This week for those betting college football, we find some high profile contests. In each case we have a home underdog, which suggests a potential value play many bettors would want to contemplate.
Of course, not every home pooch has what it takes to beat the college football odds established by the sportsbooks, nonetheless, unless the talent differential is so clear, you have to consider grabbing the points.
I have gone through the numbers at BetOnline (a great book with early lines and 75% Free Play Bonus) and here are three college football picks that could result in a trio of outright upsets. (1-1-1 ATS last week)
Louisville Poised To Be Elite Program if They Knock Off Florida State?
You are going to read a lot this week about an established program like Florida State and a still up and comer like Louisville. The Seminoles have played in Top 10 battles for decades, that is part of the allure of going to Tallahassee and if you prove yourself, you could get drafted and have NFL career.
But Bobby Petrino has been building something again in Louisville and the quality of athletes is not that different. It just boils down to the Cardinals maintaining their poise, weathering the storm when Florida State steps up a level of play and having a few tricks to catch the Seminoles off-guard.
I am the first to acknowledge this is the kind of contest FSU takes care of business, that is why they are 22-8 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 since 1992. Nevertheless, with the total at 66, Petrino in his college coaching career is 9-0 ATS at home when the total is 63 or higher, thus I expect the 'Ville to be hotter than a Papa John's pizza out of the oven and win this ACC affair.
Boomer Sooners Lower Boom on Buckeyes
Even bettors are wary of Oklahoma, as they are 2-point home underdogs to visiting Ohio State. The Sooners have shown problems on both sides of the line of scrimmage and what Ohio State might lack in experience, the talent is certainly there. But Bob Stoops and his staff understand the situation, a loss here all but cancels a return trip to Final 4 even if they go unbeaten in the Big 12.
The Sooners must establish the run to help QB Baker Mayfield in the vertical passing game and prevent incessant pass rush. Stoops used to be money in big games, then went through a tough stretch, but place his team in the underdog role, Oklahoma is 12-4 ATS, including 2-0 against the spread in Norman. With the Sooners 6-0 ATS after outgaining the last foe by 175 or more yards, happy days in Oklahoma.
Right Back on BYU, This Time at Home
I will admit, I was not very hot on BYU coming into the season. First-year coach, a rather stale program that was still winning and not really having a particular direction as football independent. But having seen the Cougars twice, they are better than I though.
BYU has nipped Arizona in Glendale, AZ and was gutsy two-point conversion away from beating hated rival Utah on the road. One aspect that is evident, the Cougars do not have the same foot speed as their Pac-12 counterparts, but after two tests, they know what to expect from a group like UCLA this week.
Also, the Cougars are at home and if quarterback Taysom Hill can do a better job of placing passes on target, the BYU offense can generate biggest plays against a typically not so rugged Bruins defense.
Having lost in the Rose Bowl 24-23 as 16-point road underdogs last season, BYU comes out ready as field goal dogs and improves to 12-2 ATS after an away defeat by three or fewer points.