Week 10 College Football Odds, Picks: Stuckey’s 9 Favorite CFB Situational Betting Spots (Nov. 5)
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Florida’s Kyle Engel (13) and Lloyd Summerall III (99).
Just like I’ve done every Wednesday, I will share my favorite spots for this week’s college football games.
Last week’s nine spots finished 7-2 with two painful losses on West Virginia (I don’t want to talk about it) and Cal by the hook. That brings the three-week running tally to 22-3, so hopefully we can keep it rolling. Although, it won’t always be rosy results.
For this week, I have highlighted nine games once again, which I will detail below.
Ultimately, the actual spread value still reigns supreme. No matter how great a situational spot appears on paper, you still have to factor in how much value the number holds. A good or bad spot may sway me one way or the other on a bet I’m on the fence for, but it’s certainly more art than science.
Hopefully, I can help you make one or two of those same tough wagering decisions while sharing some key angles, matchups and injury situations for each particular game.
Let’s kick things off with a trio of noon kicks before going through the rest of the day chronologically.
Depending on your own personal risk aversion level, you may want to sit some of these out if you aren’t comfortable with the quarterback uncertainty in a number of the following matchups.
Virginia +7.5 vs. North Carolina
Noon ET · ACC Network
Get ready to hold your nose.
Virginia is not a good football team, but the ‘Hoos do have a very underrated defense, especially against the pass. That’s key against UNC’s aerial attack. UVA’s pass defense has kept it in a number of games, including a pair of two-point losses against Syracuse and Miami.
UNC quarterback Drake Maye is the real deal. His unbelievable freshman campaign looks even better the more you dig, especially when you consider he’s working behind a shoddy offensive line.
Drake Maye has been under pressure on 37.9% of dropbacks. That’s very high.
His under pressure stats:
(min. 35 snaps)
•9 TD 1 INT
•1st in big time throw rate
•4th in passer rating
•9th in depth of target
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) October 28, 2022
Virginia’s pass defense won’t make it easy on Maye, but he will likely still get his numbers. However, this is finally a game where Virginia’s offense can find success.
The Cavaliers have one of the least efficient Power Five offenses in the country, primarily due to a completely overhauled offensive line that can’t give quarterback Brennan Armstrong any time.
That may change against a UNC defense that doesn’t generate pressure and just can’t stop a nosebleed. Virginia’s offense should look competent for once.
Adjusted for opponent, the UNC defense ranks outside the top 100 nationally. It’s why Mack Brown’s bunch can’t put anybody away on the road:
- 63-61 at Appalachian State (649 total yards)
- 35-28 at Georgia State (421)
- 27-24 at Miami (538)
- 38-35 at Duke (542)
UNC actually got outgained in three of those four contests with Appalachian State, Miami and Duke compiling 649, 538 and 542 total yards, respectively.
Also, after beating Pitt last week, the Heels essentially hold a three-game lead in the division with the tiebreaker. With that in mind, a noon kick in Charlottesville sets up as a potential sleepy spot with Wake Forest also on deck.
Notable Nugget: Under Mack Brown, UNC is just 3-7 against the spread as a road conference favorite. It lost five of those 10 games outright as favorites of 14, 6, 13.5, 4.5 and 7.5 with the latter coming at Virginia in 2020.
Charlotte +16 vs. Western Kentucky
Noon ET · ESPN+
Here we go again.
Last week, Charlotte got to the window for us with ease after making a coaching change that I truly believed would rejuvenate a club that needed a boost.
That certainly came to fruition in a record-setting blowout win at Rice. Yes, they do indeed serve 50 burgers at Club Lit.
I loved the overall energy in addition to the aggressiveness and creativity from new head coach Pete Rossomando. The 49ers ran a fake punt, kick return reverse and even called a surprise onside kick. I expect even more new wrinkles this week.
In its most complete effort of the season, Charlotte scored a touchdown on seven consecutive drives, and the much-maligned defense didn’t look lifeless for the first time all season, holding Rice to one red-zone trip.
I think the defense can carry that momentum over to this week, and I don’t have many concerns for one of the best G5 passing attacks in the nation.
Charlotte has also been very unlucky on fourth downs, having converted only 10-of-26 (38.5%) attempts. Meanwhile, opponents have gone 14-of-21 (66.7%); both rank outside the top 100. Positive regression looms for the 49ers on those massive swing downs.
