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25 picks for an ugly Week 11 of college football

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Expect a ton of blowouts this weekend, but let’s try to find the best games to pick.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

All wagers at -110 odds unless otherwise noted. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week.

Season record: 119-126.

I actually got some luck in close games last week, bringing my season record in games decided by a field goal to 13-28, which is still unlucky, but improving.

This week is going to be boring; 30 of 44 lined Saturday games have double-digit spreads. This includes almost all of the games involving ranked teams. Almost a third of them are spreads of three or more scores.

With a week like this, it is crucially important to determine which teams are bad, as opposed to below average or awful. Also, keep in mind potential look-ahead and hangover situations. When laying a huge number, a team typically needs to be motivated and focused.

I have several weekday wagers this week. But, an important reminder someone once told me: don’t bet a game just because it is on TV. If you wouldn’t bet it on a Saturday, don’t bet it on a Tuesday.


1. Western Michigan at Kent State +22.5: Western Michigan is by far the best MAC team, but this feels inflated. Kent State is bad, but not, say, bottom-10 bad.


2. Toledo -6.5 at NIU: I've been on the Toledo train lately. Its offense can score, and I'm betting Northern Illinois' resurgence against Bowling Green is unsustainable.


3. Louisiana Lafayette +9 at Georgia Southern: GS caught Ole Miss in a perfect spot last week, and Lafayette is looking to bounce back.

4. Utah at Arizona State +6: I figured this line would be four, as I have Utah about a touchdown better on a neutral field. A night Thursday game in the desert is a good spot.


5. Northwestern -13 at Purdue: I do not like laying points on the road, but I made this spread 16. Northwestern's offense is much improved.

6. Pitt +21 at Clemson: Will Clemson run Deshaun Watson as much, with his injured shoulder concerns? This bet says no.

7. Cincinnati at UCF -12: Vegas is making bettors pay a premium to bet against the Bearcats, who seem to have quit on the year. But I'm willing to pay it.

8. Ohio State at Maryland +29: Ohio State is coming off a big prime-time win over Nebraska, and a revenge game against Michigan State is on deck. This is a bigger game for Maryland than the Buckeyes.

9. Penn State -6.5 at Indiana: This spread feels like a trap, being this low. Normally, I tell readers to spring the trap, instead of stepping in it. But by my numbers, this is just too much value to ignore.

10. Wake Forest +35 at Louisville: Wake Forest's defense is the reason for the wager. If it loses, it is because Wake's offense gives Louisville plenty of short fields and cannot itself score.

11. Iowa State at Kansas +10: Kansas is legitimately improved. Iowa State is, too, but not enough to lay double digits on the road in a Big 12 game.

12. SMU +7.5 at East Carolina: There is some worry that SMU might be broken after losing by 44 at home to Memphis, but this is a bet on a bounce back.

13. Texas Tech +12.5 at Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State has been a winner for this column for two weeks straight, but this is a lot of points in what is expected to be a shootout (over/under of 90).

14. Rice +10.5 at Charlotte: Rice and Charlotte have identical F/+ ratings, at -43 percent, yet Rice is 1-8 while Charlotte is 4-5. That record disparity creates several points of value. Rice's defense remains a concern.

15. New Mexico State +20 at Arkansas State: The Aggies have played some decent defense this year at times. Arkansas State's offense is not great. I like NMSU's chances of keeping this within the number.

16. Wyoming -7.5 at UNLV: Trap? This spread sure feels like one. Perhaps Vegas knows something that I do not, and the public is all over Wyoming. But, my numbers made this game 12, so I have to take it.

17. Mississippi State at Alabama -28.5: Mississippi State holding on to beat Texas A&M, as opposed to just covering and losing close, creates value here. Alabama sometimes struggles with mobile quarterbacks, but the Bulldogs' offense is not very good at throwing.

18. North Texas +28.5 at Western Kentucky: North Texas is an improving team, and this is a lot of points.

19. Appalachian State at Troy PK: The Trojans started slow last week, but then turned it on. This should be a fun game to watch and a great contrast of styles, with the Mountaineers' running and Troy's passing.

20. LSU -6.5 at Arkansas: A great opportunity to bet against a team that lost a high-profile game last week and on one that lost.

21. UTSA +22.5 at Louisiana Tech: UTSA has been playing good football on offense and defense in recent weeks. So has Louisiana Tech, but this just feels too inflated.

22. UTEP at FAU -2.5: I have a lot of faith in Florida Atlantic's coaching staff, despite their rough season. Look for the momentum of the Week 10 win to continue.

23. Louisiana Monroe at Georgia State -11: GSU was quite unlucky not to cover last week, holding Arkansas State to 43 percent passing and 2.3 yards/rush. But it happened. I'm going back to the well.

24. Michigan -21 at Iowa -21: Iowa's offense just cannot score. Now, its defense seems to be faltering, too.

25. Tulane +23.5 at Houston: Houston's offense has been rather poor of late. The Cougars are off a bye, but hopefully Tulane's spread option attack can limit possessions and keep this low scoring. The Cougars also have a huge look-ahead game on deck v. Louisville next Thursday.

Thoughts on ranked games I didn’t bet

  • I was looking to back Arizona hosting Colorado if I could get 17 or more, as the Wildcats’ QB situation might stabilize and Colorado’s offense has been awful in recent weeks.
  • Ole Miss at A&M and Minnesota at Nebraska are off the board at many spots due to QB injury uncertainty.
  • Washington v. USC was right on my number, as was Wisconsin v. Illinois, Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, and Boston College at FSU.
  • Be careful with Texas and West Virginia. I’ve hit Texas and against WVU twice in as many weeks, but the value may be fading.
  • Many are looking to take Oklahoma against Baylor, but it cannot be bet blindly. Vegas is pricing in the likelihood that Baylor’s team has up and quit on the year. With every game, have a number at which you’d be comfortable betting either side.