Sixth locksmith choice: week 8


The sequence is over.

After seven straight weeks of ATS wins to start the season, the locksmith misplaced the key to success by going 2-4 last week.

But at 32-16 ATS for the season, there’s no reason to jump the bandwagon just yet.

This weekend, Michigan heads to Michigan for a 7-0 team showdown, while Florida and Georgia renew the world’s biggest outdoor cocktail party in Jacksonville.

The under-the-radar game to watch (as the AAC slowly slips into darkness following defections): 7-0 SMU vs. 6-1 Houston.

Place for games:

Michigan on MICHIGAN STATE, giving 4 1/2

What is the formula to get to 7-0: Reload the schedule. Michigan has played a mediocre schedule at best so far, although it has beaten three teams (Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan) with currently winning records. Michigan State, meanwhile, has not currently beaten a team at 0.500 or better, with its opponents having a 19-30 total so far. Wolverines will need a little more from this game with QB Cade McNamara, although Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins’ combo (1,331 yards and 20 TDs combined) was good enough to carry the offense. Michigan’s defensive line, led by future NFL star Aiden Hutchinson, could pose some problems for Spartans QB Payton Thorne, which likely means MSU will rely heavily on RB Kenneth Walker (997 rushing yards). Michigan’s defense is better; Michigan State tends to play close games against teams it should easily beat.

Iowa over WISCONSIN, taking 3

Wasn’t it just two weeks ago that Iowa was No. 2 in the country and in the mix for a place in the Playoffs? A clunker later and the Hawkeyes appear to be written off by many in the Big Ten. Here’s the thing: Their defense is still going strong – draw a line across the blip at Purdue – and there’s no David Bells to face on Wisconsin’s roster. Quarterback Spencer Petras remains a handicap, but it’s not like he has to keep pace with Aaron Rodgers here. Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz was so unreliable that Wisconsin limited him to eight attempted passes in the win over Purdue. The Badgers have recovered from a 1-3 start to be 4-3 and have a good running game (no surprise), but if the Iowa defense can slow that down play, the offense needs to turn to Mertz. It is a problem. If you are looking for a game with graceful and stylish athletes who can do remarkable things, try another channel. This is a meeting of a few traditional heavy Big Ten teams with a limited level of athleticism.

SYRACUSE at Boston College, giving 6

Credit is due: Despite coach Dino Babers’ constant clock management issues and having to bench senior QB Tommy Devito (now in the transfer gate, of course), Syracuse has had a solid season. The Orange’s three losses – to Clemson, Wake Forest and Florida State – have been three points and the offense has a rising star in RB Sean Tucker. The freshman became the Syracuse offense with 1,060 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns and 16 catches for two touchdowns. QB Garreth Shrader’s double threat (592 rushing yards, 12 TDs) has also become a problem for opposing defenses. I don’t like the direction Boston College is taking, with three straight losses and three of its four wins earlier this year against Colgate, UMass and Temple. QB Dennis Grosel, forced into a starting role, had some turnover issues. Syracuse is 7-1 ATS this year as well.

WAKE FOREST on Duke, giving 16 1/2

Demon Deacons escaped a dangerous game at Army last week scoring 70 points as QB Sam Hartman (2,063 passing yards, 19 TDs) extended his breakout season. Although Wake played two games too close together for comfort against Louisville and Syracuse, the combination of Hartman and balanced ground play should allow this offense to work its way through a Duke defense allowing 443.3 yards per. match. The Blue Devils have lost three straight games for a total of 83 points and appear to be finished for the season. Wake isn’t Charlotte, North Carolina A&T, or Northwestern – the teams Duke opened the season with to claim his three wins.

AUBURN over the Mississippi, giving 3

The Tigers have recovered well from a slow start to win three of their last four games, with the only loss in that span to No.1-ranked Georgia, in large part due to improving the game’s game. QB Bo Nix. Being at home and having a defensive line that can put some pressure on Matt Corral is part of why Auburn is favored here. Did we mention Ole Miss’s Swiss cheese defense? That too. Corral was superb with 15 touchdowns in one interception and also leads the Rebels in the rush – an overconfidence that can bring as many negatives as positives as he takes a lot of hits. This is the Rebels’ third road game of the season, with Lane Kiffin’s side losing in Alabama and then settling just in Tennessee. While Auburn likes the tempo, it could be a game to lean heavily on RB Tank Bigsby and try to straighten things out against a suspicious Mississippi defense.

Kentucky to MISSISSIPPI STATE, giving 1 1/2

No need to bail out Kentucky due to a road loss to the nation’s No. 1 ranked team. The Wildcats’ defense is still the SEC’s second best and has had a week off to prepare for the One-Dimensional Bulldogs. Mississippi State has had 403 passing attempts this season (almost all by Will Rogers) versus 131 rushing attempts. The emphasis is therefore singular for a superb defense of Kentucky. The Wildcats are also expected to get their share of points, although quarterback Will Levis has had some interception issues during an otherwise strong season. RB Chris Rodriguez could have a big game against this Bulldogs defense, which has been patchy at best. Typical of a Mike Leach team, you never know what to expect from MSU, a team that beat Texas A&M and lost to Memphis.

Last week compared to the gap: 2-4

Season To Date vs Spread: 32-16

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