Week 10 of the college football season is here and so is 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 we favor over the other side. It could end up in our plays after additional research or information is released.
Season-long picks record
Week 10 matchups
(1) Alabama at (4) LSU
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Alabama -14.5 / Total
Alabama is simply the best team in the country, and their numbers prove it.
The Tide have the No. 1 scoring offense (54.1 ppg) and the No. 7 scoring defense (15.9 ppg). Alabama is averaging over 564 yards per game, also best in the country. Alabama is 20th in rushing defense, giving up just 114.8 yards per contest in mostly lopsided games. It paints a pretty clear picture of the most dominant team in 2018.
Outside of a slight knee injury to star QB Tua Tagovailoa, this top-ranked Alabama team has seen little to no adversity in 2018. The toughest opponent the Crimson Tide have played so far has been Texas A&M, who failed to cover the 24-point line. With that in mind, could they be ripe for an upset in their most difficult road test of the season?
This is the game of the year in the SEC with both teams currently ranked in the top four for the playoffs. There is so much riding on this game, including a trip to Atlanta to play for the SEC Championship. If Alabama wins, they will most likely be a lock for another run at a national title. If LSU wins, they will have a shot to win their way into the playoffs.
I love home dogs getting points in rivalry games. So the question is, how does LSU cover this spread? In my opinion, they have to slow the game down.
LSU’s defense is right there with Alabama’s for points per game, giving up just 17.3 per contest. The Tigers are sixth in the country in takeaways averaging over two per game. Their secondary has intercepted 14 balls, and LSU can sack the quarterback with their talented defensive front. The Tigers must force turnovers and push Alabama into having to deliver in crunch time for the first time this season.
For context, Georgia has one of the best passing attacks in the country and couldn’t do much in Death Valley. The Tide has a better quarterback than UGA, but Tua is still very young. This environment is going to be crazy, and LSU’s defense has the ability to make QBs pay for mistakes.
Alabama’s run defense is extremely tough, but LSU can’t put the entire game on the shoulders of QB Joe Burrow. RB Nick Brossette and company must find a way to move the chains on third down, something LSU has struggled to do consistently at points this season.
I think LSU can do that enough to keep the game within two touchdowns. I like the hook in this game. Take LSU +14.5
Pick: LSU +14.5
(14) Penn State at (5) Michigan
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Michigan -10 / Total
There is something I just don’t like about this Penn State team.
PSU lost back to back games to Ohio State and Michigan State and then had to fight to beat Indiana and Iowa the last two weeks. Sure, they are on a two-game winning streak, but I just don’t buy it. We had Iowa +7 last week, and while it barely covered, I’m going against them against this week. I just think Penn State is overrated.
On the other hand, I’m a big fan of Michigan this season. Their defense continues to be ranked first in the nation in total yards allowed and yards on ground allowed per game. The Wolverines are only giving up 14.4 points per game (4th best) and have covered four of their last five games against the number. You just don’t move the ball on this defense, especially on the ground.
Now, guess who has to move the ball on the ground to be effective? Penn State.
The Lions rank outside the top 50 in passing offense this season while their rushing attack is ranked 18th. If Penn State can’t move the ball on the ground, they will struggle to score. QB Trace McSorley is completing just 53% of his passes and is averaging just 203 yards per game. While he has thrown 12 touchdowns this season, McSorley is averaging over 77 yards per game on the ground. Michigan won’t allow him to get anywhere near that number in this game.
Wolverines QB Shea Patterson is good enough to move the ball on a defense that gives up over 225 yards per game through the air. Michigan isn’t explosive on offense, but they are good enough to put up at least 24 points. I don’t think Penn State can score at that rate.
Michigan has won three games in a row by an average of 20 points, and even though 10 points is a lot to lay, I’m rolling with the home team.
Pick: Michigan -10
(6) Georgia at (11) Kentucky
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Georgia -9.5 / Total 44
Here we are once again with a home team getting nearly double-digit points in a game with major playoff implications.
This is the biggest home game for Kentucky football in many years, and the Lexington faithful will be at basketball-level excitement for a top 10 opponent. In fact, this is the biggest game for UK in the next week, and, yes, I know Kentucky basketball is playing Duke on Tuesday.
The blueprint to beat Kentucky seems easy enough. Stop Benny Snell Jr. and make the Wildcats beat you through the air. UK’s offense might be predictable, but it’s still very difficult to stop. Texas A&M did a good job of slowing down Snell and handed Kentucky their only loss of the year. However, even in that game, it was close late.
Georgia faced an opponent like this on the road two weeks ago in LSU, and it didn’t go so well for the Bulldogs. UGA needs to run the football to keep their offense balanced, but Kentucky is giving up just over 100 yards per game on the ground. That’s 15th best in the country. The only game the Wildcats lost, they gave up 130 yards to the Aggies. If Georgia can get to that number or higher, they should be in good shape. Easy said than done.
Watch the red zone, however, for Kentucky’s defense. If they are holding Georgia to field goals and not giving up touchdowns, that’s a recipe for a dog to cover. UK is the best in the SEC for red zone defense, and I think the ‘Dogs will be kicking a bunch of field goals in this game.
I think Georgia wins, but take the points at home and Kentucky to cover.
Pick: Kentucky +9.5
(12) West Virginia at (15) Texas
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Texas -1.5 / Total 58
Last week, we were on Oklahoma State getting three points from Texas, and we told you a moneyline play wasn’t a bad idea. The Cowboys withstood a second-half run by Texas but were able to hold on for their biggest win of the year.
Now, Texas was overrated going into that game. Tom Herman is a great coach, but UT isn’t a top 10 team this season. However, we went against Texas because Herman simply doesn’t win games laying points. UT is now 0-5 ATS as favorites.
For that reason, I can’t take UT to cover this small line. Instead, let’s look at the total.
West Virginia is averaging 37.8 points per game. In their only loss, to Iowa State on the road, the Mountaineers scored just 14. Every other game saw WV score at least 35, including bouncing back from that loss by crushing Baylor 58-14. West Virginia is now 6-1 ATS this season, which is another stat against taking a side in this game.
Now, the Mountaineer defense isn’t much to talk about this season. West Virginia is only giving up 20 points per game, but they gave up 30 points to Iowa State and 34 points Texas Tech in their two road contests. That’s important to note with this game in Austin on Saturday and a reason why I like the Over.
Texas is led by QB Sam Ehlinger, who is having a fine season. UT is scoring 31.2 points per game and has scored 23 points in every game at home. The offensive line has had some success this season, and running the football against a Mountaineer front that is giving up over 132 yards per game on the ground would be a smart way of keeping the ball away from QB Will Grier.
However, I just don’t trust the UT defense, which is giving up over 378 yards per game. This game has shootout written all over it. I will lean with Texas -1.5, but I like a play on the Over.
Pick: Over 58