Will look at a few of the bowl games here after an ugly start to the bowl season, so will look for a better effort in the next-to-last college football article of the season. Will be looking at a few games that I’d probably skip over if it wasn’t the end of the bowl season.
Auburn vs. Northwestern: The Wildcats are favored by 3.5 after opening as 4-point favorites and seeing the betting pretty well split right down the middle. Auburn is better when rushing the football and that’s the one thing Northwestern isn’t particularly strong on, defending the run. The Wildcats allowed 4.7 yards per carry to teams who gained 4.5 yards, while Auburn rushed for 4.7 yards against teams who allowed 4.1 yards per carry. Will take a shot on Auburn +3.5 in this one.
Notre Dame vs. Alabama: Alabama is favored by 19.5 and the total is at 65.5 in this one, which will be played in Arlington, Texas, where it’s expected to be a bit cool at game time, with temps in the lower to mid 40s. The heavy rain forecast expected to hit Thursday should have moved on and it shouldn’t be a factor in this one. Notre Dame scores +5.5 more points than their foes allow, while Alabama scores 20.6 more points, while the two defenses both allow about 10 few points than their foes averaged for the season. If you have to play this one, Alabama is really the only way to go.
Ohio State vs. Clemson: The Tigers are favored by 7.5 here after opening 8.5 and Clemson is getting close to two-thirds of the wagers in this one. The two offenses are fairly comparable, while Clemson gets a bit of an edge in defense. Like the game above, will pass, but if I had to play this one, would look at the dog to keep it closer than expected.
Oregon vs. Iowa State: Iowa State is favored by 4 and are getting the majority of the wagers, which is a little bit of a surprise, as the Ducks are a name brand when it comes to football and Iowa State is not. The Cyclones have better numbers than Oregon across the board and will take the favorite in this one.
North Carolina vs. Texas A & M: The Aggies are favored by 7.5 and if they’re motivated should win this one by double digits. The Texas A & M defense will be the best the Tar Heels have seen all season, so will take a shot on the favorite in this one.
Time to take a look at some of the bowl games taking place over the next few days, as you don’t really want to jump too far ahead right now due to the possibility of COVID losses for any one team.
Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina: Decent game here, or at least one that has some intrigue, featuring a 9-1 team in Liberty and an undefeated Coastal Carolina squad. Liberty defeated Virginia Tech this season, while Coastal Carolina’s big victory was over BYU, so these teams can play a little bit. From a stats standpoint the scoring averages are pretty even, but Coastal Carolina played a tougher schedule. Liberty scored 39.4 points per game, but their foes allowed 35.5, so the Flames are a little better than average. While Liberty allowed just 20.6 points, their foes averaged 19.7, so Liberty is pretty average on defense. Coastal Carolina scored 37.5 points against teams allowing 30.2, while they allowed 18.7 points per game to teams who scored 28.7. Coastal Carolina opened -6 and is now favored by 7 after getting 44% of the wagers. Will go against the grain and take a shot on the favorite in this one.
Louisiana vs. UTSA: Louisiana has moved to -14 in this one and I have them winning by 13, so not much of a margin either direction. The total is down to 55.5 and I made it 53, so again, a little too close for comfort. Both teams can run the ball, while both are a little better than average at stopping the run. Will just stay away from this one.
Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State: A big move on the under in this one, as the number has dropped from 55.5 down to 50. Georgia State is favored by 3.5. Going to jump on the under bandwagon in this one, as Georgia State’s weak link on defense is pass defense and Western Kentucky isn’t that good of a passing team, averaging just 164 yards. Western Kentucky does run the ball, although not particularly well. Will hope for a slow start in this one to help at the end.
Oklahoma State vs. Miami: Oklahoma State is favored by 2 in this one but wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Hurricanes take the win here. Miami put forth a pathetic effort in their last game and should bounce back for a game in their home state. The teams are pretty evenly matched, so will take a shot on the underdog.
Texas vs. Colorado: The Longhorns are favored by 9.5 and the total has climbed to 63.5, while I have Texas winning 40-29. The Longhorns are going to be missing a few starters on defense, which makes the game a little tough to pull the trigger on. Colorado’s defense holds its own against the pass, so going to stay away in a game I wanted to take the over.
