Halloween weekend means lots of candy corn, beer, and good college football. My college football gambling picks have not been good. Back-to-back bad weeks to start, as last week I went 4-7. That’s on me. Need a bounce back week. The time is now.
Last Week: 4-7
Tail or fade with caution. Let’s have a Saturday:
Ohio State @ Penn State Under 64
I think this game with be a battle in the trenches. Both teams love to run the ball, as Penn State rushed for 250 yards in their opener, and Ohio State rushed for 215. Penn State’s defense gave up just 3.4 yards per play to Indiana and no play went longer than 21 yards. They gave up just 211 total yards and held a good runner in Stevie Scott to just 57 yards over 20 carries. They also sacked Michael Penix Jr. three times. Ohio State has a much better offensive line, but I think the Nittany Lions defense will be able to create some problems. Against Nebraska, Justin Fields was nearly perfect, as he completed 20 of his 21 passing attempts for 276 yards. The Penn State defense is going to give him a tougher time than Nebraska did, and in this game last year, Fields had just 188 yards through the air. Ohio State also averaged its lowest yards per play against Penn State (5.02) of any game in 2019, and Fields was sacked three times. On top of that, Chris Olave is questionable to play, so Fields could be without one of his favorite targets. For Penn State, RB’s Journey Brown and Noah Cain are both out. I like the Under.
Georgia -17 @ Kentucky
Georgia is off a bye week, with their last game being a loss on the road to Alabama 41-24. They will be ready to go in this one. The Bulldogs have won 10 straight in this series, and shut the Wildcats out last year winning 21-0. They have also had great offensive success when playing at Kentucky, as in their last 5 trips to Lexington they have scored 44, 29, 63, 27, and 34 points. Kentucky does not have the offense to put up those numbers. Kentucky’s offense is horrible. They are barely averaging 300 yards of offense per game (307), which is 86th in the country. It is not a good matchup for the Wildcats, who scored just 10 points against Mizzou last week, going up against this Georgia defense. UK has only completed only nine passes all year that have gone for 10 or more yards down the field. They have had extremely slow starts offensively, as in their last 3 first halves, they have put up 122 yards vs Mississippi State, 75 yards vs Tennessee, and just 65 yards last week vs Mizzou. I think Georgia will win big and have little trouble with this one.
Boston College @ Clemson Under 58.5
Trevor Lawrence is out due to testing positive for the coronavirus. He will be replaced by 6’ 4”, 250 lb, 5-star freshman D.J. Uiagalelei. He has seen action in 5 of Clemson’s 6 games, and has looked pretty solid completing 12 of 19 passes for 102 yards. He is also a running threat, as he has 8 carries for 32 yards and 2 TD’s. Obviously not having Lawrence hurts, but Uiagalelei could be the next big star of college football, so it will fun to watch him play. That being said, it is natural to expect some nerves from the freshman. Also, I think Dabo will go with a bigger rushing load for running back Travis Etienne with the new QB in, along with shorter throws to build confidence. On the other side, Boston College is quietly becoming a fairly solid team. They are 4-2 and have been holding opponents to under 100 yards rushing per game. Pair all of this with a Clemson defense that is arguably the best in the nation, giving up just 13.5 points per game, and I like the Under in this one.
LSU @ Auburn +2.5
Nobody is happier to be playing at home than Bo Nix. Just look at his career splits:
- Home: 61.6% completion percentage, 11 TD’s, 0 Int’s, 4.4 YPC, 6 rushing TD’s, 136.6 rating
- Road: 54.6% completion percentage, 8 TD’s, 8 Int’s, 2.5 YPC, 3 rushing TD’s, 108.6 rating
In addition, he orchestrated a brilliant last-minute TD drive last week to win against Ole Miss. That should give him and this offense some momentum coming into this week. In this series, the games played at Auburn have either gone Auburn’s way, or been extremely close. In the last 5 games at Jordan-Hare, Auburn has won 3 and lost 2. The margins of defeat were 1 and 2 points respectively. For LSU, their offense has not been their problem, and freshman T.J. Finley looked great last week against South Carolina. Finley filled in for injured Myles Brennan and completed 17-of-21 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns and a pick. He also ran for 24 yards and a touchdown in the blowout win. It is unknown who will get the start this week, although it appears Finley will be the guy again. LSU’s defense has been an issue, especially their passing defense. I think this game will be close, but Auburn’s defense has the advantage, and I think Bo Nix will have a great game now that he is back at home. I like Auburn +2.5 here.
