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Vegas Mike: Week 5 UConn and AAC picks

Mike is currently 15-6 picking American Conference games against the spread

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Temple at Connecticut

Temple is rolling right now. Going into Vanderbilt in the season-opener and winning 37-7, losing against Navy by a touchdown and earning the biggest win in team history last week. UConn needs to be weary of P.J. Walker, the sophomore quarterback threw for 2084 yards last year and had 90 rushing attempts.

Temple has forced 14 turnovers in three games, while turning it over six times (two each game). In four games this year, UConn's offense has turned the ball over on the first possession three times and once on the second possession. This game reeks of a Temple defensive touchdown within UConn's first few possessions. The Owls will want revenge for the loss last year.

These teams have played five times since 2007 - with two of those games going to overtime. The teams combined to average 37.2 points per game, never scoring more than 21 points in the first half.  Temple is 22-10 against the spread (ATS) over the last 32 games after allowing less than 20 points in their last game. UConn is 4-10-1 ATS over the last 15 games after allowing less than 20 points in the previous game.

UConn has a bye next week and it almost seems that the Huskies can't wait for a week off to start fresh. Again, if UConn cannot make costly errors to put their defense in a hole I believe the Huskies have a chance to pull off the upset; however, I think mistakes (turnovers) will cost the Huskies in the first half and eventually the game. I hate to do it again, but until I see more life out of UConn and coach Bob Diaco gets away from his "base plays" and gets the ball into his playmakers hands - Geremy Davis, Deshon Foxx and even Arkeel Newsome - I  will double down against UConn.

Pick: First half Temple -3
Pick: Temple -6
Pick: First half under 23
Pick: Under 45


A stat that I will continue to go back (and adding) to this year: Since Garrett Gilbert was injured last year (just before halftime) in the third to the last game to the season, SMU has scored just 38 points in the last 22 quarters. Over that same time frame, SMU opponents have scored 203 points. In this game last year, TCU won 48-17, outscoring SMU 31-7 in the fourth quarter. This weekend, SMU takes their 128th-ranked points-for and points-against offense and defense to TCU. SMU will be starting their 3rd quarterback in three games! This could be a "look-ahead game" as TCU is coming off of a bye and over the next three weeks plays host to No. 4 Oklahoma, at No. 7 Baylor and host No. 24 Oklahoma State. Until SMU proves that they have some sort of pulse, I don't know how you don't bet the first half and game.

Pick: First half TCU -19
Pick: TCU -32
Pick: Under 49

Tulane at Rutgers

Former Big East member vs. new American Conference member. In four games outside of the state of Louisiana last year, Tulane went 0-4 (Syracuse, Florida Atlantic, Texas-San Antonio  and Rice), losing by a combined score of 113 to 54 (28.25 to 13.5 average).  Rutgers' starting running back, Paul James, tore his ACL and is out for the season. This will be the Scarlet Knights first game without him. This might actually work out well for Rutgers this week as Gary Nova is an efficient enough quarterback to exploit a defense that gave up 438 yards on the road against Dane Evans and Tulsa. Although, I can't imagine Tulane playing as bad as they did last week against Duke (five turnovers and 1 for 6 on fourth down), I think Rutgers will be too much for Tulane to handle on the road.

Pick: Rutgers -12

South Florida at Wisconsin

Two words: Melvin Gordon. He's better than James White. He's better than Montee Ball. Heck, He might be better than Ron Dayne. Last week against Bowling Green, he had 12 carries for 248 yards and five touchdowns...with 14:14 left in the THIRD QUARTER! USF doubled UConn in nearly every stat category last week and still only won by three. What's going to happen to USF when they get tripled in yardage?  Viewer discretion advised if you choose to watch this game.

Vegas: South Florida's Willie Taggart is 31-19 ATS overall and an amazing 19-3 ATS on the road in his four seasons as a head coach (three at Western Kentucky). In four seasons at Utah State and one at Wisconsin, Gary Andersen also has a 20-6 ATS record out of conference and is 40-23 ATS overall as a head coach. Under is 18-7-1 in USF's last 26 overall and the under is 7-1 in the last 8 road games. USF is 8-20 ATS after an ATS win. Wisconsin is 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 after an ATS win. I'm tempted to take the first half too.

Pick: Wisconsin -34

Cincinnati at Ohio State

Earlier this week, the Cincinnati Bearcats mourned the passing of a teammate who died in a motorcycle accident. This comes nearly a year after Cincinnati had a player die in a car accident last season. They will be playing with heavy hearts once again as they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Urban Meyer is 31-9 ATS with more than a week to prepare. I'm sure Meyer was still seething from the Virginia Tech loss during this bye. Meyer is also a Cincinnati graduate. Ohio State haven't lost to an in-state school since a 7-6 defeat against Oberlin in 1921 - spanning 44 consecutive games.

Pick: Ohio State -17

Memphis at Ole Miss

It is time to back up my belief that Memphis is an improved team. Ole Miss has played two terrible teams in LA-Lafayette and Vanderbilt - won by a combined score of 97-18. Ole Miss only other game was a 35-13 win over Boise State - scoring 28 points in the fourth quarter to win the game. The Rebels are coming off of a bye, but over the next five games, they play three teams ranked in the top-6 (Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn) , and at No. 17 LSU.

Memphis can control the game with their balanced throwing and running attack. They flew out to Los Angeles and kept the game close against UCLA - even with Brett Hundley going 33 for 44 with 396 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. Bo Wallace is a great quarterback for Ole Miss, who has thrown for over 300 yards in every game and his worst completion percentage was 69.4%. Maybe Memphis only keeps it close for a half or scores some cheap touchdowns at the end of the game. Either way, I am backing up my belief on Memphis

Pick: Memphis +21