Wilson: My 9 Favorite College Football Betting Picks in Week 10
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Drew Lock and Adrian Martinez
- Collin Wilson gives out nine of his favorite college football betting picks for Week 10, including a few underdogs that could pull off upsets against ranked teams.
- He's riding a handful of home dogs this week, and looking to fade teams overvalued in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.
We are officially in Week 10, meaning the first set of College Football Playoff rankings have been released. The pressure begins to mount for top ranked teams in the race for the national semifinals. At least two top-10 teams will take a loss this week with No. 1 Alabama playing at No. 3 LSU and No. 6 Georgia at No. 9 Kentucky.
Here’s the full #CFBPlayoff Top 2️⃣5️⃣ rankings for games played through October 27.
Is your team in? 👀 pic.twitter.com/CnmGi1MMVx
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) October 30, 2018
According to The Action Network power ratings, LSU, Kentucky and UCF may overvalued right now. Each team has a chance to prove itself in Week 10.
Washington State, Michigan, Oklahoma and Ohio State round out a list of top-10 teams that cannot afford another loss if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
If you followed along with our futures play, you know I’ll happily take a Clemson-Notre Dame semifinal, with Michigan slated against Alabama in the other playoff game.
— Matt Mitchell (@olboyunclemitch) October 13, 2018
Be sure to check out my Sunday Morning Coffee column for our Week 11 projected spreads. Let’s get to the picks!
Subscribe, unsubscribe, rate, download twice and listen once to The Action Network Colleges Podcast.
All data below as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network app to get real-time odds, track your bets and follow all of our experts’ picks.
College Football Betting Picks, Week 10
Michigan State at Maryland
- Spread: Maryland +2.5
- Over/Under: 46
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN2
What a roller coaster of a week it was in College Park, with the reinstatement of head coach D.J. Durkin and his subsequent firing after Wednesday’s practice. I put my pick in The Action Network App after college football openers on Sunday purely based on the matchup in this game.
Once news broke of Durkin’s reinstatement, players started missing meetings and practices in protest of the decision.
From a betting standpoint, none of the news was positive if you had money on Maryland. Now with Durkin’s firing, the players should feel some closure on the incident and possibly have their best game of the season against Michigan State.
DJ Durkin was not fired for cause. The school will be buying him out of his contract. Evans told Durkin after practice today and then informed the team. Matt Canada will continue as interim coach.
— Rick Maese (@RickMaese) October 31, 2018
Wagering on Maryland came down to a few stats, mainly the Terrapins rush explosiveness ranking third against a Michigan State defense that ranks 101st in defending it. On the flip side of the ball, the Spartans should have plenty of offensive issues thanks to an injured offensive line.
In Week 9, the Michigan State offensive line played without its starting center, guards and lost right tackle Jordan Reid late in the game to a right leg injury. Backup right guard Luke Campbell also left the game with an injury but did return.
Quarterback Brian Lewerke is still questionable for the game, and the Maryland defense has plenty of tape to study on backup freshman Rocky Lombardi.
He had a game to match the name.
— Michigan St. on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) October 29, 2018
Regardless of who the Spartans put under center, it may be a struggle against the Terrapins. Maryland is 26th in defensive pass efficiency and seventh defensive pass completion percentage.
Expect Maryland to play an inspired and emotional game.
Play On: Maryland +2.5
Nebraska at Ohio State
- Spread: Ohio State -18.5
- Over/Under: 73
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
As I mentioned on the Action Colleges podcast, there are some teams with first year coaches that are more concerned about implementing systems and philosophies than they are changing a playbook to match personnel.
Scott Frost fit that mold perfectly, implementing his offense while defensive coordinator Erik Chinander was busy putting in the 3-4 scheme used at Central Florida.
Both coaches are making improvements weekly, as the Cornhuskers defense finished 110th in S&P+ defense in 2017 and now ranks 63rd.
Most people will point to Urban Meyer’s against-the-spread record with extra time to prepare as an angle for this game. With all do respect to Meyer and the past, this is a different version of the Buckeyes and their head coach.
Along with medical concerns for Meyer, the Buckeyes defense ranks 105th in defending rush explosiveness. Quarterback Adrian Martinez isn’t known for his passing skills at Nebraska, but the Buckeyes have the 123rd-ranked defense in passing-down situations. The Cornhuskers are on the rise and will be looking to pull the upset.
Play On: Nebraska +18.5
Soak it in, @HuskerFBNation fans.
