Unfortunately, we’ve posted consecutive losing weeks after finishing 3-5 last week at Luckett’s Locks. Some unfortunate injury luck for Texas A&M got us while Eastern Michigan missed a cover by one whole point. However, that is life against the spread (ATS).
To start the season, our record stands at 5-8-1 ATS, but there is always next week. This feels like a good time for things to turn around for Luckett’s Locks as we get back to the sweet spot of six ATS picks.
Now time to get to the best plays on the card.
Maryland @ Illinois (+7)
It has been a couple of weeks since Bret Bielema’s Fighting Illini upset Nebraska on Week Zero after Illinois dropped two in a row to UTSA and Virginia. However, Illinois returns home on Friday and gets starting quarterback Brandon Peters back in the lineup for the first time since the first half of the Nebraska game.
Mike Locksley is in year three at Maryland, and the former Alabama offensive coordinator has the Terps playing some good ball through two weeks. Maryland has a promising young quarterback as Taulia Tagovailoa has completed over 76 percent of his passes to go along with six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Maryland is the more talented team, but weird things can happen on the road during weeknights. This will only be the second time a Locksley team has been a favorite on the road in Big Ten play. The last time was in 2019 when the Terps were drubbed by Purdue.
Give me the touchdown and Bielema in the big home spot for the Illini. Illinois has to win this game to push for bowl eligibility.
Virginia Tech @ West Virginia (-2.5)
The Hokies are off to a 2-0 start, but Justin Fuente got some bad news this past week when tight end James Mitchell was ruled out of the season. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech ranks just 11th in the ACC in yards per play offense (5.26) as the ground game is inefficient.
After a tough season-opening loss to Maryland, West Virginia returned home and delivered an impressive home win over an FCS opponent. The Mountaineers are still figuring things out on offense, but this is a defense that produces havoc with 20 tackles for loss in eight quarters.
Virginia Tech does not have the big-play ability to make West Virginia pay for its aggressive nature. Meanwhile, WVU’s offense could have their hands full with a solid Virginia Tech defense. This will be a low-scoring slugfest, but the unranked home team is the right side. This one is right in the wheelhouse of Luckett’s Locks.
Lay the points with the blue and gold in Morgantown.
Nevada @ Kansas State (+2)
The Nevada Wolf Pack have become 11 Personnel’s unofficial G5 team for the 2021 season, and the offense is the main reason why. Carson Strong is a legitimate draft prospect behind center, and Romeo Doubs is an elite big-play receiver. Nevada’s Air Raid passing offense that can get after it.
After a big neutral-site victory over Stanford to begin the season, K-State suffered some unfortunate news when quarterback Skylar Thompson was knocked out of the lineup for the second year in a row. Will Howard is stepping in, but last year wasn’t great (53.6% completions, 8 touchdowns, 10 interceptions).
This is a strict system play for us as Kansas State should always get consideration when getting points at home. The Wildcats are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games as an underdog at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. K-State will get some big plays from star tailback Deuce Vaughn, and the defense does enough to slow down Nevada’s Air Raid attack.
Always take the points and K-State at home.
Purdue (+7.5) @ Notre Dame
After making a change at defensive coordinator for the third year in a row, things appear to be looking up for Purdue. Jeff Brohm hired former Charlotte head coach and Marshall defensive coordinator Brad Lambert to fix the defense, and the Boilermakers are playing some inspired ball. However, the real story is Jack Plummer who is giving this offense some solid quarterback play for a pass-heavy attack (73.8 percent completion rate, 9.1 yards per attempt).
Meanwhile, Notre Dame is off to a 2-0 start but wins over Florida State and Toledo were too close for comfort. New defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman appears to have a leaky big-play defense, and quarterback Jack Coan suffered a hand injury last week.
Purdue is the best team that Notre Dame has played to this point, and their passing attack can take advantage of the leaks. Meanwhile, Jeff Brohm is 7-1 ATS as a road dog at Purdue with a couple of victories.
Give us the road dog in South Bend.
South Carolina @ Georgia Under 48
Two games into the Shane Beamer era, and the South Carolina defense is doing some good things under new coordinator Clayton White. The Gamecocks are third nationally in yards per play allowed (3.48) and have a defensive front that has a couple of pros. The offense isn’t so great.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s defense looks absolutely filthy through two games, but the Bulldogs are dealing with some quarterback issues. However, this team looks like a legitimate national championship contender.
South Carolina’s offense has been bad to begin the season. There’s no getting around that. It should be a tall task for this unit to do much of anything against Georgia’s defense. Meanwhile, South Carolina appears to have enough on defense to give UGA some difficulties if JT Daniels cannot go.
Let’s take the under at Sanford Stadium to score an ATS win.
Best Bet: UCF @ Louisville Under 67
UCF is off to a 2-0 start under Gus Malzahn as the Knights look to be the potential team to beat outside of Cincinnati in the American. Dillon Gabriel has full control of the offense, Northwestern transfer Isaiah Bowser has added a power run element, and this defense is allowing just 1.1 yards per attempt on the ground.
Over at Louisville, the seat is getting warm for third-year head coach Scott Satterfield. The Cards have no real big-play threat while the ground game has been inefficient. This is a team that needs quarterback Malik Cunningham to be a superstar, which may be asking too much. Meanwhile, the Cards could be wasting their best defense in five seasons.
This total is just too large. Louisville has major offensive issues, but this is a big spot for Satterfield. Louisville should be an inspired team on Friday night, but UofL’s success has to come with defense. The Cards get enough early stops before UCF’s tempo takes over in the second half.
Give us the Friday night under as Luckett’s Locks leans on some total plays this weekend.