College Football Week 10 Picks: Our Staff’s Best 2 Moneyline Underdog Picks for Saturday
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Plummer.
- Can Memphis take down high-scoring SMU at home behind quarterback Seth Henigan?
- And will Purdue pull off another massive upset vs. Michigan State, which is in a letdown spot?
- Collin Wilson and Stuckey provide their top two moneyline underdog selections for Week 10.
For the past four seasons on our college football betting podcast (now Big Bets on Campus), Collin Wilson and I pick our two favorite moneyline underdogs for each Saturday’s slate.
After a second consecutive split last week, we are onto Week 10 with a pair of home underdogs in the afternoon.
- 2018-20: 39-67 +5.1 units
- 2021: 6-12 -3.55 units
If you’re feeling lucky, a parlay of both pays just over 5-1 odds.
Wilson: Memphis +160
- Spread: SMU -4.5
- Over/Under: 70.5
- Date: Saturday, Nov. 6
- Time: Noon ET
- TV: ESPNU
- Location: Memphis, TN
One of the biggest surprises in the AAC has been the rise of freshman quarterback Seth Henigan out of Memphis. The Denton, Texas native has over 2,000 yards on the season with a 16-to-4, touchdown-to-interception ratio.
However, Henigan suffered an injury that kept him out of the loss with Central Florida in Week 8. Backup Peter Parish got thrust into the starting role and struggled in an offensive scheme not really designed for his strength as a runner.
Fortunately for Memphis, it had a bye last week for head coach Ryan Silverfield to design new offensive plays and get Parish more comfortable if he has to start here against SMU. Parish was fantastic in short yardage passing, hitting the explosive targets that have led Memphis to a top-40 ranking in Passing Downs Success Rate and Explosiveness.
Henigan remains a game time decision. His presence would certainly boost the projection of a pick against SMU.
As for the Mustangs, a heartbreaking loss to Houston has set back the expectations of winning a conference championship and an undefeated season. Head coach Sonny Dykes continues in his current role while TCU and Texas Tech look to take the coach out of Dallas. The biggest issue for SMU is the crumbling defense from a coverage and tackling perspective. The Mustangs are one of the three worst tackling teams in FBS with a bottom-10 rank, per PFF. Even more troubling for Memphis is a rank of 121st against the explosive pass.
The SMU offense continues to be a well-oiled machine, posting explosive drives and was above national average in available yards against a stiff Houston defense. The failure against the Cougars came in Standard Downs with a Success Rate 5% less than national average. The Mustangs had an average third down distance of 8.1 yards, their worst on the season. With a total in the 70s, expect this shootout to favor the team with the better Success Rate and Explosiveness in recent performances. The news of Seth Henigan will only increase the Tigers’ chances in the Liberty Bowl against an SMU team in a bad situational spot.
Stuckey: Purdue +135
- Spread: Michigan State -3
- Over/Under: 53
- Date: Saturday, Nov. 6
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
- Location: West Lafayette, IN
Michigan State is fresh off an emotional comeback against in-state rival Michigan to get into the first four of the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Can it avoid a letdown here?
I’m also just not as high on this Spartans team as many others. They should’ve lost to Nebraska in an overtime victory in which they had only 15 total second-half yards.
Also, don’t forget they barely beat a disappointing Indiana team (playing with its backup QB), 20-15, in a game the Hoosiers won the total yardage battle, 322-241. If not for a non-offensive touchdown in each, Michigan State could easily have two losses.
Even in last week’s victory over the Wolverines, Michigan State was out-gained, 552-395, and trailed, 30-14, in the second half. Again, another result that could’ve gone either way.
Michigan State has been quite fortunate, to say the least.
This is also a decent matchup for Purdue. Michigan State does not boast a strong secondary, which is one of the reasons its cornerbacks play so soft in coverage.
That should play right into the hands of Purdue’s quick passing attack that features stud wide receiver David Bell, who terrorized Iowa‘s elite defense for 11 catches and 240 yards a few weeks back.
On the season, opposing quarterbacks have completed 62.5% of passes against the Spartans, which ranks 88th in the country.
On the other side of the ball, Purdue’s defense has performed at a top-30 level this season under a new regime that’s implemented a much more aggressive scheme.
The Boilermakers actually rank in the top 25 nationally in Rushing Success Rate and EPA per rush, which certainly will help against Heisman candidate Kenneth Walker III.
Purdue may also be able to key in even more on stopping the run if Michigan State does not have the services of starting wide receiver Jalen Nailor, who left last week’s game with an injury. He appeared to have a cast on and didn’t play in the second half.
Lastly, don’t be surprised if we see some red-zone regression on both sides in favor of the Purdue offense against Michigan State’s bend-don’t-break defense.
This is a spot we’ve seen Purdue excel in before, and head coach Jeff Brohm is 9-4 ATS (69.2%) as a home underdog. He’s also won seven of those 13 games outright, including each of the past two against top-10 opponents.
I think Sparty goes down in West Lafayette.
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