photo credit VegasParlay.com
by Lisa Horne
Picking against the spread is always a tricky thing. Pigskin Grind went a lackluster 5-of-10 last week, it has a season total of 56-of-100.
This week there are some very interesting match-ups. There are also two NFL games I am jumping on because they are just too good to pass up.
One last reminder to all you gamblers out there—there will be very cold weather in much of the country this weekend. Some warm weather teams may be severely affected by this blast of Arctic air.
As always, good luck. My picks are in bold.
Bowling Green -13.5 v Kent State
The Falcons covered last week against Akron and they should cover again against a one-win Kent State. The Golden Flashes lost to UMass which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Kent State.
No. 23 Utah +7.5 at Stanford
The Utes are 3-1 on the road. Stanford's offense just doesn't look very threatening this late in the season and Utah leads the nation in sacks, averaging 4.78 per game. Stanford should be on upset alert.
No. 6 Arizona State -9.5 at Oregon State
The Beavers do not look like much of a threat, especially since quarterback Sean Mannion's receivers have had a bad case of butter fingers. His O-line is not helping him much either—the Beavers are ranked second-to-last in sacks allowed in the Pac-12.
Texas -2.5 at Oklahoma State
The Longhorns are peaking, it appears. Their defense is very, very good so I expect the Cowboys to struggle to move the chains. Oklahoma State struggled to beat Kansas 27-20 while Texas shut the Jayhawks out, 23-0.
No. 21 Duke -5.5 v Virginia Tech
The Blue Devils are sneaky good but the biggest reason to pick Duke is the dearth of healthy starters left on Virginia Tech's roster. The Hokies lost tackle Jonathan McLaughlin (ankle) who had started all 23 games in which he played. Wade Hansen, a transfer from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will reportedly take his place.
No. 16 Nebraska +6.5 at Wisconsin
The weather will be awful in Madison but those hearty young men from Nebraska will handle that. This game will be very close with neither team getting a weather-related advantage. A close game points to picking the underdog covering. Wisconsin should be on upset alert.
Marshall -21.5 v Rice
The Thundering Herd has had an easy schedule. The Owls will be a challenge but their defense gave up 45 points to Old Dominion, the No. 1 rushing team. Marshall's rushing offense is ranked No. 7.
No. 1 Mississippi State +7.5 at No. 5 Alabama
The Crimson Tide are a different team at home than on the road but they also tend to be a little sluggish post-LSU. This just feels like a too-close-to-call game so take the underdog.
Green Bay -4.5 v Philadelphia
Scenario: Eagles QB Mark Sanchez is tossing the ball around Lambeau Field where the weather forecast calls for snow, wind and temperatures in the teens. I love the Packers here.
New England Patriots +2.5 at Indianapolis
Anytime the Pats get points, jump on it. They are 32-23 as the underdogs since the 2001 season and Bill Belichick is 10-4 off of a bye.
Obligatory disclaimer: Pigskin Grind is not a tout service. All spreads listed are for entertainment purposes only—due to fluctuations, these lines may or may not reflect real time Las Vegas odds.