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The best bets for Week 6 of college football, including Notre Dame

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The early betting lines often allow for the most value.

Stanford v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

All wagers at -110 odds and for 1 unit unless otherwise noted. My picks are in bold, with that team’s spread attached. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week.

Season record: 51-45 (+$160)

Last week I went 14-13. And I’m pretty disappointed about it. I beat the closing line by an average of 2.3 points, which is awesome combined with that sort of volume. Beating the closing line is a proven way to win, and I hope I am able to do so again this week.

I often tell readers that the best bets can be found in the opening lines on Sunday afternoons. Lines tend to be sharper after they’ve been bet all week. Most of my plays are made early in the week. Note that some of the lines below have since changed.

Of course, if you’re trying to bet thousands of dollars on each game, the low limits (typically $250-500 max bets per game) early in the week can be a hindrance, but I’m figuring most of my readership is playing $100 per game or less.

Because I make these wagers throughout the week, I order them by when they were made.

Picks made Friday, October 5

I have been waiting all week to make some of these wagers, hoping that the lines will move.

  • Missouri -1 at South Carolina: Missouri can stop the run and South Carolina QB Jake Bentley is now not expected to start.
  • Syracuse -3 at Pitt: This line stinks. It does. It should be closer to a touchdown. But it’s not, and perhaps Vegas knows something that I do not. It stunk when it was released at six, but now at three I have to play it.
  • Miami (OH) +5 (+100) at Akron: This is another play which crept up enough to become a play this week. I had Akron as a one-point favorite, so five is too much value.
  • Iowa State at Oklahoma State -9: I made this line 13, so anything in the single digits is an obvious play. I am not convinced that the Cyclones can throw the football well enough to keep up in a shootout.
  • Bowling Green at Toledo -20.5: Bowling Green is an absolute mess right now and I am willing to lay just under three touchdowns.
  • Alabama at Arkansas +35.5: I absolutely hate going against this Alabama team, and a better option might be to live bet the Razorbacks if they get down big early. But for the picks column, I cannot pass up this play because I feel the number should be 31-ish.
  • Nebraska at Wisconsin -17: I know, I know. Nebraska is the very trendy public underdog of the week. The Cornhuskers have lost to teams who have a strong combined record, and have been extremely unlucky with turnovers (129th nationally). But this has now been bet down from an opener of 23.

Picks made Tuesday, October 2

  • North Texas -25.5 at UTEP: There are questions about both quarterbacks in this one, but UTEP is the worst team in college football and I had this game rated at over 30.
  • Kansas +29.5 at West Virginia: Any time you bet Kansas, you have to hold your nose. But this is simply too many points for me to pass up.
  • UAB +9 (+100) at Louisiana Tech: Louisiana Tech is doing some good things on offense, but can it get enough stops to win by multiple scores?

