During the college football season, the Stadium staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice in this roundtable. Here are our thoughts on the Week 10 slate.
Note: Ben and Nate will discuss all of their college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
1. What is your favorite pick against the spread?
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: TCU (+7) over Baylor.
There isn’t much on the board that I like this week, so I’m taking a ride down on Narrative Street for this bet. TCU fired coach Gary Patterson Sunday after 21 seasons at the helm. During his tenure, Patterson took the Horned Frogs from the WAC to Conference USA and the Mountain West before landing in the Big 12 in 2012 and earning TCU a spot in the big time.
After such a big move in Fort Worth, I expect the Horned Frogs and interim coach Jerry Kill to put their best foot forward this week to prove they weren’t the problem. TCU’s offense is tied for seventh nationally with a 50% third down conversion rate, and if Max Duggan and company can stay on schedule, I expect them to keep this game within a score.
Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: Tennessee (pick’em) over Kentucky.
I’m always partial to a college team coming off a bye in a game that’s a pick‘em. Sure, Kentucky is undefeated at home this season, but the bye week was much needed for the Volunteers to come into this game almost fully healthy. The Tennessee offense has shown time and time again its ability to overwhelm teams with offense and big plays from quarterback Hendon Hooker. Kentucky struggles to force turnovers and its reliance on the run game will make it difficult to mount a comeback if Tennessee’s explosive offense gets them out to an early lead.
Kate Constable, Stadium Host & Digital Producer: Texas A&M (-4.5) over Auburn.
Auburn comes into this game on a roll, having won four of their last five and QB Bo Nix has looked more solid as the season’s gone on with over 200 passing yards in every SEC game. However, the Aggies are going to be fresh off a bye week and coming into this game rested and hungry to finally get their first win over Auburn on their home field.
Texas A&M’s trio of WR Ainias Smith, and RBs Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane have combined to score 18 of the Aggies’ 25 touchdowns this season with Spiller rushing for at least 100 yards in three of his last four games. Their defense is also coming off one of their best performances, holding South Carolina to under 200 yards of total offense in a blowout-win.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: North Carolina (-2.5) over Wake Forest.
Betting on an unranked 4-4 team as a short favorite against an undefeated team ranked No. 9 in the first College Football Playoff rankings is exactly the type of bet I like to make in college football. It shows that the favorite has been unlucky this season or the top-10 team isn’t as good as their record indicates.
In this situation, I would say the latter is the case because Wake Forest is very fortunate to be 8-0, and I believe they should be more than a field goal underdog in this matchup. That sets up for line value on a North Carolina team that would love to spoil the season of a geographical rival. All the pressure is on Wake Forest in this game, and North Carolina QB Sam Howell should have a big game through the air.
2. What is another bet you like?
AS: Hawaii (+7) over San Diego State.
San Diego State is coming off its first loss of the season, and a trip to the island for a late-night date with the Rainbow Warriors isn’t exactly an easy spot on the schedule. Why am I backing the ‘Bows? Glad you asked.
First, the Aztecs struggled with turnovers last week against Fresno State and now they face off with a Hawaii defense that leads the Mountain West in takeaways. Second, Hawaii RB Dae Dae Hunter has missed two straight games due to injury, but even if he doesn’t return to the field Saturday the Aztec coaching staff is going to spend plenty of time game-planning for him (Hunter averages 7.5 yards per touch). Finally, this is the first time UH is hosting a game at full capacity since the start of the pandemic. Weird things happen late on the island, and I’m confident the ‘Bows will do enough right to stay within the number.
BW: Under 49.5 in Auburn-Texas A&M.
I’ve been a fan of Auburn unders this season, and we’re jumping right back on that train. Both defenses are some of the best in the country, with each not allowing more than 20 points per game. On top of that, I really don’t trust either teams’ QB to perform against these defenses. I was all over Bo Nix at home last week, but this week he’s on the road in a hostile environment with a history of playing poorly in those situations. Zach Calzada hasn’t really inspired anyone and has thrown a pick in each of his last six games. This feels more like a late-season grinder of a game than a shootout waiting to happen.
KC: Michigan State (-3) over Purdue.
After a huge win over Michigan last week, this would be a classic letdown spot for the Spartans, but that’s not going to happen. MSU saw what Purdue did to Iowa after the Hawkeyes were coming off of a huge win to Penn State and ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time. The Spartans are going to learn from that and won’t make the same mistakes.
They know if they want to keep their place in the top four of the CFP rankings, they can’t afford any close games. Running back Kenneth Walker is coming off a massive five-touchdown performance and is in the Heisman conversation. MSU is positioned exactly where they want to be at this point in the season, and they’re not going to let Purdue derail them.
NJ: Purdue (+3) over Michigan State.
