There are only four weeks left to the end of the regular season for college football. This is the most exciting time of the year for fans and sports bettors. College Football has now expanded to Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday prior to Saturday’s action and is a sports bettors dream in being able to capitalize on value plays that can build your bankroll. If you cannot get into this week’s action, then you must be dead because this is what college football fans live for. Marquee match-ups will dictate conference titles and shape the College Football Playoff in December.
Here are some games I have my eye on this coming weekend:
Penn State (-6.5) vs. Minnesota
PSU has won 5 of the last 6 meetings straight up. The teams played last at Penn State with the Nittany Lions winning in overtime by a score of 29-26. PSU is 5-3 ATS in 2019 and is 3-0 ATS on the road this season. The Nittany Lions are 11-8 ATS as a road favorite since 2015. Minnesota is 5-2-1 ATS in 2019 and is 3-2 ATS at home. The Golden Gophers are 7-3 ATS since 2015 as a home underdog.
Both teams have had an extra week of preparation for this contest. Penn State was hitting on all cylinders on offense and enters this contest averaging 172 rushing ypg and passing for 252 ypg with quarterback Sean Clifford. Clifford has stepped up this season and showed leadership in taking over for Trace McSorley. On the season, he has completed 62% of his passes for 1,931 yards with 20 TD’s and 3 INT’s. He will look to attack a Minnesota defense that is allowing 117 rushing ypg and is giving up 166 passing ypg to opposing quarterbacks.
It is important for Penn State to start fast and be able to dictate the tempo to force the Golden Gophers to match them score for score in this contest. Minnesota has held opposing offenses to 38% on third downs which could force long third downs for the Penn State offense. The Nittany Lions are converting 40% of their third downs in 2019.
Minnesota is averaging 204 rushing ypg and is passing for 225 ypg in 2019. The offense has three running backs in Rodney Smith, Shannon Brooks and Mohammed Ibrahim that have all averaged over 4.5 ypc and have combined for 16 rushing TD’s this season. The Golden Gophers will look to slow the tempo of the contest and utilize ball control drives to keep Clifford and company on the sidelines. Minnesota will look to attack a Penn State defense giving up 68 rushing ypg and is allowing 212 passing ypg in 2019. Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan has completed 65% of his passes for 1,761 yards with 18 TD’s and 4 INT’s this season. The Golden Gophers have the style of offense to challenge the Nittany Lions defense on the ground which could open up the play-action passing attack for Morgan. Minnesota has two big play wide receivers in Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson that have combined for 74 receptions for 1,270 yards with 13 TD’s.
Look for Minnesota head coach P.J Fleck to pull out all the stops en-route to the upset home win.
Pick: Minnesota +6.5 & ML
Kansas State vs. Texas (-7)
Texas has won 3 of the last 5 meetings in the series straight up. The Longhorns won those games by an average margin of victory of 8.3 ppg. Last year, Texas won in Manhattan by a score of 19-14. Texas is 4-4 ATS in 2019 and is 9-11 ATS since 2015 as a home favorite. KSU is 6-2 ATS in 2019 and is 12-8 ATS as a road underdog since 2015.
Kansas State is coming off two impressive victories of Oklahoma and Kansas. The Wildcats are in a back to back road situation facing the Longhorns in Austin on Saturday. Kansas State enters this game averaging 219 rushing ypg and passing for 171 ypg in 2019. Quarterback Skylar Thompson has played very well this season and has made solid decisions to put his team into a position to win games. On the year, he has completed 60% of his passes for 1,336 yards with 7 TD’s and 1 INT. He is also a mobile runner that can challenge the Texas defense on the perimeter in this contest. Kanas State will look to challenge a Texas defense giving up 165 rushing ypg and allowing 305 passing ypg in 2019.
Texas will look to start fast in this contest especially since the team will be coming out of a bye week and did not play very well on the road at TCU. Texas is averaging 168 rushing ypg and is passing for 308 ypg with quarterback Sam Ehlinger. On the year, Ehlinger has completed 65% for 2,378 yards with 23 TD’s and 7 INT’s. Texas will need to stay in manageable third downs to sustain drives which will allow the Longhorns “heavy” offensive line to wear down the Wildcats later in the contest. Kansas State is holding opposing offenses to 24% on third downs and will look to provide a short field for their offense much as they did against Oklahoma and Kansas.
Texas will benefit from the bye week along with the speed on the perimeter of their wide receivers.
Pick: Texas -7.0 & ML
Tennessee vs. Kentucky (-1)
Tennessee has won 6 of the last 7 meetings in the series. Last year in Knoxville, the Vols won by a score of 24-7. Tennessee is 5-4 ATS in 2019 and is 0-2 on the road straight up and 1-1 ATS on the road this season. Kentucky is 6-2 ATS in 2019 and is 5-0 ATS at home in 2019.
