Cincinnati Bearcats at SMU Mustangs Betting Preview

Saturday, October 24, 2020, Ford Stadium, Dallas, Texas 9 p.m. ET

Bearcats at Mustangs Betting Preview: Bearcats  (+2.5), Mustangs (-2.5)

Cincinnati Bearcats

Coach Luke Fickell is having second thoughts about the postponement of Cincinnati’s scheduled game at Tulsa last week that created a three-week span between games for his No. 9 Bearcats (3-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference).

Their last outing was a 28-7 win at home over South Florida on Oct. 3. They will be on the road for the first time this season when they take on the Mustangs in Dallas.

“I still believe in some ways we maybe panicked a little bit,” Fickell said of the postponement of the trip to Tulsa because of COVID-19 concerns. “In my eyes, I wouldn’t want to cancel any game. In my eyes, I don’t know that we couldn’t have played.

“But nonetheless, it was a good second half of the week that we ended up with no positive cases and felt a lot better by the time it was Friday and Saturday.”

The Bearcats face the challenge of slowing SMU’s high-octane offense that ranks fourth nationally in total offense (563.2 yards per game) and seventh in scoring (42.6 points per game). The Bearcats have allowed only 12.3 points and 306.7 yards a game and have seven interceptions in just three outings.

SMU Mustangs

The 16th-ranked Mustangs (5-0, 2-0 AAC) are rolling behind senior quarterback Shane Buechele (1,710 yards and 12 touchdowns passing against two interceptions), who in just 18 games at SMU after transferring from Texas ranks third in career touchdown passes (46) and eighth in passing yardage (5,639).

Coach Sonny Dykes sees room for more progress after the 30-27 and 37-34 wins over Memphis and Tulane, respectively, in the Mustangs’ last two outings. They needed overtime to get by Tulane.

“It just says we’re getting better,” Dykes said of the start that has the Mustangs at 5-0 for a second consecutive season. “Some things that some guys had to overcome, and you got to give them a lot of credit for doing that. That’s what you want to do. You just want to try to keep improving your program.”

In addition to Buechele’s play, redshirt freshman Ulysses Bentley IV has rushed for 506 yards and eight touchdowns. With Reggie Roberson Jr. (22 catches, 474 yards) out with an injury, Rashee Rice has taken over the receiving lead with 24 receptions good for 411 yards.

Bearcats at Mustangs Betting Pick for October 24, 2020

The Bearcats have averaged a respectable 35.7 points a game, but the 55-20 rout of FCS foe Austin Peay in the opener accounts for a good part of that. They have been in the 20s in the two games since then (24-10 over Army, 28-7 over South Florida). The Mustangs miss Roberson, but still had 581 yards in total offense against Tulane (439 passing).

Bearcats at Mustangs Betting Pick:

 Mustangs 38, Bearcats 28

Bearcats at Mustangs Best Bet for October 24, 2020

Desmond Ridder may be interception prone (four in three games), but he also has passed for 597 yards in just three outings, giving the junior 5,206 passing yards in his career. Defenses may take a back seat in this one.

Bearcats at Mustangs Best Bet: OVER 56.5

–Field Level Media

Penn State Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers Betting Preview

Saturday, October 24, 2020, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana, 3:30 p.m. ET

Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Betting Preview: Nittany Lions  (-6.5), Hoosiers (+6.5)

Penn State Nittany Lions

No. 8 Penn State goes into its opener with a six-game winning streak against the Hoosiers, but the last two meetings were one-score affairs.

“It’s the best Indiana football team that we have played by far,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “Indiana has played a bunch of games, and it played a lot of people really tough. And you’d better be ready to play. You’d better have all your T’s crossed and your I’s dotted and you’d better have the right mentality when you when you play Indiana.”

The Nittany Lions learned earlier this week that they will be without their leading rusher from 2019, Journey Brown, who is out indefinitely with an undisclosed medical issue. Brown rushed for 890 yards in averaging 6.9 yards per carry last season.

They also will be without preseason All-America linebacker Micah Parsons, who opted out this season due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and has declared early for the NFL draft.

The Lions still do have a bevy of weapons led by returning quarterback Sean Clifford, preseason All-America tight end Pat Freiermuth, and safety Lamont Wade. Sophomore Noah Cain, who rushed for 443 yards and eight touchdowns last season, will step in for Brown at running back.

Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers are coming off one of their most successful seasons with the eight wins in 2019 their most since 1993, but fourth-year coach Tom Allen is still looking for his first win over a ranked opponent. They lost all four meetings against ranked opponents last year and haven’t beaten a Top 10 foe since a 31-10 win over then No. 9 Ohio State in 1987.

With 19 starters back and sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr. ready to go, the Hoosiers are hopeful of a repeat of 2019’s success.

Penix, who added 15 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame in an effort to increase his durability, will be making his first career start against Penn State. In his six appearances last season, Penix showed flashes of All-Big Ten potential, completing 110 of 160 passes for 1,394 yards with 10 passing touchdowns and two more scores rushing.

“He’s played some big games for us for sure,” Allen said. “Not as many as he will before it’s all said and done, but he has a natural poise to him that is extremely evident when you put him in these environments, and it never seems to be too big for him so I suspect he’ll rise up and play at a high level on Saturday.”

Indiana returns its leading rusher Stevie Scott III and (845 yards) and leading receiver Whop Philyor (70 receptions for 1,002 yards) from last year.

Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Betting Pick for October 24, 2020

The Hoosiers have played the Nittany Lions tough the last two years, losing 34-27 in last season after a 33-28 loss in Bloomington in 2018. This could be their best shot yet with the Nittany Lions have to adjust for the loss of Brown on offense and Parsons from the defense.

Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Betting Pick:

 Nittany Lions 35, Hoosiers 27

Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Best Bet for October 24, 2020

The two teams have had a couple of high-scoring affairs in recent years with Penn State’s 45-14 romp in 2017 the lowest combined point total in the last four meetings. The Hoosiers look to have more offense this time around, and another shootout seems likely.

Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Best Bet: OVER 58.5

–Field Level Media

Iowa State Cyclones at Oklahoma State Cowboys Betting Preview

Saturday, October 24, 2020, Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 3:30 p.m. ET

Cyclones at Cowboys Betting Preview: Cyclones  (+3.5), Cowboys (-3.5)

Iowa State Cyclones

The 17th-ranked Cyclones (3-1, 3-0 Big 12) have recovered from their shocking loss to Louisiana in their opener and will take a three-game winning streak into their game against the Cowboys. The streak started with a 37-34 win at TCU that was followed by a 37-30 victory over Oklahoma and a more comfortable 31-15 decision over Texas Tech before last week’s open date.

The way the season has gone so far is not a surprise to Cyclones coach Matt Campbell.

“I think we knew we had a chance to start off slow in the season, just with some of the uncertainties leading up to fall camp and the early part of the season,” Campbell said. “And so, I think our kids understood that we were building our season and our team for the long haul.

Brock Purdy and Breece Hall have led the surge. Purdy, who is 14-5 in his career in conference games, has completed 78 of 125 passes for 912 yards with only one interception against four touchdowns.

Hall is second in the nation in rushing with his average of 132.8 yards a game. He has been in triple digits rushing in every game this season.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

No. 6 Oklahoma State (3-0, 2-0 Big12) has had two weeks off since its 47-7 spanking of Kansas and will be taking on a ranked opponent for the first time this season.

The Cowboys have two bonafide all-America candidates in running back Chubba Hubbard and receiver Tylan Wallace. Hubbard has rushed for 101 yards against TCU and 145 against the Jayhawks after settling for 93 in the opening win over Tulsa. Wallace has 19 catches for 325 yards and two touchdowns after making nine receptions for 148 yards against Kansas.

The interesting situation is at quarterback where Spencer Sanders looks to be healthy again after injuring his ankle in the opener.

Shane Illingworth has started and played the last two games and has completed 36 of 49 for 483 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Coach Mike Gundy said that Illingworth and Sanders have been alternating reps in the down time.

“We might play both,” Gundy said. “I’m not sure right now. We continue to give them quality work. Spencer is healthy, and obviously Shane has played pretty good. We’re in pretty good shape at the quarterback position.”

Cyclones at Cowboys Betting Pick for October 24, 2020

The Big 12 has a reputation as a high-scoring league, but both Iowa State and Oklahoma State have had their moments on defense this season. The Cyclones have 13 sacks, led by 4.5 from Will McDonald and 3.5 from fellow defensive end JaQuan Bailey. The Cowboys have not allowed more than 13 points in a game this season and are sixth nationally in total defense in giving up just 274.3 yards per game

Cyclones at Cowboys Betting Pick:

 Cowboys 31, Cyclones 24

Cyclones at Cowboys Best Bet for October 24, 2020

Though both teams look solid defensively, they also are getting good quarterback play and have a number of weapons on offense. The Cyclones have averaged 414.8 yards a game behind Purdy (228 yards a game passing) and Hall (132.8 rushing). The Cowboys also have a 100-yard rusher in Hubbard (113.0 yards a game) and two solid quarterbacks.