A disappointing 2-3 last Saturday, as we blew a couple of games late, to fall back to .500 on the season, which is certainly better than I’m doing in the NFL. Will get started on college hoops in the next few days, where we’ve had a couple of solid years and look to continue our run.
Oregon vs. USC: The Trojans are favored by 3 and the total on this one is up to 63.5. At first glance, USC should be favored by more in this spot, but don’t overlook the Ducks in this one. Oregon has been a little careless with the ball at times this season and it’s cost them, but if they can eliminate the turnovers, they’re just as good as Southern Cal. Will take a shot on the underdog in this one.
Oklahoma vs. Iowa State: The Sooners opened as 4.5-point favorites and the line has climbed to 5.5, but don’t think Oklahoma is much better than Iowa State this year, so am going to take the underdog in this one. Iowa State should be able to run the ball some in this one, which will be key for the Cyclones.
Notre Dame vs. Clemson: The Tigers are favored by 10.5 in this one after opening 7.5, but not so sure the line has moved the right direction. I like the Tigers as much as anybody, but have a hunch the Irish ground game will allow them to keep this one pretty close. Notre Dame will have to keep it close early, as they’re not really made to come-from-behind. This one could turn out to be pretty decent so will take the points in this one, as well.
Louisiana vs. Coastal Carolina: Coastal Carolina is favored by 3 in this one and once again going to take the underdog. These teams were pretty even the first time they played and think Louisiana can turn the tables on Coastal Carolina. Both teams can run the ball well and it could come down to special teams, where the underdog has an edge.
Tulsa vs. Cincinnati: The Bearcats are now favored by 14.5, which is a steep number against a decent defensive team in the Hurricanes. After dropping their opening game of the season to Oklahoma State, Tulsa has run the board, while the Bearcats are undefeated on the season. Will take the points and look for Tulsa to stay within the generous spread.
We’ve seen 11 games postponed for Saturday already and it’s been the habit that we’ll see one or two more before we roll around to game day. We moved to 21-20 for the season last week and are looking at a fair number of plays for Saturday.
Utah at Colorado: This one was moved from Friday to Saturday after the Ohio State vs. Michigan game was postponed and the Buffaloes are favored by 2. The Utes have only played three games this season and are getting overlooked a little bit, but aren’t a bad team at all. Think the Utes are able to get the win in this one, so will take a shot on the small road dog.
Stanford at Oregon State: Stanford is coming off a decent win against at Washington last week and that was on the heels of a 24-23 victory over rival Cal, so not sure how much they’ll have left in the tank for the Beavers in this one. Oregon State is a better team than they’ve been in the past and think the wrong team is favored in this one, so will take a stab on the home underdog with the Beavers +3.
Auburn at Mississippi State: Auburn opened as 9-point favorites and the line is now down to 6.5 and I’ll be on the home underdog in this one. Auburn is another team in a bad spot, as they’re coming off the thumping at the hands of Alabama and then gave Texas A&M a game until wilting in the fourth quarter. Mississippi State has played decent its last two games, so will take the home underdog in this one, as well.
LSU at Florida: The Gators are favored by 23 in this one and it’s hard to argue with that line, as the Tigers are a shell of last year’s team and coming off a 38-point loss to Alabama. But this is another game that’s a tough spot for one team, as Florida plays Alabama next week in the SEC title game. I don’t think there’s much question the Gators will be win, but not so sure they’re going to win by more than three touchdowns, so will take the Tigers +23.
Fresno State at New Mexico: This one is being played in Las Vegas, as the Bulldogs are favored by 12. The Lobos are coming off a bit of a stunner against Wyoming, while the Bulldogs came up short against Nevada a week ago. Fresno is 3-2 on the season and believe they’ll bounce back and get the win here, so will lay the points with Fresno State.
You can wait as long as possible but still get games canceled at the last-minute, as happened to us last week with Boise State. But for the most part, our games here have gone off, which is better than some, although that hasn’t always been a good thing, as we’re just 18-18 on the season.
Clemson at Virginia Tech: The Tigers opened up as 21.5-point favorites and are now favored by 22 and see no reason why not to take Clemson here. Sitting where they are in the playoff rankings means you’re going to get a solid effort out of Clemson and Dabo has done a good job of playing up the ‘Us against the world’ mentality to his team. Will go ahead and lay the points even though it’s a public play.
