My strong Week 9 portends a flourish in November to get to plus money by the time conference championship weekend arrives. 4-1, +3.85 will work every time. Winners – FSU, NU, Auburn and (BB) UGA, lone loser was Duke with Riley Leonard more hobbled than a smart wager would be placed on. This Saturday is pretty loaded with competitive low-spread games, so hopefully outcomes don’t swing on many garbage time drives. The regular season’s last month starting should also be a reminder to fully check the health of key contributors. More than half of the B1G West is onto their backup quarterback, but in some cases it hasn’t slowed down the teams at all. Five winners to start November! (chronological, best bet aside)
Bet 1: Notre Dame -3.5 (-104) at Clemson (11:00am CT Sat 11/4, ABC; all odds via FanDuel)
I liked it better at flat-3, but it’s still worth a play given Clemson’s offensive struggles. ND being down top receiver TE Mitchell Evans is of mild concern, but this was probably the game Sam Hartman had most circled going into the season. He’s 0-4 vs Clemson in his college career, including getting knocked out of the game by the future national champs as a freshman in 2018. He’s finally got a defense and squad ready to get him that win. Freeman might even let him deliver the pregame speech. Also of note is ND’s bye two weeks ago prior to Pitt, so Evans-aside, they have a freshness and preparation advantage.
Bet 2: Virginia -1.5 (-118) vs Georgia Tech (1:00pm CT Sat 11/4, CW)
Malik Washington just continues to torch ACC defenses in legitimate pursuit of the second 1st team All-America WR spot next to Marvin Harrison Jr. The Northwestern transfer is averaging over 129yd/gm since a slow Week 1, with 6 TD’s. After the road upset at UNC, then near-upset in Miami, they get a very winnable home ACC game. Georgia Tech is either the most, or least, predictable team in the country. On one hand, they beat Miami (with a big coaching assist from Cristobal) and UNC last week, after losing at home to Bowling Green. On the other hand, they’ve gone loss-win four times in a row to reach 4-4. Virginia is too normal of a situation for the Yellow Jackets to bring it.
Bet 3: Illinois +106 moneyline at Minnesota (2:30pm CT Sat 11/4, BTN)
PJ Fleck and Minnesota have brought the best out of the Illini in Bret Bielema’s first two years at the helm. A 14-6 win in Minneapolis was the coming out party of Ryan Walters’ unit two years ago, and they backed it up with a 12-point win in Champaign last year. For whatever reason, the hand it off 60 times game plan doesn’t work as well on his teams. Luke Altmeyer has steadied himself of late adding running plays to his repertoire. Road team that has the other’s number, with the added benefit of a bye week last week. Survive the first half while star DL Johnny Newton finishes off his targeting suspension, then finish it off with him on the field.
Bet 4: LSU +134 moneyline at Alabama (6:45pm CT Sat 11/4, CBS)
This is my least favorite Alabama team in recent memory. They never look good to me on offense, and then the defense could barely slow down Texas when they faced a commensurately talented offense that wasn’t onto a backup QB. This is the second coming of the Texas game. Finally another opponent good enough at QB and the skill positions to force Jaylen Milroe to lead scoring drives to stay in it. LSU’s defense has been crummy for the most part, but they bowed up against Auburn, and are rested and prepared. I’ve been harping on it for a while, Brian Kelly has the edge against his former assistant of 5 years (OC for two) in Tommy Rees, not the other way around.
Best Bet (2 units): Iowa St -2.5 (-115) vs Kansas (6:00pm CT Sat 11/4, ESPN)
Week 3’s 10-7 loss to Ohio is a distant memory for the Cyclones. They’re up to 4-1 in B12 play, the last two being multi-possession road wins at Cincinnati and Baylor. KU is a step up in competition, but backing up the biggest program win since 2007 in Ames 7 days later is asking way too much. This is an atmosphere top ten teams go to die, a scrappy KU team pulling it out after last week would be a shocker. Rocco Becht is a young QB who has been getting better over the course of the year. About the only way this goes sideways is if he’s forced into turnovers, and on the season ISU’s turnover margin is almost twice as good as KU’s.
Week 8: 4-1, +3.85 units; Season: 23-25, -6.49 units. Good luck!