I’ve had a few chilly weeks in a row picking college football games. My season record is down to an even 67-67-2. But I continue to feel good about my process, and more often than not I am getting ahead of closing lines and creating strong value opportunities. That’s the case again this week. Hopefully results pick up as the MAC and Pac-12 return to action.
All bets are for one unit unless otherwise noted.
BET: Florida +5 @ -110
Getting five points with the Gators felt like a no-brainer value play to me. ESPN’s Bill Connelly has noted Florida and Georgia are effectively even going by the SP+ projection system, and a neutral site game offers no home field advantage for anyone. On top of that, Georgia has considerable injury problems in the secondary with excellent safeties Richard LeCounte and Lewis Cine. At +4 or better, I like Florida a ton, but I would take the Gators getting anything more than a field goal. I would not feel comfortable with Georgia as a favorite.
BET: Kent State -5 @ -110
You’ll notice I’m almost entirely staying away from MAC and Pac-12 games this week. There’s too much uncertainty around teams we haven’t seen play, and that uncertainty is only bolstered by the general chaos of a pandemic. But I like the Flashes laying less than a touchdown here. Kent quarterback Dustin Crum might be the best QB in the entire Group of 5, and I expect him and coach Sean Lewis to have an explosive game plan.
BET: BYU -2.5 @ -110
This one is going to be one of the best games of the year. Generally, laying points against Boise on the Broncos’ blue turf is madness. They rarely lose there outright. But I think this BYU team is special, and the Cougars’ offensive and defensive lines can control this game. BYU also has a quarterback advantage with Heisman contender Zach Wilson, although the Broncos will be solid at that position whether Hank Bachmeier or Jack Sears starts.
BET: Under 58.5 @ -110
BET: Miami -10 @ -105
NC State should not be able to score against Miami’s defense. The Wolfpack offense has been uninspiring when Bailey Hockman has played quarterback instead of the injured Devin Leary. On the other side of the game, NC State’s defense has struggled mightily against dual-threat quarterbacks, and there are few better than the Canes’ D’Eriq King.
College Football Expert Picks
BET: Syracuse +14 @ -110
The Orange are bad, and I don’t like putting faith in them. But a few things work in their favor here: 1) They play at an extremely slow pace, running just 61 plays per game. Boston College is also a below-average pace team. I don’t expect a ton of possessions, and that’s a good thing for big-number underdogs. 2) I think BC might be getting some line inflation on the strength of giving Clemson a hearty scare last weekend. While I like the Eagles (and successfully bet on them in that game), they don’t have a powerful defense and will need to strain themselves to cover two touchdowns against any conference opponent.
BET: North Carolina -9.5 @ -115
The Heels are hit-or-miss. In the last few weeks, they’ve missed badly against inferior FSU and UVA teams. I think they’ll hit this week. Duke’s offense is not a good fit to exploit the problems the Heels have had allowing explosive plays on defense. While Duke has a sturdy defense, I expect UNC to score well into the 30s, where they should be safe to cover.
NCAA Football Picks
BET: Over 63 @ -110
The over is a combined 10-3 in these teams’ games to date. The forecast in Charlottesville looks good. And UVA’s offense has been surprisingly explosive lately.
BET: Oklahoma State -10 @ -120
Kansas State is a hard team to get a read on. Some weeks, they look like a sturdy team worth of a spot in the top 25. Others, like last week at West Virginia, they look like they’ve never played football before. My faith in Oklahoma State here comes down to a lack of belief in K-State QB Will Howard’s ability to make downfield throws against an elite defense. (Side note: It still feels weird to type out that Oklahoma State has an “elite defense,” but it’s true.) If Skylar Thompson were healthy, I’d like K-State at this number. But he isn’t.
College Gameday Picks
BET: Army -7 @ -115
This line has moved hard against me since I took it on Sunday. You can get better value than me by taking Army at -5.5, or something in that range. I would do so, although I am curious why the line has moved so hard. Air Force has played three games, and the only one in which the Falcons didn’t look terrible was an early-October win against a Navy team that was coming off a weird offseason and didn’t look prepared to play. I think Army could win this game by double digits and feel good about the Black Knights.
BET: Troy +1 @ -110
This line, on the other hand, has moved in my favor, as the Trojans are now slight favorites. I would take them laying anything less than a field goal. Georgia Southern doesn’t do anything that well, and the Eagles’ slow pace of play doesn’t encourage me when the spread is this small. I expect Troy QB Jacob Free to build on a great game at Arkansas State. The GaSo defense has given up too many chunk passing plays for me to be confident in that unit.
BET: Tulane -3 @ -110
This line has also moved in my favor. But at anything less than five points, I like the Green Wave. They’ve been inconsistent and don’t have much of a defense, but they continue to have an efficient rushing attack that allows them to control games against teams that can’t finish drives. The Pirates have played one decent offensive game this year (against a terrible USF) and otherwise been uninspiring. Even if the offense improves, I don’t see a path for ECU to stop Tulane’s ground game, and so the Wave should cover on the road.