Every week, this College Football handicapper shares his insight on teams being undervalued by the oddsmakers. Here are his dangerous underdogs for Week 9 picks.
Cowboys Hoping to Coral Rams in Fort Collins
Wyoming vs. Colorado State (Colorado State -18½, bet365), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (ROOT)
We recommended betting against Colorado State (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS, 2-1 MWC) in this space last week with Utah State as 5½-point Underdogs and the Rams failed to cover and narrowly escaped with a 16-13 win here in Fort Collins. This week, it’s Wyoming (3-4 SU, 2-5 ATS, 1-2 MWC) who’s in town for an MWC Mountain Division game and oddsmakers have the road Cowboys as massive 18½-point Underdogs (bet365) and host Colorado State in the very unfamiliar role as 18½-point favorites. The last time that the Rams were favored by this many points was at least 10 years ago and probably much more (CSU was favored by 17 in 2013 against Air Force, by 15 against UNLV and by 18 against Nevada, both in 2005).
Although Wyoming (1-4 L5 ATS Road) probably doesn’t have a realistic chance of winning this game on the Money Line (Winner)—the Cowboys are priced at +650 (Bwin; Colorado State -1000)—QB Colby Kirkegaard (1,347 passing yards), RB Shaun Wick (707 rushing yards, 5 TDs), WR Dominic Rufran (402 receiving yards) and the Pokes offense should be able to get at least 14 points of their own—as they did both against #6 Oregon and #8 Michigan State—combined with the 18½ the sports book is giving means that Colorado State (5-0 SU L5, 5-0 SU L5 Home) will have to probably generate at least 33 points of their own, and although the Rams will probably hit that mark, Wyoming could “explode” for 28 or so and make a large hump to get over for the Favorite spread-wise in the Rocky Mountain State on Saturday evening.
Trend-wise, it’s a mixed bag as host Colorado State is 4-1 L5 ATS Home against Wyoming, although the two teams are 5-5 SU over the L10—CSU is 6-4 ATS—(CSU 24.5 ppg, WYO 26.0 ppg) but the visiting Cowboys are 4-1 SU L5 against Colorado State and the Underdog is an amazing 13-5 ATS L18 in this series. The Rams may surge out to and early and healthy lead, but, in the end, Wyoming (12-6 ATS as Road Underdog L4 years) should keep Colorado State within shouting distance and cover getting the biggest point spread number a Rams opponent has received in quite a long time.
Free College Football Picks: Wyoming +18½
Rebels Will Be Put to the Test in Baton Rouge
#3 Mississippi vs. #24 LSU (Mississippi -3½, bet365), Saturday, 7:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
It would definitely be safer living in the old wild, wild West than playing in the SEC West Division where an unbelievable four out of the top five ranked teams in the nation now reside: #1 Mississippi State, #3 Mississippi, #4 Alabama and #5 Auburn. And two of the other three remaining teams in this rugged division are now either ranked (LSU, #24) or just dropped out of the AP (Associated Press) poll (Texas A&M) with the seventh team being Arkansas. Mercy. Here at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge we have a host who has often been in that Top 5—LSU (6-2 SU, 6-2 ATS)—facing a semi-surprising Mississippi (7-0 SU, 7-0 ATS) squad in a situation where most of the serious trends point directly at taking the visiting Rebels and laying the 3½ points the oddsmakers (bet365) have made them the Favorites here by. The Money Line (Winner) College Football odds have LSU as +150 Underdogs (Bwin) with Mississippi -183, so, both the polls and the oddsmakers are soundly saying that Ole Miss (+9 TO L5 games) has finally reached that point in NCAAF where it does (may) have a better team than the Tigers and roster- and talent-wise and according to the majority, that may indeed be the case this season. But this game will prove whether that’s true or not.
And if there ever were an environment that will be raucous and loud and pulling for the theoretical “big upset” in the crowd’s heads, it will be here Saturday night in this nationally televised game. And LSU has the defense (#8, allowed 17.0 ppg) and the offensive skill players to keep this game tight and create a reality where the homeboys can ultimately find a way to win it. Tigers QB Anthony Jennings (1,018 passing yards) has a pair of sensational and speedy deep threats in WRs Travin Dural (665 receiving yards, 7 TDs, 25.6 ypc) and Malachi Dupe (257 receiving yards, 4 TD, 23.4 ypc). And LSU (35.6 ppg) can also pound it on the ground with RBs Leonard Fournette (544 rushing yards, 7 TDs) and Kenny Hilliard (353 rushing yards, 6 TDs), but the Tigers will have to try to get the edge in Time of Possession here as the Rebels have the #1 scoring defense in the country (10.6 ppg) and too many 3-and-outs early on for LSU may deflate some of the offenses pre-game confidence and then possibly deflate the crowd—an important component host LSU will need on its side to try to knock off Mississippi here, a team not only undefeated straight up, but also against the point spread (ATS).
The trends here absolutely bark in the face of taking the Home Underdog, LSU, which is a frightful 0-9 ATS at Home against Ole Miss. But that was when the Tigers were a better team than the Rebels and when LSU almost always played the role as the oddsmakers Favorites in this SEC series. In the last 10 meetings in this series, LSU has gone 7-3 SU but 3-7 ATS (LSU 32.7 ppg, MISS 23.2 ppg), and, last year when these two schools played in Oxford, Mississippi came away 27-24 winners, so the Rebels have definitely been the play here over the last decade. LSU is 9-3 SU L12 and 5-1 SU L6 against Ole Miss, so the expectations of a win from the Tigers point of view can be worked into this handicap. And the Underdog is a crazy 14-3 ATS L17 in this series and with LSU being in that role for one of likely few times over that span, it seems backing them with the valuable and jagged 3½ at Home here against a team that may be over-ranked and might be beaten outright here in Death Valley is the way to go but be aware that this College Football pick comes with some trepidation. Toppling a team like Mississippi which has already knocked off the likes of #4 Alabama and A&M and Tennessee will be no easy feat. Not sure if the smell of OT is in the air but this game will definitely be can’t miss TV on Saturday evening.
Free College Football Picks: LSU +3½ (bet365)
Other Week 9 College Football Picks Worth a Wager: Washington State +2½ (vs #15 Arizona), UTEP +10 (at UTSA)