Cyclones at Cowboys Best Bet: OVER 51.5

–Field Level Media

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Preview

Saturday, October 24, 2020, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio, noon ET

Cornhuskers at Buckeyes Betting Preview: Cornhuskers (+26), Buckeyes (-26)

Nebraska Cornhuskers

The old adage about being careful what you wish for comes to mind with this game. Nebraska coach Scott Frost led the charge to get the Big Ten season back on track after the conference originally had decided to postpone the season to the spring because of COVID-19 concerns.

Frost’s “reward” is a role as a big underdog in their Big Ten opener against the Buckeyes, who backed Frost in his quest. Ohio State team physician Dr. Jim Bourchers provided key medical studies and proposed testing protocols and Buckeye coach Ryan Day and athletic director Gene Smith also were behind the move.

“We’re grateful to Ohio State,” Frost said. “You know, it’s strange where you find allies in certain things, and I think we had an ally at Ohio State to try to get the season played. I don’t think it would have gotten done without Dr. Borchers there, without Ryan Day continuing to push it, Gene Smith continuing to push it.”

Frost has a veteran quarterback to lead his offense with Adrian Martinez holding off a challenge by Luke McCaffrey. Martinez passed for 1,956 yards for the Cornhuskers last year and was the team’s No. 2 rusher with 626 yards. Leading rusher Dedrick Mills (745 yards and 10 touchdowns) also returns.

The Huskers also return five starters in the offensive line, believed to be the first time for the Huskers since two-platoon football was installed at the college level in 1964.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Justin Fields will get a late start in the Heisman race after establishing himself as a 2020 contender by passing for 41 touchdowns and 3,273 yards in 2019 in his first season with the Buckeyes.

The way the season ended in a playoff semifinal loss to Clemson in which Fields threw only his third pick of the season as the Buckeyes were driving in a 29-23 loss may serve as motivation for the junior this fall.

“I know he feels like he has some unfinished business,” Day said.

Talk of the fifth-ranked Buckeyes’ return to the playoff has been a popular topic, but Day wants his players to keep their attention on the opener.

“It’s all about beating Nebraska,” he said. “If you start focusing on things like that or compare ourselves to other teams, all that’s going to do is just distract us from playing the game on Saturday.”

The Buckeyes are looking to replace their leading rusher, J.K. Dobbins (2,003 yards), and K.J. Hill (57 catches for 636 yards) also departs. But Chris Olive 849 yards on 49 receptions, is back, and the offense figures to be as dynamic as ever.

Cornhuskers at Buckeyes Betting Pick for October 24, 2020

Fields was 15 of 21 passing for 212 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for season-high 72 yards as the Buckeyes romped 48-7 in last year’s game against the Cornhuskers. With attendance limited to family members, the Buckeyes won’t have the usual crowd of 100,000-plus going for them, but that doesn’t figure to be a huge factor.

Cornhuskers at Buckeyes Betting Pick:

 Buckeyes 56, Cornhuskers 21

Cornhuskers at Buckeyes Best Bet for October 24, 2020

The Buckeyes have had to sit and wait while teams like Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Notre Dame have made solid starts in their runs to the playoffs and now will be looking to make a good first impression. The best news for the Cornhuskers is that Chase Young (21.5 sacks for the Buckeyes in 2019) is gone.

Cornhuskers at Buckeyes Best Bet: OVER 67

–Field Level Media

Alabama Crimson Tide at Tennessee Volunteers Betting Preview

Saturday, October 24, 2020, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. ET

Crimson Tide at Volunteers Betting Preview: Crimson Tide  (-21), Volunteers (+21)

Alabama Crimson Tide

Coach Nick Saban is guarding against any letdown following Alabama’s impressive performance against Georgia last week as the No. 2 Crimson Tide (4-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) take on a Tennessee team that has fallen out of the Top 25.

“It’s really important that our players have humility,” Saban said. “This game means a lot to people in the state of Alabama, and I’m sure we’re going to get the best version of Tennessee’s team because it’s a rivalry game.”

