NCAAF Week 7 picks, predictions and eats

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What an amazing way to end last week.

We started the day 2-0
thanks to strong performances from Georgia and West Virginia, but Miami
had me sweating out every minute of their game last Saturday against
Florida State, down to the last second.

It was a back-and-forth
slugfest between the two bitter rivals and the game didn’t disappoint in ters of the excitement factor.

There were four
lead changes in the last 12 minutes and three in the last five! I
thought Miami was sunk after James Blackman led Florida State on a
nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 20-17 lead leaving just
1:24 left on the clock for the Hurricanes to respond.

But holy
hell, did they ever respond! When Malik Rosier hit Darrell Langham for
that touchdown with only six seconds left, I jumped almost as high as
Michael Irvin did. (Is high the right word to use?) Because there is
nothing like a last second touchdown to cover the spread, capping off
another perfect week. As I’ve said before, I’m really emotionally
invested once I’ve made my picks and I honestly hate letting you guys
down. So this current run feels pretty good.

That being said, I am a big baseball fan. Like, huge. And since we are in the middle of the MLB postseason and it happens to be Friday the 13th . So as the great Michael Scott says. “I not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.” Meaning that this is the last we shall speak of the streak during this week’s column.

That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about other streaks however.

Like the one the Washington Huskies are on when they face Arizona State. Except that this streak is more of a skid.

Before last season’s 44-18 home win, the Huskies had lost 10 consecutive games to the Sun Devils. While Washington ended the straight up skid, it was unable to cover the 27-point chalk, dropping them to 0-11 against the spread in its last 11 games in this matchup. Washington is also 0-6 ATS in its last six trips to Tempe.

In a season where everyone is starting to talk about Alabama-Clemson III and the SEC and the ACC are the best conferences narrative, people are forgetting about that the Huskies, the defending Pac-12 champs, are 6-0 SU (3-0 SU/ATS in Pac-12 play) this season and are 18-2 SU since the start of last season.

Many thought the Huskies would take a step back with all the talent they lost to the NFL, but that has not been the case. Especially, on defense.

Washington ranks second in the nation in total yards allowed, third against the run and seventh against the pass, while ranking third in scoring defense, allowing just 10.2 points per game.That could mean trouble Sun Devils’ quarterback Manny Wilkins.

On the other side of the ball Jake Browning has quietly been very good for a balanced and efficient Huskies offense. Browning has thrown for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns against just three interceptions, while completing 70.5 percent of his passes. Meanwhile, Myles Gaskin has been on fire since the start of Pac-12 play rushing for 406 yards and five touchdowns in the last three games.

They’ll be taking on an Arizona State defense that is as porous as they come. The Sun Devils rank 119th in total yards allow, 120th against the pass, 95th against the run and 114th in points allowed at 36.4 points per game.

Luckily for us, I’m only a little stitious. The Huskies break the ATS skid.

Pick: Washington -17.5

Boise State Broncos at San Diego State Aztecs (-6.5, 46)

When the 2017-18 season began many believed USF had a clear and easy path to the “Group of Five” At-Large bid for a “New Year’s Six” bowl game. But now they have plenty of company, including the likes of UCF, Navy and San Diego State.

The Aztecs are another streaking team not many are talking about. They have sprinted out of the gates to a 6-0 SU record, going 4-2 ATS, which includes a 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS record since the start of conference play. What makes their start impressive though was their non-conference schedule. San Diego State took on two Pac-12 opponents in the first three weeks, Arizona State and Stanford, winning both as underdogs straight up.

The Aztecs beat the Sun Devils 30-20 as 3-point road dogs and followed that up with a stunning 20-17 win over the Cardinal as 8.5-point home dogs. Just as a side note Stanford has won three straight conference games, including at a ranked Utah team last week.

San Diego State is another streaking squad led by a stout defense, ranking 20th in the country in total yards allowed, 25th against the pass and 38th against the run. They are also allowing just 19.3 points per game and should matchup well against a Boise State team that ranks 106th in total offense.

The Aztec offense once again leans heavily on the ground game and even though Donnell Pumphrey is gone, Rashaad Penny has filled his shoes nicely. Penny has rushed for 993 yards at a clip of almost seven yards per carry, while adding 12 total touchdowns. Boise State is strong against the run, but they have yet to face a runner like Penny.

