Get down on Mizzou laying the short number at Toledo

Published on Friday, 9/5/14, at 1:34 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

My favorite play in Week 2 is Missouri laying 3.5 or 4 at Toledo.

Gary Pinkel’s team failed to cover the number in last week’s 38-18 win over South Dakota St., but I watched the game and saw everything I needed to from the Tigers.

Sophomore QB Maty Mauk looked extremely sharp, picking up right where he left off last year. He threw three TD passes without being intercepted.

Mauk is now 5-1 in six career starts and would be 6-0 if not for Connor Shaw’s magic in Columbia last year (and some shaky field-goal work from Mizzou). He has a 14/2 career TD-INT ratio and is a threat to break off a long run on a scramble at any given time.

This is a solid mid-major Toledo team with an excellent QB (Alabama transfer Phillip Ely), a helluva RB (Kareem Hunt, second-team Freshman All-American in 2013) and a stud WR (Alonzo Russell), and the Rockets will be stoked to host an SEC team at The Glass Bowl.

However, I believe those aforementioned factors have been overcompensated for in this line. I made Mizzouri a nine-point favorite in this game.

Missouri isn’t going to have any sort of drop-off in the running game this year despite the loss of Henry Josey, who will be making plays for the Eagles in Chip Kelly’s offense. Russell Hansbrough is poised for a big season, rushing for 126 yards last week after averaging 6.0 yards per carry last year. I expect Mauk and Hansbrough to lead the way as Mizzou gets the win and covers this short number.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

–Since 2007, Missouri owns a 12-3 spread record in its last 15 games as a road favorite, including a 3-0 ATS mark in such spots last year.

–You can get the rest of my Saturday selections by clicking here.

My NFL selections for Week 1 are also ready to roll.

–Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty was a turnover machine in a blowout loss at Tennessee last year. But in last week’s 59-31 win over Bowling Green, Doughty completed 46-of-56 passes for 569 yards and six TDs without a pick.

–Speaking of the Falcons, they won’t have QB Matt Johnson for the rest of the season after he sustained a hip injury in the loss. Johnson threw for 3,467 yards with a 25/7 TD-INT ratio while leading Bowling Green to 10 wins in 2013.

–Michigan St. has covered the spread in eight consecutive games as an underdog, winning outright five times. The Spartans are catching 12.5 points Saturday at Oregon. They played last Friday, so they had an extra day of rest to compensate for the long flight West into Eugene.

–As if Northwestern hadn’t caught enough bad breaks over the last 11 months (it all started with that horrible bad beat vs. Ohio St.!!), piss-poor news struck again Thursday when Tony Jones was declared ‘out’ of Saturday’s home game vs. No. Illinois. Jones had a team-high 55 receptions last season and had team-bests in catches (seven) and yards (64) in last week’s 31-24 home loss to California. The Wildcats are already without their other best WR Christian Jones, who tore his ACL in August.

–After missing the season opener, Vandy starting RB Jerron Seymour (14 rushing TDs last season) has been upgraded to ‘probable’ for Saturday’s home game vs. Ole Miss. The Commodores are 20-point home underdogs to the Rebels.

–One of the biggest stars of Week 1 was Rutgers RB Paul James, who looked like a beast in the Scarlet Knights’ 41-38 win at Washington St. James produced 173 rushing yards and three TDs on 29 totes in what was a huge win for Kyle Flood’s team.

–According to Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops, RB Braylon Heard “more than likely will not play” Saturday vs. Ohio due to an injury. The Nebraska transfer enjoyed a dynamic debut for the Wildcats in their 59-14 win over UT-Martin. Heard only got two touches but took full advantage with TD runs from 73 and 43 yards out for 116 rushing yards.

–Alabama is an abysmal 1-6 ATS in its last seven games when it is favored by 38 points or more.

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