Games of the Week
No. 17 Miami (+2.5) at No. 18 Louisville -- The most interesting aspect of Miami's season-opening win against UAB was that, for the first time in a long time, it felt like Miami had an identity on offense. It just kept running the ball at UAB for the entire game and finding success in doing it. New offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee knows what his best assets are on offense, and he isn't afraid to use them. And that rushing attack could come in handy against a strong Louisville team.
The Cardinals held Western Kentucky to 3.4 yards per carry last week, and maybe that's a sign of things to come, but I'm not ready to bet on that yet. No, I still remember the Louisville defense that allowed 205.8 rushing yards per game (112th nationally) and 5.4 yards per carry (120th) last year. I'm sure Miami does as well, and I think we'll see a heavy dose of D'Eriq King and Cam'Ron Harris this weekend. I like the Canes and the points. Miami 27, Louisville 24
South Florida (+26) at No. 7 Notre Dame -- While Notre Dame's Kyren Williams was very impressive in his debut as the team's starting running back, the rest of the Irish offense lacked punch last week against Duke. Maybe it was the weather, or perhaps it was the rust, but my concerns about the Golden Domers' lack of a playmaker in the passing game weren't relieved over 60 minutes. Due to that lack of explosiveness from anybody not named Kyren Williams, it's hard for me to trust the Irish as 26-point favorites here.
As for South Florida, the Bulls only managed 27 points against The Citadel last week, and one of their four touchdowns was courtesy of a punter with stone hands handing the Bulls six points. Still, it's hard to judge the Bulls overall because they had three quarterbacks throw a pass, ten players get at least one carry, and 11 catch a pass during the game. It was a genuine group effort. I think they can stay within four touchdowns. Notre Dame 31, South Florida 13
Lock of the Week
Louisiana Tech (+5.5) at Southern Miss -- I've made a promise to myself not to jump on anything early this year because of the unpredictable nature of the games and players who might not be available. That promise was put to the test when I saw this line posted. I know Louisiana Tech hasn't played yet, and there are legitimate concerns about that based on what we've seen from teams so far. Still, I have seen Southern Miss, and I remember what I saw. What I saw was a wholly unprepared team, and at times seemed disinterested during a season-opening loss to South Alabama. It was a performance so poor that Jay Hopson was out as coach not long after. Meanwhile, this is a Louisiana Tech team that won 10 games last season, and while quarterback J'Mar Smith is gone, it still has 1,000-yard rusher Justin Henderson and a group of experienced receivers back on offense. Louisiana Tech 28, Southern Miss 20
Favorite of the Week
No. 13 Cincinnati (-33.5) vs. Austin Peay -- Based on what the Governors did against Pitt last week in a 55-0 loss, it's hard to have much confidence in them. The only argument you can make on their behalf in this game is that this will be their third game while it's Cincinnati's first. Still, that only carries so much weight with me because last week was Pitt's first game too, and that didn't stop it from putting up 55 points (with 10 minute quarters in the second half) against it. Meanwhile, the Governors only mustered 137 yards of offense and finished with 1 yard rushing on 22 carries. This Cincinnati defense won't be any easier to crack than Pitt's was, so I'm fine laying the points here. Cincinnati 49, Austin Peay 3
ACC Rock Fight of the Week
Wake Forest at NC State (Under 53.5) -- The game nobody knew they wanted. I know it was against Clemson, and we shouldn't hold any performance against Clemson against any team, but Wake's offense didn't fill me with much confidence about it going forward. Then there's NC State, which managed an ACC-worst 16.1 points per game in conference play last season, playing its first game. Then there are some trends that are hard to ignore, like the fact the under is 20-9 in NC State's last 29 ACC games. Or that it's 10-4 in Wake's last 14 ACC games. Let's all get together and watch these two teams not do anything for a few hours Saturday. Wake Forest 20, NC State 17
Shaky Opener of the Week
Tulsa at Oklahoma State (Under 66.5) -- This game was initially scheduled to be played last week, but was postponed. It remains the first game of the season for both, and there's been an early trend that's very hard to ignore in this situation. Through two weeks of action, we have seen 20 games played between teams playing for the first time this season. The under has gone 14-6 in those games. What's more telling is that while the average betting total of those 20 games has been 57 points, the average finishing total of the 20 games was 50.4 points per game. That's nearly a touchdown short of the total. Also, of the six games that have gone over, none featured a total higher than 55 points. The under is 8-0 in any game that had a total of 56 or higher. Oklahoma State 35, Tulsa 14
SportsLine Bonus Pick of the Week
Boston College at Duke (-6, O/U 52) -- Duke looks to bounce back from a season-opening loss to Notre Dame. The Blue Devils are favored by six against Boston College, with a total of 52. I have a play on this game as well, but it's only available to SportsLine subscribers.
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week