College football is back and with it, college football sports betting. Each week during the NCAA football season, we’ll break down the biggest games of the week from a sports betting perspective and give you a pick or a lean for the games you, and the rest of America, are going to be watching.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel good about and could end up in our weekly plays. A “lean” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we favor over the other side. It could end up in our plays after additional research or information is released.
Record so far in 2018
(12) Oregon at (25) Washington State
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Washington State -3 / Total 67.5
In all the years ESPN has been hosting College GameDay from campuses around the country, they have never been to Pullman, Washington. As any fan of GameDay knows, one constant of the crowd has been the flying of the Washington State flag in clear sight of the TV cameras. Cougars fans often wondered if their favorite traveling Saturday pregame show would ever show up “in their city.”
This week, they get their wish. Washington State is ranked and has one of the best offenses in the country. Quarterback Gardner Minshew is the real deal and leads an offense that is 13th in the country in points per game (38.4). Minshew has thrown for over 2400 yards, 19 touchdowns against only 4 interceptions. He is completing over 68% of his passes and has the Cougars thinking upset over the Ducks and a chance to be in play in the PAC-12 title game.
Minshew’s favorite target is Davontavean Martin. He has 6 touchdowns catches so far this season. However, don’t sleep on Easop Winston, who has 29 catches and 5 scores on the year. The Ducks defense has given up big plays this season and will be tested often in this game.
Oregon has covered the last two weeks with outright wins over Cal on the road and Washington at home. The Ducks took both Stanford and Washington to overtime, and if it wasn’t for a massive mental error, they would have beaten them both. At 5-1, the Ducks control their own destiny for the PAC-12 Championship Game. Still, this is a road trip to a crazy environment.
The trends here are massively in favor Washington State. Oregon is 0-8 against the spread the last eight times they have faced Wazzu. Then, Washington State is 8-0 ATS in their last eight home games. The Cougars are also coming off a bye week while Oregon just played their second overtime thriller.
Oregon is ripe to get beat here. Lay the points and take the Cougars. There should be a lot of points scored too. A play on the over isn’t a bad idea either.
Pick: Washington State -3
Lean: Over 67.5
Colorado at (15) Washington
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Washington -16.5 / Total 50
We haven’t been in love with Washington this season. I picked against them in Week 1 versus Auburn and against them last week against Oregon and nailed both. Outside of a blowout of BYU, Washington has not looked the part of a team that was supposed to contend for the playoffs.
Washington’s defense continues to struggle to get pressure on the quarterback and couldn’t slow down Oregon’s high-powered offense when it needed to last week. Colorado’s offense is sneaky good. Quarterback Steven Montez is hitting on over 70 percent of his passes this season. The Buffs will have to make good on their chances, but good offenses can move the ball on Washington’s defense.
Coming into the game, the Buffs are averaging nearly 33 points per game. Last week, however, Colorado scored only 21 points in a loss at USC. They will look to bounce back in Seattle.
The Huskies are dealing with the injury bug hitting running backs Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed, the team’s two leading rushers. That could also be a reason to take Colorado and the points.
Colorado is a little banged up too, but they should healthy enough to put points up and keep the game close. The Huskies are only 2-5 ATS this season. Colorado is 4-2. While Washington is way better than Nebraska, Colorado has won in a tough environment this year with the outright victory in Lincoln. Montez was under heavy pressure from USC, but I don’t expect Washington to be able to do the same thing.
Washington is heavily favored, but Colorado plays hard. Expect a fun show in this one. In the end, the Huskies defense will be the difference. UW wins by 14 but doesn’t cover.
Pick: Colorado +16.5
(2) Ohio State at Purdue
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Ohio State -12.5 / Total 68
Buckle your seatbelts for this game in West Lafayette. It’s going to be a fun ride. Purdue, plus the points, is the popular public side. Many are referencing last year’s loss at Iowa for Ohio State, who is in a similar spot here. However, we see this game differently.
One thing about a shocking upset is that no one sees it coming when it happens. That’s why it’s shocking. Fans and media alike have been putting Ohio State on upset alert. Thus, it would be shocking if the Buckeyes came out flat in this game. However, Ohio State have been double-digit favorites the last two weeks and failed to cover. OSU is only 3-4 ATS this season. However, their offensive, led by QB Dwayne Haskins, is truly elite.
Ohio State is fifth in the country in points scored (46.3), second in yards per game (557.1), and 10th in yards per play (6.8). There is a lot Buckeye firepower for Purdue to deal with, and the Boilermakers are giving up 414.3 yards per game. That’s a recipe for a blowout.
The key to this game is whether Purdue’s offense can keep up with Ohio State’s offense. The Boilermakers average 33.5 points per game, and they can throw the football on anyone with their top 20 passing attack. Purdue beat the brakes off Illinois last week 46-7 to give them a three-game winning streak heading into this game. They will need to hit numerous big plays downfield to pull off the upset Saturday.
The problem is that Ohio State’s defense only gives up 19.1 points per game. Even without star defensive end Nick Bosa, they can really pressure the quarterback. There will be a ton of emotion inside the stadium at kickoff for this game, but that will only last for so long. Ohio State wins and covers as this game gets ugly in the second half.
Pick: Ohio State -12.5
(6) Michigan at (21) Michigan State
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Michigan -7 / Total 41
This is what fall in the Big 10 conference is supposed to feel like. Cool, wet, gross weather is being forecasted in East Lansing. These two sides do not have much love for each other, and it’s great that the weather will be just as nasty.
The total for this game opened at 45.5 and has been dropping like a rock ever since. Big money is coming in on the under because everyone is expecting a rock fight. Bettors are also taking the under because Michigan’s defense in the best in the country. It’s getting hard to even argue that point anymore after last week’s 38-13 thrashing of Wisconsin. The Wolverines are only giving up 15.4 points per game (6th in the country) and the nation’s best 238 yards of total offense per game.
It’s going to very tough for Michigan State to score enough to win this game. Look what happened to Alex Hornibrook and the Wisconsin offense a week ago.
Michigan hates losing, but they really hate losing to their little brother. After Michigan dropped the season opener to Notre Dame, there was no margin for if they wanted to be in consideration for the playoffs.
The Spartans are averaging only 3.4 yards per rush. Against this Michigan front, you can forget about MSU running the ball. With QB Brian Lewerke completing just 60 percent of his passes for under 270 yards per game, expecting MSU to move the ball through the air is a lot to ask.
Meanwhile, Michigan QB Shea Patterson has been a nice addition to this offense. The entire team feels like it has hit its stride at the right time. It might be a race to 20 to see who wins this one, but it’s hard to see how Michigan State can score enough. Ultimately, if Michigan protects the ball, they will win and cover.
Pick: Michigan -7