First win of many under Scott Frost: pic.twitter.com/HogdpTq1XY
— Nebraska On BTN (@NebraskaOnBTN) October 20, 2018
Syracuse at Wake Forest
- Spread: Wake Forest +7
- Over/Under: 75.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN3
Did you know that Syracuse has not won a game in November since 2015? That lone November win against Boston College three years ago serves as the only late-season victory for the Orange and their upperclassmen.
Syracuse’s record in November is equally as bad as the current Wake Forest defense. A defensive S&P+ rank of 102nd is completely justified after giving up 35 to Louisville and 24 points to Rice. With a total close to 11 total touchdowns, there should be a plethora of scores.
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) October 27, 2018
While Syracuse is ranked No. 19 in the College Football Playoff rankings, their defense comes in at 81st in S&P+. The Orange do have a decent pass defense, but the rush offense is 121st in standard downs explosiveness, meaning the Deacs will be able to score from anywhere on first and second down.
Running backs Matt Colburn and Cade Carney both average more than 5.0 yards per rush, while freshman quarterback Sam Hartman has settled in nicely with a 14-7 touchdown to interception ratio.
Ultimately, Syracuse should win the game with its top ranked special teams unit and top 20 rank in havoc allowed. But this game will be full of fireworks, and Wake Forest has the offense to keep this within the number. Catch that hook if you wager at a shop without the full +7, as this could easily be an overtime game.
Play On: Wake Forest +7
Missouri at Florida
- Spread: Florida -6
- Over/Under: 57.5
- Time: 4 p.m. ET
- TV channel: SEC Network
Backing Missouri in Week 9 was a tough pill to swallow. The Tigers led 14-3 late in the game before a Kentucky punt return touchdown and subsequent untimed down resulted in the game-winning score.
Missouri was held without a first down in the second half, as Drew Lock now moves to 0-9 straight up against ranked teams. As for Florida, a loss to Georgia knocked it out of the race for the SEC East and the chance to win the conference.
Missouri matched up well with Kentucky last week, but may be an even better fit against Florida. The Tigers’ defensive line ranks first in the nation against rush explosiveness, something the Gators offense struggles with, ranking 104th. Overall, the Missouri rushing defense ranks third in S&P+, forcing the Gators to move the ball through the air.
On the other side of the ball, Lock is protected by an offensive line that ranks 18th in sack rate. Florida’s calling card is pressuring the quarterback, and Missouri’s offensive line should keep a clean pocket for Lock.
The Missouri quarterback has yet to beat a ranked opponent, but the Tigers should feel pressure, needing two of their final four games to be bowl eligible.
Meanwhile, Florida could be on a hangover after a loss vs. Georgia that erased any hopes of a trip to the SEC title game.
Play On: Missouri +6
Navy at Cincinnati
- Spread: Cincinnati -14
- Over/Under: 49.5
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPNU
Cincinnati had a bounce-back victory over SMU in a back-to-back travel spot last week, continuing a fantastic one-loss season for head coach Luke Fickell.
The Bearcats are still in the running for the AAC East, so this could be an overlook spot with UCF on deck. Fickell mentioned his team wasn’t looking ahead to the Knights, as revenge awaits against a Navy team that won last season.
Cincinnati was not prepared for the triple option in 2017, but has given the Midshipmen offense special attention in this week’s practices.
The numbers support the Bearcats in this game, as they rank seventh in S&P+ rush defense. Specifically, Cincinnati is fourth defensively in rush efficiency and sixth in opportunity rate.
Led by defensive tackle Cortez Broughton’s 12.5 tackles for loss and four sacks, Cincy is 22nd overall in havoc and 11th on the defensive line.
Navy is headed in the opposite direction, losing its past five games. Three of the next four games are on the road, leaving Navy with a slim chance to win out and make a bowl game.
The offense has not been the same as the 2017 version, ranking 86th in rush efficiency. Navy does not pass frequently, and some of that may be due to an offensive line that’s 130th in sack rate.
With a defense that ranks 124th overall in havoc, Navy will not be able to generate turnovers against the Bearcats, who are 27th in havoc allowed.
Take the team on the rise with better statistics in every category that is playing for revenge.
Play On: Cincinnati -14
Kansas State at TCU
- Spread: TCU -8
- Over/Under: 46
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV channel: Fox Sports 1
If I knew that new TCU quarterback Michael Collins would go for 351 yards and a touchdown against Kansas, I would have felt comfortable backing the Horned Frogs.
TCU bested Kansas in every aspect of the box score except one — turnovers. A crucial turnover on the Kansas 6-yard line put the Jayhawks over the top and got them over 2.5 victories, their preseason win total.
— 103.3 FM | 94.1 Estero | 105.9 Naples (@941FOXSports) October 27, 2018
TCU did find an offensive cadence in the second half, but failed to win the game. Gary Patterson has preached about the youth of his team, and the journey to a bowl game starts with Kansas State.