It hasn’t been much of a rivalry since Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, however. He has yet to lose to the Vols since taking over at Alabama in 2007.

With Mac Jones torching Georgia’s defense for 417 yards passing last week, running back Najee Harris rushing for 152 yards, and receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle amassing 162 and 161 receiving yards respectively, the Tide looks like an unstoppable machine.

Jones is completing passes at a 78 percent clip for the season. If there is any area of concern for the Tide it would be on a defense that has yielded over 458 yards and nearly 29 points a game. But then the Tide shut out Georgia in the second half last week.

Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt says his Vols played better last week than the final score of the 34-7 loss to Kentucky might indicate.

“Offensively, we probably had more guys make our ‘War Daddy’ board this week, which we feel is like guys that play the right way,” Pruitt said. “We probably had more efficient plays than we had in any game this year, but it all goes back to turnovers.

“In the last six quarters, we’ve turned the ball over seven times. There’s no way you can beat anybody doing that.”

 Quarterback Jarrett Guaratano threw a pair of early interceptions that Kentucky returned for touchdowns and also lost a fumble on Tennessee’s second series that helped the Wildcats to an early 17-0 lead. Guarantano is responsible for six of Tennessee’s last seven turnovers over the last six quarters.

Eric Gray and Ty Chandler have accounted for 536 of Tennessee’s 539 rushing yards.

Crimson Tide at Volunteers Betting Pick for October 24 , 2020

Saban is looking to extend two streaks: He is 13-0 against Tennessee during his stint at Alabama and is 22-0 against his former assistants after beating Georgia and Kirby Smart last week. Saban is 2-0 against Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt, who had three different stints in Tuscaloosa with the last as defensive coordinator in 2016-17. The Tide won the last meeting in Knoxville 58-21.

CrimsonTide at Volunteers Betting Pick:

 Crimson Tide 49, Volunteers 17

Crimson Tide at Volunteers Best Bet for October 24, 2020

If the Vols can correct their quarterback issues, they should be able to score some points against the Tide defense. But their defense figures to have huge problems slowing the Tide’s offense.  The two teams have two common foes with the Vols beating Missouri 35-12 and losing to Georgia 44-21 while the Tide coasted past Mizzou 38-19 and beat Georgia 41-24.

Crimson Tide at Volunteers Best Bet: OVER 64.5

–Field Level Media

Syracuse Orange at Clemson Tigers Betting Preview

Saturday, October 24, 2020, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, South Carolina, noon ET

Orange at Tigers Betting Preview: Orange (+46), Tigers (-46)

Syracuse Orange

Coach Dino Babers knows what his Orange (1-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) are facing as they journey to what is not-so-friendly (for visitors) Death Valley to take on the nation’s top-ranked team, the Clemson Tigers.

“You get an opportunity to play the No. 1-ranked team in the country,” Babers said. “Whether you are injury free or not, whether you are playing with all seniors or all freshmen, you get an opportunity to compete.

“No one expects you to win outside the family, and to be able to compete in a situation like that, to measure up and see where you’re at, we’ll see.”

With injuries mounting, Babers is looking at starting three freshmen on offense and four on defense against the Tigers, Among the personnel losses are starting quarterback Tommy DeVito and starting All-ACC safety Andre Cisco, out with season-ending injuries.

Senior Rex Culpepper will get the nod at quarterback. Culpepper is 27 of 59 passing for 324 yards with as many interceptions (four) as touchdown passes.

Clemson Tigers

No. 1 Clemson has it rolling behind quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne. Lawrence has completed 73 percent of his passes with 15 going for touchdowns against a lone interception. He is 29-1 as a starter.

Etienne enters the game needing 129 yards to claim the current conference rushing record of 4,602 yards currently held by former North Carolina State standout Ted Brown since 1978.

The Tigers (4-0, 3-0 ACC) are racing toward a sixth consecutive ACC title and sixth consecutive berth in the playoffs they have won twice in the last five years. They rank third nationally both in scoring at 48.2 points per game and in total defense, surrendering only 264.6 yards per game.

“Based off of those guys winning the national championship two out of the last four years and the facilities that they have compared to everybody else in the conference, I think the entire country is chasing Clemson — Alabama is chasing Clemson, everybody’s chasing Clemson,” Babers said. “And I think it’s fortunate for us that every year we get an opportunity to play them. I don’t look at that as something that’s bad, I look at that as something that’s good.”

