It was a rough Week 7. I should’ve advised to wait for confirmation of Tommy Devito being out for Illinois before taking Minnesota as a road favorite. As such, I went a sad 1-4, -4.34 units without any close misses. Penn St was completely steamrolled at Michigan, Wisconsin lost outright at Michigan St, Wazzu got nothing going at Oregon St, and the aforementioned Gophers were manhandled. The only win was LSU +120 ML at Florida. Dillon Gabriel was a close call inactive vs Texas to our benefit, and the injury luck just went the other way last week. On to the picks.
Bet 1: Syracuse +14 (-107) at Clemson (11:00am CT Sat 10/15, ABC; all odds via PointsBet)
Frighteningly similar to opening with Penn St last week, we’re going with the ranked road dog in their first really big test (common best win with PSU too – Purdue). Clemson has a nice streak of three straight covers to start October, but 14 points is a lot in a game with these defenses. Syracuse isn’t entitled to the full credit their 24-9 win over NC St would normally receive because it was against a backup, but they have shown an ability to play Clemson tough under Dino Babers. Since 2017 they have one outright win and both 3 and 4 point losses. Clemson dominated Boston College, but the mid-to-upper tier of the ACC (Wake, NC St, FSU) have all been too competitive to not take the 14.
Bet 2: SMU +3 (+100) vs Cincinnati (11:00am CT Sat 10/15, Fox)
It’s a funky line. Cincinnati has been much better than SMU this year, only playing their worst game of the year in a way too close for comfort 28-24 home win over South Florida their last time out, two weeks ago. SMU beat Navy last time out on a Friday night, a game that featured a dirty backdoor cover by the Midshipmen. Cincinnati is better, they go on the road and beat the inferior team, that’s how college football works, right? Hardly. This is the biggest game left on SMU’s schedule, and they’ve shown the firepower to hang with both TCU and Maryland already. +100 with the points is good enough, no need to get greedy with +135 moneyline.
Bet 3: West Virginia +5 (-107) at Texas Tech (2:00pm CT Sat 10/15, FS1)
We’re taking WVU to build off of their big home win against Baylor last Thursday. Texas Tech also on extra rest after a bye. The line has come down over the week after opening at 7 most places. The Tech QB situation isn’t good as they’re down to their 3rd option in redshirt freshman Behren Morton, who did play well in defeat at OK St. They’ll put up numbers, but so will the WVU rushing attack as they did in their upset of Baylor. Neal Brown knows how to pack a game defense for the road (see at Oklahoma last year). Force Morton into some mistakes, and hang around a tight back-and-forth.
Bet 4: Minnesota +175 moneyline at Penn St (6:30pm CT Sat 10/15, ABC)
Two wildly inconsistent teams with 30 year old starting QB’s dealing with injuries. Seems close to a toss up. PSU’s running game took more of a step back than Mo Ibrahim and the Gophers who were doomed by no passing game. I was a chump for taking James Franklin in a big game last week, this week I’m playing the trend of one loss leading to another which has afflicted PSU 4 out of the last 5 seasons. Once Minnesota’s offense gets going they control the clock just like Michigan was able to last week. They get it done.
Best Bet (2 units): Louisville -2.5 (-107) vs Pitt (7:00pm CT Sat 10/15, ACCN)
Another funky spread. Louisville, 1-3 in ACC play, is favored against the reigning conference champ that took almighty Tennessee to OT earlier this year. Malik Cunningham’s return is a definite factor, but these teams are headed in different directions as of late. The energy at Pitt is not great. A home loss to Georgia Tech, then tested into the fourth quarter at home by a weak Virginia Tech team. Louisville appears to have hit bottom in their loss to BC, then bounced back with a solid win at UVA. This is only their third home game of the year, having nearly beaten a good FSU team there in September. Home team with a chance to knock off the defending champs, Louisville brings it.
Last week: 1-4, -4.34. Season: 9-10-1, -1.21 units.