Oh and San Diego State is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.

Pick: San Diego State -6.5.

North Carolina State at Pittsburgh Panthers (+11, 53.5)

There is no overwhelming streak to note heading into this ACC matchup, other than I love the way North Carolina State is playing right now.

The Wolfpack has proven to be a strong team in a strong conference, winning five in a row since dropping their opener in a hotly contested affair against South Carolina. Those wins include victories at Florida State as 10.5-point dogs and are coming off a 39-25 demolition of Lamar Jackson and Co. as 3 point home dogs.

North Carolina owns the nation’s 21st ranked air attack, behind more strong quarterback play. Junior Ryan Findley is completing 70.9 percent of his passes for 1,770 yards and 10 touchdowns with no interceptions.

Findley gets to face a Pittsburgh defense that has been, well, just brutal. Especially against the pass, where they rank 117th in the country allowing 280.3. The Panthers also allow 30.8 points per game this season, good for 92nd in the country.

The Panthers have also covered in once game this season and that was in a 42-10 win over Rice as 20-point faves in Week 5. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack have covered in four straight road games.

Pick: North Carolina State -11

Last week: 3-0
Season to date: 12-6 (66.7 %)

Heisman Odds Update

I still can’t believe Washington State quarterback Luke Falk is still on the board at 30/1 at the Westgate LV Superbook. I guess he just a ho-hum game against Oregon, throwing for another 282 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in game where the Cougars blew the Ducks out of the water 33-10 at Oregon as just 1.5-point favorites.

Falk is third in the nation in passing yards with 2,000 and he leads the country with 19 touchdown passes, just while completing 71.8 percent of his passes. Vegas must be expecting a letdown at some point and while the Cougars schedule does get tough at the end of the season, I will say again, the Apple Cup in their finale will be huge.

Other than that, the Heisman Trophy odds have become a three-horse race with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley leading the way as the 3/2 favorite ahead Stanford running back Bryce Love at 7/2 and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield at 4/1.

People thought Barkley’s Heisman stock was going to drop after his first half against Northwestern, but he ended with 84 total yards and two more scores. He has 1,044 total yards and nine total touchdowns this season while leading Penn State to a perfect 6-0 record.

Love meanwhile, rumbled for another 152 yards and a score against a good Utah defense. He has racked up 1,240 rushing yards (No. 1 in the country) on an incredible 10.5 yards per carry, while finding the end zone nine times.

Mayfield may be hurt more by his team’s performance than his overall numbers. He threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns in Oklahoma’s stunning 38-31 loss to Iowa State as 31-point home favorites. Mayfield has 15 touchdown passes and no interceptions, racking up 1,635 yards while completing 74.6 percent of his passes.

Week 7 Tailgate Eats: Thai curry chicken nachos

I know we already did the state of Washington, but my girlfriend and I were messing around with new nacho recipes (she is something of a nacho connoisseur) and we came up with these Thai curry nachos and there aren’t too many State’s that do Thai food better than Washington. Plus we haven’t done nachos yet, what’s up with that? So here’s another super simple recipe to enjoy with your college football bets.

This week pick up some chicken (I like thighs for this recipe best), nachos, some red curry sauce ( you can make your own, but getting a jar is simple and almost as good), onions, garlic, some banana peppers, green onion, red pepper flakes, cheddar cheese, smoked paprika, some olive oil and salt and pepper.

Chop up the chicken into small cubes and season with salt and pepper and add the chicken to a sauce pan that is heated with some olive oil. Cook until there is no more pink obviously. Add some chopped onions and garlic with the paprika and red chili flakes to taste. Then add the Thai curry sauce until it is warm.

Get your tray or bowl ready with the nachos then spoon the chicken and curry over the chips. Cover with shredded cheddar cheese and pop it into the oven to melt the cheese. Finish it off with banana peppers and the green onions. These are different, but awesome.

As always enjoy the nachos and good luck with your bets.

Andrew Caley is the associate editor of Covers. You can follow him on Twitter @Covers_Caley.

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