College Football Games of the Year: Best Bets
By Dan Rivera
Ohio State @ Oregon Week 2
(+7.5, -115 FanDuel, week 2 9/12/20)
This is my favorite bet of these bets. You can get OSU -7.5 week 2 on FanDuel for -115 while the market is -9.5 -110. That alone should be enough to bet it. This number won’t last forever so I highly encourage you to get the -7.5 before it’s gone. I am a Ducks fan, but I have no problem throwing my favorite teams under the bus when it comes to gambling. I also attended Oregon for a year and witnessed how loud the stadium can get, that’s gone this year.
Starting with OSU, they have the far superior QB. They did lose some key guys in Chase Young, Jeff Okudah, Damon Arnette, J.K. Dobbins, and Malik Harrison. Mostly key defensive guys, but the good news for OSU is they have been on fire the last few years in recruiting. According to 247sports.com, OSU had the #4 recruiting class in 2016, #2 class in 2017, #2 class in 2018, and #14 class in 2019. This team has plenty talent in the system.
On the flip side, Oregon had the #27 class in 2016, #19 class in 2017, #13 class in 2018, and #7 class in 2019. These guys are young and going to be good but not right now. My next concern for Oregon is the QB, Herbert, has been the man the last few years. The most likely new QB is Tyler Shough, a redshirt freshman, who has no big time experience. To make it worse for him, the reduction in practice time this year from covid and Oregon plays North Dakota State week 1, which will not be an easy game to start with. I cannot back this Oregon team who is so reliant on the Autzen crowd playing the superior team that is loaded with talent.
Next, I truly (and cannot stress this enough) hate the Oregon offense. Oregon wants to #EstablishTheRun under 3rd year coach Mario Cristobal. This guy likes to run the ball on offense and it will be very easy for Ohio State to load the box and make Shough throw. Oregon does have some nice defenders with PFF having them as the best secondary in the nation. That’s fine but Fields isn’t a walk in the park, I am not sure about the Oregon pass rushing unit either against the OSU offensive line. OSU will be able to hold their own especially when they only lost 1 key offensive lineman from last year.
Lastly, this will be Fields 2nd year in the OSU system. He panned out super well last year and now will continue to develop as a player under his 2nd year. I am not backing the Ducks here because OSU is used to these big-time games plus OSU will be fully capable of blowing this team out by 2 TDs given the circumstances this year. For Oregon to cover this game, I think they will have to win or nearly win outright. I do wonder if these teams this year will be max motivated to get style points, if teams believe they are in serious jeopardy of games being canceled, it will look much better to the voters if you dominate the big names. OSU plays Rutgers and Jersey has been hit hard by covid so that game may be canceled.
LSU @ Texas A&M
(-1 FanDuel -110, Week 13, 11/28/20)
You guys know my disdain toward LSU already for this year and how I am super down on them. At a number of -1, we just need A&M to win and this year they are the better team. A&M didn’t loss much to NFL, highest pick was round 3 in Justin Madubuike (DL) and only had 5 guys total signed by NFL teams. Looking at the schedule, A&M has a good possibility starting 6-0 with a week 7 showdown @ Auburn. The only real game they will be dogs is week 12 @ Alabama. Looking at the schedule, I count 9 games they will win, 2 toss ups @ Auburn and South Carolina (back-to-back weeks on the road), and the last game home to LSU which they should be a bigger favorite than -1.
A&M is heading into year 3 under Jimbo Fisher. They went 8-4 in 2018 and 7-5 in 2019 (excluding bowls). This is the first year most of the guys in are Fisher’s recruits (or signed with Fisher as HC). They had the #13 recruiting class in 2017, #17 class in 2018 (first year of Fisher), and #4 class in 2019. They have some nice talent in the system. Mond last year finished #41 in PFFs end of the year QB rankings which isn’t bad considering he played good secondaries in Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, and LSU. He completed 61.3% of passes with 20 passing TDs last year. The only real bad games A&M had last year was the blowout loss to LSU and a 19-point loss to Alabama. Mond goes into his 3rd full year of starting.
Overall, this is a number I don’t think is there come late November. I am not sure what number it will go to but if my prediction of LSU being about a 7-to-8 win team this year with A&M being an 8-to-9 (and long shot 10) win team this year, I do know no chance it stays at -1. The only football related event that kills this bet as you read this in late June/early July is Mond getting hurt.
