Monday, February 6, 2023

We’ll find out how overrated Purdue is vs. Penn State, plus other best bets for Thursday

The NFL season doesn’t begin for another week, and when it does, Russell Wilson will play a regular season game for a team other than the Seattle Seahawks for the first time. It’ll also be his first game playing under a new contract.

The Broncos and Wilson agreed to a contract extension Thursday that will keep the 33-year-old with the Broncos for five years. The deal is worth $245 million with $165 in guarantees. That’s a lot of money for a QB on the wrong side of 30, but it’s hard to blame them for wanting to make sure they can keep him as long as they want.

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The average annual value of $49 million ranks second behind Aaron Rodgers’ $50.3 million but ahead of other recent deals signed by Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson.


Now who wants to bet on some college football games with me?

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Penn State at Purdue, 8 p.m. | TV: Fox

Latest Odds: Penn State Nittany Lions -3.5

Powered by Caesars Sportsbook

  • Key Trend: Penn State is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 Big Ten games.
  • The Pick: Penn State -3.5 (-110)

When you cover college football for a living, a rhythm develops in the offseason. In the weeks after the season ends, you look back at what happened and take quick glimpses toward the future. Then, for a few months, there’s not a lot happening as far as games are concerned. Schools might join new conferences, new TV deals could be signed, and maybe somebody gets hit with NCAA violations, but that’s it.

Finally, as summer arrives, the buzz about a new season begins, and you’re continuously asked to talk or write about your predictions. All offseason, I talked about Purdue being the most overrated team in the Big Ten coming off a 9-4 season. Regression is likely. Meanwhile, Penn State is so much better than its record the last two seasons, and it’s being underrated by too many.

Tonight the two begin their season against one another in an attempt to make me look like a genius or an idiot. I genuinely do not know which one I am. I don’t care what last season’s records say, Penn State is the better team in this matchup, and I expect that to be evident tonight. Lay the points and feel great about it.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: You know where I stand, but the Projection Model and SportsLine expert Micah Roberts do not agree with me.

💰 The Picks

TransPerfect Music City Bowl - Purdue v Tennessee

Getty Images

🏈 College Football

Ball State at Tennessee, 7 p.m | TV: SEC Network

The Pick: Over 66.5 (-110) — Josh Heupel was hired at Tennessee to do one thing: make Tennessee football fun again. The program was mired in mediocrity and drama for far too long. Heupel hasbrought an exciting offense to Knoxville, and the Vols scored 39.3 points per game last season. It was such a fun season that it has Tennessee fans a little too optimistic about what might happen in 2022, but I won’t hold it against them.

Instead, I’ll remind them that the team went 7-6 last year because even though it scored 39.3 points per game, it allowed 29.1. Tennessee wasn’t exactly a defensive juggernaut. It’s hard to be when you have an offense that moves as quickly as Tennessee’s, and I don’t suspect much will change tonight. I won’t be surprised if Tennessee gets at least 50 on its own tonight, and I can see Ball State getting past 20 too. 

Key Trend: The over is 6-1 in Tennessee’s last seven home games.

New Mexico State at Minnesota, 9 p.m | TV: Big Ten Network

The Pick: Minnesota -36 (-110) — It’s the rivalry you never knew existed. New Mexico State is coached by Jerry Kill, who spent five seasons at Minnesota from 2011 to 2015, going 29-29. His health forced him to step down from the job, and the next season the Gophers kept Tracy Claeys on after he served as interim. Claeys went 9-4 but was shown the door to make room for P.J. Fleck.

Jerry Kill does not like P.J. Fleck and has been open about that in recent years, believing that Fleck has been the beneficiary of his work. Whatever side you want to take, all that matters is neither side likes the other much.

With that in mind, if Minnesota has the chance, I don’t think it’ll hesitate to run the score up. I also think the Gophers will have the chance to do that because New Mexico State played Saturday night. It lost 23-12 to Nevada thanks to five turnovers, and now it’s playing again five nights later. A bad team on a short week against a coach with all the motivation to crush it? Lay the points.

Key Trend: Minnesota is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Projection Model’s favorite college football play of the evening tonight is on the total between Missouri and Louisiana Tech.

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