Week 5 ended up much better than Week 4 with a 5-1 record, which puts me at 19-12-1 on the Tuesday picks show (reminder: watch our live show on Tuesdays at 6:30pm ET on the SBR YouTube page). My free college football picks have been pretty good on the season, but every single week is a new adventure. My best college football bets for the week combine trends and stats this week, so hopefully we can cash some more tickets.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
Saturday, Oct 10th (12:00pm ET) at Kenan Stadium
Hokies QB Hendon Hooker is “full go” per coach Justin Fuente, which is good news, because QB Braxton Burmeister was only 9/25 for 163 yds with 1 TD and 1 interception passing last week in a win over Duke, which is not great, even with 54 yards rushing with 2 TDs and 1 fumble. Aside from that, Virginia Tech has been able to lean on their rushing attack, which has averaged 7.1 ypc (yards per carry) on 91 attempts through 2 games (300+ yds rushing in both their games)!
North Carolina struggled at Boston College last week, and were it not for a 2 point conversion that was returned at the end of the game, which led to the 26-22 final over Boston College last week, but it also
As far as trends go, Virginia Tech is 5-0 ATS (against the spread) in their last 5 as an underdog, and in this matchup specifically, Virginia Tech is 6-1 ATS & SU (straight up) against the Tar Heels in their last 7 games. With their QB returning, and North Carolina looking like more hype than substance, I’m taking Virginia Tech to cover the spread, and possibly win the game outright.
AGAINST THE SPREAD
South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
Saturday, Oct 10th (12:00pm ET) at Vanderbilt Stadium
South Carolina appeared to only be interested in covering the spread against Florida last week, as they got the ball with 7+ minutes left last week, down by 14, and then ran out the clock in Gainesville. With that said, the Gamecocks have not looked terrible against Tennessee and Florida in their first 2 games. They were able to find a running game against Florida, getting 132 yards on 28 carries (4.7ypc), and QB Colin Hill has looked pretty good. On top of that, the South Carolina defense held Florida’s vaunted offense to only 53 plays and only 6.57 yds per play, after Ole MIss gave up 8.68ypp to these same Gators.
After a decent first game that saw Vandy with a chance to win late in a 17-12 loss at Texas A&M, the Commodores came back down to Earth last week, getting blasted at home 41-7 by LSU.
If South Carolina is going to get a win in the first half of this season, this appears to be the best shot, as the Gamecocks have Auburn, LSU, and Texas A&M immediately following this game. The same cannot be said for Vanderbilt, who has Missouri, Ole Miss and Mississippi State coming up.
As far as trends go, Vandy is 1-9 ATS in their last 10 as a home underdog. South Carolina, in this particular matchup, is 6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 against Vanderbilt, and they’ve won all of those games outright. I think the Gamecocks know this is their best chance for a big self-esteem building win, and they’ll properly dispose of Derek Mason and the Commodores.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Iowa State Cyclones
Saturday, Oct 10th (3:30pm ET) at Jack Trice Stadium
Iowa St, to me, did not look great in their first 2 games. Only a 44% success rate against Louisiana, and the same thing 2 weeks later against TCU. Last week against Oklahoma, they raised that to 46%, but the defense, overall, is #49 (out of 74 teams that have played) in giving up 10+ yd plays. This week’s opponent, Texas Tech, is #9 with 57 10+ yd plays.
The line is a little inflated, I believe, because Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman went out of the last game with an ankle injury, but on Monday, Coach Matt Wells announced that his injury was not as serious as feared, and that he’s day to day. But, even if he’s out this Saturday, backup QB Henry Colombi, transfer from Utah State (Matt Wells’ previous coaching stop) proved more than worthy to lead the Red Raiders offense, going 30/42 for 244 yards with 2 TDs and 1 interception last week against Kansas St, while gaining 40 yards rushing on 8 carries. He knows Wells’ offense inside and out and will be effective.
Aside from that, let’s dig into the trends. Iowa State is 1-8 ATS in their last 9 as a 10+ pt home favorite, while Texas Tech is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 as a road underdog. On top of that, Iowa St always seems to put a little more into their matchups with Oklahoma, which over hypes the expectations and drives up the line a bit, which has led to the Cyclones going 1-3 ATS the last 4 years after playing Oklahoma (with the only cover coming against Kansas, who is awful).
I like the Cyclones to win this game at home, but give me Texas Tech to cover the big spread here.
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Auburn Tigers
Saturday, Oct 10th (4:00pm ET) at Jordan-Hare Stadium
It’s time to overreact! Auburn got blasted at Georgia, so they must be awful, right? And Arkansas got their first SEC win on the road over a Mississippi State team that just beat LSU, so they’ve gotta be pretty good, right?