The Wildcats are in a funk of their own with the buzzards circling Bill Snyder after each loss, while the head coach stated that effort will earn players more playing time than talent. Kansas State is dreadful in plenty of advanced metrics including 121st in rushing S&P+, 121st in sack rate, and 123rd in overall havoc.
TCU has played a top-15 schedule and still ranks in the top 50 overall in S&P+. The Action Network power ratings have this game a smidge over the current posted number, while S&P+ predicts a 13-point victory by the Horned Frogs.
Collins should improve under center against a Wildcats club that can’t sack the quarterback or generate turnovers. Look to fade a tired Kansas State club on back-to-back travel after getting boat raced by Oklahoma.
Play On: TCU -8
— For The Win (@ForTheWin) October 27, 2018
Appalachian State at Coastal Carolina
- Spread: Coastal Carolina +15.5
- Over/Under: 55.5
- Time: 5 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN+
Welcome home, Coastal Carolina! The Chants have had one home game since Sept. 8 against UAB. Coach Joe Moglia has kept his team focused through hurricane displacement, multiple back-to-back travel spots, and the loss of oft-injured star quarterback Kilton Anderson.
The Chanticleers have shown plenty of poise in their quest for a bowl, while Appalachian State lost its star quarterback and crumbled against Georgia Southern.
— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) October 25, 2018
As of this writing, App State quarterback Zac Thomas is still not practicing and is considered day-to-day in the concussion protocol. Backup quarterbacks Peyton Derrick and Jacob Huesman combined for four interceptions in the loss to Georgia Southern. Without Thomas and previously injured running back Jalin Moore, it’s hard to get behind a once lethal offensive Mountaineers attack.
Whether Zac Thomas returns or not is a small part of the handicap. The Appalachian State defense didn’t do very well against a triple-option attack from Georgia Southern. That is music to Coastal Carolina’s ears, as it has burned defenses this year with its own triple option and run-pass option attack.
The key to beating Coastal is at the line of scrimmage, and Appalachian State ranks 48th in stuff rate on defense. The Chants are 30th in stuff rate and 18th in opportunity rate on offense, which often leads to explosive pass plays later in the game.
Play On: Coastal Carolina +15
Stanford at Washington
- Spread: Washington -10
- Over/Under: 46
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV channel: Pac 12 Network
It’s early November, and Washington and Stanford trail Washington State in the Pac-12 North standings, just like we all drew it up this summer. The difference between the Cardinal and the Huskies is the chance to win the division and play for the conference title.
Stanford comes off a close loss to the Cougars, taking itself out of the running for the North. As a person who holds plenty of Stanford season total under futures, this game against Washington is paramount.
Washington can still play for the Pac-12 title with a win in the Apple Cup at season’s end. Granted, that may be a bit off season expectations of making the College Football Playoff, but it’s still desirable to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl.
If you are a frequent reader of the CW9, we have been looking to back teams that can defend the Stanford jump ball, which it needs to move the ball. Did anyone believe at this point in the season Bryce Love would have just 419 yards?
The Washington defense ranks fourth in S&P+ defensive ratings, but more importantly rank second against pass explosiveness. Passing downs defensive efficiency has improved to eighth in the country, and that should be enough to shut down the one-dimensional attack of the Stanford Cardinal.
Play On: Washington -10
Cal at Washington State
- Spread: Washington State -10
- Over/Under: 49.5
- Time: 10:45 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN
Fading teams in the College Football Playoff rankings against the spread the week after the initial release has been profitable. This may serve not only has a fade of a top-10 team, but a spot where an outright upset can occur. I have banked on Cal in previous spots, only to be let down by a huge number of turnovers.
Once the Bears stopped turning the ball over, they took advantage of Washington in an outright upset last week.
With all the talk about the Air Raid Washington State offense led by quarterback Gardner Minshew, the Cal defense has quietly put together an outstanding campaign, ranking 11th overall in S&P+ defense. That includes a top-20 ranking in opponent yards per play (4.7), 17th in third down conversion defense, and 12th in limiting passing downs explosiveness.
One of the keys to beating the Mike Leach offense is to keep it off the field. Both teams rank in the top 40 in time of possession, but Cal is doing it with a ground game that ranks 18th in efficiency. The weakness in the Cougars defense is defending the rush, ranking 116th against rush efficiency.
Cal will get short yardage gains, too, as it ranks in the top 25 in stuff and opportunity rate. Cal has a punchers chance with this defense, and without turnovers and an efficient run game, there could be an upset brewing.
Play On: Cal +10