Last week, we had a pretty solid slate of games and the betting column came through with another great week as the picks went 5-1. That puts us at 36-16 on the season heading into week 9.
This week feels like a gut-check week for a lot of different teams as there are look-ahead spots, trap games, and many tough situations across the country. Let’s get into it!
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
Notre Dame (+3) @ Syracuse
Last week, the lone loss for the column was the Clemson Tigers (-13) against Syracuse. That game played out about how I thought it would but the Tigers were unable to get a late cover despite their best effort as a 14-point swing really did them in.
This week, I am going back to the well of fading this Syracuse team. Personally, I think the Orange might come out a little deflated after losing that game last week and losing any real shot at the ACC title game.
Additionally, I think this Notre Dame team matches up really well with Syracuse. When Notre Dame lost to Ohio State and Marshall early in the season we all kinda stopped paying attention to them but they’ve won four of five since that point. On defense, Notre Dame will be going up against a top-ten passing unit for Syracuse but the Irish rank 16th in defensive passing success rate. On offense, the Irish have really struggled to run the ball, but I think they’ll be able to get that right a little bit here against Syracuse who comes in ranking 80th in defensive rushing success rate. Lastly, Notre Dame is 37-9 in the playoff era against ACC opponents. Given the difference in numbers and this being an emotional spot I like the Irish getting a field goal here.
Kentucky (+13) @ Tennessee
Next weekend is shaping up to be a GREAT slate of games with LSU/Alabama and Tennessee/Georgia.... however, that’s NEXT week. Before then, Tennessee has to get through little ole Kentucky. Easy peasy right? Not so fast my friends.
I am sure Tennessee is not looking ahead in this spot, but human nature says it’s possible. Additionally, Kentucky is coming off a bye week which I think allows them to really have a strong game plan on how they want to try and slow this Tennessee offense down. The Wildcats have done a great job eliminating explosive plays all season and they rank 15th in defensive passing success rate so the possibility to do so is there.
The concern for me coming into this was the Kentucky offense keeping pace, but I think an extra week of prep should really help them. Tennessee comes in with ok defensive numbers, but it's really been masked by this offense. They do struggle against the pass at times ranking 109th in coverage grades by PFF. I think the Wildcats find a way to keep it close and make Tennessee sweat a bit before a possible East division title game next weekend.
Illinois @ Nebraska (+7.5)
The Illinois Fighting Illini have been one of the best stories in college football this season and they sit at 6-1 atop the Big Ten West currently. The Illini have just rattled off three straight wins over the “powerhouses” in the Big Ten West in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota before heading into their bye week.
However, are we really to the point where the Illini are more than a touchdown favorite at Nebraska? I don’t know about that. Yes, Illinois metrics have been great all season long and Nebraska’s have, well, not been but I still don’t know if I am comfortable laying 7.5 here.
Lastly, this is Nebraska we are talking about. Nebraska is the King of losing one-score games. Of their last 13 losses dating back to last year, 11 of them have been by 8 points or less. I think the Huskers find a way to keep it close here, and honestly, I am sprinkling a little bit on the money line as well. Illinois has gotten a little too comfy on the top and I am ready to see some chaos.
Missouri @ South Carolina Under 47: Another situational spot here. South Carolina is off a big win over Texas A&M and now gets Missouri. The Mizzou defense has been really solid, especially up front, so I think this game could be just plain ugly as the tee-off on this horrid Gamecock offensive line.
Oklahoma State @ Kansas State Under 56: Questions linger about who will be healthy enough to play QB for K-State on Saturday, but Kansas State can win this game relying on their defense. I like the total going under here more than the small spread for Kansas State.
Ohio State @ Penn State (+15.5): James Franklin hasn’t won a lot of games in this series but he has covered in four of the last five. More than two touchdowns in Happy Valley is too many points for me to not have a small wager on it.