Last week, the column got back on track going 5-3 on the week. I went back to what has worked for me for years in playing unders and we came out green on the other side as all four of them cashed with relative ease.
This week, I’ve got a few more unders in play and even one over bet for you to go along with some marquee matchup bets in what should be another loaded slate of college football. Let's dive into Week 6!
Michigan @ Nebraska Under 50.5
On one sideline you have Nebraska who is usually the butt of jokes in the Big Ten, but they’ve started to garner a lot more respect because of their play thus far in 2021. Usually, Nebraska is defined as “soft” but this year they’ve actually looked pretty good in the trenches.
On defense, the Huskers come into this week ranking No. 44 in rushing defense and those numbers are a bit skewed as they’ve played an extra game compared to everyone in front of them. On offense, they’ve run the ball well and rank No. 14 in rushing offense.
On the other side, Michigan is back to being Michigan. They focus on a run-heavy attack, and defensively they are looking to take away the run. So far it has worked as the Wolverines rank No. 35 in rush defense and No. 7 in rushing offense. As long as this recipe is working, I don’t see Michigan shying away from it.
To me, I see two teams that love to run the football offensively but they’ll be running into two front sevens that have held up well against opposing rushing attacks. I also see two coaches that have found a recipe that works, and won’t want to pivot if they don't have to. If that trend continues here, I think 50.5 feels like a lot of points.
Notre Dame @ Virginia Tech (+1)
The Irish come into this game off their first loss of the season and still sit at 4-1, but this team could very easily be 2-3 if it weren’t for some lucky turnover breaks early in the season. I have been on the Fade Notre Dame train all season long, and it is not stopping here as they travel to Blacksburg, Va. to take on the Hokies.
A lot of attention has fallen on the Notre Dame quarterback play, but that is just covering up the real issue that is this offensive line. Notre Dame is a program known for quality line play, but this group just does not have that same prowess. Coming into this week Notre Dame ranks No. 128 in sacks allowed on the season, No. 129 in tackles for loss allowed, No. 124 in rushing offense, and are worst in the nation in terms of stuff rate. This line gets absolutely no push against anyone which will be a problem against this Virginia Tech front.
So far this season Virginia Tech’s front seven has been incredibly good. Coming into this week they are No. 17 in total sacks on the year, and they rank No. 3 in Defensive Havoc which combines sacks, tackles for loss, turnovers forced and passes deflected divided by total plays. Essentially, a top-five ranking means that this Virginia Tech defense swarms to the football and causes a lot of...havoc!
With almost no run threat Notre Dame will have to take to the air which won’t make matters any better as the Hokies rank No. 34 in passing yards allowed. Overall, I think this is a matchup nightmare for the Irish offense. Add in the fact that it’s a night game in Blacksburg and I am very much signed up for the Hokies as a... home dog?!
Penn State (+105 ML) @ Iowa
Speaking of lucky turnover breaks, nobody in the country has gotten luckier in that phase of the game than the Iowa Hawkeyes. Coming into this game Iowa ranks No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin, sitting at +12 on the year.
In fairness to Iowa, you have to give some credit to their defense as they’ve clearly been in a position to make a lot of plays, but I just do not think this type of run is sustainable. Eventually, the voodoo magic has to wear off. Just last week I thought it would end as Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa had thrown just one interception on the season and he came out and THREW FIVE OF THEM TO IOWA. It’s absolutely mind-boggling, but it has to end sometime for the sake of my sanity.
I’m turning into Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad every time I watch this team.
This week the Hawkeyes get Penn State and Sean Clifford. Normally, betting on Sean Clifford to not turn the ball over would be playing with fire, but so far this year he’s been alright in that department throwing three interceptions on the season. Those three picks are the only three turnovers Penn State has had, which ranks No. 11 in the nation. Maybe that’s devil magic too, but one of them will have to give here.
If Penn State is able to hang onto the football I like them in this spot. Iowa’s turnover magic has allowed their offense to sit cushy, as they lead the nation in average starting field position. We’ve yet to see this Iowa offense have to drive the football down the field consistently.
If Penn State can force them to regularly get first downs I think they have an advantage with their defense. In turn, I believe this offense can find some gaps in the Iowa defense and score enough to win the football game. It’s a small spread, so I’ll take the plus money on the Penn State moneyline and hope that the voodoo Iowa City is somehow creating finally wears off.
UCONN @ UMASS Over 57: C’mon, you’ve got to have a bet here. I have yet to play an over this college football season, but I think I have found my spot here. We’ve got the No. 118 and No. 129 rated teams in terms of total defense. Points should be aplenty here.
Oklahoma (-3) vs. Texas: I think this Oklahoma offense is starting to come alive, and Texas has been really susceptible to giving up explosive plays. For that reason, I decided against the under and will go with OU here.
SMU (-13.5) @ Navy: I usually hate betting against option teams as underdogs but I think this might be a spot to do it. SMU’s offense is toward the top in all passing metrics, and their defensive line has held up well against the run. May look to play this SMU (-7) first half instead.
Georgia @ Auburn under 47: These two run defenses are top ten in the nation going against two good rushing offenses. Seems like a game that will be a lot of running into nothing.
Arkansas @ Ole Miss under 66.5: Arkansas should have no problem running against this Ole Miss defense, and the Rebels keep the ball on the ground more than most think ranking 10th in rush offense. 66 feels high here.