Orange at Tigers Betting Pick for October 24 , 2020

The last ACC team to defeat Clemson was Syracuse back in 2017. The Tigers have won 26 consecutive conference games since then, including a pair of wins over the Orange by 27-23 and 41-6 scores. This one won’t be as close as either of those.

Orange at Tigers Betting Pick:

 Tigers 59, Orange 7

Orange at Tigers Best Bet for October 24, 2020

Clemson’s offense gets the most attention, but the Tigers have put on a pair of suffocating performances on defense their last two games. Miami came in riding high but managed only 210 yards in total offense and Georgia Tech last week managed only 204. No doubt the Tigers will provide a lot of offense, but a score or two from the Orange would help the total.

Orange at Tigers Best Bet: OVER 61.5

–Field Level Media

Week 7 NFL MVP Odds: Chef Wilson Still at Your Service

Greeting football fans. Welcome back to our weekly discussion about the players in the running for the NFL MVP award. A week ago, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson rounded out this list. This past week, Mahomes helped guide KC to its fifth win on the season. Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst outings of his career while Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks had a bye week. 

Did this result in a small shift in how these players rank? Of course, it did. Here’s the updated list of the odds-on favorite to win the MVP award based upon how they played in Week 6.

Third-Best NFL MVP Odds: Aaron Rodgers (+600). Last Week (+300)

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were riding a wave of momentum into their Week 6 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After jumping out to an early 10-0 lead, the wheels fell off the wagon as the saying goes.

Tampa Bay reeled off 38 consecutive points en route to an impressive 38-10 over the Packers. Rodgers had the worst outing of the season, completing 16 of 35 passes for a paltry 160 yards and two interceptions. Furthermore, Rodgers was sacked four times, which is significant considering Green Bay had allowed a combined total of three sacks through the teams first four games.

Make no mistake, this was a horrible outing by Rodgers and the Packers’ offense. However, because Green Bay has one of the best offenses in the NFL, look for Rodgers to get back on track in Week 7.

Second-Best NVL MVP Odds: Patrick Mahomes (+400). Last Week (+600)

Patrick Mahomes was at the bottom of this list last week but has returned to the No. 2 spot this week. Following an outing against the Las Vegas Raiders in which he completed just 51 percent of his passes, Mahomes was more efficient in the team’s 26-17 win over the Bills in Week 6.

In that contest, he was 21 of 26 for 225 yards to go along with a pair of touchdowns. On top of that, Mahomes has now recorded 15 touchdown passes and just one interception on the season. Despite opposing teams doing their best to take the long pass plays away, Mahomes and the Chiefs keep finding ways to win games.

Best NFL MVP Odds: Russell Wilson (-125). Last Week (+175)

For the fourth straight week, Russell Wilson comes in as the odds-on favorite to win the NFL MVP award. Ironically, his odds increased from last week even though his team had the week off. To refresh your memory, the last time we saw Mr. Wilson on the field, he was leading his team on a game-winning 94-yard drive to upend the Minnesota Vikings by a final score of 27-26.

In that outing, Wilson completed 20 of 32 passes for 217 yards. While this was his lowest passing total of the season, he also had three touchdowns, increasing his overall total to 19. Furthermore, Wilson also rushed for 58 yards on five carries, thus proving that he can still be a dual-threat quarterback when it’s needed.

Best Picks for NFL Week 7: Keep Pounding the Chiefs, and Doubling Down on the Double Check

Greetings football fans. Last week, I predicted wins for the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers. The Dolphins and Steelers won big against their opponents while the Packers didn’t fare too well against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite the setback, I went 2-1 for the second straight week and my overall season record is 14-3. Now that you’ve been brought up to speed, here are my best picks for Week 7.

Third-Best Bet: Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (-5.5)

This is an interesting matchup on multiple fronts. On the heels of a 23-16 win against the Carolina Panthers, the Bears improved to 5-1 on the season. Meanwhile, the Rams dropped to 4-2 following a disappointing loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Despite their 5-1 mark, the Bears have been winning ugly, and that’s putting it nicely.

On the flip side of the coin, all the Rams’ victories have come against the teams in the NFC East division. Those teams are a combined 5-18-1. Yikes. Although I was born and raised in Chicago, the Bears haven’t looked overly impressive to me this season. At the same time, their defense has been solid.

