This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
College Capper: CFB Week 11 Expert Picks
Is it bad I'm getting bored with 3-2 winning weeks? It's been a successful season, that every week seems to offer more challenging picks, followed by difficult beats where the thought process was right, and the results should have been better. Clemson got smoked last week, I lose. But did anyone watch the end of the UVA-UNC game? UVA was flagged three times while UNC was trying to run the clock out and win gracefully. After the second flag, I'd have run the score up. Just a brutal ending. On we go to Week 11!
Per usual, my Sunday initial line reactions has left me puzzled by some spreads, such as LSU (-3) and North Carolina (+3). I also loved East Carolina (+7.5) at Cincinnati, but that's now been reduced by a field goal. I'm still backing the Pirates personally, but won't officially list it given the movement.
North Carolina State (-18) vs. Boston College
Emmett Morehead looked decent last week under center for BC, and he could have a decent collegiate career ahead. But that was at home against Duke, not on the road in Raleigh. The Wolfpack defense is allowing 17.8 ppg, a number Boston College has failed to meet in three of four and six times overall. On the flip side, I've been impressed by Wolfpack freshman QB MJ Morris, who has thrown six TD passes in as many quarters. His emergence provides the motivation, and the Eagles are due regression after last week's competitiveness.
Tulane (-1.5) vs. Central Florida
Perhaps this is a spot where the Knights rise up and remind everyone they still control Conference USA, but I just don't see it. We don't yet know the status of UCF QB John Rhys Plumlee, and his availability can change the game plan, as he's a far better runner than backup Mikey Keene, who is the far better passer. But the Green Wave's defense has been up to the task all season, and will be again at home. And offensively, Tulane has terrific balance with QB Michael Pratt getting some NFL draft whispers and RB Tyjae Spears averaging 5.6 ypc with 10 touchdowns. I'd consider buying a half-point here just in case, but Tulane should prevail regardless.
Troy (-9) vs. Army
Call this my gut feel pick for the week, as I admittedly haven't watched Troy once. But I've watched Army enough to know they aren't a good football team and that they are offensively challenged. We know they want to run the ball, and taking a two-score spread against that clock-churning offense is a risk. But Troy is stout against the run, ranking 20th nationally, allowing a mere 112.6 ypg and 3.3 ypc. They know what's coming, and they'll be able to stop it consistently. Troy is 7-2 SU and 8-1 ATS, trends that will continue.
Georgia (-16) at Mississippi State
I can't believe this line is "so low." The narrative against; Georgia is going on the road and coming off a huge high in beating Tennessee handedly. Do they have the motivation here? I'm not sure it matters. Mississippi State is so incredibly one-dimensional offensively. They have scored 17 points against Kentucky, 16 on LSU and six against Alabama while ranking 129th in rushing, averaging 80.7 ypg and 3.5 ypc on the ground. It's a dink-and-dunk passing attack that averages 6.5 YPA. Does anyone think the Bulldogs defense won't shut that down, and score amply as the game grinds on?
North Carolina at Wake Forest over 76.5
I don't understand this game not being a pick 'em, given UNC has only one loss and Wake is reeling, having lost two straight. So we're taking that peculiarity out of it and just banking on points. Yes, this is a huge number. Crazily, I feel comfortable at anything under 80; both of these teams are going to pass and score at will. Last year resulted in a 58-55 result, 2020 finished 59-53. There's room for regression and we can still easily see 80+ points. This should be an enjoyable watch as we coast over.
Last week: 3-2; Season: 31-24
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Thankfully just a one-week trip into Loserville as I got back on track with a 3-2 showing this past week. Not a lot of drama within that 3-2 and most of them were decided fairly early.
My first loss came on the over in the TCU game and while the two teams started fast, the game slowed before the half and never really recovered. My second loss was on Illinois which lost outright to Michigan State. Lessoned learned I guess as after all, it's still Illinois and maybe I got ahead of myself on thinking the Illini were legit. The first win came on Wisconsin, which easily handled Maryland. Win number two came on the over in the Oklahoma game, which hit before the end of the 3rd quarter. The final win was on Georgia, which knocked Tennessee down a peg, just like I thought it would. Though I expected a little more out of the Volunteer offense, I had a feeling that the Georgia offense would get whatever they wanted, and that panned out.
All lines courtesy of draftkings.com. Bettors in Ohio can sign up using the DraftKings Ohio Promo Code to get ahead of the game with a pre-live offer before sports betting launches in the Buckeye State.
Ohio State (-39.5) vs Indiana
Poor Indiana. The Hoosiers could not have walked into a worse spot. Ohio State struggled in some poor weather this past week at Northwestern and man did the Buckeyes take some heat. They've heard about how they might be frauds all week and now they get to go back home, and weather permitting, they are going to unleash their offense, which never had a chance to get going this past week. Ohio State simply needs to win out to make the playoff, but that's not the mindset of a team like Ohio State. The Buckeyes feel underappreciated after last week's effort and they're going to do everything they can to prove that they are the best team in the country.
Tennessee (-20.5) vs Missouri
This week is all about redemption. Just like Ohio State, Tennessee wants to put the memory of this past week's game behind them fast. Unlike OSU, the Vols need to impress the committee the rest of the way. Sure, it's going to be tough to get over the pasting the Vols took at the hands of Georgia this past week, but these college kids are pretty good at rebounding quickly. As for Missouri, the Tigers played Georgia tough a few weeks ago, but I don't think they line up well with the Vols as Missouri doesn't have the offense to take advantage of Tennessee's weak spot, its defense.
Minnesota (-17.5) vs Northwestern
I know, it seems crazy that the team that played Ohio State tough for nearly 60 minutes this past week would be a huge underdog for a middle-of-the-pack Big 10 team like Minnesota, but there are a lot of things working in favor of the Gophers this week. First, they may have found their QB in Athan Kaliakmanis. I'm not even sure if Tanner Morgan is out this week, but if he is, that works in favor of the Gophers as their offense is much more dynamic with Kaliakmanis at the helm. Second, Northwestern is coming off a hard-fought loss to Ohio State, one in which the Wildcats surely got their hopes up for a bit, so a letdown this week is likely. Third, the Wildcats can't stop the run, they surrender over 188 yards per game and the Gophers will take full advantage of that.
Oregon (-13.5) vs Washington
Oregon is simply a machine right now. The offense especially has been unstoppable over the past month. Washington had a lot of steam early in the season behind its high-powered offense, but a loss to UCLA was followed by a loss at Arizona State and since then, they've won three straight games, but haven't been overly impressive in any of them. The only way the Huskies stay within this number is if they can score on nearly every drive, because honestly, Washington doesn't have the defense to stop Oregon for than a couple times. The Ducks' schedule has been light over the past five weeks, but they've won every game by at least 15 points and that 15-point win came against UCLA.
Over (64.5) Texas vs TCU
I'm hopping back on the TCU over train. The problem this past week was that Texas Tech didn't push TCU far enough. The Horned Frogs can score all day…if they have to, but when the opposition stops scoring, TCU has a tendency to slow down. Texas isn't going to let up in this game as its offense is just fine right now. That Texas defense though? Well, that's not so great. The Longhorns have surrendered 68 points in its past two games and now it's about to face the best offense in the Big 12. This should be the shootout I was expecting this past week.
Last Week: 3-2-0, Season: 28-25-0
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