I am off to a good start this year going 2-0 in the first week (1-0 vs. spread, and 1-0 vs. o/u). Nowhere to go but down from here. Both Torvik and I were wrong about this week's fantasy matchup as my general indifference to fantasy didn't prevent me from getting a win vs. him. On to this week's game.
Line is OSU by 7 1/2, and o/u is 54 1/2
My week long efforts to convince myself that UW will win this game have ended in a stalemate. I just don't know where this game is going. It will not surprise me if this game is a 38-35 shootout, a 13-10 grinder, or a 42-7 blowout. I think I have a good handle on UW, I just don't have any idea how good this OSU team is. These have been two of the highest scoring teams in the country this year against bad defenses, but the o/u of 54 1/2 follows the historical trend that defense will prevail in this matchup. OSU is averaging 52.5 points per game and UW 41 so this o/u appears low, but only twice in the past 12 matchups have these teams been over 54 1/2, (59 both times in 1999, 2011) so I'm picking the under.
When I think about UW winning this game I can see a game where UW is dominant running, OSU just can't stop Gordon and White and UW outscores OSU. I can see a game where Borland racks up 20 tackles with 10 of them on Miller who just can't bust loose and UW gets a close win by holding OSU to 10 points. When I see them losing I see a game where the running game and defense do enough to keep UW close, but special teams and Stave's turnovers cost UW the win.
I'm sure Squishy Torvik will disagree with me, but I just don't see Stave leading this team to a win. All the hope about Stave basically stems from 2 good halves of football, the first half against Nebraska and the first half against MSU last year. He was very good in those 2 halves, but hasn't been very good otherwise. In 3 of his 4 starts this season he has thrown an interception and he threw an interception in 2 of his 4 full games last season. It's not like UW is chucking the ball around, and Stave rarely throws under pressure so this is a lot of picks for a team that just needs a QB to hand off, take care of the ball, and throw a few deep balls each game.
The injuries bother me too. Anderson is holding all his cards close to the vest, but if several of UW's guys can't play then that will greatly hamper UW. So all my efforts this week have gone for naught. I am picking OSU to win and cover. I was surprised to see the spread at 7 1/2, and I am tempted to pick OSU to win, but take UW and the points against the spread. In case you haven't noticed I have very little confidence in this pick, and in that case one should probably just not bet at all. Since this is just for pride and not for dough, I'm still making picks. I can stand to lose some pride anyway.