Weekend Predictions was 7-3-1 against the spread last week. I backed five underdogs who won straight up, including Florida over Georgia. A good week for 'dogs almost always will mean a good week for my picks. It just means more to get points.
The Falcons are off this weekend, which is a relief. My predictions for their games have been wrong for five consecutive weeks. It doesn’t matter whether I pick the Falcons to win or lose. I have no idea what they are going to do, which must be how Dan Quinn felt near the end.
College games of interest
Georgia State (+16) at Appalachian State
Georgia State (3-3, 2-3 Sun Belt) recovered from a blowout loss to Coastal Carolina and dominated Louisiana-Monroe. App State (5-1, 3-0) has beat up three bad Sun Belt Conference foes. The Panthers offer more resistance. They lose, but cover
No. 2 Notre Dame (-13½) at Boston College
Notre Dame beat Clemson last weekend. They would meet in the ACC Championship game if each team wins out. If the Tigers won the rematch — they’d be favored if Trevor Lawrence plays — both teams would have a strong College Football Playoff case. If Alabama wins the SEC and Ohio State wins the Big Ten, then it could be those two plus Clemson and Notre Dame in the playoff. ESPN would love it. Fighting Irish cover.
Arkansas (+17½) at No. 6 Florida
Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman left Athens last year to take the top job at Arkansas. The Bulldogs were preparing for the Sugar Bowl when Pittman hired Kendal Briles to be his offensive coordinator. Kirby Smart went with ex-NFL coordinator Todd Monken. The Hogs already have an offense equal to Georgia’s. Ouch. Gators cover.
No. 9 Miami (+2½) at Virginia Tech
If Clemson slips up again then Miami could end up in the ACC Championship game for only the second time. Maybe the Hurricanes finally will win the league they were supposed to dominate when they left the Big East. Give me Miami and the points.
No. 13 Wisconsin (-4½) at Michigan
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Centers for Disease Control is analyzing Wisconsin’s COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it started with “one point of introduction.” That might be coach Paul Chryst. He had his mask on his chin while speaking to players during a game before Chryst and 29 other members of the program tested positive. Some of these coaches are bigger public-health threats than partying students. I like Wisconsin to cover.
South Carolina (+11) at Ole Miss
The Gamecocks beat Auburn less than a month ago, but it doesn’t mean as much after lopsided losses to LSU and Texas A&M. The (Charleston) Post and Courier anonymously quoted a program booster griping about the “embarrassing” product on the field. Talk is cheap, unlike coach Will Muschamp’s $13 million contract buyout. I’ll take Ole Miss and give the points.
NFL games of interest
49ers (+9) at Saints
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the Saints after they dominated the Bucs on Sunday in Tampa Bay for their fifth consecutive victory. Everybody is looking forward to seeing how the Saints will blow it in the playoffs this time. The 49ers are too beat up to beat the Saints, but they’ll cover.
Buccaneers (-5½) at Panthers
The toughest part about watching Tom Brady get humiliated was that it wasn’t as enjoyable as it should be because the Saints are nearly as unlikeable. The Bucs were so bad their old QB Jameis Winston, now a Saints backup, got in the game and reprised his bizarre “Eat a W” act afterwards. The point spread on this game feels like an overreaction to Tampa Bay’s terrible night, so I’ll take the Bucs to cover.
Ravens (-7) at Patriots
The Ravens are sputtering on offense after despite retaining nearly every starter from last season’s great unit. QB Lamar Jackson said they are so predictable that defenders sometimes call out plays before the snap. These are the kind of issues that tend to surface when a team is struggling to ... oh, wait, the Ravens are 6-2. With the way the local teams are going, I forgot what championship standards look like. I’ll take the Ravens and give the points.
Last week against the spread: 7-3-1 (54-39-3)