College Football Picks

Best bets and other thoughts

I broke down the big games of the week on the pod, but wanted to post my best bets after combing through those games and many more. As for the big games I’m not picking, here are my final quick takes:

Alabama -19 @ Vandy
I like the Commodores this season, but think Alabama shows its head and shoulders above the rest of the conference. Vandy will rally in the next few weeks, but ‘Bama covers here.

TCU @ Oklahoma State -14
I think the Cowboys are top-5 caliber, but 14 is a lot of points against an offense like the Horned Frogs’. I think the Cowboys cover, but garbage time scares me.

Penn State -13 @ Iowa
Penn State’s offense is a lot better than anything the Hawkeyes can offer in all 3 phases. I’m staying away because weird things happen in Iowa City, but the Nittany Lions should cover.

Best Bets:

NC State +13
Tough spot for Florida State breaking in a new QB after three weeks off. They may win, but it will be close

Maryland -4
Maryland’s offense has looked potent through three weeks and UCF is another team that could struggle after an Irma-forced layoff. This should be a shootout, but the Terps pull away at home.

Wake Forest -5.5
Wake Forest has been as explosive as any team in the nation (against less than formidable foes, but still). Appalachian State is a name that scares bettors, but this team won’t hang with a Demon Deacons squad that may be a player in the ACC title race.

Mississippi St +4.5
I have not seen enough from Georgia to think they can move the ball if Mississippi State shuts down the run. I like Nick Fitzgerald much more than Jake Fromm and think Mississippi State wins this battle of the bulldogs

Colorado +11.5
I can’t shake how rough the Huskies looked against Rutgers and Colorado has looked formidable in their first 3 games. In Boulder, I think the Buffaloes push the Huskies and even if they lose it will be a one-possession game

Last Week: 3-2
Season: 7-2-1

 

 

NFL Week 2 Picks

Quick pitches for my best bets

If you’re not convinced quickly, it might not be right for you. That’s the approach I’m taking with the picks this week. The NFL is off to a bit of a sluggish start in general so its hard to feel great about a lot of these teams, especially with some of the lines this week. I found five I like and I think I can pitch them all pretty simply. If you want a longer explanation, check out the podcast. If it doesn’t feel right, be careful.

Packers +3 @ Falcons
Revenge. Rodgers is better than Ryan, Packers defense is improved. Falcons looked rough against the Bears. I think the Packers can win so I’ll take the points.

Seahawks -14 v. 49ers
Go with what you know. The 49ers are awful. Seahawks have question marks, but they should not be exposed here.

Raiders-14 v. Jets
Same approach. The Jets are unquestionably bad. More than two touchdowns worse than the Raiders.

Rams -3 v. Redskins
Washington is not good either. I am betting against the teams I really think are terrible. The Rams aren’t as good as they looked last week, but they can handle Washington at home.

Buccs -7 v. Bears
Emotional setting. Buccaneers ready to launch a playoff run and the Bears won’t look as sharp as the did against the Falcons.

Last Week: 2-2-1

Power 5 Sleepers

Week 3 Picks included

Earlier this week, I noted the strength of each conference at the top. Each one has a team well set up for the playoff race and most have more than one. Looking at each conference, you can identify the 2 or 3 favorites:

SEC: Alabama, LSU, Georgia
ACC: Clemson, Louisville, Virginia Tech
Pac-12: USC, Washington, UCLA
Big 12: Oklahoma, Oklahoma St.
Big Ten: Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio St.

Thats not an exhaustive list of favorites, but its a pretty good idea of which teams we expect to hear from at the end of the season. Yet, each conference has a team that, through two weeks, looks like it might be able to unexpectedly get into that conversation. These sleeper teams are ones I see with shots to get to their conference championship games, which will have them in the New Year’s six discussion–if not more.

