A very solid 5-3 mark last weekend got us to 22-16 ATS for the year, but our best bet went down the drain thanks to an impressive performance from Coastal Carolina and their backup quarterback. Let’s see if we can put a couple of winning weekends together as the 2020 season rolls on.
The Big Ten made its debut last week and they were talked about an awful lot and now the playoff talk has been ramped up thanks to Ohio State’s impressive debut win over Nebraska. Now we’ll move forward on this Halloween weekend with plenty of options available on the board.
It’s setting up to be a very fun college football Saturday where we can all watch ball for hours while wearing our halloween costumes and eating our candy late into the night with the Mountain West. Things might just get a little spooky in some places with no real marquee matchups on the slate.
Here are the best plays on the card.
Michigan State @ Michigan Under 52.5
Michigan was one of the biggest stories of last week as redshirt sophomore Joe Milton passed the test in his first start behind center as the offense hummed in a big win against Minnesota as the Wolverines are all in on the spread evolution. The defense was fast and very physical in an attempt to prove that Harbaugh’s squad is the best candidate to be Ohio State’s toughest competition in the Big Ten.
In his first game, things weren’t great for Mel Tucker. The Spartans had seven turnovers while allowing 38 points despite Rutgers putting up less than four yards per play. There is not much talent on offense right now in East Lansing while the defense is better than what the final score said last week.
Michigan State and its coaching staff are going to be highly motivated heading up to the Big House to prove last week was a bit of a fluke. Meanwhile, Michigan heard all about how good they were this past week. Add all this in with a Michigan State offense that is severely limited and this one screams under. Tucker’s defense plays well, but their lack of pop on offense makes sure this once comes in under the total.
LSU @ Auburn Under 65.5
After a 2-2 SEC start, LSU is set to head on the road and it appears that starting quarterback Myles Brennan will once again be a scratch. However, true freshman TJ Finley was very impressive in his first start against South Carolina and the high three-star prospect is starting to draw some big praise.
Shout out to TJ Finley. No. 11 looked great.
True freshman. First career snaps. Starting vs. an SEC team.
1 INT (then made TD saving tackle, turned into a FG)
8 carries, 24 yards, 1 TD
Never looked rattled. And he got the Tigers a convincing win.
— Shea Dixon (@Sheadixon) October 25, 2020
Auburn keeps living on a prayer this season with Gus Malzahn’s Tigers getting very beneficial calls from the officials in every winning outing so far. AU grinded out wins over Kentucky, Arkansas and Ole Miss while dropping road games to Georgia and South Carolina. Their defense has taken a step back while the offense is middle of the road in the SEC thanks mostly to a inefficient passing game. However, true freshman Tank Bigsby appears to be a stud.
This total is just way too big for this game and this is a principle play more than anything. Yes, LSU is very explosive on offense but Auburn is good enough to slow them down. Meanwhile, Auburn really isn’t built to win shootouts so you should see them come out and try to pound the rock against one of the SEC’s worst defenses. The total is moving north, but it’s time to zig while everyone else zags and take the under in the Tiger Bowl.
Virginia Tech @ Louisville Under 67
Virginia Tech dropped a dud last week in Winston-Salem as one of the ACC’s best offenses put up under six yards per play for the first time this season and a bad Hokie defense could not slow down quarterback Sam Hartman in Wake Forest’s home upset win. However, this offense is still having a great season with a strong running game and they need all the production they can get playing with a defense that ranks 14th in the ACC when it comes to yards per play allowed.
Louisville got things rolling against Florida State in an offensive explosion, but their defense might be the bigger story. UofL has put up back-to-back strong performances together on that much maligned side of the ball as the Cards are up eighth in the ACC with that all important yards per play allowed statistic. However, they really have a hard time stopping the run.
Both Louisville and Virginia Tech have explosive offenses, but they each want to establish the run first and foremost. When two running offenses face each other, possessions are usually limited and the clock doesn’t stop very much. We’re banking on that this to occur at Cardinal Stadium with a total that is way too high for a game that shouldn’t have too many possessions.
Arkansas @ Texas A&M (-12)
The Aggies had last week off after nice back-to-back victories over Florida and Mississippi State, but the buzz is at a fever pitch in College Station. All of a sudden, the Aggies look like the second best team in the SEC West and Jimbo Fisher has a legit shot at a top-10 finish. Isaiah Spiller has played like an All-SEC running back while Kellen Mond does just enough to keep the chains moving. Defensively, the Aggies are elite at stuffing the run but have holes in pass coverage. That has been the case for far too long under coordinator Mike Elko.
Arkansas and new head coach Sam Pittman have been one of the best stories in the SEC this year as the Hogs are playing competitive football. They tested Georgia in week one, could’ve easily won at Auburn and pulled off upset wins over both Mississippi schools. Defensive coordinator Barry Odom should be considered the frontrunner for the Broyles Award while Florida transfer Feleipe Franks is making plays at quarterback.
The Hogs cannot run the ball, but that’s okay in this matchup. However, A&M will have the best offensive balance of any team they’ve played so far this season and I’m projecting Fisher’s offense to give Odom’s unit some issues. I don’t believe this Arkansas pass game will be good enough to keep pace as this feels like a reset spot for Arkansas after the hot start. Play the double-digit home favorite.
Oklahoma (-14.5) at Texas Tech
After consecutive losses to Kansas State and Iowa State to begin Big XII play, the Sooners looked like they could be in trouble. They lost both games in the fourth quarter and nearly blew another against Texas. However, that overtime victory appeared to give them a boost and they looked damn impressive in last week’s road win against TCU. The passing game is starting to get rolling while the defense still needs a lot of work.
Spencer Rattler and Marvin Mims making it look easy out there ? pic.twitter.com/bS7GqiYBjC
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 24, 2020
Texas Tech snapped their three-game losing streak last week when they were able to knock off West Virginia at home and now they’ll welcome Boomer Sooner to Lubbock. Utah State transfer Henry Colombi got the start at quarterback last week and was very average. The Red Raiders love to push the tempo, but they have one of the conference’s worst defenses.
I’m banking on Oklahoma finding their groove and Texas Tech not having the ammo to keep up with their new backup quarterback. The Red Raiders won’t be able to slow down Spencer Rattler as the Sooners pick up a consecutive blowout conference win in prime time.
Best Bet: Kansas State @ West Virginia (-4)
Believe it or not, Kansas State is up to No. 16 in the AP poll with a 4-1 record and an unblemished mark in conference play. Despite losing their starting quarterback for the season, the Wildcats have been able beatdown archrival Kansas on top of winning their other three Big XII games by a combined 20 points. K-State plays complementary football under Chris Klieman and they do not beat themselves.
Meanwhile, West Virginia has looked promising in a 3-2 start under second year head coach Neal Brown. The Mountaineers have shown some nice improvement on offense while their defense has been able to give some teams fits by leading the Big XII in yards per play allowed. Leddie Brown has been a workhorse at tailback as Neal Brown continues to try to build his program in Morgantown.
A ranked team is going on the road and is a dog against an unranked team. That should always ring some bells. Kansas State sits outside the top-60 in SP+’s efficiency rankings as they’ve been living on a prayer to this point in the season. That catches up to them at Milan Puskar Stadium as WVU is favorite for a reason. Take the small home favorite.