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College Football Picks: Week 10 Predictions for Every Game
Mason RudolphRay Thompson/Associated Press
Now that the College Football Playoff selection committee has released its first Top 25 of the 2017 season, we can safely say that No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 11 Oklahoma State is going to be the most important Week 10 battle to watch.
For the second consecutive week, the schedule is packed to the rafters with marquee games. Bedlam and LSU vs. Alabama are the big-ticket items, but we’ve been #blessed with seven ranked versus ranked battles among the 19 (!!!) games between teams with winning records.
No matter how things shake out, it’s going to shake up the College Football Playoff picture.
But allow us to let you know what to expect this weekend with our predictions for every single game beginning with Thursday night. (Sorry, Tuesday and Wednesday night #MACtion, but too much research goes into this piece to have it finished early enough in the week to include you.) As you can see below, if you’ve been betting on my Top 25 picks this season, you’re welcome.
Year-to-Date: 123-50 outright; 90-77-6 against the spread
Year-to-Date (Top 25 Games): 52-8 outright; 37-19-4 against the spread
Top Early Games
Saquon BarkleyAssociated Press
No. 7 Penn State (7-1) at No. 24 Michigan State (6-2), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Penn State beat Michigan State 45-12 last November
Despite jumping out to a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game at Ohio State last week, Penn State is looking to recover from its first loss of the season. It’ll have no time to lick those wounds, though, as the Nittany Lions have to go back on the road to face a stingy Spartans defense. Penn State will get points, though. It just averaged 40.5 in back-to-back weeks against Michigan and Ohio State. The question is: Can the Michigan State offense keep pace against an equally stingy Penn State defense? The answer is: Nope.
Prediction: Penn State 34, Michigan State 20
No. 14 Auburn (6-2) at Texas A&M (5-3), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Texas A&M beat Auburn 29-16 last September
Texas A&M has given up more than 225 rushing yards in four of its last five games. During that same five-week window, Auburn averaged 273.4 rushing yards per game. But that’s not the only war in the trenches to watch. Texas A&M ranks second in the nation in total sacks with 30, and the only reason the Aggies aren’t No. 1 is Clemson got there by sacking Auburn 11 times back in Week 2. The Tigers have done a much better job of protecting QB Jarrett Stidham since, but that’s one thing that could lead to an upset. A&M will get a couple of penetration-fueled defensive stops, but not enough to overcome Auburn’s D.
Prediction: Auburn 28, Texas A&M 17
No. 9 Wisconsin (8-0) at Indiana (3-5), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Wisconsin beat Indiana 51-3 in 2013
Indiana does not run the ball well, and Wisconsin leads the nation in defensive QB rating . It’s hard to imagine how the Hoosiers will accomplish anything on offense. As long as Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook doesn’t give the ball away a bunch of times, this should be an easy victory for the Badgers.
Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Indiana 10
Kansas State (4-4) at Texas Tech (4-4), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Kansas State beat Texas Tech 44-38 last October
Both of these teams desperately need a win to stay in the hunt for bowl eligibility, and we like Texas Tech to get the job done. Despite a poor showing two weeks ago against Iowa State, Nic Shimonek has this Red Raiders offense in a good place, as it’s averaging nearly 350 passing yards per game this season with four touchdowns for every interception thrown. And Kansas State’s secondary has allowed 359.2 passing yards per game in Big 12 play.
Prediction: Texas Tech 41, Kansas State 38
Syracuse (4-4) at Florida State (2-5), 12:20 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Florida State beat Syracuse 45-14 last November
Morbid curiosity is the only thing making this a top early game. Have things gotten so bad for Florida State that the ‘Noles could lose at home to Syracuse? Considering the Orange have averaged 119.4 more yards of total offense per game than Florida State, yes, it’s quite possible. This feels like the type of game that will hinge on a defensive touchdown. And with a negative-10 turnover margin on the season, Florida State may be on the wrong end of that play.
Prediction: Syracuse 27, Florida State 24
Other Early Games
Ed OliverChris O'Meara/Associated Press
Western Kentucky (5-3) at Vanderbilt (3-5), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Vanderbilt beat Western Kentucky 31-30 last September
If there’s any team that needs a break from conference games, it’s Vanderbilt. The Commodores were limiting nonconference opponents to 198.3 yards and 4.3 points during their 3-0 start, but those numbers have ballooned to 536.4 and 46.6, respectively, in SEC play. Can they get back on track against a Western Kentucky offense that has discovered its A-game over the past three weeks? Vandy will get the win, but it won’t be pretty.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 28, Western Kentucky 24
Massachusetts (2-6) at No. 16 Mississippi State (6-2), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Mississippi State beat Massachusetts 47-35 last September
For a 2-6 team with losses to Old Dominion and Coastal Carolina, Massachusetts can do some work on offense, as it’s averaged 45.0 points over its past three games. But scoring against Mississippi State will be a much stiffer challenge than the Minutemen have faced lately. Since late-September blowout losses at Georgia and Auburn, the Bulldogs have held each of their last three opponents to 14 points or fewer. They have fixed things on offense, too, becoming arguably the fourth best team in the SEC.
Prediction: Mississippi State 42, Massachusetts 17
Florida (3-4) at Missouri (3-5), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Florida beat Missouri 40-14 last October
With the firing of former Florida head coach Jim McElwain this week, there’s no telling which way this game will go. Maybe it’ll be the kick in the pants the Gators need and they’ll respond by smoking a subpar Missouri team. Or maybe they’ll continue down their path of mediocrity and become the third consecutive team that Drew Lock torches through the air. The most likely outcome, though, appears to be a nail-biter played in the mid-20s and won by the team that avoids worsening its already negative turnover margin.
Prediction: Florida 28, Missouri 26
Illinois (2-6) at Purdue (3-5), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Purdue beat Illinois 34-31 last October
Remember earlier in the season when we thought Purdue might be good this year? That was fun, right? The Boilermakers have lost four of their last five games and have been a comedy of errors on offense in most of those weeks. Fortunately for them, they’re facing the one team in the Big Ten that has been worse. Illinois has lost six straight and all but one by a multi-possession margin. Purdue should be able to get the job done at home, but this is going to be one of the most unwatchable games of the week.
Prediction: Purdue 24, Illinois 13
East Carolina (2-6) at Houston (5-3), Noon ET
Last Meeting: East Carolina beat Houston 48-28 in 2012
East Carolina has given up 49 points per game in AAC play. Though Houston isn’t anything close to the most prolific offense in this conference, the Cougars are more than capable of scoring at will against a defense that ranks dead last in the nation in yards allowed per play with 577.6.