SEC: Vanderbilt
Derek Mason has improved the Commodores record every year since he took the helm in 2014, getting Vandy to a bowl last season. This year, led by a stout defense and QB Kyle Shurmur (the Vikings’ offensive coordinator’s son), they look ready to make some noise. They already put the clamps on a good Middle Tennessee State team and crushed an FCS foe like they should. It’s tough sledding to have Alabama, @Florida and Georgia in consecutive weeks, but the SEC slate is always difficult. The SEC East is wide open and if they can pull an upset and get to 9-3 they have a shot to get to Atlanta.

This week: I love Vanderbilt +4 against Kansas State. K-State is a tough matchup for anybody, but the game is in Nashville and Vanderbilt is ready to get a big win heading into their Bama game next week. Continue reading “Power 5 Sleepers”

College Football Week 2 Picks

Huge Games and best bets

Week 1 was great and all, but week 2 should be even better. There are four top-25 tilts and playoff implications all over the place. The four game between ranked teams jump off the page and Nebraska @ Oregon and Pitt @ Penn State headline the next tier of quality matchups. My thoughts on the five biggest games are below, but I’m staying away from gambling on the biggest games. Not only do these games not need the extra adrenaline, but I just like other bets more than any of these spotlight games. I’ll post my bet slip here and be following the results all weekend on Twitter @ScoringPlays. Enjoy the big games this weekend and best of luck!

Pitt @ Penn State (-21):

Penn state fell 42-39 last year and it ended up costing the the playoff. This was before Trace McSorley had grown into his home-run swing ways and James Franlkin’s team found their groove. The Nittany Lions and Saquon Barkley looked  in Heisman form against Akron, which is relevant because Pitt might not be THAT much better than Akron. They had to go to Overtime to beat Youngstown State, which is a good FCS team, but still an FCS team. It’s hard to lay 21 points in a rivalry game, but I think this is a revenge game for Penn State and they have a huge talent edge. They blow this one open. Penn State 45-13.

Auburn @ Clemson (-5.5)
Kelly Bryant looked amazing against Kent State, but we’ll know a lot more about him in 2 weeks after the Tigers face Auburn and Louisville. Even with DeShaun Watson, the Tigers struggled to score against Auburn last year (admittedly, it was the first week of the season) and Auburn’s offense should be better this year with Jarrett Stidham at the helm. If Auburn can go into the reigning champions’ house and get a win, they’ll have an inside track to 6-0 before they face a brutal back half of their schedule. The winner of this game will get a lot of playoff buzz. I want to take Auburn here, but just struggle to see Clemson losing at home. I think Clemson will get a lead and hang on, but Auburn will cover the 5.5. Clemson 34-31.

Oklahoma @ Ohio State (-7.5)
This is another game where I like the underdog (the Sooners are getting 7.5), but struggle to see the Buckeyes losing at home. Ohio State dominated Baker Mayfield and Co. last year in Norman and looked like they shook off their early-season rust late in the game at Indiana. Oklahoma won’t get embarrassed again, but Ohio State will cover the spread late and keep the Big Ten’s momentum rolling. Ohio State 38-28.

Georgia @ Notre Dame (-4)

Is Notre Dame back (to being decent)? Can Georgia win in South Bend with a backup quarterback (Jake Fromm making his first start)? There’s a lot of unknowns with these two teams who look like they’ll be contenders this season, but have struggled to turn top talent into top results recently. I don’t think the QB switch  is a huge loss for Georgia, but a night game in South Bend is a tough ask for anyone. I’ll be in the stands for this one and I think Notre Dame will be ready to have a big game. Georgia will be able to run on Notre Dame, but if the Irish can win the turnover battle this one won’t be that close. Notre Dame 34-24.

Stanford @ USC (-6)

The Cardinal took care of business against Rice and USC faltered a bit against Western Michigan before pulling away late.  I imagine the Cardinal will be a popular underdog pick this week, but I think USC lives up to the hype this week. Darnold gets his Heisman train rolling and Stanford won’t be able to keep up. USC 34-17.

My bet slip this weekend:

Nebraska +13.5 vs. Oregon

Iowa State +120 ML vs. Iowa

West Virginia -24 vs. E. Carolina (they lost to James Madison)

USF -17 vs. UConn (They almost lost to Holy Cross)

Minnesota +2 vs. Oregon State