During the college football season, Stadium’s staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice. Here are our thoughts on the Week 10 slate:
1. What is your favorite pick against the spread?
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: Virginia Tech (+17.5) over Notre Dame. I don’t like much on the betting board this week, so this play is a situational handicap. Notre Dame is coming off of one of the worst losses of the Brian Kelly era and no longer has a shot at making the College Football Playoff. The Irish came out flat after similar losses in 2017 to Miami and 2014 to Florida State, failing to cover vs. Navy as 14-plus point favorites the following week in both instances. On the other side, Virginia Tech has won three straight and DC Bud Foster has had an extra week to prepare his defense for the Irish.
Dan Vasta, Stadium “Stats Guru”: Oregon (-4.5) over USC. The Ducks would love nothing more than to make a statement heading into the first College Football Playoff rankings next week. Jevon Holland might be my favorite defensive back in the country when it comes to defending the slot — and against a bunch of future NFL wideouts this week, Holland and the Ducks’ athletic secondary will be creating some late Halloween havoc.
Andy Wittry, Stadium College Sports Writer: Indiana (-11.5) over Northwestern. Indiana (6-2) is bowl eligible in October and the winner of three straight Big Ten games, both of which are noteworthy for a program who shares a division with the Big Ten East’s Big Four. The Six and Twoosiers are No. 23 in the SP+ rankings with an offense and special teams unit that ranks in the top 15 nationally, while Northwestern’s offense ranks No. 126 nationally. The Wildcats haven’t scored more than 15 points against an opponent not named UNLV, and Indiana has scored at least 31 against everyone that isn’t Ohio State.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: Tulane (-10) over Tulsa. A lot of the numbers that I liked have already moved this week, so I need to go off the grid for this question. I’m going to take Tulane as a pure fade of Tulsa, who just lost a heart-breaking game against Memphis in Week 9. Tulsa lost 42-41 after their kicker missed a 29-yard field goal that would’ve won the game. I don’t know if the Golden Hurricane can get up to travel to Tulane and challenge a program that’s playing very well this season.
2. What is your favorite total (over/under)?
AS: Under 46 in Northwestern-Indiana. Totals aren’t my strong suit (3-5 so far this season in the column), so I’m going to keep it simple here. Northwestern has gone under in five of their seven games in 2019, and the Wildcats offense is one of the worst in the Power 5 (126th in FBS per SP+). I’m hoping for a classic Big Ten battle with plenty of punts and very little excitement.
DV: Over 62.5 in Oregon-USC. The Ducks have quite the offensive line and are so darn explosive across that side of the ball. They have scored 35-plus in three-straight games, and you might as well book it for a fourth. USC, who will be playing from behind, will rack up some second-half scoring drives, but it will only matter for the total in this one. Remember, the unfavorable perception of the Pac-12 will make the Ducks want to hang a 50-burger every chance they get as the season closes out.
AW: Under 44.5 in Pittsburgh-Georgia Tech. This game features two of the worst offenses in the country, according to the SP+ rankings, and Pitt’s defense is actually incredibly strong (No. 12 SP+) for a team that ranks No. 51 in the rankings. Pitt lost 16-12 to Miami (FL) last week, and this game feels like it’ll have a similar score, like 19-9 or something.
NJ: Under 45.5 in Army-Air Force. Whenever two service academies play against each other I bet the under. Both programs use the triple-option, and since running the ball takes time off the clock, we get less possessions. The defensive units should also have success in Week 10 because they’re both used to practicing against the quirky offense that they’ll be playing against.
3. Which underdog of six points or more has the best chance of an outright upset?
AS: UAB (+12) over Tennessee. The Vols have looked much better lately with home wins against Mississippi State and South Carolina sandwiched around a loss to Alabama, but this non-conference game against UAB comes in the middle of a brutal stretch of six games in 43 days for Tennessee. The Blazers’ defensive front is nasty (8.57 TFL/game is tied for 5th-best in FBS), and if Tyler Johnston and the UAB offense can avoid mistakes, +375 on the moneyline is fantastic value in a game where Tennessee may not give a full effort.
DV: Florida (+6.5) over Georgia. I wouldn’t mind backing Les Miles for another win, but there may not be a more opportunistic team than the Gators right now. The Bulldogs should be able to play with everybody in the nation, but things just haven’t gone to plan this season. UGA’s perimeter play has been atrocious and going against the Gators will be a struggle, which is why I’m eyeing this line. Florida will load the box and beg QB Jake Fromm to beat them with his pedestrian weapons out wide. While Georgia could prevail, this one will come down to the wire which is when the Gators tend to show up.
AW: Florida (+6.5) over Georgia. I don’t love this week’s selection of potential underdog picks — there are far too many teams favored by five or 5.5 points rather than a touchdown — but I’ll roll the dice with Florida. The Gators’ defensive front (Jabari Zuniga, Jonathan Greenard) has been banged up, but we saw Florida hang with LSU on the road for three quarters, while Georgia still has some stink on it from its loss at home to South Carolina AND an ugly win over Kentucky when the Wildcats were starting a wide receiver at quarterback.
NJ: Arkansas (+7.5) over Mississippi State. Arkansas hasn’t won a conference game in the Chad Morris era and their best shot to do it would be this Saturday against a Mississippi State team who may have quit on the season. This isn’t a game I’m in a rush to bet, but I feel this could be the week for the Razorbacks.
4. What is one bet you are tempted to make this week, but know you probably shouldn’t?
AS: Georgia (-6.5) vs. Florida in Jacksonville. I loved Georgia in this matchup when the line opened at -3.5, but now that the number has moved three points and continues to climb I am going to stay away. The Dawgs haven’t allowed more than 20 points in a game this season, and Kyle Trask (7.2 pass yards/att. during the last three games) doesn’t scare me. That said, I don’t have enough faith in the Georgia offense to lay the 6.5 points.
DV: Miami at Florida State (-3.5). For the first time since 1975, these two historic programs both come into this matchup with four losses. The annual battle between the ‘Noles and ‘Canes is always historic, even when these two teams have glaring weaknesses. That being said, I cannot trust either team here, so it might be best to take a pass.
AW: Utah (-3.5) at Washington. Washington has no place in the Pac-12 Championship conversation, let alone one about the College Football Playoff, but the Huskies still rank No. 15 in the SP+ rankings thanks to the No. 7 offense and No. 1 special teams unit. So even if my eyes tell me Utah, a playoff dark horse, is better, 3.5 points could be a lot to cover on the road.
NJ: Oregon at USC (+4.5). I think USC is the side here as home underdogs. Oregon is an overvalued team in my opinion and their highly touted defense has been vulnerable the last two weeks against better competition. However, I need Oregon to knock off USC to help Utah win the Pac-12 South because I have a futures bet on the Utes winning the conference. So I’ll stay away from this game and root for Oregon to keep their College Football Playoff dreams alive.