The Phive - College Football Week 4 (9/26) Picks
Nothing like a 4-1 week to really get the betting juices flowing. Last week was so good, that I correctly called the Clemson vs Citadel game script, predicted what would happen in the Miami game almost to perfection, and had Navy covering in a game that they miraculously won after being down 24-0. Duke was our only loss of the week, but we hadn't seen Boston College yet, and I fear I may have overestimated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
I've been trying to submit these picks a little later just in case there are any COVID cancellations, as we're seeing with Notre Dame this week, but I really like the Thursday night game and feel I need to give you all my input there.
Record to this point:
NCAAF 7-3 (0-0)
My 5 Bets
Thursday night's game features the UAB Blazers and the South Alabama Jaguars. Many of you will probably be watching the NFL, but this game is a nice alternative if you don't have any action on the Jaguars or the Dolphins. Both teams are coming off bye weeks after opening the season 1-1. I have had an interest in the Blazers considering their first game against Central Arkansas was the only time I could see them before they took on Miami in the Canes' season-opener. That first contest was not nearly as close as the final score suggests, and against Miami they were able to keep it somewhat respectable for most of the game.
South Alabama, on the other hand, is coming off a home loss to Tulane who did not impress me at all against Navy last week. But the tranisitive property is a bad way to go about betting. South Alabama struggles to defend the run, and they gave up 206 yards on the ground in their loss to Tulane. The Blazers have a running back in Spencer Brown who is a legitimate threat on the ground. He went for 74 yards and one touchdown against the Canes, and I like him to absolutely take over in this game. The Blazers are below the key number, and I like them to pick up an easy road victory.
BET: UAB -6.5
Next up, I'm heading back to the ACC. One of my favorite things is when a team that was favored one week gets upset and then finds themselves underdogs against a team that they would have otherwise been field goal or more favorites against had they won the previous week. Louisville was favored for much of the lead up to their game against the Canes, but after getting beaten pretty badly at home by D'Eriq King, Vegas has turned on them. I don't get it. Pittsburgh is coming off a 21-10 victory over Syracuse in a game in which they were favored by 21.5. The Panthers held Tommy Devito and Rex Culpepper to just 120 passing yards, but Malik Cunningham is in a different tier than either of those players.
Louisville was torched by Cam'Ron Harris and D'Eriq King when they took on Miami, but that's going to happen to a lot of teams this season. The Cardinals are more talented than the Panthers, and I would be tempted to take them straight up in this game. This is the first time Pitt is being challenged this season, and it's a very serious challenge, as Louisville tries to prove that they aren't faking it and should be taken seriously in the ACC.
BET: Louisville +3
Miami's rivalry game against FSU comes early this season. The Noles are coming off a 16-13 home loss to Georgia Tech, which certainly doesn't bode well for them coming into this game. Rivalry games are always interesting, and the Noles and Hurricanes always seem to play each other tough even when one team is significantly worse than the other. But I don't understand how the Noles are going to score with Miami. The Hurricanes' offense looked incredible in Week 2, and while Florida State's defense may be better than Louisville's, their offense certainly is not. D'Eriq King is going to get his and have a field day, while James Blackman will take advantage of a weak Miami secondary but ultimately run out of weapons as the game progresses. These two teams aren't in the same league right now. Miami has won three straight over Florida State and that was without a solid offense. This weekend, they take care of FSU and beat them badly to show that they own this series.
BET: Miami -11
It's time to share the love. The ACC has gotten all the attention in the first two weeks, but the SEC is finally back, and now it truly feels like college football season is here. I was all over the Clemson under last week because I figured they'd be dominating and then stop playing in the second half. And wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what happened. Well, this week the Alabama Crimson Tide are traveling to Missouri to take on the Tigers, and I would be shocked if Missouri is able to put up more than 7 points in this game. The Crimson Tide secondary is not the strongest they've been in recent seasons, but the Tigers' offense has a lot of question marks including at quarterback.
Alabama is going to jump out to an early lead and hold it throughout. Missouri is still an SEC opponent so I like them to keep Alabama under 45. If that happens and we get a 45-7 or 45-10 final, we hit this bet without sweating much. Why am I avoiding the spread? Just in case Alabama gets out to a 35-0 lead and Missouri is able to capitalize twice after that and Alabama doesn't score at all. This has happened many times to people who bet with Alabama, and I don't want it to happen to me.
BET: Alabama/Missouri under 56.5
My next bet is the one I am least confident in, but I'm actually going to take Arkansas as 26.5 home underdogs against Georgia. Arkansas kept themselves in a lot of games last season, and though they won't be competing for the SEC title by any means, they should be able to keep this one closer than the suggested line. Georgia has a tendency to not blow out SEC opponents that they seem like locks to destroy. Obviously, that is based on season's past, but I like to think that trends such as that one will hold true in the first game of the season. Call this a feel bet, but I'm going with the Razorbacks to keep this one close.
BET: Arkansas +26.5
BONUS BET! Whoa, what's this? My first bonus bet of the college football season. I'm sticking with this Arkansas and Georgia game, and I'm going with the under. Last season, Georgia had just three games all season long go over 52 points. Following a strange offseason, and with two teams that aren't very evenly matched, I expect this one to see a lower score as both offenses work out kinks. It will benefit the Razorbacks, and it will benefit the under as well.
BET: Arkansas/Georgia under 52
That's all I have for today. Be sure to check out my NFL Week 3 bets tomorrow night. I will also be hosting a Betting Podcast with Mike Spector from BettingPros.com on the Survivor Specialists YouTube channel at 1pm PT. As always, feel free to contact me on Twitter @Phil_Wood_Jr.