Tennessee will be looking to get back to .500 with a road win over the Wildcats. The Volunteers will need to win 2 of their next 3 games to become bowl eligible and it starts with this road tilt in Lexington this coming weekend. The Volunteers are averaging 138 rushing ypg and are passing for 210 ypg with quarterbacks Brian Maurer and Jarrett Gaurantano both splitting time this season. Gaurantano has completed 60% of his passes for 1,287 yards with 11 TD’s and 5 INT’s while Maurer has completed 49% of his passes for 426 yards with 2 TD’s and 5 INT’s. Tennessee will want to score first and force Kentucky out of their game plan of running the football in this contest. The Vols could utilize an up-tempo attack early on in this contest to establish a lead which could put pressure on the Wildcats to use the passing game to come from behind.
Kentucky has been utilizing wide receiver Lynn Bowden as an option quarterback due to an injury to both starters Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith this year. Bowden has rushed for 598 yards with four touchdowns. He has also completed 40% of his passes for 188 yards with a touchdown. Kentucky has failed to pass for over 100 yards in each of the last four games (South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and Missouri) and if they are forced into long third downs, this can favor a Volunteers defense that has recorded 23 sacks this season.
Kentucky is allowing 176 rushing ypg and is allowing 180 passing ypg to opposing offenses this season.
Tennessee is allowing 137 rushing ypg and is giving up 213 passing ypg this season. The Volunteers have held the last two opponents South Carolina and UAB to under 100 yards rushing and under 2.7 ypc.
Look for Tennessee to win their third straight game and get back to .500 with another SEC win.
Pick: Tennessee +1.0 & ML
Missouri vs. Georgia (-17)
Georgia has won 5 straight in the series by an average margin of victory of 15.4 ppg. Last year, Georgia won 43-29 as a 14.5 point favorite. Georgia is 1-4 ATS at home in 2019 and is 11-14 ATS since 2015 as a home favorite. Missouri is 4-4 ATS in 2019 and is 0-3 SU and ATS. Georgia is coming off an emotional seven-point win over Florida while the Tigers have had an extra week of preparation for this contest. The Bulldogs also face arch-rival Auburn the following week and with the Bulldogs on the outside looking in for the College Football Playoff, there is no margin of error for this team.
The status of Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant should be monitored (game-time decision), however, the Tigers do have the defense to keep this game within the number Saturday night in Athens.
Georgia will want to run the football with their “heavy” offensive line to dictate the tempo and wear down a smaller defensive front seven in Missouri. The Bulldogs enter this game rushing for 223 ypg and are passing for 240 ypg with quarterback Jake Fromm. He has completed 70% of his passes for 1,685 yards with 11 TD’s and 3 INT’s this year.
Missouri has been solid on defense in 2019 and will look to force mistakes against Fromm early on to establish momentum playing on the road. Missouri is holding opposing offenses to 136 rushing ypg and is allowing 144 passing ypg to opposing offenses. Missouri will look to challenge a Bulldogs defense that is allowing 78 rushing ypg and 190 passing ypg entering week 11. The Tigers are averaging 184 rushing ypg and are passing for 244 passing ypg.
Look for the Tigers to utilize running back Tyler Badie in the screen game to neutralize the front seven of Georgia which will also take the pressure off of their offensive line. Badie has caught 22 passes for 297 yards with 3 TD’s this year and can create mismatch issues for nickel backs and linebackers in this game.
Pick: Missouri +17.0
Iowa State vs. Oklahoma (-14.5)
Oklahoma has won 4 of the last 5 games straight up in the series by an average margin of victory of 25.2 ppg. The Sooners won this game in Ames last year 37-27. Oklahoma is 4-4 ATS in 2019. Iowa State has covered three straight ATS against Oklahoma. Both teams will be resting and coming off a bye week entering this week 11 tilt. Oklahoma will look to bounce back from a disappointing road loss two weeks ago to Kansas State as a 20.5 point favorite.
The Sooners are averaging 252 rushing ypg and are passing for 346 ypg with quarterback Jalen Hurts at the helm. Hurts has completed 73% of his passes for 2,467 yards with 21 TD’s and 3 INT’s. Oklahoma will look to challenge an Iowa State defense that is holding opposing offenses to 117 rushing ypg and 223 passing ypg.
The Cyclones play a defensive style that forces opposing offenses to methodically work down the field and limits big “chunk” plays. Iowa State is holding opposing offenses to 40% on third downs and held Oklahoma State to 2 of 12 third downs in their home loss two weeks ago. The scheme favors more zone coverage and will force Hurts to stay in the pocket and wait until his receivers work open against the defense. This will force Hurts to be patient and could handcuff the Sooners much in the same way that Kansas State did a couple of weeks ago.
The Cyclones have an underrated offense that is averaging 328 passing ypg with quarterback Brock Purdy at the helm. On the year, he has completed 68% of his passes for 2,567 yards with 15 TD’s and 7 INT’s. Iowa State will be prepared with the extra week of preparation. The Cyclones offensive line will be the most important factor in this game. The Cyclones have only allowed 12 sacks as a unit and expect them to protect Purdy to allow him time to locate his receiver s in this game.
Oklahoma will win, however, the Cyclones will be within the number Saturday night in Norman.
Pick: Iowa State +14.5