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. These are still 2 teams that are worlds apart. The talent gap alone should tell you everything you need to know. Auburn has 46 blue chip athletes (4 & 5 star recruits), while Arkansas has 19. This is the Kentucky game all over again, but with a less organized & consistent team in the Razorbacks.
We can also discuss motivation in this spot, as Gus Malzahn is a former OC at Arkansas (and was the head coach at Springdale High School years ago, along with being head coach at Arkansas St before taking the Auburn job), and new Tigers offensive coordinator Chad Morris was just fired the Razorbacks head coach last season after just his 2nd year on the job. Malzahn has always tried to pour it on Arkansas, and he doesn’t let up. Let’s take a look at the last four years:
- 2019: Auburn 51 at Arkansas 10 (41 pt win as a -19.5 favorite)
- 2018: Arkansas 3 at Auburn 34 (31 pt win as a -30 favorite)
- 2017: Auburn 52 at Arkansas 20 (32 pt win as a -17 favorite)
- 2016: Arkansas 3 at Auburn 56 (53 pt win as a -10.5 favorite)
This line is an overreaction to what both teams did last week. How different would this line look if Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill had not gone out with an injury, or if they’d converted either of the 4th-&-2s they faced inside the Arkansas 15 yd line in the 4th quarter, or if Miss St had not fumbled the last punt of the game?
Yes, I know Auburn had some guys go out with injuries against Georgia, but it appears likely they will all play against Arkansas. If that’s not enough, look at the recent trends, outside of the last 4 years. Gus Malzahn is 6-1 SU & ATS vs Arkansas since he got the Auburn coaching job. Auburn is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games as a 14+ pt favorite. To look on the other side, Arkansas is 0-5 SU & ATS after their last 5 wins. This seems like a no-brainer. Lay the points with Bo Nix and the Tigers.
Best Bet: Auburn -13.5 at -115 with BookMaker
Pitt Panthers vs. Boston College Eagles
Saturday, Oct 10th (4:00pm ET) at Alumni Stadium
Pitt was absolutely exposed last week in a home loss to NC State, and Boston College showed they’ve got some fight in a close 26-22 loss at home to North Carolina.
Neither team can really run the ball, with Pitt averaging 3.35 yds per carry, and BC averaging only 2.4 ypc. We think the Pitt defense is better, and the early overall numbers show that… but they gave up 336 passing yards to NC State last week, and the Eagles have shown they’re more than capable of throwing the football with Notre Dame transfer QB Phil Jurkovec who has a 68.4% completion percentage for 274 yds per game with 5 TDs and 2 INTs. The overall talent advantage sits with Pittsburgh, but by the slimmest of margins.
These are 2 evenly matched teams, which leads us to betting trends. Boston College is 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 as a home underdog, and Pitt is only 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 as a favorite. Boston College even won at Pitt last year 26-19. I could see Pitt by a field goal, but 6 is too many here. Give me the Eagles to cover the 6.5.
Best Bet: Boston College +6 at -108 with Heritage
Kansas St Wildcats vs. TCU Horned Frogs
Saturday, Oct 10th (4:00pm ET) at Amon G. Carter Stadium
Should any Big 12 team be favored by more than a TD over anyone else, sans Kansas? I don’t think so.
This spread is so high because, I believe, people are worried about Wildcats QB Skylar Thompson possibly missing this game. Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman told the media that Thompson could play (and may take live reps during Wednesday’s practice), but even if he misses the game, backup QB Will Howard went 7/12 for 173 yds and 1 TD in relief work against Texas Tech, while Thompson was only 5/10 for 33 yds before going out with the injury.
The trends lean Kansas State’s way. TCU is 0-5 ATS the last 5 seasons the week after playing Texas, and the Wildcats are 4-1 ATS the last 5 seasons against the Horned Frogs. TCU tends to put a little more into the Texas game every year, and Kansas St plays a style that leads to close games against basically everybody. I believe TCU is a little overvalued after a win over Texas, so I’m siding with the Wildcats to cover the 9.
Florida Gators vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Saturday, Oct 10th (12:00pm ET) at Kyle Field
Florida’s offense is absolutely rolling right now, scoring 51 and 38 in their first 2 games. Florida’s offense is averaging .685 points per play, which is good for #2 in the country. Texas A&M is only #53, averaging .308 pts per play.
Neither defense is great, with the Aggies giving up .512 pts per play, and the Gators giving up .349. A&M showed, against Alabama, that they’re capable of hitting some big plays with a lot of new skill players, and we already know what Florida can do. With a total of 56.5, a 35-24 game gets us an over, and that’s what I would imagine we’ll get here, as I expect both offenses to be able to score on these defenses frequently.
Best Bet: Over 56.5 at -108 with Heritage