Prediction: Houston 42, East Carolina 23
Baylor (0-8) at Kansas (1-7), Noon ET
Last Meeting: Baylor beat Kansas 49-7 last October
The Big 12 is home to the best game of Week 10 (Bedlam) and the worst game of Week 10 (this hot mess). Neither Baylor nor Kansas has won a game since Labor Day, and they have both spent the entire season oscillating between “competitively bad” and “plain awful.” Heck, Baylor hasn’t won a regular-season game since blowing out Kansas 12.5 months ago. But if we have to trust in either team to show up for this one, the Bears are the more likely candidate.
Prediction: Baylor 38, Kansas 31
Cream of the Midafternoon Crop
Baker MayfieldOrlin Wagner/Associated Press
No. 5 Oklahoma (7-1) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 38-20 last December
As mentioned, this iteration of the Bedlam Series is arguably the best game of the week. It will feature two of the most potent offenses in the nation going blow for blow in the battle for the Sooner State. But Oklahoma State hasn’t been great lately, as it’s averaging less than 5.0 yards per play over the past two weeks against Texas and West Virginia. Oklahoma has been much more consistent on offense and just played one of its best games of the season in a 49-27 win over Texas Tech. It’s going to be a barn-burner, but look for Baker Mayfield to beat the Pokes for a third straight year.
Prediction: Oklahoma 42, Oklahoma State 38
No. 4 Clemson (7-1) at No. 20 North Carolina State (6-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Clemson beat North Carolina State 24-17 last October
This game lost a bit of its luster with North Carolina State’s 35-14 loss to Notre Dame last week, but the Wolfpack are still the only undefeated team in league play in the ACC Atlantic Division and could effectively wrap up a trip to the conference championship game with a win here. But that won’t happen. Not with NC State’s Nyheim Hines banged up with a sprained ankle and Clemson’s Kelly Bryant’s good form last week in his return from both an ankle injury and a concussion. Had this game been played Oct. 21, I would’ve been all about a Wolfpack upset. On Nov. 4, though, Clemson ought to win with relative ease.
Prediction: Clemson 34, NC State 19
No. 6 Ohio State (7-1) at Iowa (5-3), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Ohio State beat Iowa 34-24 in 2013
Iowa fatally wounded Michigan’s CFP dreams last November. Can the Hawkeyes do it to Ohio State? At best, it’s unlikely. Iowa has been held to fewer than 20 points in four of its last five games and can’t seem to figure out anything on offense lately. The Hawkeyes are 5-3 because they’ve also held all but one opponent to 21 points or fewer, but no one is slowing down an Ohio State offense averaging 50.8 points over its last six games.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Iowa 17
No. 21 Stanford (6-2) at No. 25 Washington State (7-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Washington State beat Stanford 42-16 last October
Bryce Love is dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to miss last week’s game—and that caused Stanford’s offense to look like it had never seen a football before. Until we hear otherwise, you’ve got to assume he’ll play this week against a Washington State defense that just gave up 310 rushing yards and 58 points in a loss to Arizona. Unpredictability is par for the course with this Cougars D, though. The unit has held four opponents to 10 points or fewer and has given up at least 37 points three times. Our guess is this will be one of its good days, given Stanford’s season-long problems with passing the ball against competent defenses.
Prediction: Washington State 30, Stanford 20
No. 15 Iowa State (6-2) at West Virginia (5-3), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: West Virginia beat Iowa State 49-19 last November
During this four-game winning streak, Iowa State has been nearly impenetrable on defense. Over the last 3.5 games, the Cyclones have allowed a grand total of 27 points—and seven of those came on a TCU kick return for a touchdown. Shutting down Kansas isn’t much of a feat, but holding TCU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma (in the second half) to next to nothing is incredible. And while West Virginia is averaging 42.8 points per game on the season, that offense hasn’t quite been firing on all cylinders lately. Iowa State’s quest for the Big 12 title lives on.
Prediction: Iowa State 28, West Virginia 23
South Carolina (6-2) at No. 1 Georgia (8-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Georgia beat South Carolina 28-14 last October
Though South Carolina went 3-0 in October, it has been more than a month since Jake Bentley threw for at least 200 yards in a game. And the Gamecocks have been anemic in the running game all year, averaging 123.5 yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry. That won’t be anywhere near enough firepower to overcome a Georgia team that has won six consecutive games by at least a 25-point margin.
Prediction: Georgia 41, South Carolina 16
Wake Forest (5-3) at No. 3 Notre Dame (7-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Notre Dame beat Wake Forest 28-7 in 2015
I can’t imagine I would have picked Wake Forest to win this game regardless, but the Demon Deacons’ chances went from slim to virtually none when wide receiver Greg Dortch underwent season-ending abdominal surgery this past weekend. The freshman had been responsible for more than 35 percent of Wake’s receptions and receiving yards, and this offense won’t be the same without him. Factor in a defense that gave up 427 rushing yards to Georgia Tech in Week 8 and Notre Dame should blow this thing wide open.
Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Wake Forest 17
Solid Midafternoon Matchups
Arion WorthmanTom R. Smedes/Associated Press
Georgia Tech (4-3) at Virginia (5-3), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Georgia Tech beat Virginia 31-17 last November
Since racing out to a 5-1 start, Virginia has fallen to pieces. The Cavaliers were blown out by Boston College 41-10 and trailed 21-0 against Pittsburgh before doing too little, too late in a second straight loss. And with games remaining at Louisville, at Miami and vs. Virginia Tech, this may be their last realistic shot at becoming bowl-eligible. Over the past several years, Virginia has been one of the few teams capable of somewhat containing GT’s triple-option offense. The defense will do enough for QB Kurt Benkert to win the game through the air.
Prediction: Virginia 31, Georgia Tech 24
South Florida (7-1) at Connecticut (3-5), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: South Florida beat Connecticut 42-27 last October
Connecticut has given up at least 38 points five times this season, losing each of those games. And prior to last week’s loss to Houston, South Florida had scored at least 30 points in every game for nearly two full seasons. Quinton Flowers and Co. will get back on the right track against this dreadful defense.