Ohio State at Michigan State: The Buckeyes opened -23.5 and are now favored by 24 and this one is much like the game above. The Spartans pulled the big upset last week against Northwestern, but this is still the same team who was thumped by the likes of Iowa and Indiana. Have to lay the points in this one.
Rice at Marshall: Another game with a big favorite, as the Thundering Herd is favored by 23.5 after opening as 25-point favorites. Think the line move is correct on this one and will take the Owls plus the points. Rice has only played three games this year and both teams saw their last games canceled.
Kansas at Texas Tech: More of the same here, as Texas Tech is favored by 27.5 and the Red Raiders should be able to put plenty of points on the scoreboard. The one problem is the Tech defense, which has allowed at least 23 points in every game this season. Kansas should be able to get a few scores themselves, so will take the over 62.5 in this one.
Texas A & M at Auburn: The Aggies are favored by 6.5 and think the line’s a little steep here. The Tigers have been a bit of a different team at home this year, going 4-0 straight-up and 1-3 on the road. The Aggies are the better team, but the price is steep and Auburn has the athletes to make a game of it, so will take a shot on the home underdog in this one.
Quite a few college football games have been canceled for Saturday, but still have five plays, as we’re coming off a disappointing 2-2 day last week. Four plays for Saturday, so we’ll get to it.
Pittsburgh at Clemson: The Tigers opened 26 with a total of 55 and Clemson is down to 23 with a total of 55.5. The Tigers are back in action after last week’s game was postponed with the Seminoles, much to the chagrin of Dabo Sweeney, who was vocal in his displeasure. Don’t see the Panthers having much success on the ground, while the Tigers will get the job done through the air. Can’t see a lot of passing in this one, so will go ahead and take the over 55.5.
Northwestern at Michigan State: The Wildcats opened as 10.5-point and are all the way up to 13, while the total has dropped from 42.5 to 41.5. It’s hard to see the Spartans doing much scoring in this one and Northwestern isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut themselves. But believe the Wildcats can get enough points to get the cover in this one and will lay the points with the road favorite.
Penn State at Michigan: The Wolverines are favored by 1 in this one, which is about as unappealing as it gets. The Nittany Lions have killed themselves with turnovers this season, while the Wolverines have played poorly all year. Think Penn State gets the win in this one and will take the road team. Penn State has played the second-toughest schedule in the country and are too good of a team to be winless at this point of the season.
San Jose State at Boise State: Boise opened 11.5 with a total of 58.5 and the Broncos are still 11.5 and the total has dropped a half-point to 58. The Spartans are 4-0 on the season and have played well, although their level of competition leaves a bit to be desired. The 4-1 Broncos haven’t played a tough schedule themselves and were thumped in their lone tough game of the season. Boise State let us down last week, giving up the last two scores to allow Hawaii to get the back door cover, with a little help from the officials, but think they can pile up some points in this one and will take the over 58.
A 3-1 week in college football last week, only to turn around and completely crap the bed in the NFL, so will see what this week brings. Still, just 14-15 in NCAA football.
Missouri at South Carolina: The Tigers opened -5 and the line has climbed to 6.5. This game is the first since the Gamecocks canned Muschamp, who again looked to be a little overmatched as a head coach at an SEC school. He’s probably do fine as a mid-sized college head coach or as a coordinator anywhere. Surprisingly, it was the defense the past few weeks that got Muschamp fired, although a game against Missouri could help, as the Tigers aren’t really known for their offense. Think this one is pretty even and will go ahead and take the home underdog here.
Indiana at Ohio State: Ohio State is favored by 20.5 in this one and the betting has been pretty even. The Buckeyes are obviously the better team, but a pretty steep number to be laying to a Hoosier team that’s been playing pretty solid. Indiana will have to throw the ball well to stay somewhat close in this one and think they can get it done, so will go ahead and take the Hoosiers.
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma: The Sooners are favored by 7 in this spot and think they’re the better team all-around. Oklahoma should be able to move the ball on the ground or through the air and the number is relatively cheap in this one. The Cowboys have played several close ones in a row, so they have the ability to keep things close, but the Sooners are better than the teams they faced and will go ahead and lay the number in this one.
