It was a slower than hoped start going 2-3 with a best bet (×2 press) win in our first week back last week. Minnesota was a lock from the start and the contrarian MSU takes, eg. Bear on Gameday, backfired immediately. The Purdue total was wrong, but I wouldn’t have made it had I been more keen on the Aidan O’Connell injury front. Taking the UNC defense against a team as capable as ND was indefensible though. As for this week, non-conference has come to it’s conclusion but for ND, rivalry and FCS games. Tighter matchups and smaller spreads for the most part, but also some mismatches which should be at a higher number we’ll look to exploit.
Bet 1: UCLA +125 moneyline vs Washington (9:30pm CT Fri 9/30, ESPN; all odds via PointsBet)
Battle of 4-0 teams each playing their second Pac-12 game. Washington is considered more tested by way of their impressive win against a then-ranked Michigan St team, leading to a current AP ranking of 15th. UCLA’s best opponent to date is most likely South Alabama, who they only managed to escape with a 1-point win against. This essentially comes down to how legitimate you think the Huskies are given the hot start. While I don’t think they’re frauds that will completely collapse, I don’t think they’re good enough to pass their toughest remaining test before potentially entering November undefeated (at ASU, Ariz, at Cal follow). I expect the Bruin offense to keep rolling with DTR and Charbonnet leading the way, and a secondary much better than Penix saw against MSU and Stanford.
Bet 2: Utah -10 (-110) vs Oregon St (1:00pm CT, P12N)
Oregon St definitely gave USC more of a fight than the majority of college football fans were expecting last week, but there’s more than a hangover factor to this pick. Utah’s defense has been really good since the opening loss at Florida. Sure, Florida doesn’t look as good after losing a couple games, but Utah has really tightened things up. Aside from garbage time in the last 4 minutes of 30pt games, they’ve only allowed one touchdown since. They are on a mission to head into the USC game in two week with a perfect Pac-12 record. This is going to a 38-10 type game.
Bet 3: LSU -8 (-107) at Auburn (6:00pm CT, ESPN)
Definitely a lot of against-Auburn to this pick. The first road game of the Brian Kelly era comes against a really shaky Auburn team. I am going firmly against the trend with this road favorite, as LSU’s last win at Jordan-Hare by 8+ was all the way back in 1998. Don’t care. The Penn St game made it clear (narrow OT win vs Mizzou followed in case you weren’t convinced) whatever home field advantage they’ve had, it’s no longer enough to cover up the gaping holes in this team. LSU is better across the board, Brian Kelly has too strong a pedigree to fear they lay an egg here.
Bet 4: Virginia at Duke over 51.5 (-110) (6:30pm CT, ESPN3)
Brennan Armstrong is looking like one of the ACC’s biggest disappointments through 4 games, but there’s some reason for hope after they battled back in an ultimately doomed comeback bid at Syracuse. Duke and QB Riley Leonard, on the other hand, have been sharp from the very start of the season. Duke’s less impressive defense is just what UVA needed to keep building of last week. The forecast in Durham doesn’t call for rain during the game and the winner is going to be in the mid/high thirties with a comfortable over.
Best Bet (2 units): Ohio St -39.5 (-107) vs Rutgers (2:30pm CT, BTN)
Recency bias from the flawless victory over Wisconsin might be at play, but this OSU offense has guys running way too wide open, play after play, to not put 50+ up. And now the defense has grown an edge that will prevent Rutgers from a cheap backdoor cover. The total is only 58, so the simulated score is 49-9. I do not see Rutgers getting more than 7, and OSU should break 50 some time in the 3rd quarter.
Last week and season: 2-3, -0.21 units.