Prediction: South Florida 54, Connecticut 23
Army (6-2) at Air Force (4-4), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Air Force beat Army 31-12 last November
Call it a hunch, but there will be some rushing plays called in this one. In terms of total rushing yards, Army and Air Force rank No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, each averaging better than 350 yards per game. But Army does so much more efficiently—6.22 yards per carry as opposed to 5.22 for Air Force—and has done a better job of slowing down the opposition’s rushing attack.
Prediction: Army 35, Air Force 31
Northwestern (5-3) at Nebraska (4-4), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Nebraska beat Northwestern 24-13 last September
Both of these teams throw the ball a ton, with each averaging better than 270 passing yards per game. They each attempted 50 passes last Saturday and combined for 799 yards through the air. Neither team is particularly great at defending the pass, either, so this one could turn into the rarely seen Big Ten shootout. But a clear upper hand in the rushing game should be enough to carry the Wildcats to bowl eligibility.
Prediction: Northwestern 38, Nebraska 30
North Texas (5-3) at Louisiana Tech (4-4), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Louisiana Tech beat North Texas 45-24 last November
North Texas has quietly put together one of the most potent offenses in the country, averaging better than 300 passing yards and 180 rushing yards per game. The Mean Green’s defense hasn’t been anywhere near as strong, but it has at least been serviceable outside of the 804-yard, 69-point game against Florida Atlantic. More importantly, Louisiana Tech’s defense hasn’t been much better. We wouldn’t recommend betting on either team in this Conference USA toss-up, but the over ( 67 ) seems like a safe pick.
Prediction: North Texas 45, Louisiana Tech 41
Ole Miss (3-5) at Kentucky (6-2), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Kentucky beat Ole Miss 30-13 in 2011
With a healthy Shea Patterson, the pick here would be Ole Miss every day and twice on Sunday, as Kentucky has arguably the worst secondary in the SEC. But with Patterson done for the year due to a knee injury, Kentucky probably will pick up win No. 7. Ole Miss has given up at least 23 points in every game this season and is averaging 44.6 points allowed in SEC play. In particular, the Rebels’ rush defense has been atrocious, so expect another big day from Kentucky’s Benny Snell Jr.
Prediction: Kentucky 38, Ole Miss 28
Other Midafternoon Games
Cole KelleyKevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Rice (1-7) at UAB (5-3), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Rice beat UAB 37-34 in 2013
Rice has scored 12 points or fewer in 75 percent of its games played this season. The Owls might be worse than everyone seemed to think UAB would be in its return to football. As a result, one of the best feel-good stories of the year will become bowl-eligible this week.
Prediction: UAB 29, Rice 13
Appalachian State (5-3) at Louisiana-Monroe (3-5), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Appalachian State beat Louisiana-Monroe 42-17 last November
Appalachian State hasn’t looked quite right the past few weeks. The Mountaineers lost to Massachusetts and barely escaped with wins over Idaho and Coastal Carolina. But they get to face a Louisiana-Monroe defense that has allowed roughly an average of 375 passing yards and 200 rushing yards over the past three weeks. This has a chance to become a classic #FunBelt game with both teams scoring in the 50s.
Prediction: Appalachian State 42, Louisiana-Monroe 34
New Mexico State (3-5) at Texas State (2-6), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: New Mexico State beat Texas State 50-10 last November
This Sun Belt game won’t have anywhere near as much combined scoring as the one above, considering Texas State hasn’t put up more than 27 points in a game this season. But New Mexico State may well run up the score against a secondary that gave up at least 44 points in three straight games earlier this year.
Prediction: New Mexico State 37, Texas State 17
Georgia State (4-3) at Georgia Southern (0-7), 3 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Georgia State beat Georgia Southern 30-24 last November
Georgia Southern ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in both points scored and points allowed, so this winless team hasn’t exactly flirted with a W. Both of these schools lost to FCS opponents earlier this season, but Georgia State has rebounded to take four of its last five games. The Panthers aren’t great by any means; however, they’re good enough to hand the Eagles yet another L.
Prediction: Georgia State 27, Georgia Southern 20
Maryland (4-4) at Rutgers (3-5), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Maryland beat Rutgers 31-13 last November
Raise your hand if you’re excited to watch two of the three worst Big Ten offenses go up against two of the three worst Big Ten defenses. No one? Well, all right then. Rutgers has given up nearly twice as many yards (2,273) as it has gained (1,191) in Big Ten play. At least Maryland has been respectable on offense when not facing Ohio State, Wisconsin or UCF. Suffice it to say, Rutgers is a step down from that level of competition, and the Terrapins should win easily.
Prediction: Maryland 31, Rutgers 14
Charlotte (1-7) at Old Dominion (2-6), 3:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Old Dominion beat Charlotte 52-17 last October
Both of these teams have terrible season-long offensive numbers—they’re tied for 119th in total offense at 319.8 yards per game—but they have also both rushed for at least 200 yards in three of their last four contests. It still won’t be an entertaining game, but it should be more palatable than it would have been a month ago. Old Dominion has home-field advantage, and that’s good enough for us.
Prediction: Old Dominion 27, Charlotte 23
Coastal Carolina (1-7) at Arkansas (3-5), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: First meeting between these programs
Arkansas finally got back into the win column last Saturday, but not before it fell behind Ole Miss 31-7. At that point, the Razorbacks had been outscored 172-58 over their previous three-plus games. Coastal Carolina is nothing compared to the rigors of SEC play, so this one will be a blowout. But given how the Hogs have looked for the past month, they’ll probably give up a few more points than they should.
Prediction: Arkansas 49, Coastal Carolina 21
Louisiana (3-4) at South Alabama (3-5), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Louisiana beat South Alabama 28-23 last September
Louisiana had a couple of good games against Idaho and Texas State, but when its defense has been bad, it has been really bad. Twice already in Sun Belt play, the Ragin’ Cajuns have allowed at least 300 passing yards and 250 rushing yards in the same game. And South Alabama had an offensive performance similar to that (317 passing, 232 rushing) two weeks ago against Louisiana-Monroe.
Prediction: South Alabama 35, Louisiana 28
Cincinnati (2-6) at Tulane (3-5), 4 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Cincinnati beat Tulane 38-14 in 2014
Tulane had one offensive explosion against Tulsa about a month ago, but the Green Wave haven’t been anything special outside of that game. In fact, in their other six contests against FBS opponents, they have given up nearly 1,000 more yards than they have gained on offense. Cincinnati is basically in the same boat, though, and you have to like Tulane’s chances in a matchup where neither team can play defense.
