Welcome to the second installment of your guide to this week’s college football betting. Because you’re reading this, it means that I didn’t completely implode on my first attempt at a column. I wrapped up this past weekend at a 3-2 record. Penn St was a complete typo by OddsShark.com, but I’ll take any little victory I can get. I picked the Baylor vs. Texas Tech over when the line was sitting at 85.5 and took another W. That line eventually moved up to an all time Vegas high of 90.5 in some books, and they still would have gone over with a total of 95. The pick that I was most confident about was Alabama at +2 against Georgia. They ended up routing the Bulldogs in Athens, so if you took the Tide straight up you would’ve had a nice little pay out. Washington State vs. Cal didn’t quite put up the offensive fireworks I was hoping/expecting, giving me a loss picking the over at 64.5. And finally, Nebraska imploded in the second half, so not only did they not cover, they lost straight up to Illinois. Overall, I’ll take a 3-2 record, that means you won money. On to this week.
Lines provided by oddsshark.com
Washington (+17) at USC
USC should have no issues winning this game. They are far more talented than the Huskies, and they’re playing in The Coliseum. USC hasn’t scored less than 31 points this year, and Washington hasn’t exactly been an offensive power during this obvious rebuilding year. All of this should be a recipe for USC to cover, right? Wrong. I look at this as a trap game for USC, coming off a big win in the desert against Arizona State, and right before a rivalry game that has the Trojans headed to South Bend to play the Irish. Chris Petersen’s bunch has hung tough, losing by no more than 6 points in either of their two losses. Looking at Washington’s schedule, they’re going to have to win a game that they shouldn’t in order to get to a bowl game, so the Huskies will be playing without much to lose. All things considered, I’ll take Southern Cal to get the W in LA, but it will be closer than it should be.
The pick: Washington at +17.
Baylor (-38) at Kansas
Baylor is one of the two teams that make a repeat performance in this week’s column. I took them last week in association with Texas Tech to top a record breaking line, and I’m riding the Bears this week. Seth Russell is playing lights out, and odds wise is sitting at number two behind the best player college football has seen in a long time, Leonard Fournette. Baylor has scored no less than 56 this year, and Kansas is one of the worst football programs in the nation. The Jayhawks are currently 0-4, and I would bet extreme sums of money that they go 0-12. And they’re looking at one of the best offensive teams in the nation with a team that I wouldn’t pick to cover the spread over the Little Giants, Baylor is going to win, by a lot.
The pick: Baylor at -38.
UMass at Bowling Green (o/u 75)
This game took a little bit of digging. I look at UMass as the team that hung tough with a top ten Notre Dame team in South Bend for a half, but I also see them as the team that almost gave up a 50 burger to Colorado. I watched Bowling Green put up a very respectable effort week one against my Tennessee Volunteers (pray for me), where they showed an offense with fire power, led by Senior Quarterback Matt Johnson, and a defense that left some to be desired. Bowling Green’s offense has sputtered as the weeks have gone on, with their points decreasing in each week while their opposition hasn’t necessarily gotten much better. Combine this with the UMass team that has yet to top 30 points, I like the under on a fairly high line.
The pick: Under at 75.
Kent State at Toledo (-15.5)
More MACtion, baby. Toledo has jumped into the polls at number 24 after a solid non-conference schedule that included two power five schools (Arkansas and Iowa State). That’s how you schedule out of conference, Art Briles. The Rockets 4-0 start has been largely because of their defensive effort, but has shown flashes of a good offense. Kent State is off to a 2-3 record, with losses to two Big Ten schools, in Illinois and Minnesota. The Golden Flashes hung tough with Minnesota, losing by a field goal, but had a tough game this past week against a hapless Miami (OH) squad. I like how Toledo has played thus far against good competition, and I’ll ride the Rockets till they crash.
The pick: Toledo at -15.5.
California at Utah (-7)
For the record, Utah is one of my favorite teams in the country to watch. They are also a sleeper pick for the best unis in the country. Their all white “storm trooper” look is absolute fire. To their team, they are a senior led, physically imposing, hard nose team. They are led by Travis Wilson, a 6’7” QB with good mobility, and running back Devontae Booker, who is the best running back in the country whose name you don’t know. The Utes have quietly put together a legitimate power under coach Kyle Whittingham. Cal is no slouch, at 5-0 and ranked 23, but more importantly making their second appearance in as many weeks in my column. I can’t point out what it is about the team, but I’m not a big believer. 5-0 looks good, but weak competition makes their record look much better than it is. Bad news for Bear fans– not only do you have Utah this week, but follow it up with UCLA on the road, USC in Berkeley, then Oregon at Autzen. Good luck, Goff and co.
The pick: Utah at -7.
I’m going to start to give a game or two each week that you should either avoid all together, or a fun game that you maybe should throw a couple bones at to see what happens. This week is going to be the former.
Georgia (-2.5) at Tennessee
Tennessee/Georgia is a hard fought game every single year. It usually comes down to the last 5 minutes, or overtime like two years ago. I still have a soft spot for Pig Howard after losing a fumble right before the end zone. He was just trying to make a damn play, guys. Anyway, Georgia is going to be reeling after the embarrassment at home last week to the Tide, and I fully expect my Vols to be playing with a sense of desperation after losing 3 of their last 4. High expectations have led to a miserable campaign for Butch Jones and co, who play like they have DirecTV in the first half, and cable in the second half. I was at the checkerboard game against Oklahoma, and I felt first hand the hopes and dreams on Rocky Top fade just as our 17-point lead did. Also, UT will be rocking the new smokey grey unis, so the kids will be fired up. To summarize my thoughts on this one, DO NOT BET ON THIS GAME. Tennessee is easily talented enough to steal this game at home, and Georgia could be hell bent on winning out and could have Nick Chubb run all over the Vols defense, who knows? I sure as hell don’t.
Running Record: 3-2.