We won’t make money every week we bet on college football, or anything. The way to win over the long haul is to win bigger in the good weeks than we lose in the bad weeks.
That’s been my path so far in 2020. I went 8-10 last week, the second time in six weeks I finished below .500. But the damage was only 8-10, and in my previous losing week, it was 5-7. On the other hand, my winning weeks have been 4-2, 10-4, 9-5, and 9-6, with all but the first little weekend of the season coming right here on Oddschecker.
Hopefully, Week 7 will bring more good than Week 6 got bad. Here are some plays I like, all locked in early this week in the hopes of getting strong line value.
All bets are for one unit unless otherwise noted.
College Football Picks
BET: Louisiana -7 @ +100
BET: Over 57 @ -110
Let’s start with the first game of the week, a reschedule from last weekend that got pushed back a few days due to Hurricane Delta. Coastal Carolina is having the best season in the program’s young history as an FBS team, and I like the Chanticleers a lot. But I think bookmakers are overreacting a bit to their surprising rout of Arkansas State two weekends ago, a game in which A-State just looked unusually out of sorts. Louisiana is more athletic than anyone Coastal has played so far (this includes the Big 12’s Kansas), and the computer systems I like to consult think this should be more like a 10- or 14-point margin.
The total in this game is so low because both teams move at a deliberate pace on offense. It’s understandable, but I think both defenses are significantly overmatched that even if these teams are only getting 10 or 11 possessions apiece, they can beat such a low number.
BET: Georgia +6.5 @ +105
I respect Bama enough to lay a few points in their direction simply because they’re Bama and Nick Saban is Nick Saban, but I couldn’t resist Georgia at this line. (It’s since moved in my favor, but I’d probably take the Dawgs at anything more than five points.) This is not a typical Alabama defense. It’s much worse, and Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss tore it apart in Week 6.
The Tide survived that game because they scored at will (nine touchdowns on 11 drives), but they won’t score at will against Georgia, which certainly has a top-three, and arguably the #1, defense in college football. I think the Tide are a point or two better than Georgia on a neutral field and three or four better at home, but I don’t think they’re a whole TD better.
College Football Expert Picks
BET: Kentucky +6.5 @ -115
The Wildcats showed against K.J. Costello and Mississippi State what they can do against a QB when they sit back and wait for him to make mistakes. Kentucky blitzed Costello three times on more than 70 dropbacks and shut him out with great, patient coverage. The Vols don’t run anything like Mike Leach’s air raid, but they do rely on a QB, Jarrett Guarantano, who has a penchant for forcing the ball and spotting defenses some turnover opportunities.
I don’t think Kentucky’s offense will be as bad as it was against MSU, when the Wildcats somehow won 24-2 despite averaging a preposterous three yards per play. At anything more than four points, I’d be tempted to play UK, even though I think the Vols will win.
BET: North Carolina -10 @ -110
FSU has shown signs of life the last few weeks but is still a long way away. They showed enough life early against Notre Dame last weekend to be interesting, and they led 17-14 after a quarter. But they lost the rest of that game 28-9 and allowed more than eight yards per play, which tells me UNC could score well into the 40s. The Heels’ defense is suspect enough to let FSU score a bit, too, but I believe UNC will score enough to cover.
NCAA Football Picks
BET: Virginia -2.5 @ -115
This feels like a touchdown game, not a field goal game. And even if it’s a field goal game in UVA’s favor, that’ll mean a cover at this number. Wake is extremely bad. UVA played badly against NC State last weekend, but it’s clear to me the Wolfpack are a lot better than they appeared in the season’s early going, and UVA has put some better data points on paper than it did in that game. Wake’s offense is just horrendous, and 24 UVA points could easily cover.
BET: Houston +4.5 @ -110
Am I overreacting to Houston looking stunningly great in a season debut thrashing of Tulane last week? I’m willing to bet I’m not, in the form of the Cougars -4.5 against BYU. It’s not a commentary on BYU, which I favor to win straight-up and believe could go undefeated. It’s a commentary on how good Houston looked against the Green Wave.
Houston “only” won 49-31 against the Wave, but that’s misleading, because the Cougars lost the turnover margin 5-0 and spotted their visitors 21 more or less free points early on. The UH defensive front dominated Tulane’s normally strong running game, and the UH passing game looked more explosive than I expected. Marquez Stevenson is a more dangerous playmaker than anyone BYU has encountered, and UH should have a legitimate home-field edge, too.
College Gameday Picks
BET: Georgia State +6 @ -125
There’s a lot we don’t know about both of these teams. Both have had COVID-related cancelations, Arkansas State has had both excellent games and ugly ones, and Georgia State has played just twice. But the Panthers appear, to me, significantly improved from the mediocrity they’ve generally shown over the last few years. They almost beat a top-25 Louisiana team in Week 3 and handled business in a workmanlike fashion two weeks ago against East Carolina, treating a bad team like a bad team and winning by 20.
This game smells like a tossup to me. I’d give Arkansas State three points for playing at home, but I wouldn’t give the Red Wolves anything like a touchdown.