Meanwhile, I have no problems fading a Western Kentucky team that still appears overvalued even after getting smoked at home by North Texas last week. I also wouldn’t be shocked if it came out flat for a noon kick against Charlotte after that deflating loss.
The Hilltoppers had one of the easiest early-season schedules in the country. Their first three wins came over FCS Austin Peay (in a close game) and rebuilding Hawaii and FIU squads that have since improved drastically.
Blowouts against those two teams have inflated a number of their metrics. Plus, the defense has benefited from the second-most takeaways (21) in FBS.
Since that 3-1 start, Western Kentucky has gone just 2-3. One of those two wins came by three points at home against UAB, which lost its starting quarterback to injury in the first half and turned it over four times.
Conversely, Charlotte’s offensive numbers remain a bit deflated overall after playing a few games with backup quarterbacks, who are massive downgrades from Chris Reynolds.
Notable Nugget: Underdogs of 15 or more points this year have a straight-up record of 18-92. Charlotte is the only team with multiple victories.
Florida +3.5 at Texas A&M
Noon ET · ESPN
Last week, a desperate Texas A&M team found itself in an ideal situational spot at home against an exhausted Ole Miss team. It still couldn’t right the ship, which spoke volumes to me.
The Aggies still only have two victories over FBS teams this year:
- Miami: This victory looks much worse than it did at the time. Plus, Miami actually had the better statistical day (392-264 yards) but just shot itself in the foot too many times.
- Arkansas: The Aggies should’ve lost if not for a fluky 99-yard fumble return and a missed game-winning field goal attempt against Arkansas.
I’m just not sure where this A&M team stands mentally after four straight losses with all of its preseason goals and aspirations vanquished. Multiple incidents of player suspensions are not great signs for the state of the locker room.
The Aggies have also lost a number of key contributors to injury, including their most dangerous receiver and multiple offensive linemen.
Meanwhile, Florida came into this season with much milder expectations and still seems to show fight for new head coach Billy Napier.
This sets up as a mouth-watering matchup for Florida’s offense, which averages an FBS-leading 6.1 yards per carry. That spells trouble for a struggling Texas A&M run defense that continues to get shredded.
Even Miami had success on the ground against Texas A&M, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Against all other FBS teams, Miami has averaged 2.9 yards per carry.
The Aggies rank outside the top 80 in Rush Success Rate and EPA per Rush. Their highly-touted but inexperienced front ranks 100th in Standard Down Line Yards and 121st in Passing Downs Sack Rate. That’s a troubling combination.
Florida’s defense is dreadful but can hang against a pedestrian Texas A&M offense that struggles to build margin. Freshman quarterback Conner Weigman showed promise in his first career start, but he will face a much more complex defense this week.
Florida did just dismiss star jack outside linebacker Brenton Cox, who led the team in pressures and hurries. That certainly hurts the pass rush.
However, he was reportedly not well-liked in the locker room and has had a disappointing season, especially against the run and in coverage. He may not be as impactful of a loss as some may assume.
If you’re going to play in College Station, getting a noon kick certainly doesn’t hurt. Plus, Florida already has experience playing in a hostile environment in Knoxville where the Gators competed well.
Notable Nugget: Over his past 14 games as an underdog away from home, Billy Napier is 11-3 ATS (78.6%), covering by a touchdown per game. That includes a perfect 2-0 record this year and 4-0 overall against SEC opponents.
Kansas +2 vs. Oklahoma State
3:30 p.m. ET · FS1
Back to the Pokes fade. Oklahoma State had been extremely fortunate in a number of victories before getting pantsed in Manhattan last week.
Now, after that demoralizing loss, the Cowboys will head to Lawrence for their second straight road game after a brutal stretch of five high-profile Big 12 matchups in the month of October.
The gas tank has to be nearing empty, and the injuries are mounting.
On offense, the Pokes could be without starting quarterback Spencer Sanders (Mike Gundy’s son would start if so) in addition to their top back, a pair of starting wide receivers and multiple starting linemen.
To make matters worse, the status of three starting defensive backs and their best defensive tackle remain in doubt.
Meanwhile, Kansas is much healthier and fresher following its bye week. That bodes well for one of my favorite offensive staffs.
Kansas’ brilliant offensive scheme is a preparation nightmare with all of its pre-snap deception and skill-position depth and versatility. The Jayhawks should have a full arsenal of new wrinkles against a very porous (and undermanned) Oklahoma State defense, whose early down metrics suggest rougher waters ahead.
Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels has a chance to return, but the offense runs just as smoothly with Jason Bean. The scheme is truly the engine for an offense that just doesn’t allow negative plays.
Kansas starting cornerback Cobee Bryant could also return from injury after practicing on Monday.
I expect a great crowd and inspired effort from the Jayhawks, who will look to avenge last year’s embarrassing 55-3 loss. More importantly, a win will get the program to bowl eligibility for the first time since 2008.
Notable Nugget: Lance Leipold is 22-7-1 ATS (75.9%) in home conference games as a head coach. He’s the second-most profitable coach of 410 in this situation since 2005.
Memphis +3.5 vs. UCF
3:30 p.m. ET · ESPN2
This looks like a prime opportunity to sell UCF after its dramatic comeback victory against Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, I’ve been waiting to buy low on Memphis, which comes off of a bye before this AAC matchup at the Liberty Bowl.
Three consecutive defeats have dropped the Tigers to 4-4, but that record is a bit misleading. They lost one of the most improbable games of the season against Houston after leading by three scores late. They followed that game up by blowing another three-score lead at ECU in quadruple overtime.
Their next game came at Tulane in an awful spot after those two collapses. Due to some special teams blunders and early turnovers, Memphis found itself down 35-0 at the half before falling short by 10 after a wild second-half comeback attempt.
The well-timed bye week allowed Memphis to reset prior to the final third of its season.
Matchup-wise, Memphis excels at defending the run, which is critical against UCF. The Tigers also prefer to throw the ball, which is where teams can attack the Knights.
Keep in mind that UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee is questionable after suffering a concussion last week. Mikey Keene has prior starting experience but is an overall slight downgrade, in my opinion.
Notable Nugget: Over the past 10 seasons, Memphis is perfect 5-0 ATS as a home dog against ranked opponents. The Tigers won four of those outright vs. UCLA, Houston, Ole Miss and SMU. Their only outright loss came against UCF by one as five-point underdogs in 2019.
UAB +1 vs. UTSA
3:30 p.m. ET · Stadium
It’s been a disappointing season so far for the 4-4 Blazers. However, this looks like a juicy buy-low spot for a team that just hasn’t had the ball bounce its way in a couple of tough-luck losses.
The Blazers also have revenge on their mind from a heartbreaking loss last year on a last-minute game-winning tipped-ball touchdown that ultimately led to UTSA clinching the division.
More importantly, UAB has the secondary to neutralize Frank Harris and the potent UTSA passing attack.
However, I do think the Blazers need Dylan Hopkins back at quarterback in order to fully exploit a vulnerable Roadrunner secondary. I’m assuming Hopkins will suit up, but that’s not a certainty.
I will have a more detailed breakdown later in the week in a standalone preview for this game.
Notable Nugget: Since 2017, UAB has gone 11-0 ATS at home following a loss, including 2-0 this season.
Texas -2.5 at Kansas State
7 p.m. ET · FS1
I believe it’s time to buy Texas after its bye week while selling Kansas State after the biggest lopsided shutout win over an AP Top-10 team in almost 50 years.
To me, that blowout said more about Oklahoma State than anything. Plus, the Pokes had injuries all over on both sides of the ball.
I also like this matchup for Texas. Unlike Oklahoma State, which simply can’t run the ball, Texas features one of the nation’s best backs in Bijan Robinson. That’s critical against a Kansas State defense that has more holes against the run.
In a battle of two elite backs who spearhead two potent rushing attacks, the Texas defense has a much better shot at containing Deuce Vaughn.
The Horns’ secondary has struggled at times, but Kansas State has a very run-heavy offense that lacks the necessary weapons to really exploit any of those vulnerabilities.
Despite three losses, I still have Texas power rated as the sixth-best team in college football. The Longhorns could easily be undefeated with just a few bounces in its three one-possession losses:
- Lost to Alabama on a last-second field goal after battling multiple QB injuries.
- Blew a 14-point second-half lead in an eventual overtime loss at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders finished 6-of-8 on fourth-down attempts and won the turnover battle, 2-0, which included a rare Robinson fumble in overtime. Texas won the yards per play battle, 7.1-4.8.
- Blew a double-digit second-half lead at Oklahoma State. Texas averaged a full yard more per play but went 0-for-2 on fourth downs and lost a net of 14 points to turnover luck. It also had 14 penalties for 115 yards, while Oklahoma State had zero.