Prediction: Tulane 38, Cincinnati 27
Cream of the Evening Crop
Malik RosierGerry Broome/Associated Press
No. 19 LSU (6-2) at No. 2 Alabama (8-0), 8 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Alabama beat LSU 10-0 last November
Though LSU has won three straight to bounce back from that loss to Troy, the Tigers have given up at least 150 rushing yards in five of their last six games. Meanwhile, Alabama has only allowed more than 88 rushing yards once all season and is allowing just 7.6 points per game in SEC play. Combine that with its minimum of 230 rushing yards in seven straight games and this should be the first time in 14 years that this rivalry is decided by more than a 21-point margin.
Prediction: Alabama 35, LSU 10
No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-1) at No. 10 Miami (7-0), 8 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech beat Miami 37-16 last October
Did you know Miami has allowed at least 175 rushing yards in five straight games and was outgained twice in the past month? The Hurricanes have escaped by the skin of their teeth against a bunch of teams that either possibly or definitely will not qualify for a bowl game, but Virginia Tech is a different story. Since giving up nearly 600 total yards to West Virginia in the season opener, the Hokies have had one of the stingiest defenses in the nation. They’ll shut down Hurricanes QB Malik Rosier and win an ugly game.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 19, Miami 16
No. 18 UCF (7-0) at SMU (6-2), 7:15 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: UCF beat SMU 53-7 in 2014
There aren’t many teams that can keep pace with UCF’s offense, but SMU is one of them. The Mustangs have accumulated at least 435 yards of total offense in every game this season and are averaging 41.5 points per contest. But can a defense that ranks 122nd in passing yards allowed per game really be expected to slow down QB McKenzie Milton and the Knights? Take UCF and the over ( 75 ).
Prediction: UCF 58, SMU 31
Texas (4-4) at No. 8 TCU (7-1), 7:15 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: TCU beat Texas 31-9 last November
I don’t know if Texas will win this game, but that seems to be a far more likely outcome than a TCU triumph in a blowout. The Longhorns have been rock-solid on offense for the past month, and the defensive numbers are impressive, too, once you factor in the inflation of playing back-to-back games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. A lot of people stopped paying attention to this team after it lost the season opener against Maryland, but head coach Tom Herman has turned Texas around in a hurry. A win over TCU’s defense on the road, though, might be asking too much.
Prediction: TCU 24, Texas 20
Solid Evening Matchups
Jim Harbaugh and Brandon PetersDuane Burleson/Getty Images
Colorado State (6-3) at Wyoming (5-3), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Wyoming beat Colorado State 38-17 last October
This should be a fun battle between polar opposites. Colorado State loves big-strike plays and frequently gets beaten by them, but Wyoming would rather play a game of inches. The average Wyoming game has 2.0 plays from scrimmage go for at least 30 yards. Colorado State’s feature 4.9. But Wyoming leads the nation in turnover margin , thanks in large part to five interceptions and two fumble recoveries in last week’s rout of New Mexico. And Colorado State threw three interceptions last week, so that could be the story of this one.
Prediction: Wyoming 31, Colorado State 27
Minnesota (4-4) at Michigan (6-2), 7:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Michigan beat Minnesota 29-26 in 2015
Minnesota’s passing game has been bad, and it’s getting worse. The Golden Gophers have yet to complete more than 50 percent of their pass attempts against a Big Ten opponent. They couldn’t even manage 35 percent in either of the past two weeks. And the last thing you want to be against a Jim Harbaugh defense is one-dimensional—particularly if that dimension is rushing the ball, since the Wolverines barely allow 100 rushing yards per game. If Brandon Peters plays well for the second straight week, this one could get ugly.
Prediction: Michigan 32, Minnesota 6
Southern Miss (5-3) at Tennessee (3-5), 7:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Tennessee beat Southern Miss 39-19 in 2007
Like the earlier game between Syracuse and Florida State, this one is mildly intriguing just because of morbid curiosity. It is possible the Volunteers are bad enough to lose at home to an average Conference USA team? Probably not, but the spread in this one (Tennessee minus-6.5, per OddsShark ) is, what, 27 points closer than it would have been two months ago? If the Golden Eagles can get Ito Smith going against this awful rush defense, they just might pull off the upset.
Prediction: Tennessee 24, Southern Miss 21
Colorado (5-4) at Arizona State (4-4), 9 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Colorado beat Arizona State 40-16 last October
Let’s have a moment of silence for Arizona State’s defense, which was outstanding in wins over Washington and Utah before crashing back to earth in a 48-17 loss to USC. Sensational Sun Devils secondary, we barely had the chance to get to know you, but those times we shared sure were fun. With Colorado throwing for 353 yards and three touchdowns last week and throwing for 10 touchdowns without an interception in its past five games, it could be another long night for Arizona State’s D.
Prediction: Colorado 37, Arizona State 25
Other Evening Games
Cedrick WilsonLoren Orr/Getty Images
Oregon State (1-7) at California (4-5), 5 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Oregon State beat California 47-44 last October
Oregon State has been much more competitive in the two games since its coaching change, particularly on defense. Meanwhile, California has put forth two consecutive defensive efforts without any heart. This is absolutely a game Oregon State can win by getting Ryan Nall involved early and often.
Prediction: Oregon State 27, California 24
Utah State (4-5) at New Mexico (3-5), 5:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: New Mexico beat Utah State 24-21 last November
New Mexico has been smashed by at least a 38-point margin in two of its last three games. But Utah State gave up 370 passing yards last week and 375 rushing yards the previous week, so the Aggies aren’t exactly flying high, either. Turnover margin will be the deciding factor here. USU is plus-two on the season and has forced 20 in nine games. UNM is minus-12 and has only forced four in its last six games combined. Bold prediction of the week: Utah State wins because of a Jalen Davis pick-six early in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Utah State 33, New Mexico 25
Hawaii (3-5) at UNLV (3-5), 6 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: UNLV beat Hawaii 41-38 last October
A viable pick for highest-scoring game of the week, Hawaii and UNLV are two of just eight teams both gaining and allowing at least 6.1 yards per play. Both offenses had a disappointing showing in Week 9 against MWC title candidates, but against each other, get ready for a scoring bonanza. We’re giving a slight edge to Hawaii because it can rack up yards either on the ground or through the air. UNLV is much more dependent on the run game, and the Hawaii rush defense is marginally less awful than its pass defense.