Boise State at Hawaii: The Broncos are favored by 14 and think they can win this one rather handily, so will take Boise -14 here. The Broncos have cruised to wins in conference games this season and don’t see any reason why they don’t continue to do so here. Boise has to limit the big plays Hawaii has been getting lately, as they’ve scored on four plays over 40 yards the past two week. Will lay the number with the Broncos.
Getting a bit of a jump on things this week, as two of our plays will go on Friday.
Iowa at Minnesota: The Hawkeyes opened -2.5 and the line has climbed to 3.5, as Iowa has gotten nearly 60% of the wagers in the game. The Hawkeyes came to life last week and don’t see any reason why they can’t string together decent back-to-back games. Iowa can run the ball well and both teams are decent throwing the ball. The Hawkeyes are the better and will go ahead and lay the points in this one.
East Carolina at Cincinnati: The Bearcats opened 25.5 and are now up to 27.5 in this one. Cincinnati has been impressive this season, but this isn’t the greatest of spots for them, as they’re coming off a couple of tough games and have Central Florida up next. The Pirates aren’t that great of a football team, but they do have the ability to throw the ball and have to expect them to do that quite a bit in this one, as it’s hard to imagine ECU having much success on the ground. The total in this one opened 55.5 and is now 56 and think that’s the right side, so will go ahead and take the over in this one.
Miami, Fla at Virginia Tech: This one should be a decent game, where they Hokies are favored by 2 and I have the Hurricanes winning, so will go ahead and take Miami +2 in this one. Miami should have success through the air, it’s a matter of the defense coming up with a few stops in this one. The Canes didn’t look all that great last week, but they were able to come away with the win and expect them to play a little better in this spot.
Wisconsin at Michigan: The Badgers are favored by 4.5 in this one and have to think that’s a bit of overreaction. The Wolverines didn’t look good last time out, but they’re a better team than they showed, while the Badgers aren’t quite as good as they looked last week. This is still just the second game of the season for Wisconsin, while Michigan has played three times. The Wolverines have Rutgers on deck, so no looking ahead in this one and will take the home underdog here.
We split our four college games last week and will be back with four more. We have more games to choose from this weekend, so the toughest chore this week was trying to narrow it down to a manageable amount of plays.
West Virginia at Texas: The Longhorns are down to 5.5 and the total has dropped to 54.5, but not so sure I agree with the move on the over/under. Both teams can move the ball through the air and neither is expected to do a whole lot of damage on the ground. The total is relatively low here at 54.5, especially for the conference, so going to go against the grain and take a shot on the over 54.5 in this one.
Michigan State at Iowa: The Hawkeyes have moved from -7 to -6 and once again will be on the opposite side of the line and take Iowa -6. This one is all about the situation, with the Spartans coming off their victory against the Wolverines and Iowa coming in off a one-point loss to Northwestern. Remember, this is the same Michigan State team who lost to Rutgers opening week. Even though you could make an argument that the Spartans were looking forward to the Michigan game, there’s no excuse for losing to the Scarlet Knights. Believe Iowa breaks into the win column this week and will lay the points.
Kansas at Oklahoma: The Sooners are favored by 38 and the total here has come down to 63.5 after opening 66.5 and seeing the majority of the wagers land on the over. But I don’t think those taking the under realize how bad this Kansas team is and they could easily allow 60 points themselves. The Jayhawks have scored in every game this season and are averaging 16.8 points per game themselves and think if they can get a couple of touchdowns this one goes over the number, so will take the over 63.5.
Maryland at Penn State: Another game, another over call in this one, as the total has climbed to 64.5, but these two teams haven’t shown much ability to slow down the opposition this season, with the Terps allowing 43 and 44 points in their two games and Penn State allowing 36 and 38 in their games. Both teams can score and think we’ll see enough points to get this one over the number and will take the over in this one, as well.
A decent-sized slate of college football games, where we stunk it up last week to fall to an ugly 7-10 on the season, so need to get things moving the other direction.