Texas grades out excellent across the board on early downs, which are much more predictive. It’s just been snakebitten in a few high-variance categories, such as late downs, turnovers and penalties.
Ultimately, both squads have very stingy defenses, but I prefer the matchup for the more talented Texas offense. The Horns also have superior special teams and are much fresher (and healthier) post-bye.
Texas should pick up a win in this series for a sixth straight season.
Notable Nugget: Kansas State beat Oklahoma State, 48-0, covering by 45 points. Ranked underdogs that covered in their previous game by 30-plus points against a ranked opponent have gone 3-14 ATS (17.6%) in their next game, failing to cover by 12.2 points per game.
Auburn +13.5 at Mississippi State
7:30 p.m. ET · ESPN2
It’s time for our weekly bet on a team that fired its coach after Auburn parted ways with Bryan Harsin earlier this week.
Last week, Charlotte became the latest team in 2022 to pull off a stunning upset with an interim coach, joining Colorado, Georgia Tech and Arizona State. Wisconsin also exceeded expectations in a blowout victory over Northwestern in Jim Leonhard’s first game as head coach. Nebraska was the only team to fall flat.
From what I’ve heard, this move was well-received by the locker room, and the team should rally around interim coach Cadillac Williams. Plus, you can expect a few new wrinkles and looks that Mississippi State won’t have on film.
More importantly, I show value on this number and fancy the on-field matchup.
Auburn has a run-heavy offense that might even increase its run rate with Williams now calling the shots. That bodes well against a Mississippi State defense that has struggled against the run.
Conversely, nobody passes more frequently than Mississippi State, which should be a welcome relief for an Auburn defense that has been gashed by opposing backs throughout 2022.
On the season, Auburn ranks in the bottom 20 nationally in EPA per Rush but has excelled against the pass. That’s massive against the pass-happy Bulldogs.
Yes, the Bulldogs come off of a bye week, but time off historically has hurt Mike Leach offenses by throwing off the timing and rhythm. Last year, Mississippi State scored a grand total of 16 points against Alabama and Texas Tech after extended rest. In the year prior, it totaled 10 points against Alabama and Auburn.
Notable Nugget: Including bowl games, Mike Leach is just 9-19 ATS (32.1%) with two or more weeks in between games since 2005. He’s the least profitable coach of 461 in this situation over that span. That also includes an 0-4 ATS record when favored by more than a touchdown with three outright losses.
James Madison +7.5 at Louisville
7:30 p.m. ET · ESPNU
This is your sandwich spot of the week.
The Cardinals are fresh off a beatdown of Wake Forest to extend their winning streak to three. Now, they welcome in a Group of Five team prior to closing out the season with three massive games against Clemson, NC State and Kentucky.
This certainly screams “sleepy spot” for a very undisciplined Louisville team.
Louisville undoubtedly deserved last week’s win over Wake Forest after averaging almost two full yards more per play. However, it did benefit from eight takeaways, bringing its season total to an FBS-high 24. That good fortune has certainly provided a boost to its overall defensive metrics.
Meanwhile, James Madison should come in fully focused following a much-needed bye week after two consecutive losses. The first came in fairly fluky fashion at Georgia Southern in which the Dukes amassed almost 700 yards of total offense.
The second came at home against Marshall with their backup quarterback. You can almost throw out that result without Todd Centeio, who has been one of the best statistical quarterbacks in all of college football in 2022.
The Colorado State transfer actually leads the country in big-time throw rate, per PFF, which also has him graded as the second-best quarterback overall, trailing only Drake Maye.
If Centeio (listed as questionable) can’t play, I will not feel comfortable with Billy Atkins. However, I heard enough optimism to take the risk and back the Dukes, who should also have improved offensive line health after the bye.
From a matchup perspective, James Madison’s run defense is the real deal. It leads the nation in EPA per Rush, Rush Success Rate, Line Yards and Stuff Rate.
Opponents have rushed for an FBS-low 2.0 yards per carry. That’s crucial against a run-first Louisville offense that struggles to consistently move the ball through the air.
Notable Nugget: Teams favored after an upset win with a 30-plus point cover margin are 11-26 ATS (29.7%) against opponents with extended rest since 2005. For what it’s worth, North Texas (vs. FIU) also falls into this trend.