Week Zero is just about three-and-a-half weeks away. To gear up for the start of the 2023 season, I’m going to drop a bonus pick or two each week before we start our regular Giving Away Money.
Want some more of these? I crank the data for every single game, every single week over at my companion site: (Almost) Giving Away Money. Check it out, and prosper.
Just five bucks a month. Far cheaper than a divorce attorney when your wife leaves you for being a bad gambler.
Until next week, enjoy this edition of GAM: Lagniappe.
Lagniappe (n): LAN-yap — N. American French-English. Something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure; an extra or unexpected benefit.
Not With A 10-Foot Pole and A Stolen Wallet
Vanderbilt -17.5 vs. Hawaii
Yes, Hawaii is soft. Yes, they’re a bad road team. But, man, there’s something about this that nags me. Their DL is going to be soft again, though improved. And, yes, Vandy’s OL will be stout — but VU doesn’t have any returning backs. The strength of the Dores offense will be passing, at least at first. That also plays into the strength of the Warriors defense. Their secondary could wind up being the best position group in the Mountain West.
On the other side of the ball, VU’s biggest deficit is a putrid secondary. Now in Year 2, with both starting QBs returning, can Chang’s run and shoot finally get on track? This may be the game to do it.
Ignore last year’s VU defenestration on Oahu. That game was 7-0 UH going into the second, and 10-7 late in the second. It was still just a manageable 21-10 at halftime. Vandy’s superior running game took over in the second half. The Dores do not roll 4-deep back there this year, and do not appear to have a 1000-yard rusher waiting in the wings.
It screams “trap” in other words. The numbers hate this game for a reason, and I do too.
It’s a Bookie Bet. Hawaii +16.84. Hell naw. Steer clear.
Vandy covering four scores at home vs. Hawaii?
UMass +7.5 at New Mexico State
That chill you felt running down your spine was being confronted with the existence of one the worst games you’ll see this year. I’m not even sure why UMass continues to play D1 football. They’re going to get their ass walloped in Las Cruces too, by this bad team. But, this bad team has an identity, plays physical, and are coached very well.
UMass doesn’t have many personnel losses, but the ones they do have are big ones, including the best player at every level of the defense — and right up the middle of the field too. That is a bad combo vs. a ground and pound team with a road trip in the desert. The story for the Minutemenis the same on offense: UMass returns a ton: 8 starters overall. Wanna’ know who’s not coming back? UMass’s starting RB, QB, and best WR.
Meanwhile NMSU returns 17, including four on the OL and their top three RBs. Bad matchup for a team that hasn’t matched up well against NMSU the last two years as it was.
The Aggies are going to run over, around, and through the Minutemen.
In gambling terms, may be the best game of Week Zero. In fact, we’ll make it our Mortal Lock for Week Zero.
New Mexico State covering 7.5 at home vs. UMass?