Hello everyone, this is Sidelines Sports Network's new editor-in-chief, Zac Voynow (@zacvoynow on twitter). We have decided to do a weekly roundtable regarding the best bets ahead of each weekend. Every Thursday a team of writers will give you three bets (per writer) to place for the weekend. This is the first of many staff-wide columns. New look, new direction.
The Spartans are back. Michigan State has started the season 5-0, including a convincing 38-17 win at Miami. Rutgers is quietly 3-2 to start the season, but have been outscored the last two weeks by a combined 46 points. The Scarlet Knights started 3-0 against inferior competition, and they'll come back to Earth this week.
Michigan State -5
BYU is set to take on a reeling Boise State team coming off a 10 points loss to Nevada. The Cougars are 5-0 and ranked in the top ten once again, while Boise State is hoping to be more than just "That team with the blue field." Boise State has gone 0-3 versus teams in my top 50, and that downward trend will continue due to poor pass defense and the inability to win close games.
The Panthers have been arguably the most overrated team in the NFL thus far this season. After defeating a pair of rookie quarterbacks in their first career starts (and the Saints), the Panthers defense gave up 36 points to the Cowboys on 7.7 yards per play. The Eagles might be 3-1, but after their brutal loss to Dallas two weeks ago, they showed fight and turned in a very good game against the Chiefs. The Eagles makeshift offensive line was stellar, which was shown by the Eagles not punting a single time in the game. The Hurts-to-Smith connection has been getting better by the week, and I expect Hurts to let it fly against a vulnerable and beat up Panthers secondary.
The Bengals lead this series all time at 7-6 (3-1 in the last 4), and have come off to a red hot start at 3-1. They also rank in the top 5 in passing TDs allowed per game (5th at 1.0). However, they have yet to face any QBs or offenses in the top half of the league, and Rodgers is averaging over 2.5 passing TD’s per game since his lackluster performance in week one against the Saints. Look for the Rodgers OVER on passing TDs in this game (1.5).
Rodgers OVER 1.5 Passing TDs
The Dolphins got hit with yet another injury issue when Will Fuller IV was put on IR this week. They face-off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are coming off a lackluster performance against the Patriots. The O/U is projected at 48.5 and after a less than favorable performance against the Pats, look for the Buccaneers to show out in this one.
Bucs -10 and UNDER 48.5
With the hopeful return of AJ Brown who was a full participant in practice this week, as well as the possible return of all pro Julio Jones, Tannehill is set up for another big day against a Jaguars defense that’s letting up 320 yards per game through the air (30th). Tannehill has passed for 1,054 yards (263.5 per game) while completing 63.6% of his passes (96-for-151), with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Even with the looming threat of Derrick Henry (127.5 YPG), Jacksonville does have a top 15 run defense in terms of yards allowed per game (106.3 - 13th).
Ryan Tannehill OVER (240.5) Passing Yards
Baylor lost for the first time this season in Stillwater 24-14, failing an opportunity to stop the Cowboys on a 4th & 2 at the 5 deep into the fourth quarter. West Virginia was the talk of the conference two weeks ago when they went into Norman and nearly stunned the 4th-ranked Sooners, but they returned home last week and lost to a Texas Tech team that was fresh off getting lit up for 70 by the Longhorns. Like I said, these two defenses are eerily similar (312.4 and 315.8 yards allowed) but Gerry Bohanon hasn’t turned the ball over yet this year (and no longer has to look over his shoulder, with Jacob Zeno entering the transfer portal after a two-year quarterback battle), and the lightning quick duo of Trestan Ebner and Abram Smith combines for 6.9 yards/carry. The O/U feels about right here with these defenses, so I’d guess somewhere around 27-17 Baylor.
Miami grad N’Kosi Perry is the hottest quarterback in the conference and has improved every year. He impressed with a career day last week of 18/21 for 329 yards and 3 TD in a Shula Bowl victory over FIU. Zyon Gilbert and Teja Young are big playmakers in the FAU secondary. Also, consider smashing the OVER on 49. FAU 34, UAB 31.
Florida Atlantic +4
Let’s set aside all of the off-field nonsense (which, for the record, I do believe will impact every game for the rest of the season) for a second. I know that the situation is dicey with all of Tannehill’s receivers - as far as who’s going to be available - but this is simply one of those games where Derrick Henry is just too monstrous. Add in that Jacksonville’s best run defender, Roy Robertson-Harris, is questionable. Tennessee 28, Jacksonville 17.
Tennessee Titans -4.5
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