College Football Week 10 Odds & Early Bets: 2 Picks, Including Syracuse vs. Pitt and New Mexico vs. Utah State
Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Alijah Clark #10 of the Syracuse Orange.
Week 10 of the college football season is here, and we are headed into the stretch run with the College Football Playoff picture still needing to be sorted out.
We all know the college football market moves a lot over the course of the week. Money pours in all over the place from the time lines open on Sunday afternoon until kickoff on Saturday. Week 10 is no exception.
Like any other sport, it's paramount to get the best price possible when betting on college football.
For example, a -6.5 favorite could move to -7.5 on Saturday morning, and then you run the risk of that team winning by one of the most likely outcomes — a seven-point victory — and you just lost your bet. It could have all been avoided if the bet was locked in at -6.5 on Monday morning.
I'm here to help you navigate the market by providing a few lines I'm buying right now — or other lines that I'm waiting to buy later in the week.
The hope for this piece is to beat the market, get the best price possible, and in the long run, save you some money with closing line value. To do that, we'll utilize our Action Network PRO projections, ESPN's SP+ and my own projections to create a consensus.
You hear all the time, "Process over results." The best way to know if the process is working is by closing line value (CLV), meaning how many points did you beat the closing line by?
I'll be keeping track of exactly how many points we've beaten the market by in recent weeks:
- Mississippi State -5 → -9 closing line
- UAB -9.5 → -10 closing line
- Arizona State +13.5→ +13.5 closing line
- Toledo -7.5 → -7.5 closing line
- North Texas -5.5 → -6.5 closing line
- Virginia +3.5 → +2.5
- Pittsburgh +1.5 → +1.5 closing line
- East Carolina +3.5 → +3 closing line
- Marshall -1.5 → -2.5 closing line
Now, let's dive into the Week 10 slate.
Syracuse vs. Pitt
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Syracuse has lost back-to-back games in difficult spots against Clemson and Notre Dame.
Pittsburgh, seemingly very quietly, has now lost three of its last four games, and the Panthers offense has struggled mightily.
The main problem with Pittsburgh's offense is quarterback Kedon Slovis. Let's be blunt: The USC transfer has played poorly this season. Slovis averages 7.5 yards per attempt, reports a mediocre 69.7 PFF passing grade, and has seven big-time throws compared to 10 turnover-worthy plays.
On Saturday, Slovis must contend against one of the best secondaries in the ACC. The Syracuse defense only allows 6.2 yards per attempt (10th in FBS), has the fifth-best coverage grade in college football, per PFF, and is sixth in EPA/Pass allowed.
Pitt has a tendency to become incredibly reliant on the run game; the Panthers run the ball on 54% of their offensive plays. They do have an outstanding running back in Israel Abanikanda, who averages 5.9 yards per carry, has 16 touchdowns and boasts 29 runs of at least 10 yards.
However, much of Abanikanda's production came against Rhode Island and Virginia Tech. In contrast, Abanikanda managed fewer than 5.0 yards per carry against West Virginia, Western Michigan, Georgia Tech, Louisville and North Carolina.
Israel Abanikanda: 2022 Rushing Splits by Opponent
|Rush Yards||YPC||Rush TD|
|Rush Yards||YPC||Rush TD|
Syracuse has a solid front seven that ranks 25th in rushing explosiveness allowed and 47th in EPA/Rush Allowed.
Quarterback Garrett Shrader was benched during the Notre Dame game, but overall Shrader has been really good this season. He has an 82.6 PFF passing grade and averages 8.5 yards per attempt with a 77.9% adjusted completion percentage.
We will see if Dino Babers decides to stick with Shrader against Pitt — or instead if Babers opts for Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, who came on in the second half.
No matter who is at quarterback, the focus of the Syracuse offense revolves around Sean Tucker, who is one of the best running backs in college football. Tucker averages 5.3 yards per carry, has an 81.2 PFF rushing grade and boasts 21 runs of 10 yards or more.
Sean Tucker will be pleased with this carry🍊
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 1, 2022
Pitt's defense is highly susceptible to giving up explosive plays in the run game: The Panthers rank 124th in rushing explosiveness allowed.
Moreover, Syracuse's biggest advantage against Pitt is Finishing Drives. The Orange offense ranks 27th in Finishing Drives, whereas Pitt is 67th in Finishing Drives Allowed.
On the other side of the ball, the disparity is even more severe. Pitt's offense ranks 80th in finishing drives, and Syracuse is sixth in Finishing Drives Allowed.
All three projection models have this game right around a pick'em, so there is some value right now on Syracuse at +3.5, which is currently available at Caesars.
Pick: Syracuse +3.5
New Mexico vs. Utah State
|New Mexico Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Utah State Odds|
-110o / -110u
This is a gross game, but the number is simply too high for Utah State.
Both teams are coming into Week 10 off of a bye, but the last time Utah State was in action, it put out a pathetic offensive performance in Laramie, scoring just 14 points on 3.5 yards per play.
In the last two weeks, it's combined for just 31 points against Colorado State and Wyoming.
The quarterback position is a major question mark right now for the Aggies. Logan Bonner is out for the season, and both Levi Williams and Cooper Legas were injured for the last game.
That meant true freshman Bishop Davenport took the snaps. No matter who's under center, it will be a backup, and Utah State's passing attack has already been one of the worst in college football.
The Aggies rank 104th in Passing Success Rate, 113th in passing explosiveness and 124th in EPA/Pass. New Mexico actually boasts an above-average secondary, ranking 34th in EPA/Pass Allowed and 27th in coverage grade, per PFF.
So, that means Utah State is going to have to run the ball successfully, which it hasn't done at all this season.
Wyoming stacked the box against the Aggies, and Utah State averaged just 3.1 yards per carry in that game. For the season, they're 97th in Rushing Success Rate and 104th in EPA/Rush.
New Mexico's offense has been very poor this season, as the Lobos average only 3.6 yards per play and rank 127th in Success Rate. They boast one of the worst passing attacks in the entire country, ranking 130th in EPA/Pass.
But they don't have the worst rushing attack in college football.
New Mexico sits 77th in Offensive Line Yards, 90th in rushing explosiveness and 86th in EPA/Rush. Running back Nathaniel Jones is averaging 3.7 yards per carry and has 10 runs of more than 10 yards on 83 carries.
That's exactly how teams attack this Utah State defense that ranks 123rd in rushing explosiveness allowed and 104th in EPA/Rush Allowed.
This is an ugly one, but all three projection models have Utah State below -12.5, so there's value on the Lobos at +15.5.