The last time I had a big week, I patted myself on the back so hard that my arm ended up in a sling for a month. Then, of course, karma got me the following week as I got crushed. So instead of bragging, let me just point out—for the record—that last week I hit all three of my big plays, finished 7-3 and cleared $1,040. With that, I’m now 28-14-2 with my picks the last five weeks.
No, you’re not in some post-Thanksgiving, tryptophan-induced haze, nor have I been hitting the holiday eggnog a little early this season; those numbers are indeed legit. So after a miserable start to the football season—seriously, it was so bad that I almost hit up Auburn quarterback Cam Newton for a loan—I enter December with my bankroll at $5,423.
Sure I’ve still got a long way to go to get back to even. But hey, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, right? At least that’s what my mom always told me. Well, that and “always make sure to wear clean underwear in case you’re ever in an accident.”
On to this week’s picks …
$440 (to win $400) on VIRGINIA TECH (-4) vs. Florida State: If you wagered exclusively on Virginia Tech since mid-September, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates would be jealous of your net worth. The Hokies opened the season with losses to Boise State (understandable) and James Madison (inexplicable), but they’ve since ripped off 10 straight wins, going 9-1 against the spread (ATS). Virginia Tech’s margin of victory during its winning streak: 22, 19, 11, 24, 31, 37, 7, 16, 14 and 30. Now the Hokies are matched up in the ACC Championship Game against Florida State, which has faced just one opponent this season that can match Virginia Tech’s depth and athleticism. That was Oklahoma on Sept. 11. Result? Oklahoma 47, Florida State 17 (and until the game’s final play, the Seminoles had just 10 points and less than 300 total yards).
$330 (to win $300) on NORTHERN ILLINOIS (-17) vs. Miami (Ohio): Calling Northern Illinois the class of the Mid-American Conference is like calling Holly Madison the brightest of The Girls Next Door. It’s not like there’s much competition. Still, you can’t argue with the Huskies’ results: nine straight wins, eight of them by double digits, including the last three by scores of 71-3, 59-21 and 65-30 (two of them on the road). Even better, not even Virginia Tech has been as profitable as Northern Illinois, which is 9-0-1 ATS in its last 10 games (6-0 ATS as a double-digit favorite). Miami (Ohio) backed into this MAC Championship Game when Ohio was upset at Kent State. And even though the RedHawks have won four in a row, they’ve failed to eclipse 24 points in five straight games (Northern Illinois has averaged 46.2 points throughout its nine-game winning streak). Miami’s four losses came against its four toughest opponents (Florida, Missouri, Cincinnati and Ohio) by the combined score of 164-41.
$110 (to win $100) on HAWAII (-34½) vs. UNLV: I went against UNLV with my biggest play last week, detailing the Rebels’ road woes, and all they did was go to San Diego State and get beat 48-14. So that puts UNLV at 0-6 straight up and ATS away from Sam Boyd Stadium, with losses of 28, 23, 39, 33, 48 and 34 points. The Rebels put up 9.7 points and 239 yards per game on the road, while giving up nearly 44 points and more than 450 yards. You have to go back to the South’s effort in Gettysburg for a worse performance by a group of men on foreign turf. Now UNLV flies to the Islands to play Hawaii, which has won eight of its last nine overall (with its only loss at Boise State). That includes five straight home games, the last two in blowout fashion (41-7 over San Jose State; 45-10 over Idaho). When you compare common opponents, Hawaii beat Idaho and also handed Nevada its only loss of the season; UNLV lost 30-7 at Idaho and 44-26 to the Wolf Pack at home.
BEST OF THE REST: Bills (+6½) at Vikings ($55); Louisiana Tech (+10) vs. Nevada ($44); South Carolina (+5) vs. Auburn ($44); Chargers (-13) vs. Raiders ($33); Saints-Bengals OVER 47 ($33); Connecticut (+1½) at South Florida ($33); Rams (-2) at Cardinals ($33).