Georgia at Kentucky: A time change in this one, where the Bulldogs have been bet up to a 17-point favorite and the total has come down to 42.5. The Bulldogs’ defense figures to do a number on the Kentucky offense, the question looks to be if the Bulldogs can score enough points to get the cover. I think they can get there, although it might now be pretty, but will go ahead and take a shot on the road favorite in this one.
Rice at Southern Miss: Rice let me down last week in a game where everybody is talking about the field goal attempt that clanked off both uprights and the crossbar, but the real story there was dismal play calling that saw the Owls playing not to lose. Three runs on both overtime possessions and they got exactly what they deserved in the end. Mike Collins had thrown for four touchdowns and you don’t trust him enough to throw the ball in OT? That’s poor coaching. But now, the Owls face a Southern Miss team that has lost to some pretty weak teams already. The Eagles opened as 3.5-point favorites and the line is now down to 1.5. Getting the worst of the line in this one, but think the Owls get the outright win, so will take Rice +1.5.
Kansas State at West Virginia: The Mountaineers are favored by 5 and think they’re the right side in this one. There’s been a lot of line movement in this one, which opened West Virginia -3.5 and even though the Wildcats have gotten the majority of the wagers in the game, the line is moving in the other direction. The Mountaineers should have the edge on the ground and through the air and believe they’ll cover the number in this one.
Ohio State at Penn State: This one has lost a bit of its luster after last week’s results and the Buckeyes are now favored by 10.5. That’s a steep number for an Ohio State team who has won the last three games by 5 points. The Nittany Lions have a solid rushing game and that should help keep Ohio State off balance a bit defensively and think this one will be closer than oddsmakers predict and will take PSU +10.5.
Sitting at just 6-8 in college football, where we’ve had a few breaks go against us so far. It tends to average out in the long run, so hopefully a few good things in store for us.
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh: The Fighting Irish are favored by 9.5, which is down from the 10-point line we saw earlier in the week. Notre Dame is undefeated, although they haven’t really played the toughest schedule around, while the Panthers are 3-3 on the season. Pitt’s rushing defense is strong and the Irish are a better rushing than passing team, so if they’re unable to get the ground game going, this one could be pretty interesting in the fourth quarter. Both teams played Louisville and the Irish won by 12-7, while Pitt won 23-20, so don’t think the Irish should be favored by more than 7, so will take a shot on the Panthers plus the points in this one.
Florida State at Louisville: The Cardinals are favored by 4 with a total of 61. The Seminoles have been a different team since Travis took over at quarterback and now he faces his old team. Both teams have had troubles stopping people at times, while both offenses are capable of putting some points on the road. FSU is coming off a big win against North Carolina, but think they can get some points on the scoreboard against the Cardinals’ defense. Louisville should also have some success in this one, so will take the over 61 in this one.
Middle Tennessee State at Rice: Only in 2020 could we see one team playing its seventh game of the season against a team making its season debut, but that will be the case when Middle Tennessee travels to Rice on Saturday. We don’t know how bad Rice will be this season, but we do know how bad Middle Tennessee is this season, so it’s no surprise to see Rice favored by 4 in this one. Middle Tennessee has allowed more than 700 rushing yards in its last two games and the Owls can move the ball on the ground. Rice closed the season strong last year and should be ready to go in this one. Can’t expect Middle Tennessee to be too terribly motivated for this one and they have a bye on deck after this one. Will go ahead and lay the number with the Owls.
A fair slate of college football games on tap for Saturday, so we’ll get right to it.
Kansas at West Virginia: For all the talk about how different this college football season is than any other, some things remain the same and one is that Kansas isn’t a very good team this season. The Jayhawks have lost their last two games by a combined 94-21 score and things shouldn’t be any easier against a West Virginia team that can move the ball on the ground or through the air. Each team has had a shot at Baylor this season and West Virginia was able to come away with a 27-21 win, while Kansas lost 47-14 to the Bears. Both teams are coming off bye weeks and will go ahead and lay the 22.5 points with West Virginia in this one.
West Kentucky at UAB: UAB has moved to -13.5 over the Hilltoppers in this one and the betting has been pretty much split down the middle. The Blazers aren’t a bad running team, but can also move the ball through the air, while West Kentucky relies on the pass a little more, which could spell trouble against a UAB defense that has held all four foes to under 200 passing yards and has at least two sacks in each game. The Blazers are coming off a bye week and will take them in this spot.