Prediction: Hawaii 44, UNLV 39
Texas-San Antonio (5-2) at Florida International (5-2), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: UTSA beat FIU 16-13 in 2014
On the season, FIU has given up 25 more rushing yards and 22 more passing yards than it has gained. It is also negative-three in turnover margin and has been outscored by 26 points. It’s continuously baffling that the Golden Panthers have a winning record. UTSA, on the other hand, has out-gained its opposition by more than 1,000 yards and has an average scoring margin of 13.7 points. San Antonio should easily win this battle of initials.
Prediction: UTSA 35, FIU 23
Nevada (1-7) at Boise State (6-2), 7 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Boise State beat Nevada 51-46 in 2014
These teams are relatively comparable on offense, but the defenses aren’t anywhere close. For the season, Nevada is allowing nearly 200 more yards per game than Boise State. Over the course of their last four games, the Wolf Pack have actually ceded more than twice as many yards (2,180) as the Broncos have (1,082). Boise State has turned quite the corner since that ugly home loss to Virginia, and it should obliterate Nevada in this game.
Prediction: Boise State 59, Nevada 13
UTEP (0-8) at Middle Tennessee (3-5), 7:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: UTEP beat Middle Tennessee 24-21 in 2014
A healthy MTSU would win this game by four touchdowns. However, its star receiver (Richie James) is doubtful to play due to a shoulder injury, its starting QB (Brent Stockstill) has been sidelined for more than a month with a sternum/collarbone injury and its backup QB (John Urzua) is questionable with concussion-like symptoms. It’s the exact perfect storm that UTEP needs to win a game this season, and it still might not be enough.
Prediction: MTSU 17, UTEP 14
Saturday Night Games
Sam DarnoldRalph Freso/Associated Press
Oregon (5-4) at No. 12 Washington (7-1), 10 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: Washington beat Oregon 70-21 last October
Oregon has averaged 90.4 passing yards over its last five games, and Washington leads the nation at 2.18 yards allowed per carry. Pray tell, how is Oregon going to move the ball on offense? Better yet, how does a defense allowing more than 250 passing yards per game intend to slow down Washington? This could get almost as ugly as last year’s game.
Prediction: Washington 49, Oregon 14
San Diego State (7-2) at San Jose State (1-8), 10:30 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: San Diego State beat San Jose State 42-3 last October
Speaking of games potentially getting out of hand, Rashaad Penny against San Jose State’s rushing defense (277 yards allowed per game) is going to be incredible. Unless you’re a San Jose State fan, in which case it’s going to be a little more miserable than every other game you’ve suffered through this season.
Prediction: San Diego State 56, San Jose State 19
No. 22 Arizona (6-2) at No. 17 USC (7-2), 10:45 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: USC beat Arizona 48-14 last October
It’s the preseason front-runner for the Heisman (Sam Darnold) against the up-and-coming star everyone has fallen in love with (Khalil Tate). Because Tate missed two games and barely played in two others, it’s unlikely he comes anywhere close to actually winning the Heisman. But if he has yet another ridiculous game this week against USC, that might change.
The big variable to watch in this one is Arizona’s defensive TD-INT ratio. The Wildcats have allowed more than 300 passing yards per game, but they have 14 interceptions against 11 passing touchdowns allowed. Darnold has had more than his fair share of interception woes this season, but he should lead the Trojans to victory in this one.
Prediction: USC 42, Arizona 37
BYU (2-7) at Fresno State (5-3), 10:45 p.m. ET
Last Meeting: BYU beat Fresno State 52-10 in 2015
BYU’s offense is finally waking up. It had 421 yards two weeks ago against East Carolina and exploded for 598 yards and 41 points last week against San Jose State. But those are two of the worst defenses in the country. Fresno State, on the other hand, has held opponents not named Alabama or Washington to 258.2 yards, including four games allowing 10 points or fewer.
Prediction: Fresno State 30, BYU 13
Odds provided by OddsShark .
Riley FergusonEric Christian Smith/Associated Press
Northern Illinois (6-2) at Toledo (7-1), 6 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: Toledo beat Northern Illinois 31-24 last November
Midweek #MACtion is usually a battle between teams going nowhere fast, but this is sneakily one of the 10 best games of Week 10. Toledo has racked up at least 600 yards of total offense three times this season, and Northern Illinois has held every opponent to 403 yards or fewer. However, the Huskies have been beatable through the air, and Toledo’s Logan Woodside has the sixth-best QB rating in the country at 171.33. A high-octane offense will beat a stingy defense in this one.
Prediction: Toledo 34, Northern Illinois 28
Ball State (2-6) at Eastern Michigan (2-6), 7 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: Eastern Michigan beat Ball State 48-41 last November
Now that’s more like it. Two teams at 0-4 in MAC play, battling to decide which one effectively becomes ineligible for the postseason. But don’t let the identical records fool you. Eastern Michigan is the superior team on both sides of the ball. The Eagles just haven’t had any (good) luck over the past six weeks against quality opponents. Ball State doesn’t fit that description.
Prediction: Eastern Michigan 37, Ball State 16
Navy (5-2) at Temple (3-5), 8 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: Temple beat Navy 34-10 in 2016 AAC championship
Temple has already played three games this season against top-10 rushing offenses. In those battles with Notre Dame, South Florida and Army, the Owls gave up an average of 327.3 rushing yards per game, 6.3 yards per carry and 12 total touchdowns. Temple lost each of those games. And Navy averages more rushing yards per game than any other team (376.1). Put the Midshipmen down for about 400 yards on the ground and just enough defense to turn this into a win.
Prediction: Navy 42, Temple 31
Idaho (3-5) at Troy (6-2), 9:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Last Meeting: Troy beat Idaho 34-13 last October
Troy laid an egg against South Alabama in its first game after upsetting LSU earlier this year, but the Trojans have bounced back in a big way the past two weeks. They have averaged 7.7 yards per play on offense while allowing just 4.2 on defense, defeating Georgia State and Georgia Southern by a combined margin of 72-26. And if the Trojans plan on taking the Sun Belt crown, this is the type of opponent one would hope they can defeat in dominant fashion.
