College Football Picks - Free Weekly ATS Predictions
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Note that Jay's pick was made before it was annouced that Clemson Tigers offensive coordinator Tony Elliott will miss the game after a positive Covid test.
I really believe Coastal is the better all-around team and believe the line is reasonable.
I alluded to the Volunteers offensive woes above and the fact they have been held to 17 points or less in 4 straight games against mediocre opponents. While Florida's defense has not been overly impressive, the match-up against Tennessee is not fearful either. In my opinion, QB Jarrett Guarantano is the most overrated quarterback in SEC history. Despite the enormous expectations before the season began, the Vols senior QB has thrown just six passing touchdowns compared to 4 interceptions. The Volunteers have been ineffective in the passing game and rely on a one-dimensional running attack that is not exactly overly threatening either. The Gators defense has been criticized in recent weeks for underperforming, but this is the stylistic match-up that can turn things back in the right direction. Even if you don't trust Florida's defense, just trust the Vols' inability to move the football because that will be the key to this cover.
Personally, I think the 25 point betting spread is slightly risky because it will be heavily influenced by Auburn's production on offense. The Tigers looked awful against a comparable Georgia defense but traditionally manufacture scoring opportunities through efficient design. I could see Auburn being held to a low 14-17 point scoring total, and I can also see other opportunities where they get into a shootout with Alabama, given the Crimson Tide will be clearly ahead in both scenarios. Therefore, I think the best bet in this game is the "over" 60.5 point total. Even in a situation where Auburn's offense flops, it should only drive up Alabama's scoring potential. Heck, the Crimson Tide are nearly averaging 50 points per game. I personally believe this is a sweet spot for Jones to attack Auburn's pass defense, but honestly, Alabama will probably have success on the ground as well. In this revenge spot, I don't expect Alabama to show mercy nor have trouble towards creating scoring opportunities. If we get just a little help from Auburn's offense, this will be an easy total to hit.
Wisconsin is probably the better team in this match-up and probably should be favored, but its romp over Michigan last week probably inflates the line on this game by at least three points. And let's face it, Michigan stinks. Meanwhile, Northwestern, thanks to good coaching and a similar style of play, is always a pain in the ass for the Badgers. The Wildcats own seven outright victories over the last 14 meetings between these teams, every one of them upsets on the betting line. Most recent meetings have played out tough and low-scoring, and we expect another one here. We like Northwestern, plus the points.
Wisconsin looked great against Illinois but come on, that was Illinois. The Badgers are still breaking in a new QB and a new lead running back. Meanwhile, this may be Michigan's last stand for Coach Harbaugh. Falling to 1-3 will be embarrassing, and the talk has begun about Harbaugh's departure. After playing below expectations, the last two weeks do the Wolverines have a bounce-back effort in them? We believe they do. We'll go against the betting flow and take Michigan plus the points here.
Minnesota is the better team here, and while the Gophers might be struggling on defense, Illinois isn't exactly stuffing people, either. Also, the Illini will again be without their starting quarterback. Minnesota beat Illinois by 23 points last season, and while that seems like a bit much for this game, eight would be enough. We're giving the points here with the Gophers.
While I believe Penn State is a rightful play in the underdog role due to my belief in their defense, I am by no means claiming that is a safe play. Ohio State still has an explosive offense, and I'm not ruling out the idea of the Buckeyes shutting down Penn State's offense. When I break down this game in terms of match-up and projected game script, I believe the best play will be the "under" on the 64.5 total. Both teams put a heavy focus on running the football, as I have alluded to several times; both defenses have the better match-up in this game. Additionally, if you look at the history of Ohio State vs. Penn State, these games have traditionally been low scoring contests. Since James Franklin's arrival in Happy Valley, only once has the total for Ohio State vs. Penn State eclipsed the 60 point mark, and that includes the double-overtime thriller in 2014 that produced just 55 points. Trust me, the most probabilistic route to victory in this betting scenario lies with the under!
Three of the last four meetings between these teams have been decided by three points or less, and the other one was a four-point game into the fourth quarter. We expect more of the same Saturday. We like the Nittany Lions, plus the points.
Say what you want about South Carolina, but they compete very well. From a match-up standpoint, the Gamecocks have a lot of opportunistic paths to victory by establishing the run and getting help from the defense, which we have seen play really well in recent weeks. I think this game is more of a toss-up, so I will gladly take the points.
I would not be surprised to see Georgia get the outright win here though Alabama's offense has the most scoring potential. I just believe the under 58.5 has the most value as both teams will have trouble finding the end zone.