Michigan State is in a similar situation as Wake Forest this week, as both teams are involved with games with small spreads against unranked opponents and the pressure is on both teams after the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Michigan State is No. 3 in the first version of the rankings and they are coming off a dramatic home win against Michigan where the Spartans had to overcome a 16-point deficit.
Michigan State deserves credit for fighting back, but their comeback was another example of how they’ve had a lot of good fortune this season. I expect regression to eventually occur for the Spartans, and I believe it’ll start this week in a letdown spot at Purdue. The Boilermakers have already beat an undefeated team when they took down Iowa, and they also have a wide receiver in David Bell that can take over games.
3. Which underdog of +200 or more on the moneyline has the best chance of an outright upset?
AS: Georgia Tech (+310) over Miami.
Last week, I cashed a +300 moneyline ticket on the Canes against Pitt in this space, so naturally I’m going to fade Miami this week and take a shot with Georgia Tech on the road. Geoff Collins and the Jackets are desperate for a bowl berth and with No. 1 Georgia and No. 10 Notre Dame coming up on the schedule, I wouldn’t be surprised if Collins and his staff throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Hurricanes to try to steal a victory. Miami is the much better team across the board, but after a couple of emotional wins vs. NC State and Pitt, I’m banking on a Hurricane letdown.
BW: Liberty (+280) over Ole Miss.
Give me the Hugh Freeze revenge game! Sure, Ole Miss is at home and at one point was a double-digit favorite, but Liberty has shown to be a formidable team this season, outscoring opponents by an average of 17 points per game — good for eight in the entire country. While their schedule hasn’t exactly been the SEC gauntlet Ole Miss has faced, their offensive firepower combined with Freeze’s almost scary desire to take down the school that forced him to resign gives me a reason to hit the long moneyline.
KC: Hawaii (+235) over San Diego State.
Yes, Hawaii got absolutely run over last week by Utah State, and yes, San Diego State is 7-1 on the season. But that all changes on the island this Saturday because the Rainbow Warriors are playing in front of a full capacity crowd for the first time since the pandemic. The Aztecs have a strong run game led by Greg Bell, but QB Lucas Johnson had a QBR of 30.6 last week. If Hawaii can jump on the board early and slow down SDSU’s run game, they have a chance to hang the Aztecs their second-straight loss.
NJ: TCU (+210) over Baylor.
This is a tough situational spot for No. 12 Baylor coming off a home win against Texas last week with a home date on deck against No. 8 Oklahoma. That by itself would be an opportunity to back TCU, but I’m a little worried about how the team will respond after the school parted ways with longtime head coach Gary Patterson. However, if Patterson was still on the sideline, then the point spread wouldn’t be TCU +7, nor +210 on the moneyline. So I’ll take a shot at the Horned Frogs and hope they win for their old coach.
4. What is one bet you are tempted to make this week, but know you probably shouldn’t?
AS: Indiana (+20) over Michigan.
I just bet on Jim Harbaugh in a rivalry game and paid the price when the Wolverines lost 37-33 against Michigan State as four-point favorites. I’d like to fade UM this week against Indiana at this number considering I made this game Michigan -13, but I just can’t trust the Hoosiers and their quarterbacks in this spot. In addition, Indiana’s history against the Wolverines scares me off: IU is 1-23 against Michigan since 1987, and I don’t want to end up on the wrong side of a blowout. I’m going to stay away.
BW: Louisville (+160 ML) over Clemson.
A decent Louisville team as an underdog at home against a Clemson team that’s looked really beatable? On the surface it seems like a solid bet, but a part of me thinks that Clemson’s win over FSU gave them a new look on life, which is something that’s tough to handicap. So as much as I want to hit the Cardinals as the home ‘dog, I’ll probably stay away from betting against Clemson for one more week to see where their team truly lies.
KC: Rutgers team total under 13.5.
Wisconsin is a double-digit favor in this one with the total sitting at 38, which means the market doesn’t think Rutgers will score much. And I agree. Wisconsin has the No. 1 defense (214 ypg) and No. 1 rush defense (49 ypg). They held an Iowa team that loves to run the ball to under 24 total yards on the ground and only one touchdown. My only concern here is Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz’s ability to take care of the football. He’s been solid as of late, but turned the ball over way too much to start the season, resulting in easy scores for opponents.
NJ: Tennessee (pick’em) over Kentucky.
When I was doing my initial research earlier this week, I circled Tennessee as a team I wanted to back. They are coming off a bye, which allows players like QB Hendon Hooker to get healthy for a big trip to Lexington. The line opened Sunday at Kentucky -3.5 and those numbers were quickly gone, especially since the Wildcats lost the previous day to Mississippi State. The steam on the Volunteers continued throughout the week and now you’ve lost the value if you want to bet Tennessee at this point.