And in the two previous matchups between these two teams, the Bears’ D has played well against Jared Goff, forcing five interceptions and zero touchdowns. Additionally, Goff has completed just 50 percent of his passes in those two games.

Against my better judgment, I’m going to pick the Bears to win in a close, low-scoring affair.

James’ pick: Bears win by a field goal.

Second-Best Bet: Green Bay Packers (-3.5) at Houston Texans

The Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The Texans have dropped five of their first six games. Meanwhile, the Packers have won four of their first five games. Aside from the records of these two teams, I’m picking the Packers in this one for a myriad of reasons. First, the Texans have the third-worst defense in the league, giving up 423 yards per outing. Not only that, but Houston is ranked dead last in rushing yards allowed per game at 177.5.

This bodes well for a Packers squad that comes in as the sixth-best rushing team in the NFL, averaging 139.4 yards per outing. After taking a thumping at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the tune of 38-10, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will be eager to get back into the win column against a team that has had its fair share of struggles from a defensive standpoint.

James’ pick: Green Bay Packers win and cover the spread

James’s NFL Best Bet of Week 7: Kansas City Chiefs (-10) at Denver Broncos

Now it’s time for my lock pick of the week. While the Denver Broncos come into this one with a 2-3 record, both of those victories have occurred in each of their last two outings. Kansas City started the season with four straight victories.

They came up a bit short against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5 and followed that up with a 26-17 over the Buffalo Bills last week. Given the fact that Patrick Mahomes has a perfect 5-0 mark against the Broncos, that trend will continue here.

James’ pick: Chiefs win but fail to cover the spread.

SEC Championship Odds for Week 8: The Tide is Rolling… Again

Coming into the season, we had a hunch that Alabama was going to reload and return to their dominant ways in the SEC. Nick Saban manages to reload his team every season, no matter how many guys he loses to the NFL and/or graduation. Why should this year be any different?

It is not, of course. There really was not any doubt heading into last weekend’s game against Georgia. But with how they dominated the Bulldogs in the second half en route to a 17-point win? Yeah, Alabama will be one of two teams playing for the SEC Championship in December.

Right now, it is hard to see anyone beating the Crimson Tide (-305; odds via DraftKings).

Now, there is still a lot of football to be played, and anything can happen. However, the best chance the SEC East has of not seeing Alabama in the conference championship is the 3-1 Texas A&M Aggies (+1800)—whom Alabama already beat.

So, more than likely, that means someone from the SEC East division will have to take on Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

SEC Championship Odds: Who Can Beat Alabama?

For Texas A&M to make the title game, Alabama must lose twice. But with the competition they have left (Tennessee, Mississippi State, LSU, Kentucky, Auburn, and Arkansas), it is hard to see Alabama slipping up twice.

If a Nick Saban team does slip up, it only does so once. So, count on Alabama being one of the two teams playing in the SEC Championship.

Despite losing to the Crimson Tide Saturday night, Georgia still has good odds to win the SEC (+300). While they ultimately lost by 17-points, the Bulldogs led at the half, 24-20. Had Stetson Bennett not thrown two interceptions in the second half, which both led to Alabama touchdowns, maybe they could have won.

It is also worth noting that Bennett is a first-year starter with just three starts under his belt. He could be a lot better by the time the end of the regular season rolls around.

But if it isn’t Georgia, Florida has the next best shot at winning the SEC (+400). Seeing them lose to Texas A&M does put a damper on their outlook. If they cannot stop Kellen Mond, what chance do they have against Mac Jones? Probably none.

However, Kyle Trask could put up some points against the Alabama defense.

Florida and Georgia both have one loss already, so whoever wins their game on November 7 will be in the driver’s seat for the second spot in the SEC Championship game.

The Rest of the SEC Odds

As for the rest of the SEC East, if you really want to bet on Vanderbilt (+100000), there is not a sportsbook in the world that would refuse your money. Missouri (+50000), with two losses, is not technically out of the running. They would, however, have to beat Florida and Georgia, which is unlikely.

Plus, we have already seen them get dominated by Alabama.

Tennessee (+15000) was a team many people had high hopes for when the season started. It looked like they might follow through on their potential after wins against South Carolina and Missouri to start the season. But losses to Georgia and Kentucky have removed their margin of error. With a game against Alabama upcoming and Texas A&M and Florida on the schedule, it doesn’t look good for them. 