LSU @ Florida
(-3.5, FanDuel -105, week 6 10/10/20)
This game is very interesting too me. I am super down on LSU this year, they lost 13 guys to the draft, off a year where they got some lucky breaks, and lost the key passing game coordinator Joe Brady to the NFL. Joe Brady brought modern day football to LSU who just ran running backs into stacked boxes and asked their QBs to do very little. Right after Burrow, Brady to me is the 2nd biggest loss on the team. LSU screams massive regression despite many people putting them highly ranked. I think they are a 7-to-8 win team this year with BetOnline having them at 9.5 wins -175 under. I don’t truest Ed Orgeron, he is a motivator who just lost all that talent. He also went through a personal divorce this offseason and LSU had a massive outbreak of covid among the team. In 2017, Orgeron’s first full year, he went 9-3, 2018 9-3, and last year the historical run (excluding bowls). I have them losing to Florida, Auburn, Alabama, and Texas A&M this year, and relative coin tosses in Texas and South Carolina. Don’t be surprised if Orgeron is on the hot seat at some point this year because SEC boosters are beyond impatient and delusional especially if LSU loses to Texas.
For Florida, this is a team who isn’t named Alabama, Ohio State, or Clemson who could be in the next tier of competing/winning the national title (along with Georgia). Dan Mulllen is known for offense and putting up points. Kyle Trask gets an offseason to develop (or develop as much as possible because of covid) who replaced Feleipe Franks because of an injury. Trask had good box score numbers but didn’t pan out so well at PFF so the offseason will help.
We might get a Florida -3 and I will reluctantly love it at that number even though I am not a fan of the word love in the handicapping world.
The Florida secondary is loaded with talent. This will make life difficult for the new LSU QB and other WRs outside of Chase. Last year, LSU won this game by 14 but was a very tight game throughout. Trask threw an interception down 7 with about 7.5 minutes left in the game in the LSU redzone. LSU then scored making the box score look worse than it what it was. This year, Florida will be extra motivated and will be the better team overall because they only lost Henderson and Van Jefferson as the big key guys. I highly doubt we have fans to impact this game but I like this game at -3.5 but really want the -3. This is definitely something you want to watch throughout the summer before you lay down money.
Other Games I Like...
These are games I like for various reasons but I have some serious covid concerns. First game is USC Alabama (-14) and I like Alabama. I have heard a lot of big radio guys on Fox Sports come out and say this game is in serious jeopardy to be canceled. I didn’t put in this article as an official play because of this reason. Worst case for this game getting canceled is you get your money back. I see a lot of -14 at -110 with a few shops going to -14.5.
If you guys do like this game, Alabama is the better team and does very well in week 1 under Saban. Going back to 2007 (Saban’s first year as HC at Alabama), Alabama is 12-1 ATS winning by an average score of 40.7 to 11.1 with average line of -20.7. He has his guys prepared for this week and covers the big numbers. If you can get -13.5 with the extra vig, then I really like the game.
Another I game I like is Texas +3.5 vs LSU. LSU very overrated to me and I am not remotely surprised these media members won’t move them down. They don’t want the push back. Texas is the better team this year and if Tom Herman doesn’t win this game, it will get extremely hot for him. Texas probably wins this game outright. Texas didn’t lose much to the NFL either. They have Sam Ehlinger for another year and an offensive line full of older players. Lastly, LSU won’t have the big home field advantage which is a big break for Texas.
Last game isn’t available but keep an eye on is North Dakota State @ Oregon week 1. I was tweeting with Brad Powers and he has this game Oregon -12 (full Autzen stadium). This game probably comes out at 8 or 8.5. If we can get a 9 or higher, I will personally play it. This game screams look ahead spot for Oregon because they play Ohio State the following week. North Dakota State has a stud at QB in Trey Lance who is a projected top 10 pick and top 100 pick at LT in Dillion Radunz who has a very real possibility going round 1 in the 2021 draft. North Dakota State also isn’t afraid to play these D1 teams, in 2016 they went to Iowa and outright beat them. I am super down on Oregon and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bison beat the Ducks outright. Bison aren’t afraid of these games; they will come to play. Oregon also won’t have the nice home field crowd this year either. Lastly, I think under is worth a look depending on the number. Both teams like to run the ball a lot and I don’t really expect either side to pull away from each other until late (or later) in the game which will keep them running more.
You guys can find me on twitter @danrivera228 to tell me how much you like or dislike the picks. BOL to everyone!!