Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to win a Big Ten title with the Wolverines and has struggled against arch-rival Ohio State. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Mike Craven

Hookem.com staff

Column

Craven’s Corner: Conference play begins around the nation, plus four NFL bets

Posted September 18th, 2019

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The corner beat the books for the first time this season with a 4-3 record last week. We’re at 8-8 over the past two weeks as more information is known by programs in college football and across the NFL. 

A quick refresher: Betting looks difficult, but it is easy to grasp. A negative number denotes the favorite. The number after the negative represents how much money you’d need to bet to win $100. For example, a -265 favorite would require a $265 bet to win $100. Conversely, a positive number is the underdog. The number following the positive represents how much money you’d make on a $100. So, a +265 bet means $100 earns you $265.

We’ll use Bovada.lv as our general sports book. Remember that lines fluctuate based on bets and are subject to change before kickoff.

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Got it? OK, let’s make some money: 

Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer (12) speaks with head coach Matt Rhule in the final moments of a Big 12 Conference football game at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. [Stephen Spillman for Statesman]

College football

Michigan +3.5 over Wisconsin: Michigan was favored before the season. That’s drastically changed with Wisconsin running wild over lesser programs and the scare Army gave to Michigan two weekends ago. I throw out the Army game. That same program did something similar to Oklahoma last year. Jim Harbaugh is essentially coaching for his job and we still cash when Wisconsin kicks a late field goal to win. 

Texas A&M -4 over Auburn: Oregon should’ve beat Auburn by more than four points on a neutral field to start the season. Texas A&M won’t collapse in the fourth quarter because of a poor defensive line. I trust the Aggies offense to outscore Auburn at home. 

Baylor -27 over Rice: Texas fans watched how bad Rice is last week. Baylor was off last week and is ready to make a statement. The Owls offer little threat offensively, giving Baylor ample opportunity to win by at least four touchdowns. Make this bet before Baylor’s line grows past the 28-point mark. 

Syracuse -6 over Western Michigan: I love betting in these situations. Syracuse was pounded by Maryland and then faced Clemson in consecutive weeks. Western Michigan will pay the price this week as Syracuse seeks to build momentum and restore some confidence within the locker room. 

Florida State -6.5 over Louisville: This is more about how bad Louisville is than any real trust in Florida State. I do like what I’ve seen from Florida State quarterback Justin Blackman, who has thrown for three touchdowns in each of the first three games. Louisville is out its starting quarterback entering the game. 

NFL games

Ravens +7 over Kansas City: We picked Baltimore to win the AFC North in our first trip to the corner, and that’s looking like a decent bet with the Steelers now out of the mix and the Browns starting 1-1. Give me the Chiefs to win this game at home, but I’ll take the touchdown and the Ravens with an improved offense keeping it close enough. 

Jaguars +2 over Titans: Let’s take the home underdog on a Thursday night game here. Jacksonville would be favored in this situation had the two-point conversion worked last week against Houston. Thursday games tend to favor the home team and this Jacksonville team can still win the division by winning these types of games. 

Cowboys/Dolphins Over 47: I avoid NFL lines over 20. The Cowboys are favored by 21.5 heading into the weekend, and while I believe Dallas rolls, it is hard to lay that many points against professional athletes. The over is a good bet, however, because the Dolphins are giving up more than 47 points per game. Any scores by the Dolphins help our cause, while we can watch the Cowboys pad the stats on offense. This could be the game Zeke Elliott returns to form. 

Texans/Chargers Under 47.5: The Chargers might need to sign one of Phillip Rivers’ many kids if the injury bug continues to plague San Diego. There’s simply no one for Rivers to throw to, or even hand the ball off to with Melvin Gordon holding out. Couple that with a decimated offensive line and give me a low scoring game. 

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