Picks made Sunday, September 30

  • Georgia Tech -2 at Louisville (Friday game): Louisville has struggled to defend mobile QBs all season. And the Cardinals are off a crushing loss at home.
  • MTSU at Marshall -7 (Friday game): I made this number 12, so I am very surprised to see it in the single digits.
  • Utah State +3 at BYU (Friday game): Utah State can really score. I am not sure BYU’s offense can keep up.
  • Notre Dame -1.5 at Virginia Tech: I cannot believe this came out at under a field goal. I expect it to rise to over a touchdown. Notre Dame’s defense is elite and under Ian Book, the Irish can also score.
  • Florida State at Miami -11: I made the number 16.5, so this is an obvious wager for me. I do not believe FSU can block Miami.
  • Northern Illinois at Ball State +7: I know that Ball State is bad, but there is no reason for this NIU offense to be laying a touchdown on the road against anyone not named UTEP.
  • Old Dominion +15.5 at Florida Atlantic: For whatever reason, FAU just does not seem to put teams away like it did a year ago. ODU can score, and I’ll take these points.
  • LSU at Florida +3: I was surprised to see the Gators getting a field goal when I made this line a pick’em. Neither team has much on offense, so points should be precious.
  • Ohio at Kent State +14: Kent State’s run defense is a major concern in betting them, but KSU has been scoring a lot this season and should be able to keep up.
  • Fresno State -11.5 at Nevada: I made this line 17. Perhaps I am too high on Fresno State, but at under a touchdown, there is too much value to pass up in the Bulldogs.
  • Northwestern at Michigan State -8.5: Michigan State has Penn State on deck. Still, while this series is usually tight, my numbers made this line far higher so I had to play it for value.
  • Kentucky +7 at Texas A&M: How much do I really trust the Wildcats? Not that much. But I power rate UK and the Aggies about even on a neutral field, so even awarding A&M with a substantial home-field advantage, this is still a value bet.
  • New Mexico +13.5 (-105) at UNLV: Both of these teams can run the football. Both are passing challenged. I’ll take any spread here in the double digits.
  • Iowa -3 at Minnesota: Iowa is off a bye and should be able to shut down Minnesota’s offense.
  • Auburn at Mississippi State +4: Both of these teams have struggled to score points. Given that I see Auburn as about a field goal better on a neutral site, I’ll gladly take four points in Starkville.
  • Oklahoma vs. Texas +9 (neutral site): Oklahoma’s defense has not been much better than last year for my money. And the Sooners have not faced pressure like what the Longhorns can bring.
  • Kansas State at Baylor -3: Kansas State’s offense is terrible. Baylor can at least score a bit. This is a surprising line, and perhaps I am betting into a trap.

Ongoing Futures/Props

I made 26 futures or prop bets which I published between May and August. My current record on these is 1-2, with a profit of $-120. That is reflected in the overall total above. My reasoning for making them can be found at the link.


  • BC +1.5 at Wake Forest (GOY futures line)


  • Alabama at Ole Miss +22 (GOY futures line)
  • Florida at Mississippi State -3 (GOY futures line)


  • Washington national championship (+2400)
  • Washington Over 8.5 wins (-200)
  • Michigan State Over 7.5 wins (-155)
  • Stanford Under 9.5 wins (-170)
  • Tennessee Under 6.5 wins (-160)
  • Virginia Over 5 wins (-110)
  • Boston College Over 5.5 wins (-110)
  • Oregon Over 8.5 (-120)
  • Northwestern Under 6 (+100)
  • Florida State Over 7.5 wins (-110)
  • UCLA Under 5.5 wins (-115)
  • Washington State Under 6.5 wins (-110)
  • Pittsburgh Under 5.5 wins (+100)
  • Virginia Tech Under 8.5 wins (-110)
  • Wisconsin at Michigan -3 (Game of year futures line)
  • N.C. State +19.5 at Clemson (Game of year futures line)
  • USC to win the Pac-12 (+485)
  • NC State to win ACC (+6000)
  • Georgia Tech to win ACC (+6000)
  • Clemson to make the Playoff (-130)
  • Alabama to not make the Playoff (+280)
  • Oklahoma to make the Playoff (+425)
  • Notre Dame to make the Playoff (+600)

I feel good about my chance of turning a profit on these wagers as a whole.

My Washington, Michigan State, Tennessee, Virginia, Boston College, Northwestern, UCLA, Pitt, Stanford, and Virginia Tech season win totals are trending in my direction.

Clemson at -130 to make the playoff looks up in the air according to both Bill Connelly’s numbers and ESPN’s playoff predictor.

And I like my chances of cashing at least one of my tickets on Oklahoma or Notre Dame to make the playoff at long odds.

USC, for all its struggles, still must be considered the favorite in the Pac-12 South, and at +485 to win the conference, will be a hedge opportunity if it gets to the final. Utah losing to Washington State helps a lot in the South.

And N.C. State at +6000 to win the ACC looks like a great value. N.C. State is currently +2000 to win the league at Caesars, meaning my wager is 3X as valuable now compared to what it was in the preseason.

Meanwhile, there are some wagers which I feel are already dead in the water.

Georgia Tech to win the ACC seems done, as does Alabama not to make the playoff, and win totals for FSU, Washington State, and Oregon.