Week Eleven is do-it-or-don’t week in college football, and the heavies will line up against one another. It’s one of those stellar weeks where almost every game matters to every team. Here, we give our our best guess at the best bets with the lowest stress. Here are our college football picks of the week!
2019 ATS Record
Blaine Duncan: 18-11-1 (Week Ten: 1-2)
TD Wood: 14-14-2 (Week Ten: 1-1-1)
When it’s the end of the night and you’re relying on Tennessee football to keep you from going 0-3 for the week, things have gone to shit. But the Vols did it. They beat UAB accordingly and continue their (very) low-key upswing. Florida was within 7 points, but couldn’t beat that +6.5 spread. I’m never not baffled at how close the Vegas oddsmakers can get the spread. Sitting at 60% and going into the final stretch, I’ll do my best. It’s been really great or really bad, so either take my bets or don’t.
LSU at Alabama (UNDER: 63): I may be convoluting this year’s LSU and Bama game for those of the recent past, but that 63 jumps out as too high. Let’s assume Tua isn’t 100%. If so, Saban and Bama rely on the run game a lot more than usual. If that Crimson Tide defense can play at a fired up — albeit somewhat injured — level, perhaps they can keep a touchdown or two off the scoreboard. I’ll call for the under. I’ll also call for Trump to leave the game before halftime.
Iowa State (+14.5) at Oklahoma: Iowa State can win this one. They won’t, and I’ll attribute that to three things: the Sooners’ bye week (they’ve fixed shit), their previous loss (I can’t see Oklahoma dropping two in a row), and a home game for the Sooners (and if those Watchmen folks show up like what’s been happening in that show, ain’t no telling what may happen). Still, the Cyclones will keep it manageable until the fourth quarter. Then those Rorschach folks will storm the field.
Tennessee at Kentucky (-1): Here’s a game all eyes will be on! The Wildcats get the Vols at home and at night. I’ve said that Tennessee is trending upward, but I meant more like Trump’s poll numbers in California. Stoops will get a home win here probably by seven or so. This is an absolute game for those degenerate gamblers in us all.
Welp, another week and I’m still batting .500 for the season — although I still call shenanigans on that SMU/Memphis push. But that was last week, and this week has two HUGE games as LSU visits Tuscaloosa to play the Tide and Penn State plays at undefeated Minnesota. Our third game is another Big 10 battle between two ranked teams, as Wisconsin hosts Iowa in a game that officially knocks the loser out of the Big 10 West race.
Penn State (-6.5) at Minnesota: The Golden Gophers’ story is a great one, and it’d be phenomenal if they ran the table and broke into the playoffs. But, that’s not gonna happen. The Gophers’ D is good, but they have been feeding on some WEAK offenses so far. Minnesota’s schedule is insanely back-loaded, and this game will be their wake-up call. Penn St. is by far the most athletic and talented team the Gophers have faced, and I see the game staying close for maybe 3 quarters, with the Nittany Lions’ depth and talent overwhelming the home team at the end.
Iowa at Wisconsin (-9): Iowa’s offense struggles to score points, and that’s kind of a problem. Wisconsin should dominate this one, from beginning to end, on both sides of the ball. The Badgers lost two in a row before their bye last week, so you know they’re coming out on fire. I expect them to win big.
LSU at Alabama (-6): Time for our main event. If sports betting were legal in Louisiana — which, again, WTF Louisiana state government? — I’d stay far away from this one (although, as a rule I never bet on my teams anyway, bad hoodoo). But I’m here to take on college football’s biggest games, so let’s give it a go. A lot of love for the Tigers coming into this one, and it’s mostly deserved. But, I’m not 100% convinced — just because you finally stopped lining up in the I-formation and learned the forward pass doesn’t mean you revolutionized the game. At first glance LSU has the more impressive resume, but once you put it under the microscope you can see the holes. Texas is now a 3-loss team that barely escaped Kansas, Florida played with a backup QB in Baton Rouge and was some questionable play-calling away from the win, and Auburn took LSU to the wire in Death Valley despite a poor performance from a freshman QB in his first big road test. More importantly, the Tigers of Auburn D laid the blueprint for slowing down the Tigers of LSU offense. Now, there is absolutely something to be said for the experience of playing in close games that benefits the Bayou Bengals, but let’s pump the breaks on this “LSU has played a killer schedule!” narrative. That brings us to the Crimson Tide. We all know the knocks: “weaker” schedule, a not 100% Tua, and a lot of inexperience on defense. But everything I’ve read has overlooked once majorly important fact: Alabama is coached by Nick Saban, and LSU is coached by Ed Orgeron. Both teams are coming off of byes, and while Saban isn’t the best in-game coach, give him time to prepare and there is no one better. The second biggest factor in this matchup is the defenses. I’ve seen the word “trash” thrown around to describe both, and it’s both laughable and a testament to the extremely high standard both of these programs have set on the defensive side of the ball. Alabama’s D isn’t the dominant unit of years past, with injuries forcing a lot of freshman and sophomores onto the field to be baptized in the fire. LSU’s defense also lacks that killer reputation they’ve built this century. But, both teams are still top 20 in total defense and top 25 in scoring D. The glaring difference is in pass defense: Alabama ranks 15th in the nation, while the Tigers it at 50th. And in this new era where this game is going to look more like a Big 12 shootout than the 9-6 “Game of the Century” from 2011, that’s what stands out to me. I think it’ll be a thriller, but Bama will be better prepared and make more big plays on both sides of the ball to take the win by about 10 points.
Note: All games are Against the Spread. Odds are taken from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.