Bolly’s Bets Looks at CFB Week Eight and NFL Week Seven

Zach Bollinger, Sports Columnist

I took last week off from Bolly’s Bets because I wanted just to sit back and enjoy watching the games this weekend… then Marshall and the Baltimore Ravens broke my heart again, so let’s just get into this week’s games. 

Marshall versus James Madison 

The Marshall Thundering Herd will open this week’s lines as 13-point underdogs to the new kids on the block, the JMU Dukes. James Madison and Marshall are coming off conference losses- Marshall lost to Louisiana, and James Madison lost to Georgia Southern. Despite the disappointing losses this year, Marshall’s most significant point differential was only a 10-point loss to Troy. While JMU has proven their offense can put up points, they have also shown signs of being turnover-prone after surrendering four turnovers to Georgia Southern. I think the Herd should keep this game close, or at least closer than 13 points, so for this game; I’m taking Marshall +13. 

Mississippi State versus Alabama 

A classic matchup of two ranked SEC teams meeting in Tuscaloosa. The 6-1 Alabama Crimson tide are 21-point favorites at home against the 5-2 Mississippi State Bulldogs. Usually, whenever two SEC defenses meet in Tuscaloosa, I love taking the under, but this is not your typical Alabama defense. Alabama has been prone to giving up big plays, and fortunately for Mississippi State, they have an explosive offense capable of making big plays, as State has scored over 40 points in 3 games this year. With two explosive offenses going head-to-head and Alabama’s nation-leading 66 penalties, I think over 61 points is the best play for this game. 

New Orleans Saints versus Arizona Cardinals 

Each week I tell myself that this Thursday night game will be better than the others… and I’m wrong each week. The Cardinals open up as 1.5-point favorites over the beat-up New Orleans Saints. The Saints are entering Thursday unsure of which starting receivers – if any at all – they will be available. The Saints are expected to get back QB Jameis Winston, but how healthy he will be is still to be determined. The Cardinals acquired WR Robbie Anderson from the Panthers this past Monday. Though he may not make a significant impact statistically, he will step into the injured Marquis Brown’s spot to keep the defense honest with his speed. The Cardinals are getting Back DeAndre Hopkins after his 6-game suspension concluded on Sunday. Between the Saint’s injury concerns and the Cardinals starting to put it together and gaining DeAndre Hopkins, I think the Cardinal’s -1.5 is the best bet. 

Baltimore Ravens versus Cleveland Browns

This part of Bolly’s Bets has become a therapy session for me each week after the Ravens find new ways to blow leads and lose games. The Ravens open up this week as 6.5-point favorites over the Cleveland Browns. Every part of me wants to take Baltimore -6.5 and call it a day because the Ravens should win by more than a touchdown with Jacoby Brissett starting for Cleveland. However, if you have watched the second half of any Ravens game, you would know that Baltimore can’t hold the lead to save its life. The Raven’s non-existent second-half offense paired with the Brown’s run-heavy play style; I like under 46.5 in this game. As a bonus, if the Ravens keep up their alternating wins and losses, this is a ‘win week,’ so you can add in the Raven’s Moneyline.