This column will give out 4 picks per week: the sport of the week, a favourite, an underdog and a wild card, which might be something (one other favourite or underdog in a recreation that is perhaps flying below the radar or a complete, as an example). Hopefully we’ll all be wealthy by the point the clock hits zero in Inglewood, Calif., on Jan. 9.
All spreads and totals have been taken Wednesday from the consensus odds at VegasInsider.com until famous. All occasions Japanese on Saturday until famous.
NFL finest bets for Week 8: Information might be deceiving. Have a look at the Raiders.
No. 2 Ohio State (-15.5) at No. 13 Penn State, midday, Fox
You’re going to listen to all week about how Penn State all the time performs Ohio State tight, and that actually has been true not too long ago: Whereas the Buckeyes have received 5 straight within the sequence, their common margin of victory over that stretch has been simply seven factors. Ohio State was favored in every of these video games, 3 times by double digits, however is 0-5 in opposition to the unfold in opposition to Penn State over that span.
You’re additionally going to listen to that the Buckeyes have but to be actually challenged, and it’s onerous to argue with that: Ohio State has performed only one workforce (Wisconsin on Sept. 24) that resides within the high 25 of Invoice Connelly’s SP+ metric. And though the Buckeyes received that one by 31 factors, which is in keeping with their 34.7-point common margin of victory, their smooth schedule is getting a variety of consideration.
I’m right here to let you know that these narratives are holding this level unfold down and the Buckeyes needs to be favored by greater than two-plus touchdowns.
Ohio State ought to be capable of benefit from Penn State’s two foremost weaknesses: working the ball persistently and stopping the run on protection. Nittany Lions working again Nicholas Singleton has put up a number of outstanding statistical performances, however 54 p.c of his speeding yards have are available in two video games: in opposition to Ohio (93rd in defensive speeding success price) and Auburn (97th). Take away these outings, and he’s averaging a pedestrian 4.2 yards per carry. In a near-loss to Purdue (twenty first in defensive speeding success price), he had 10 carries for 31 yards, and in a blowout loss in opposition to Michigan (twenty seventh), he had six carries for 19 yards. Ohio State’s protection ranks third nationally in success price on speeding performs.
Flipping sides, Ohio State boasts two working backs — Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson — who can assault a Penn State protection that ranks 93rd in rushing-play success price and ninetieth in speeding explosiveness allowed. Williams is averaging 6.97 yards per carry (seventeenth within the nation), with Henderson averaging 5.93, and Penn State not too long ago was seen giving up a ghastly 418 speeding yards to Michigan in that 41-17 loss on Oct. 15. I believe we see an analogous rating right here.
D.C.’s troubled sports-betting app might quickly have some competitors
No. 16 Syracuse (-2.5) vs. Notre Dame, midday, ABC
Orange standout working again Sean Tucker averaged almost 11 yards per try in final weekend’s loss at Clemson. The issue: He solely bought the ball 5 occasions. This week, Syracuse Coach Dino Babers instructed reporters that was a mistake that will not be repeated.
“When it comes to Tucker having five carries, that’s something that should not happen,” he mentioned. “I agree with everyone else that he should have more carries than that in a football game, and that has been addressed.”
Tucker and quarterback Garrett Shrader (who gained greater than 100 yards on runs in opposition to the Tigers however misplaced yardage thanks to 5 Clemson sacks) needs to be fed a lot in opposition to a Combating Irish workforce that struggles to cease the run. In Notre Dame’s 44-21 win over UNLV final week, Runnin’ Rebels working again Courtney Reese had 11 carries for 142 yards, which have been 71 extra yards than his earlier profession excessive in opposition to Idaho State of the Soccer Championship Subdivision on Aug. 27. UNLV ranks twentieth in speeding success price, so its success on the bottom isn’t all that surprising, however Notre Dame — whose protection ranks 112th nationally in anticipated factors added per rush — additionally gave up 219 speeding yards to Marshall (83rd in speeding success) and 164 to BYU (106th). Syracuse’s offense ranks 14th.
The Combating Irish have been gifted seven possessions that started in UNLV territory final week, thanks partially to 2 first-quarter blocked punts. They scored on six of these possessions, lacking a discipline objective on the one they didn’t. Syracuse is way much less more likely to be so beneficiant, and I just like the Orange to bounce again after its loss to Clemson.
Rutgers (+14) at Minnesota, 2:30 p.m., Large Ten Community
Taking a double-digit underdog in a recreation with a low whole (40.5 on this case) is nearly a no brainer, and that is very true when Scarlet Knights Coach Greg Schiano is catching all these factors in a Large Ten highway recreation. Schiano’s groups are 16-6 in opposition to the unfold on the highway in convention play and 6-1 ATS when the overall is 45 or decrease.
Like final week, when our fade of cratering BYU paid off, we’re going in opposition to a workforce in Minnesota that’s in free fall, having misplaced three straight and failing to exceed 17 factors in every of them. The Golden Gophers’ passing assault has been feeble since shedding star broad receiver Chris Autman-Bell to a season-ending damage, and Minnesota’s wideouts have a grand whole of 4 catches over the previous two video games. Opposing defenses appear to know that the Golden Gophers’ offense now consists primarily of handoffs to working again Mohamed Ibrahim, who final week carried 30 occasions however averaged solely 3.4 yards. The Rutgers protection ranks 19th nationally in anticipated factors added per rush and is led by coordinator Joe Harasymiak, who held the identical function at Minnesota the earlier two seasons.
I’m wading into some harmful waters once more in terms of quarterback accidents: Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan missed final weekend’s loss to Penn State with a head damage, and there’s no telling whether or not he’s going to play Saturday. I nonetheless like this guess even when Morgan performs, but when he doesn’t, these 14 factors are going to be a complete lot extra beneficial. Give me Rutgers.
No. 19 Kentucky at No. 3 Tennessee, below 63.5 factors, 7 p.m., ESPN
The Wildcats almost have the slowest-paced offense within the nation, averaging 30.6 seconds per play. (Solely Air Drive, at 32.3, is slower.) They’ve held the ball on common for 56.3 p.c of their video games by way of time of possession, which ranks sixth. But regardless of all that, they’re averaging solely 2.19 factors per drive (69th within the nation) and simply 0.62 of some extent per drive when beginning inside their very own 20-yard line (a hundred and fifteenth).
With such a plodding offense and a protection that’s fairly good (14th nationally in total success price), it’s no surprise the below has gone 6-1 in Kentucky video games. Plus, the one Wildcats recreation that went over did so by a single level, and Northern Illinois wanted 10 garbage-time factors over the ultimate 5:26 to make that occur Sept. 24.
I believe that continues right here, though Tennessee’s offense is potent. The Vols have been pretty adept at pinning their opponents inside their very own 20-yard line, with a median defensive beginning discipline place that ranks 12th in the country. Anytime you possibly can drive a sluggish, nonexplosive offense resembling Kentucky’s to journey lengthy distances, scoring tends to remain low.
Kentucky’s protection has held Mississippi State, Mississippi and Florida — the perfect offenses it has confronted — to 17, 22 and 16 factors. And whereas the Vols rank No. 1 in SP+ offense and lead the nation in yards per recreation, their offense can’t rating if it’s not on the sector. I’ll take the below right here.