With two losses to open the season, South Carolina (+10000) is likely done as well. They must run the table and get some help to have a shot. But that is probably not going to happen.

But if you like rolling the dice on a dark horse, you got a good one in Kentucky (+4000).

The best defense against teams like Georgia, Alabama, and Florida is a good offense. The Wildcats don’t have a great unit, but they are good at running the ball (17th in the nation). Defensively, they have a top-20 unit in several categories (total, rush, scoring, passing efficiency, turnover margin, and red zone).

If Kentucky can eat up some clock with their run game and limit the run game of all three, they might actually win against all three. That is asking a lot, of course, but Alabama and Florida do have vulnerable defenses. If Stetson Bennett makes a few mistakes, beating Georgia is not out of reach either.

If you like to roll the dice, the Wildcats might be the pick for you.

Boston College Eagles at Virginia Tech Hokies Betting Preview

Saturday, October 17, 2020, Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Virginia, 8 p.m. ET

Eagles at Hokies Betting Preview: Eagles  (+10), Hokies (-10)

Boston College Eagles

The unranked Eagles (3-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) will test Virginia Tech’s secondary with one of the more effective passing combinations in the conference.

Quarterback Phil Jurkovec and receiver Zay Flowers hooked up six times for 162 yards and three scores in BC’s 31-30 overtime win over Pittsburgh last week. Jurkovec passed for 358 yards despite being sacked six times. He has passed for 1,181 yards in the four games so far.

That’s the most yardage ever that a BC quarterback has thrown for in his first four games. He set a school single-game record for completions when he was 37 of 56 in a 26-22 loss to North Carolina.

“These games are coming down to the wire, but through it all, we stick together,” Jurkovec said. “Zay is one of the best receivers in the country. He made the plays; he got open.”

Flowers’ 405 receiving yards on 21 catches leads the team, but Hunter Long leads in number of receptions with 31 good for 363 yards.

Virginia Tech Hokies

The 23rd-ranked Hokies (2-1, 2-1 ACC) not only are back home after back-to-back road games at Duke (a 38-31 win) and North Carolina (a 56-45 loss) they also are looking to have several players who have missed games because of coronavirus issues available to play against Boston College.

The Hokies have been down at least 15 players for each of their first three games but welcomed back quarterback Hendon Hooker last week against the Tar Heels and will get safety Divine Diablo back this week.

Both are expected to start against the Eagles. Last week linebacker Alan Tisdale and walk-on Tyler Matheny were manning the safety positions in the secondary in the forth quarter at North Carolina.

Hooker, who started after four games last year and won the first six starts of his career, entered the game in the second half against the Tar Heels. He was 7-of-13 passing for 136 yards and two scores.

“He has a little presence about him,” Tech coach Justin Fuente said of Hooker. “He has an easily approachable and easy to talk to demeanor that the guys feel comfortable with.”

Eagles at Hokies Betting Pick for October 17, 2020

The Hokies will get a boost to their secondary with Diablo’s return, and Hooker is the guy who gave them a lift last year when he became the starter. The Eagles were within a 2-point conversion of tying North Carolina late in their game before the Tar Heels ran back a turnover to add two points to their score. Stopping Hokies running back Khalil Herbert (149.7 yards per game and 10.4 per carry average) will be crucial for the Eagles.

Eagles at Hokies Betting Pick:

Hokies 41, Eagles 24

Eagles at Hokies Best Bet for October 17, 2020

Just having more players available after being shorthanded because of coronavirus issues in the early going should be a boost for the Hokies, who won’t have to contend with the kind of running game they did last week against North Carolina. The Tar Heels ran for 399 yards against the Hokies. The Eagles have averaged only 60.2 yards rushing a game.

Eagles at Hokies Best Bet: OVER 60.5

–Field Level Media

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Betting Preview

Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Cajun Field, Lafayette, Louisiana, 7:30 p.m. ET

Chanticleers at Ragin’ Cajuns Betting Preview: Chanticleers  (+7.5), Ragin’ Cajuns (-7.5)

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

The Chanticleers (3-0, 1-0 Sun Belt) lost 48-7 to the Ragin’ Cajuns last year, but are looking to making up for that performance in this midweek clash that was delayed four days because of the threat of Hurricane Delta.

“That game last year was a huge embarrassment,” linebacker Teddy Gallagher said. “We didn’t step to the plate and we folded a little bit. We’re going into this game expecting to compete with these guys.”

