I had a great week last week, going 4-1. The logical thing to do would be to bet the same types of situations and tendencies, but gambling isn’t logical. I have a whole new approach, and I am just as confident in my picks this week.
Let’s keep this hot streak alive! Here are my picks for week three:
Oklahoma @ Iowa State OVER 55 Points
This strategy is pretty simple. I will automatically bet any Oklahoma game this season that is under 60 points, barring a crazy scenario or injury. Oklahoma can easily score 49 in just about any game, so if the opponent scores 14 or more, the over is a lock.
Here, I am expecting Kyler Murray and his offense filled with NFL speed to continue to score in bunches. Losing the starting running back Rodney Anderson to injury is a big deal, but his replacement Trey Sermon is just another classic Oklahoma running back. A physical freak with NFL talent who is going to run all over Iowa State.
Oklahoma will still score. Iowa State will score a bit, since they’re at home. Shoutout to Iowa State QB Kyle Kempt, who was at Oregon State when I was working for the football program there.
LSU +10 (@Auburn)
First of all, I love Coach O. I love Mike The Tiger. LSU has been slightly disappointing under Coach O, but I can feel some momentum building after their week one beat down of Miami on national TV. We’ve got another national TV game here, and I assume Coach O will continue to motivate his guys. His players surely can’t understand what he’s saying, but they know it’s good. It’s easy to underestimate a coach who can get his team to rally behind him. LSU will be pumped up and ready to go for their second national TV game in three weeks.
LSU’s offense isn’t anything special, but it seems like they’ve finally found a QB with Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow. He isn’t putting up eye-popping stats, but he just gives off that feeling that he knows what he’s doing. Making the right pre-snap reads, fairly accurate throws, and showing some toughness. He’s a gamer.
Auburn could only put up 21 points against Washington in week one, so it is safe to assume that they won’t score more than 30 against a tough, prepared, and hyped up LSU defense. The only thing that would ruin this is defensive or special teams touchdowns. LSU is coming to Auburn with a lot of momentum, so maybe they will get one of those defensive touchdowns.
We could go in to a lot of stats showing that Auburn may score some points, but if you feel like LSU can hold them to 30 or less, LSU will surely cover +10. The over/under for this game is only 44.5. That means Vegas thinks the final score will be something like 27-17 in Auburn’s favor. It will be low scoring, and LSU will cover. I definitely think LSU will score more than 17. Even if only 21, that will cover +10.
A little stat that I liked: ESPN FPI gives Auburn a 74% chance of winning, and they’re 10 point favorites. Other teams that the FPI gives around a 75% chance of winning are usually a 4-7 point favorite (Like Nebraska -4 last week, and Washington -7 this week). It feels like there’s some value in this number at +10.
BYU @ Wisconsin OVER 46.
Wisconsin is coming off of a week where they struggled with New Mexico until later in the second half. They are going to want, and need to come out strong this week in order to stay ranked in the top 5. They are going to want to punish BYU and run the score up so the AP voters, and future College Football Playoff voters see this game as a good rebound after a weaker game against New Mexico.
To be honest I feel like Wisconsin will score 42 by themselves, 35 a worst, which means we don’t need that much analysis here. They’re going to run the ball for a million yards with Heisman hopeful Jonathan Taylor.
BYU has a veteran QB, and a head coach fighting for his job. They’ll score 10 points at least. Over 46 is a lock.
Texas -3 (vs. USC)
I thought USC would cover last week at Stanford, because I thought their offense would wake up behind their freshman phenom QB JT Daniels, but it just didn’t happen. Judging by the super simple, super safe play calling from the USC staff, I don’t think the offense will get much better until later in the season when JT Daniels learns the playbook and feels more comfortable.
As for Texas, this is a HUGE game. Big name power five opponent at home. Coming off a narrow victory over Tulsa, and a loss against Maryland. This is a big game for Coach Tom Herman. If he loses this game, he’s on the hot seat. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger is super talented, and when he has good games, they’re good. USC hasn’t been that impressive, so Ehlinger could have a good game here in front of his home crowd.
Picking a three point home favorite is usually a trap bet, but I feel like Texas should have been something closer to -6 purely based on USC’s offensive struggles and this being in Austin, so my initial thought was that there was some value here.
This is my pick where I’m just guessing, so there you go. Hook ‘Em.
Utah +7 (vs. Washington)
Since 2011, Utah is 22-12-1 against the spread as underdogs, regardless of home or road. This game is at home. Not only at home, but a night game at home, and a night game at Rice-Eccles Stadium is probably the hardest place to play in the Pac-12. To top it off, Utah has an incredible defense this season. This will be their first major test, and they’ll be fired up and ready to go. Washington/Utah games have been really good games over the past few seasons. 2017 was a three point UW win, 2016 was a seven point UW win, and 2015 was an eleven point Utah win.
It’s not like Washington is struggling in a big way to score the ball, or their defense has been poor. They looked alright against Auburn on the road week one, losing by five. I just know Washington always struggles at Utah, and being seven point favorites just feels like way too big of a number. No stats needed here, you can’t quantify what it’s like playing in hostile territory at night.
Utah should cover +7, and they may even win the game straight up.
Message me on twitter @ThomasLovejoy if you disagree, agree, or want to discuss any of these!
Edited at end of week: weeks two and three I am 7-4 after access to data after week one’s games.