Back after finally hitting a best bet in Georgia Southern’s solid as-expected showing at home beating Coastal Carolina. With Penn St’s lucky late cover over Northwestern, 2-3 -0.1 wasn’t too bad (Florida, UVA moneyline, Iowa losses). The calendar turns to October and the quality of games reflects true midseason form. In a season where “no dominant team” has been heard more than at any point in recent memory, are those closest to it (Michigan, Texas) going to prove the critique wrong, or fall in line? The schedule is almost too 11am (CT) dominant with two of the four ranked-v-ranked games and only lacking a third thanks to Maryland disrespect. Are LSU and Alabama up for road challenges to save their season? No shortage of angles to take on one of the few remaining fall Saturdays before the expanded playoff defers consequences to December (chronological, best bet aside).
Bet 1: LSU -4.5 (-110) at Missouri (11:00am CT Sat 10/7, ESPN; all odds via FanDuel)
Their defense stinks, but this is too early for Brian Kelly and company to have reached their Waterloo. Missouri has done enough to reach their SEC home opener at 5-0, but Vandy last week was their first double-digit win over an FBS team. LSU responded well last year after their similarly timed second loss, going to the Swamp to beat Florida by 10. Luther Burden can, and probably will, put up his numbers, but buying LSU low when a run to win the SEC West remains possible is the play.
Bet 2: Army -2.5 (-120) vs Boston College (11:00am CT Sat 10/7, CBSSN)
I’m too stubborn to let BC’s home comeback against Virginia change my mind, so I’m going against them again. Army is at home after a bye, whereas BC comes in off said emotional second half comeback over UVA. The timing clearly favors West Point. Army is yet to allow 30 points in a game this year and should be able to shorten it against Castellanos (BC QB). This would be way too gritty and solid of a road win to make sense given what we’ve seen of BC to date.
Bet 3: Washington St. +136 moneyline at UCLA (2:00pm CT Sat 10/7, Pac-12N)
I’ll ride with the latest target of Pat McAfee’s scorn. The guy gets $85M, or whatever it is from ESPN, then kicks the team abandoned by the rest of the Pac-12 for standing up for themselves. Both teams are off a bye, so that cancels itself out. This is just a spot where the better team should win, and Wazzu has clearly made the case that it’s them in the first month. Dante Moore has flashed at times, but Cameron Ward gives WSU the advantage. UCLA will put up yards, but WSU will finish drives.
Bet 4: Michigan -18.5 (-110) at Minnesota (6:30pm CT Sat 10/7, NBC)
As mentioned at the top, I think of Michigan as one of the two best teams through one month. They haven’t played a close game yet, and I don’t think Minnesota is good enough to force the first. Minnesota needs to be able to run it to do anything on offense, and Michigan is too good to let them establish it. JJ McCarthy feels overlooked due to what Penix and Caleb Williams are doing, but he holds up based on the eye test. Stop the run, force a couple mistakes from Kaliakmanis, and keep the train rolling by 20 plus.
Best Bet (2 units): Clemson -20.5 (-120) vs Wake Forest (2:30pm CT Sat 10/7, ACCN)
3-2 team laying 3 TD’s to a 3-1 team, what a beautiful sport. The bye week advantage might keep Wake close for a quarter, quarter and a half, but this will turn ugly eventually. The Deac’s gave Clemson a scare last year in Winston-Salem, but without Sam Hartman in Death Valley the outcome won’t bear a resemblance. The Clemson defense found their stride in the second half against FSU in their last home game, which they definitely shouldn’t have lost. They channel the frustration into 48-6ish home win.
Week 5: 2-3, -0.1 units; Season: 15-13, +0.86 units. Good luck!