Prediction: Troy 41, Idaho 17
Marshall (6-2) at Florida Atlantic (5-3), 6 p.m. ET Friday
Last Meeting: Marshall beat Florida Atlantic 27-21 last October
Take out the first two games against Wisconsin and Navy, and Florida Atlantic has been an unstoppable force of nature. The Owls have averaged 47.2 points and 370.2 rushing yards over their last six games, scoring at least four rushing touchdowns in each one. Meanwhile, Marshall just gave up 41 points to Florida International, which is more than it allowed in the previous five weeks combined. It’ll likely be a lower scoring game than Lane Kiffin ‘s guys are used to, but look for FAU to run to victory at home.
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 27, Marshall 23
No. 23 Memphis (7-1) at Tulsa (2-7), 8 p.m. ET Friday
Last Meeting: Tulsa beat Memphis 59-30 last October
Both of these teams can move the ball, but Tulsa’s defense (or lack thereof) will be the story. The Golden Hurricane have shown a bit of improvement the past few weeks, but they still rank dead last in the nation in yards allowed per play with 7.6. Against a Memphis team averaging 42.5 points per game, that, uh, won’t go well.
Prediction: Memphis 54, Tulsa 35
UCLA (4-4) at Utah (4-4), 9:30 p.m. ET Friday
Last Meeting: Utah beat UCLA 52-45 last October
Utah has yet to average more than 4.4 yards per carry against an FBS opponent this season, but there’s no time like the present, as UCLA ranks dead last in the nation in rushing defense at 307.1 yards allowed per game. And with Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen still recovering from a minor injury to his non-throwing hand, it’s unlikely UCLA will have the offensive firepower to overcome its atrocious defense.
Prediction: Utah 35, UCLA 21
College Football Week 10 Betting Guide: Odds, Picks and Value Bets
LSU QB Joe BurrowJonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Week 10 has massive College Football Playoff implications. But while all eyes will be on the epic clashes in the SEC and Big Ten, most of your bets should be on teams from the lower-profile Group of Five conferences.
Whether you prefer over/unders, spreads or moneyline multipliers, we’ve got you covered with tips on the best Week 10 bets. If you’re looking to throw down a wager on the latest Heisman Trophy odds, there’s advice on that front as well.
We’re also recommending a few games that you don’t want to touch with a 10-foot pole.
After finally breaking into the win column last week, could San Jose State make it two in a row? Everyone has been talking about the 14.5-point spread in the Alabama-LSU game, but might one of the best bets of the week actually be the under in that game? And following its bye week, is there a safer bet than Memphis blowing out East Carolina?
We cover all that and more in this week’s college football betting guide.
Moneyline Picks and Picks Against the Spread for AP Top 25 Games
Washington State QB Gardner Minshew IIDon Feria/Associated Press
No. 1 Alabama at No. 3 LSU: Alabama ( -14.5 and -580 )
Louisville at No. 2 Clemson: Clemson ( -38.5 and -48,000 )
No. 4 Notre Dame at Northwestern: Notre Dame ( -9.5 and -354 )
No. 14 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan: Penn State ( +10.5 ) and Michigan (-425)
No. 6 Georgia at No. 9 Kentucky: Kentucky ( +9.5 ) and Georgia (-320)
No. 7 Oklahoma at Texas Tech: Texas Tech ( +13.5 ) and Oklahoma (-500)
California at No. 8 Washington State: Washington State ( -10 and -378 )
Nebraska at No. 10 Ohio State: Ohio State ( -18 and -800 )
Missouri at No. 11 Florida: Florida ( -6.5 and -235 )
No. 13 West Virginia at No. 17 Texas: West Virginia ( +2 and +115 )
No. 15 Utah at Arizona State: Utah ( -7 and -276 )
No. 16 Iowa at Purdue: Iowa ( +3 and +125 )
Louisiana Tech at No. 18 Mississippi State: Louisiana Tech ( +23.5 ) and Mississippi State (-1,600)
No. 19 Syracuse at Wake Forest: Syracuse ( -6 and -220 )
No. 20 Texas A&M at Auburn: Texas A&M ( +4 and +160 )
Florida State at No. 21 North Carolina State: Florida State ( +9 ) and North Carolina State (-330)
No. 22 Boston College at Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech ( +2 and +110 )
No. 23 Fresno State at UNLV: Fresno State ( -26 and -4,000 )
No. 24 Iowa State at Kansas: Iowa State ( -14.5 and -615 )
Pittsburgh at No. 25 Virginia: Pittsburgh ( +7 and +255 )
Last Week: 8-7 straight up, 7-8 ATS
Temple at No. 12 UCF not included, as it was played prior to publishing.
For the moneylines, a minus means you need to bet that much in order to win $100, and a plus means a $100 bet would return that much profit.
Spreads to Bet
Georgia Southern QB Shai WertsChris Thelen/Getty Images
Appalachian State at Coastal Carolina ( +15 )
App State was a cash cow in September. In all four games, the Mountaineers covered the spread and hit the over. But just as it took Vegas a few weeks to calibrate to the strength of this team, it has been slow to realize that the Mountaineers simply are not the same without star RB Jalin Moore.
Moore suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the Week 7 win over Arkansas State. Since then, the Mountaineers have barely averaged 20 points per game and 5.0 yards per play—compared to 48.4 and 7.5 in their first five games.
In its current state, this team should not be giving two touchdowns on the road against a Coastal Carolina team that is one win away from bowl eligibility. The Mountaineers will probably eke out the win—but not by three-plus possessions. Ride the Chanticleers.
Georgia Southern ( -7.5 ) at Louisiana-Monroe
That’s right. We’re going with back-to-back Sun Belt games, and we’ve got a Conference USA showdown coming up next. You may not be able to find these contests on national television, but you can still profit from them.
Georgia Southern (7-1 overall; 7-1 ATS) smashed Appalachian State last Thursday with one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. The Eagles ran for 277 yards and three touchdowns, which is almost exactly what they’re averaging for the season—275.8 and 3.1, respectively.
This week, Shai Werts and Co. get to destroy a Louisiana-Monroe (4-4 overall; 2-6 ATS) defense that has allowed 239.5 rushing yards and 3.2 rushing touchdowns over its last six games. And the Warhawks won’t have the offense to make up for it. They have been held to 21 points or fewer in five of eight games, and they are facing a defense that has held five of eight opponents to 14 points or fewer.
Add it all up and 7.5 points are not nearly enough. Georgia Southern wins by 24.
Florida Atlantic at Florida International ( -3 )
The “bettors blindly throwing money at Lane Kiffin ” factor strikes again! This spread should be closer to 10, but FAU’s numbers have been a bit off all year long.