Army at UTSA: The Cadets are favored by 8 in this one after opening as 7-point favorites and getting a small majority of the wagers. UTSA started off the season in fine fashion, winning their first three games, but have dropped their last two. They’ve been competitive in both games, losing by 8 to UAB and by a touchdown to BYU. A closer look at the Roadrunners, shows the team probably played their best football in their two losses instead of their three wins, which weren’t all that impressive considering the likes of teams they beat. Army and UTSA have both played Middle Tennessee and the Roadrunners pulled out a 37-35 decision, while Army drilled MTS by a final score of 42-0. The Cadets are coming off a poor effort against The Citadel, a game they won by just 14-9 and believe they’ll come out a little bit stronger and can take control of the game in the second. Will lay the points in this one, as well.
Not the greatest of slates for this Saturday of college football, with Hurricane Delta having an effect on a couple of the plays I had penciled down to take here, so we’re down to just two plays, but will be able to look at each of them a little more closely.
Texas Tech at Iowa State: Even though the crowd was small, they were loud last week as the Cyclones were able to pull off the upset against the Oklahoma Sooners. Now, they find themselves favored by 12 over a Texas Tech team that is coming off losses to Texas and Kansas and barely was able to get past Houston Baptist opening week. That pus Iowa State in a bit of a tough spot, historically, as home favorites of 10 or more points who won their previous game as a 7-point home underdog are 45% over the years against the spread. These teams win, as evidenced by their 11-1 straight-up record the last 12 times, but these same teams are just 4-8 ATS, doing enough to win, but not cover the number. Texas Tech can throw the ball and put some points on the scoreboard, it’s just a question of how their defense does against Iowa State. Still, don’t like the spot for the Cyclones and will take a stab on Texas Tech +12.
Mississippi State at Kentucky: The Wildcats opened as 2-point favorites and now the line is up to Kentucky -3, but think the home team is the right side in this one. The Wildcats have a huge edge rushing the football in this one, while the Bulldogs are solid at stopping the run. Kentucky is a better passing team than they’ve shown, but when you run the ball for 408 yards as they did last week, you don’t have to put the ball in the air too often. The Bulldogs pulled off the upset of LSU in their first game and then lost to Arkansas last week, while Kentucky lost to Auburn to start the year and then lost a game they probably should have won last week, eventually falling when they missed an extra point in overtime. Think the Wildcats are the better team and they need this one a little more, so will take a shot on the small home favorite in this one.
Last Saturday was one of the most frustrating days we’ve had in quite some time, as everything that could go wrong did, and we dropped all three plays, with all three actually looking good into the second half. But those things are going to happen and we’ll look to get back on track this week.
Baylor at West Virginia: West Virginia let us down last week and now they’re at home getting 2.5 points from the Bears and we’ll come right back with the Mountaineers plus the points in this one. West Virginia should have some success running the ball and Baylor will be taking a decent step up in class here, having thumped Kansas in their opener, while the Mountaineers lost to a decent Oklahoma State squad.
Virginia at Clemson: This one was moved to 8 p.m. and the Tigers are favored by 28.5 with a total of 55 and will go to one of my favorite systems, involving games with big favorites and relatively low totals. You can play with the numbers a little bit, but in general, teams favored by at least 28 points are 237-162-8 (59.4%) in totals when the total is 55 or lower. Clemson is capable of scoring 56 points themselves in this one and the Cavs should be able to put up a few scores themselves, so will take the over in this one.
Memphis at SMU: This could be the most entertaining game of the day, as the Tigers are favored by 2.5 with a total of 74. Memphis hasn’t played in nearly a month, while SMU has been beating up some weak foes, but are just the second team the last 20 years to be made a home underdog after scoring 60 or more points in back-to-back weeks. Overall, teams who score 60 in consecutive games are 33-19-2 ATS and 3-1-1 when a dog. Will take the Mustangs plus the points and the over in this one.