Mississippi State @ Alabama Under 63.5
Since Mississippi State beat LSU 44-34 on the road in Week 1, they have spiraled. They have lost 3 in a row, and their offense has completely disappeared, as in those 3 losses, they have scored 14, 2, and 14 points. Not exactly ideal. I would be shocked if they put up double digits against Alabama. On the other hand, the Tide have one of the best offenses in the country, even without star WR Jaylen Waddle being out for the season. This one could get ugly quick. Also, in a massive blowout, Saban could pull the starters relatively early and run the ball more in the second half. I think that favors an Under here.
Michigan State @ Michigan -24.5
Michigan’s offense with Joe Milton looked very good last week against Minnesota. They put up 49 points and balanced the run with the pass very well as they threw for 225 yards and ran for 253 yards. On the other hand, Michigan State looked awful. They lost by double digits at home to Rutgers (Rutgers!) and had 7 turnovers (7!). I think Michigan will win big, and in a rivalry game in a shortened season, they could very well run up the score. Last year they won 44-10 at home, and this will be their home opener. And with it being against their in-state rival, they will be fired up. In terms of betting trends, Michigan State is 1-8 ATS in their last 9 Big Ten games, and Michigan is 5-1 ATS in their last 6, and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 as a home favorite. The number is big, but take the Wolverines.
TCU @ Baylor +2.5
I like the home team here. I’m not exactly sure what TCU has done to deserve being road favorites. They are 1-3 and could easily be 0-4, as their lone win came against Texas in a close game 33-31. TCU has scored just 14 points in each of their last two games, and both were at home. They travel to Waco to face a Baylor team that is 1-2 coming off back to back losses on the road, including one in OT to West Virginia. The defensive edge goes to Baylor in this one, as they have yet to give up over 27 points in a game, whereas TCU has given up over 30 three times. I think the advantage goes to the Bears at home.
North Carolina -7 @ Virginia
I think this is a lock. Hopefully I didn’t just jinx it, but I really like UNC here. The Tar Heels are 4-1, putting up 37 points a game, and coming off a 48-21 victory over NC State. Virginia is 1-4 and coming off 4 straight losses, not scoring over 23 points in any of those games. UVA is turning the ball over left and right, as they are -9 in the turnover battle their last four games. UNC was +4 last week against NC State. I think the Tar Heels will force more turnovers, and hold the Cavalier offense to a relatively low number of points. QB Sam Howell should have a big day, and I like the Tar Heels to cover.
Temple @ Tulane -3.5
Halloween football in NOLA. Tulane is off to a disappointing start, as they are 2-5 and 0-4 in the AAC. However, they did just play an extremely tough three-game stretch, at Houston, vs SMU, at UCF, losing all three. This game against Temple is a must win for the Green Wave. 2-6 and 0-5 is not acceptable for head coach Willie Fritz. There were a lot of questions coming into this season about the QB position, but since true freshman Michael Pratt saw his first action of the season on Sept. 26 against Southern Miss, he has been better than expected. Pratt has thrown for 690 yards and rushed for four touchdowns over his first three collegiate starts, and has gotten better with each game. Temple starting QB Anthony Russo has not practiced this week, and is a game-time decision to play. Even if he goes, it is not likely he will be at 100%. That is good news for a Tulane defense that has a strong pass rush, but a weak secondary. Tulane needs to run the ball, as they are averaging over 200 yards a game on the ground, and Temple is giving up 190 on the ground per game. A strong running game, a freshman QB performing better each game, and home field advantage in a must-win against a banged up Temple QB is a solid combo for Tulane in this one. Roll Wave.
Appalachian State @ Louisiana Monroe Over 55.5
Last week I wrote about how bad ULM’s offense is, which it is. However, I think this week’s game against Appalachian State goes Over. In their four games this season, App State’s offense has put up 35, 52, and 45 points when not playing an extremely good defensive team in Marshall. Aside from that Marshall game, App State is averaging 339 rushing yards per game. ULM has a terrible rushing defense, as they are last in the Sun Belt and 95th in the country. In this series against ULM, App State has scored 59, 42, 45, and 52 in the last four games. I see that trend continuing this week, with App State putting up at least 40. The question then comes to ULM’s offense, which again, has a tough time scoring. However, QB Colby Suits leads the Sun Belt in passing, as he has 1,407 yards on the season. The problem for him is the turnovers. He has 5 interceptions, including a pick six in the red zone last week on the opening drive. ULM also cannot run the ball. The Warhawks ran for over 200 yards eight times last season. This season, they have 347 rushing yards total through 6 games. Yikes. ULM will be at home for the first time in about a month, where they put up 30 points against Georgia Southern on Oct. 3. I think they’ll be able to find the end zone at least twice to push this one over. The over is also 4-1 in the last 5 meetings for this series, so that helps. Expect something like 45-17.
Title Photo: Chris Fowler on Twitter