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We're getting Week 6 of the college football season started with Alex Kirshner's picks

The gambling gods have been good to me in the early weeks of this college football season. I’ve finished north of .500 every week except Week 3, when I went 5-7, and have gone a smooth 18-11-1 the last two weeks despite taking a few really rough beats. (Last weekend, I lost a bet on Abilene Christian +30.5 vs. Army when the Black Knights – notoriously among the slowest-paced teams in FBS – mounted a five-play, 46-yard TD drive before time expired.) 

So we’ll continue to trust the process. In Week 6, I see a handful of good value opportunities.

All bets are for one unit unless otherwise noted. 

College Football Picks

Miami vs. Clemson

BET: Under 63 @ -110

Miami’s defense is serious. The Canes got lax and allowed Louisville to rip off some big plays a few weeks ago, but they’ve been stout against UAB and Florida State. Clemson is not UAB or Florida State, but Miami’s secondary is loaded with four-star athletes who I think can make life more difficult than normal for Trevor Lawrence and his receivers. I also like the Canes’ defensive line’s ability to slow down Travis Etienne more than most defenses. (Of course, that’s relative.) 

I don’t think the Canes’ offense, on the other hand, will score much. I like D’Eriq King a lot, but like most QBs, he’s a lot worse against pressure (5.6 yards per throw, as opposed to 8.1 when not pressured). Miami’s offensive line has been excellent in pass protection, and Miami QBs have only actually seen pressure on 11 of 114 pass snaps, one of the best rates in the country. But Clemson’s defensive line is unlike anything the Canes have encountered.

Florida vs. Texas A&M

BET: Florida -5.5 @ -110 

I think Florida is great, and I think Texas A&M is mediocre. A lot of bettors seem to agree, as this line has ticked up to more like a touchdown since I got it on Sunday afternoon. Watch for any opportunity to get the Gators at less than a touchdown of spread. 

The Gators have as good an array of offensive weapons as any team in the country. A&M’s offense, on the other hand, is suspect. The Aggies scored a mere 17 against Vanderbilt, and while their 24 points against Alabama look OK on paper, they were lucky to score that much. (One of their TDs was the result of a coverage bust and shoddy tackling, and another came after they got the ball at Bama’s 17-yard line.) A&M’s coverage was horrific against Bama, and the secondary won’t get a break against Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney. 

College Football Expert Picks

South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt

BET: South Carolina -12 @ -115

Will Muschamp has had an embarrassing first few weeks of the season. In both of the Gamecocks’ first two games, his overly conservative game management has effectively removed any chance the Cocks had at comeback wins against either Tennessee or Florida. 

The good news is that, other than their head coach’s decision-making late in the fourth quarter, this team has looked decent so far. Vanderbilt’s offense is the worst in the SEC by a lot. I think the Cocks could cover with as few as 24 points, which should be doable against Vandy. Muschamp, whose job security feels iffy despite a massive buyout, has every incentive to try to run up the score.

Duke vs. Syracuse

BET: Syracuse +1.5 @ -110

I would grade this game as a tossup on a neutral field. Both of these teams are bad. But Syracuse is playing at home, and their 37-20 win over Georgia Tech a few weeks ago is the most impressive thing either team has done. With the points, I like the Orange. 

NCAA Football Picks

East Carolina vs. USF

BET: USF -4 @ -120

USF is bad. This bet is not an endorsement of the Bulls, who have done nothing interesting in blowout losses at Notre Dame and Cincinnati.

Fortunately, I think ECU is even worse, and four is not a lot of points to cover. I’m willing to gamble that the home field helps USF enough to win by a touchdown or so.

Tulane vs. Houston

BET: Tulane +7 @ -115

The Green Wave have one of the best running games in college football, and I think oddsmakers are still undervaluing it. In their last game, two weeks ago at Southern Miss, they covered by 38.5 points while running 54 times for 430 yards and seven touchdowns. 

Houston is a giant unknown. A raft of COVID cancelations have delayed the Cougars’ opener to now. I expect them to be a lot better than in 2019, and I think a defense that has eight starters back should pack considerable punch. But Tulane’s running game is a known threat, and a touchdown is enough cushion that I feel good about an educated roll of the dice. 

College Gameday Picks

Charlotte vs. North Texas

BET: North Texas +3 @ -110

If a game feels like a tossup, take the points. And if the points are with the home team, definitely take the points. North Texas’ defense is more or less nonexistent, but the Mean Green can still score. QB Austin Aune has shredded up both SMU and Southern Miss’ defenses. I don’t see why Charlotte’s defense is any better than those units – particularly not SMU’s, against which Aune threw for 11 yards per attempt. I really like Charlotte coach Will Healy and think his program has considerable upside, but I haven’t seen enough to understand why they’re laying points on the road against a team that scores in quantities like North Texas.

Article Author


Alex Kirshner covers college football for the Moon Crew newsletter. He is a co-author of The Sinful Seven: Sci-Fi Western Legends of the NCAA, and he lives in Washington, D.C.


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