The Athletic has live coverage. Michigan vs. Penn State In Week 11 of college football action.
It’s MACtion season and there’s no better place to get gambling advice (as you should) than from Mid-American Conference experts John Greenberg and Zach Jackson, who pick college and NFL games each week for their own entertainment.
Jackson (3-1 last week, 29-26 overall): Three Mac games Tuesday night. Three MAC games Wednesday night.
Have I died and gone to heaven? Or am I weirded out from watching four quarters of Zach Wilson on Monday nights?
I hate to go here, John, but it’s time to challenge our alma mater. Our beloved Ohio Bobcats were on their way to MAC East honors and a bowl date with a power conference team a few weeks ago. Now, they’re playing for nothing and rolling into a bowl day with the power of the Sun Belt.
Buffalo +7 and no one inspires confidence. But it is the right side.
Greenberg (3-3 last week, 25-29-1 overall): Yes, that line is hard to explain…at first glance. But maybe we are walking into a trap? Maybe the Bobcats are all drenched in Buffalo Sauce and Hopes and Dreams. Either way, I stay away from that one unless I’m a straight bet. The total is 44, and Buffalo is on a five-game losing streak. The Bobcats are 2-7 overall this season. I’m tempted to drive the race, but I fade myself out and go over 44 on a cold night in Buffalo.
Not sure about the rest of the weeknight lineup. My birthday is on Wednesday, should I treat myself to Akron +17.5? Can Miami (Ohio) score enough points to cover that streak? They won two Mac games by more than two touchdowns: 27-0 at Bowling Green and 23-3 at Kent State. Not much margin for error.
Using the main board, Michigan -4.5 over Penn State is the most popular bet this week. Michigan has rolled many Big Ten Patsies in high numbers so far, but Penn State should be a tougher challenge in Happy Valley. I’ll take the Nittany Lions +4.5. And I love that we came full circle this week against Colorado, the 10.5-point home dogs of Arizona. The Wildcats are 8-1 against the spread this season, but the one time they didn’t cover was the last time they were actually favored in a game: Week 4 at Stanford when they were favored by 13 and won 21-20. This is the third straight game the Buffaloes have been underdogs by double digits and they have covered the last two. I’ll take Colorado +10.5, even if “Coach Prime” beats your guy “Coach Golden Flash.”
Jackson: For me, Bowling Green-9 is bordering on Player of the Year territory. I won college player of the year under Ohio State-Penn State, and although I have my reservations, I think Kent State is done. Completely done. My short stay is that Bowling Green’s star running back, Terion Stewart, is dealing with an injury. But Kent State lost its best player last week and then lost a big lead at Akron. The tank is probably empty.
Official Game: Bowling Green
I want another Penn State clunker on the big stage. A lot revolves around Michigan, obviously, but I’ll challenge you there with Michigan -4.5. I’m sticking with Tuesday night for my fourth college game: the Old Fashioned Action Shootout and I love the 57 over Central Michigan-West Michigan. The road has passed.
In the NFL, the smart play is probably Browns-Ravens under 38. The Browns want to run a lot. The Ravens are running it against everyone, but this looks like a four-quarter game with a lot of turnovers and field goals. I’m leaning toward the Colts and Chargers, but I’ll stick with the Browns on Monday night and Bills-Broncos over 47. The last two Bills games have been under but they probably won’t be. This week, the Bills get 30 themselves.
My NFL Survivor Pick: The Bengals. I used Dallas in week 2.
A true NFL survivor is someone who actually wants to watch Bears-Panthers on Thursday night.
Greenberg: I was also excited about that bowling green lane. I think I’ll have to take it now, although I’ve had mixed success with your locks. I’m definitely going with an over in Central Michigan-West Michigan on Tuesday night.
I wouldn’t say I want to watch Panthers-Beers on Thursday night, but it’s for work. I’m already falling asleep thinking about it. Why can’t you play in the afternoon? It’s not like people look at it. In any case, I’ll take the Bears -3.5. If Justin Fields or Tyson Bagent were to start, they would roll over this crappy Carolina team. And win, lose or tie, this game will help the Bears’ draft capital, as the Bears are loose on their own and own the Carolina pick.
My column record was only 3-3 last week, but I had a slightly better run in the games I actually played, 4-1 in colleges and 3-2 in the NFL. One of those college bets was the famous Northwest-Iowa, which I had to go to a local casino to bet on because of Illinois gambling laws. Easy winner, I wish I had brought the bag full of cash for that guy.
Doing some field research for my column at @AkronJackson . It’s my first time in Rivers Sportsbook since March 11, 2020. (The day the real losers are on the casino sportsbook.) pic.twitter.com/xRLDfzWAFE
— Jon Greenberg (@jon_greenberg) November 4, 2023
I’m going with the Steeler -3.5 on the pack, now a Sideline Canada thing. (I was sitting on the Steelers sideline at Thursday’s game and there’s nothing funnier than hearing college-aged meatheads yelling at a offensive coordinator all game. Done. Under 37.5. The Steelers’ total season has been exceeded only once, and that was against the Browns in Week 2. It’s back. Green Bay is on a four-game losing streak. That should be overturned eventually, but not this week.
And after I take the Colts over the Panthers, I’ll wrap it up with a huggable Bill Belichick and the Patriots +1 on German “home” against Indianapolis. Just a feeling.
Mandel’s Mailbag: Michigan’s offense, the SEC’s independent play and a once-and-for-all rivalry
(Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportwire via Getty Images)