Florida Atlantic is a bit of a disaster right now. Even with Devin Singletary rushing for a season-high 171 yards last week, the Owls lost at home to Louisiana Tech. The week before that, they managed just seven points in a blowout loss to Marshall. They are 1-7 against the spread this season, including losing outright as the favorite in three of their last four games.
Meanwhile, Florida International has quietly been one of the better Group of Five teams, sitting at 6-2 both overall and against the spread. Granted, the Panthers have mostly beaten up on awful teams. Their most impressive win of the season was a three-point home win over Middle Tennessee. But they are better than anyone expected and certainly better than Florida Atlantic. They deserve more than a field-goal advantage at home.
Last Week’s Picks (2-0-1)
Florida International -3.5 at Western Kentucky (actual: FIU by 21)
Navy +24 vs. Notre Dame (actual: Notre Dame by 22)
Connecticut +5 vs. Massachusetts (actual: Massachusetts by 5)
South Florida RB Jordan CronkriteSue Ogrocki/Associated Press
Tulane at South Florida ( -7 )
If you haven’t been paying much attention to either of these teams, it might be tempting to bet the farm on South Florida. Prior to getting predictably mauled at Houston last week, the Bulls were undefeated and ranked No. 21 in the AP poll. Now, they’re hosting a 3-5 team and only giving a touchdown. That doesn’t seem right.
However, South Florida is not to be trusted. Four of its seven wins came by a margin of eight points or fewer, and the 11-point win over Georgia Tech—in which the Bulls rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter—was hardly a statement of dominance. Moreover, that come-from-behind home win over the Yellow Jackets was the only one against a team with any realistic hope of playing in a bowl game.
Teams of Tulane’s caliber are exactly who South Florida has been barely beating all year long. Moreover, three of Tulane’s losses were by margins of four, six and seven points. This is a fair line that you shouldn’t touch.
Kansas State at TCU ( -8 )
These are two Big 12 teams in free-fall mode. Kansas State has lost four of its last five and just got obliterated by Oklahoma. TCU has lost five of six and just lost to Kansas. KSU may well do the same next week.
Not only are these teams bad, but there’s no telling which version of them you’ll get—particularly on defense.
Kansas State shut down Texas’s offense in late September and completely stifled Oklahoma State in a 31-12 win in mid-October, but the Wildcats defense was lit up in its second, fourth, sixth and eighth games of the season against Mississippi State, West Virginia, Baylor and Oklahoma, respectively.
Similarly, TCU’s defense was incredible in a late-September win over Iowa State, and it was solid in recent losses to Texas Tech and Kansas. But the Horned Frogs have also had their fair share of stinkers on D.
UTEP at Rice ( -1 )
No analysis to add here. Just wanted to make sure you knew the two worst teams in the country are facing each other this weekend and that you should keep your money as far away from this coin flip as you possibly can.
Syracuse QB Eric DungeyKeith Srakocic/Associated Press
Easy Over: Syracuse at Wake Forest ( Over 75.5 )
Syracuse and Wake Forest have each played in three games this season with at least 80 combined points, and 11 of their 16 games went over 70.
Since the season-opening 23-17 dud against Tulane, Wake Forest’s games have featured an average of 74.4 points. Syracuse isn’t far behind at 72.3. And the Orange should have a field day in this one, as they take the nation’s seventh-highest scoring offense up against a Demon Deacons defense that ranks 118th in points allowed per game.
Last week’s pick: Duke at Pittsburgh (line: 45.5; actual: 99)
Easy Under: Alabama at LSU ( Under 54 )
This Alabama offense is easily the best Nick Saban has had in his 12 years at Tuscaloosa, and this Crimson Tide defense is a little less incredible than usual. As a result, seven of Alabama’s eight games have had a total of at least 64.
But when these two rivals square off, scoring doesn’t happen.
Only one of the last 11 games in this series had a total that would have eclipsed this line—and just barely (55 points in 2013). The average total of those 11 games was just 34.9.
And this LSU offense is far from elite. The Tigers shocked everyone in the win over Georgia by racking up 475 yards, but they didn’t even reach 375 in five of eight contests—including a season-worst 239 against Mississippi State two weeks ago.
LSU’s defense does what other teams have made look impossible and holds Alabama to 31 points, but the Crimson Tide still win by three scores in a game that never sniffs the over.
Last week’s pick: Central Michigan at Akron (line: 45; actual: 27)
Best Moneyline Value Bets
Texas Tech QB Alan BowmanCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press
Generally speaking, a 10-point dog that wins outright pays 3-1 on the moneyline and a 17.5-point dog will pay around 6-1, so there’s a lot of value in this zone. Here are three significant underdogs who could pull off the upset and put a nice chunk of change in your pocket.
Texas Tech ( +415 ) vs. Oklahoma
Here’s a fun fact about the College Football Playoff rankings: In each of the last three seasons, a team ranked in the top seven of the initial Top 25 immediately lost a Week 10 road game to an unranked opponent.
Last year, it was No. 6 Ohio State getting trounced at Iowa. The year before that, No. 4 Texas A&M took an L at Mississippi State. And in 2015, No. 7 Michigan State gave up two touchdowns in the final two minutes of a one-point loss at Nebraska.
Perhaps that unlucky team is No. 4 Notre Dame at Northwestern, but who’s to say No. 7 Oklahoma couldn’t suffer a similar fate?
Even without that knowledge of previous Week 10 carnage, giving Texas Tech 13 points and 4-1 odds to win a home game is just ridiculous. This Red Raiders offense has been excellent when QB Alan Bowman is healthy, and the defense—despite allowing at least 40 points in four games this season—is a great deal better than it used to be in the mid-2010s.
By no means do I believe Texas Tech is going to hold Kyler Murray and Co. under 30 points, but it could get just enough stops to win a shootout.
San Jose State ( +425 ) at Wyoming
The Spartans finally got into the 2018 win column last week against UNLV.
Now, let’s ride that lightning.
San Jose State has at least been competent when QB Josh Love plays. Things got ugly in games he missed against Washington State and Army, but the Spartans have averaged 32.3 points and 396.3 yards with Love under center, including a 50-spot in the win over the Rebels.
That’s more than enough to at least keep things interesting against a Wyoming offense that has been held below 20 points in seven of nine games this season. In fact, the Cowboys have yet to score 20 in a home game, so both the spread and the moneyline offering in this one are bizarre. Even if you still believe SJSU to be one of the five worst teams in the country, Wyoming shouldn’t ever be giving two touchdowns.
