A number of nighttime games carry lots of importance, some because they’re conference games & others because they’re featured national matchups. Let’s see what the best picks are on Saturday's card.
Temple Owls vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Odds: Cincinnati -6.5
This is a game in which the Bearcats should like their chances. It’s true that Temple’s defense played very well against Penn State last week, but Penn State’s offensive line clearly has major issues, ones which Cincinnati doesn’t have. The other thing to point out about Cincinnati here is that quarterback Gunner Kiel is a mobile quarterback who can make plays out of the pocket. That’s something Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg is not nearly as equipped to do. The matchups and the style of play you’re likely to see in this game should enable Cincinnati to spread out Temple’s defense and now allow the Owls to generate the kind of pass rush that worked so well against Penn State. Cincinnati will use short passes to get the ball out of Kiel’s arm quickly, thereby mitigating the effects of the Temple pass rush. This lines up as Cincinnati’s game. Take the Bearcats minus the points.
College Football Pick: Cincinnati -6.5 at Bet365.
Oregon Ducks vs. Michigan State Spartans
Odds: Michigan State -3
The Ducks and the Spartans are likely to score a ton of points. This game will probably come down to which team makes more mistakes. Since Michigan State is playing at home, the Spartans will have a little more of a comfort zone than the Ducks. Also, Michigan State has a veteran quarterback in Connor Cook, who is used to this kind of situation. Oregon’s veteran quarterback, Vernon Adams, is not a veteran in terms of FBS games. He previously played for an FCS school, Eastern Washington, but that’s not the same as playing Michigan State at night on national television. Adams is more likely than Cook to make a game-changing error, and that’s one reason Michigan State should be favored. Oregon is also missing a number of wide receivers, which will make it tougher for Adams to find his favorite targets. One more detail: Michigan State lost at Oregon last year and wants to get revenge. The Spartans have more going for them in this game.
College Football Pick: Michigan State -3 -125 at BetOnline.
Boise State Broncos vs. BYU Cougars
Odds: Boise State -2.5
The big detail which overshadows everything else about this game is that BYU starting quarterback Taysom Hill was knocked out for the whole season with an injury suffered last week against Nebraska. It’s true that backup Tanner Mangum threw a Hail Mary touchdown pass to win the game on the final play, but that was a miracle. Boise State’s defense is the strength of the Bronco roster – experienced, deep, physical at the line of scrimmage, and the author of a Fiesta Bowl win last season. Boise State’s offense won’t do much, but BYU’s offense will do less. Take Boise State.
College Football Pick: Boise State -2.5 at SIA