Navy at Air Force: A bit of a square play here, but have to take the Midshipmen and lay the 7 points in this spot. Air Force hasn’t played yet and the Midshipmen have a couple of games in, although one of those was a beatdown at the hands of BYU. Navy did defeat Tulane in their second game. Air Force is missing some key players in this one and won’t be at full strength.
The SEC opens play on Saturday, as the big boys of the college football world will slowly be trickling in over the next four weeks. A couple of games postponed, which is something we’re going to have to get used to this college football season, and we saw it first hand last week when our play in the Houston game was voided after they canceled the game. We dropped the other play on Appalachian State, who turned in a lackluster effort.
Alabama at Missouri: Alabama has been bet up to 28-point favorites after opening 26.5-point favorites. This is one of those games you don’t want to overthink or try and get cute and just take the better team, laying the steep number. Last season was a bit of a bummer by Alabama standards and believe they won’t let up on teams, as they look to do whatever it takes to get back to the playoffs. This will be a bit of a transition year for new coach Eli Drinkwitz, as the SEC is a huge step up from Appalachian State. The schedule is brutal for Missouri early, with Alabama, LSU and Florida in the first five weeks. Alabama should be able to wear Missouri down in this one and thing they’ll get there against the spread.
West Virginia at Oklahoma State: Decent game here that sees the Cowboys favored by 6.5 after opening 8.5. These two teams have played a couple of good ones the past few seasons and think this one should be another entertaining game. The status of Oklahoma State quarterback Sanders is unknown right now, but even if he goes, he probably won’t be as effective as he usually is. The Mountaineers are probably a little better than people think this season. Oklahoma State wasn’t all that impressive against Tulsa last week and West Virginia had an extra week to get ready for this one, so will take the road dog.
Kentucky at Auburn: The Tigers opened 8.5 and the line is now down to 7.5 despite the betting in the game being pretty much split right down the middle. The one thing the Wildcats should be able to do this season is run the football fairly well, which makes them a bit dangerous as an underdog. As long as they can keep the game close in the early going, Kentucky has a chance to be there at the end. Auburn lost a lot of talent from last year’s team and knows that they have a tough Georgia team waiting in the wings, so will take a shot on the underdog in this one and take Kentucky +7.5.
Time to jump into the college football mix, as there are a good number of games on slate Saturday and there will be more next weekend when the Southeastern Conference kicks things off.
Appalachian State at Marshall: The Mountaineers will travel from Boone, N.C. to face the Thundering Herd in Huntington, West Virginia, with both teams bringing 1-0 records into this one. West Virginia spanked Eastern Kentucky 59-0 two weeks ago and were off last week, while Appalachian State was disposing of Charlotte 35-20 in a non-covering effort. Marshall completely dominated their stats, as you would expect based on the final score, while App State was a little more impressive against Charlotte than the final score indicated, rolling up 226 more total yards than Charlotte.
Both teams returned the same number of starters from a year ago, with the Mountaineers getting back quarterback Zac Thomas and a strong offensive line up front. App State’s non-covering effort against Charlotte helped keep the opening line down, as the Mountaineers were favored by 3.5, although the betting public has pushed the number to 4.5.
Still like Appalachian State in this spot, as the team is on a 12-5 ATS run as away favorites dating back to 2016 and Marshall is on a 2-7 ATS slide at home and have gone just 2-4 as a home underdog since 2016.
Shawn Clark is a new coach for the Mountaineers but has been an assistant coach there for the past five seasons, so the change should be an easy one.
Houston at Baylor: Baylor opened as 4.5-point favorites in this one and the line is now 4 at William Hill. Baylor has a new coach in Dave Aranda, who comes over from running the defense for LSU. They also have just 9 returning starters compared to 19 for the Cougars, which is really the story of this game.
Houston was pretty much a dumpster fire last season, but while they finished 4-8 straight-up the Cougars were only outscored by three points a game and were 4-1 ATS as an away underdog, being outscored by just 1.8 points in that role. The Cougars did run the ball well last year and should have some success against a Baylor team that has to replace its entire offensive line. Houston rushed for 214 yards per game a year ago and that was one of Baylor’s defensive strengths, but with nine starters gone on that side of the ball, they’ll be hard-pressed to duplicate that success.
The Bears should score some points but Houston should be able to match them on the scoreboard and will take a chance on the underdog in this one.