Louisville ( +16,000 ) at Clemson
One of the best lines from The Office is when Kevin Malone says : “If anyone gives you 10,000-1 on anything, you take it. If John Mellencamp ever wins an Oscar, I am going to be a very rich dude.”
I live by a similar motto with college football: If anyone gives you better than 150-1 on the outcome of a conference game, you take it.
Clemson should annihilate Louisville. The Tigers have outscored their last three opponents 163-20, and five of Louisville’s six losses were by at least a three-possession margin. Travis Etienne could run for 250 yards and four touchdowns in this game without breaking a sweat.
But put a small bet on Louisville to win anyway, because wildly unpredictable things happen in this sport all the time. With this line, a $6.25 wager would pay $1,000 if the Cardinals pull off a stunner.
Noteworthy Line Movement
Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyMark Wallheiser/Associated Press
Louisville at Clemson ( -37 to -39 )
When this line was posted Sunday afternoon, a lot of people on Twitter were losing their minds about the magnitude of that number. But my immediate response was: That’s probably still not enough.
As expected, the spread only grew wider. Some books have even gone as high as 40, but it seems we’ll be settling on 39, give or take half a point.
Over the past three games, though, Clemson’s scoring margin was 143 points while Louisville’s was negative-74. This spread could be put at 50 and it would still be a little tempting. It’s just a question of how badly the Tigers want to pour it on in garbage time.
Nebraska at Ohio State ( -22.5 to -18 )
After a brutal 0-6 start, Nebraska has won two in a row. And evidently last week’s 45-9 win over Bethune-Cookman inspired a lot of money to come in on the Cornhuskers against the Buckeyes.
That’s hard to understand why, though. Nebraska’s secondary is nothing special, allowing 272 passing yards per game. Dwayne Haskins should have another field day in this one. And one would have to believe Ohio State is going to come out with something to prove in its first game after a disastrous loss to Purdue.
Moreover, the Buckeyes have annihilated Nebraska in each of the past two years, including a 62-3 win when Nebraska was ranked No. 9 in the 2016 AP poll. This Ohio State team isn’t as good as that one was, but the same can be said about Nebraska.
UCLA at Oregon ( -13 to -7.5 to -10 )
Between Oregon QB Justin Herbert in concussion protocol and the sideshow of Chip Kelly returning to Eugene as an enemy, this line has been all over the place this week. I would’ve made it the top stay-away game, but it just fit better in this section.
The Ducks need to get back on track after dreadful first-half performances the past two weeks, but who knows what to expect from these two teams right now? (Or any Pac-12 team, for that matter?)
If Herbert is ruled a full participant, expect the line to creep back up to two touchdowns before kickoff. If he’s ruled out, however, don’t be surprised if this drops all the way down to a pick’em.
Heisman Bet of the Week: Tua Tagovailoa (-275)
Tua TagovailoaWade Payne/Associated Press
If you took my advice the past two weeks, you’ve got slips for Kyler Murray (was +350; now +333), Travis Etienne (was +5000; now +1600) and Trevor Lawrence (was +5000; now +4000) at better odds than they are currently listed.
But now it’s time for a big bet on the favorite: Tua Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa is listed at -275, per OddsShark , which is roughly where it has been for the past several weeks. That number is likely to balloon to -1000 or -2000 after this Saturday, though, so this is probably your last chance to get him at a reasonable price.
According to the OddsShark Heisman odds tracker , in each of the past two seasons, this time of the season has been where we pass the point of no return (on investment) with the Heisman front-runners. Last year, Baker Mayfield was at +750 on Oct. 30 and flew to -2000 by Nov. 13. The year prior, Lamar Jackson was -300 on Nov. 1 and vaulted to -2,000 one week later.
And this is the “go big or go home” moment for Tagovailoa.
The “Alabama hasn’t played anybody” refrain has a fair (albeit annoying) point. Alabama has only faced one opponent that ranks among the top 60 in yards allowed per game. (Tagovailoa still threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns against that Texas A&M defense.) But that argument will be dead and buried if he torches No. 3 LSU. The Heisman voters might as well just give him the stiff-armed trophy during the postgame press conference if that happens.
Heck, even if he’s just OK in a win, it’ll likely be enough for Tagovailoa to become more of an overwhelming favorite than he already is. And if you’re worried about losing this bet if Alabama loses the game, hedge it with an LSU moneyline bet ( +480 ).
Lock of the Week: Memphis (-13) at East Carolina
Memphis RB Darrell HendersonJoe Murphy/Getty Images
Memphis ( -13 ) at East Carolina
It has been tough sledding for Memphis lately.
The Tigers have lost three of their last four, and the exception was a home game against lowly Connecticut. The defense—which looked solid for the first three weeks of the season—has allowed at least 31 points and 460 yards in four of the last five. Their most recent game was the worst of the bunch, getting absolutely drilled in a 65-33 loss to Missouri.
Luckily for us, that’s why Memphis is only giving 13 points in a game it should win by 27.
As bad as Memphis has looked lately, it generally destroys bad teams. In each of the Tigers’ four wins this season—Mercer, Georgia State, South Alabama and Connecticut—they scored at least 52 points and won by a margin of at least 17. On average, they scored 58.0 and won by 36.8.
And East Carolina surely qualifies as a bad team.
Despite outgaining both Houston and UCF in total yards, the Pirates have lost each of their last three games by at least 22 points. They just can’t seem to stop shooting themselves in the foot, currently ranking dead last nationally in average turnover margin at minus-1.7 per game. In their last two games alone, they coughed up the ball nine times while forcing no turnovers.
Memphis will prey on that weakness, and it will turn most of its possessions into points. The Tigers have a rushing attack that has averaged 346 yards and 4.3 touchdowns in wins this season. Meanwhile, East Carolina allowed more than 300 rushing yards to a McKenzie Milton-less UCF team in its last game.
Following a bye week, Memphis running back Darrell Henderson returns from the injury that forced him out of the loss to Missouri and runs rampant over the Pirates en route to a blowout win.
Last week’s lock: Texas A&M +2 at Mississippi State (Actual: Nick Fitzgerald snapped out of his four-game slump and led Mississippi State to a 15-point win.)
All moneylines, spreads and over/under totals are via OddsShark and are current through noon ET on Thursday.
Kerry Miller covers college football and men’s college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @kerrancejames .