The Chanticleers are looking to start off conference play 2-0 for the first time in the young program’s history.

“That would put us in an unbelievable position,” Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell said.

The Chanticleers started the season with a 38-23 win at Kansas and followed that with a 43-21 romp past Campbell before opening league play with a shocking 52-23 trouncing of Arkansas State.

Grayson McCall has completed 66.7 percent of his 63 pass attempts for 728 yards with Jalyon Heiligh leading receivers with 23 catches for 219 yards. C.J. Marable has rushed for 190 yards and three scores.

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

No. 23 Louisiana finds (3-0, 2-0 SBC) itself in the odd position of being ranked one spot below it beat in the opener (Iowa State) in the latest poll.

“It doesn’t bother me,” defensive end Andre Jones said. “We can’t do anything about where they put people. We just go out and play football.”

The Cajuns haven’t exactly rolled over people after rallying to beat Georgia State 34-31 and needing Nate Snyder’s 53-yard field goal as time expired to get past Georgia Southern 20-18 back on Sept. 26. It was just the third successful field goal for Snyder in seven attempts this season.

Levi Lewis has not really gotten off to the kind of start expected of him with only 52 completions in 90 pass attempts for 723 yards and three interceptions against four touchdowns. Running back Elijah Mitchell also has been dealing with coronavirus that kept him out of the Georgia Southern Game.

He is still the team’s leading rusher with 210yards in two appearances. Mitchell is expected back this week.

Chanticleer at Ragin’ Cajuns Betting Pick for October, 2020

The Cajuns dominated on both sides of the ball in last year’s meeting, rushing for 225 yards and Lewis passing for 296 yards. The Chanticleers didn’t score until less than four minutes remained in the game. This game will serve as somewhat of a measure to see how far the Chanticleers have progressed. “We’re looking forward to seeing how we stack up against them,” Chadwell said.

Chanticleers at Ragin’ Cajuns Betting Pick:

 Ragin’ Cajuns 27, Chanticleers 20

Chanticleers at Ragin’ Cajuns Best Bet for October 17, 2020

The Cajuns have been pretty solid on defense all year in holding two of their three opponents to under 20 points, but their offense has yet to put together a solid, consistent game. Mitchell saved them at Georgia State with his late heroics. Coastal Carolina may be the biggest threat yet.

Chanticleers at Ragin’ Cajuns Best Bet: UNDER 55.5

–Field Level Media

Kentucky Wildcats at Tennessee Volunteers Betting Preview

Saturday, October 17, 2020, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville Tennessee, noon ET

Wildcats at Volunteers Betting Preview: Wildcats (+6), Volunteers (-6)

Kentucky Wildcats

Defense was pretty much responsible for Kentucky’s 24-2 win over Mississippi State. The Wildcats (1-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) managed only 157 yards in total offense but came up with six interceptions and held Bulldogs coach Mike Leach’s famous Air Raid offense without a touchdown or field goal for the first time.

The Wildcats rushed for only 84 yards and Terry Wilson completed just eight of 20 passes for 73 yard. He also rushed for 50 of Kentucky’s rushing total. The Bulldogs ran off 31 more plays than the Wildcats, who had the ball for just over 25 minutes.

“It was aggravating,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “It was not good enough for us.”

Wilson has completed 61.3 percent of his 75 pass attempts for 463 yards with two touchdowns against only one interception. He also is the team’s leading rusher with 221 yards.

The Wildcats have rushed for an average of 212.3 yards a game though 408 of the team’s 637 yards came against a beleaguered Ole Miss defense in a 42-41 overtime loss.

Tennessee Volunteers

After backup Harrison Bailey took all the snaps at quarterback in a scrimmage the day after the 18th-ranked Volunteers (2-1, 2-1 SEC) lost at Georgia, speculation began to arise that the Vols may be looking to make a change with Kentucky coming to town.

Coach Jeremy Pruitt re-affirmed that veteran Jarrett Guarantano will start against the Wildcats.

“Jarrett is our quarterback,” Pruitt said. “He gives us the best chance to have success. When you don’t have a lot of success, the quarterback gets too much blame. When you have a lot of success, the quarterback probably gets too much credit.

“Offensively, our struggle Saturday was not because of one independent person. It was a team effort. We understand that. It starts with us as coaches putting our guys in a better position to have success.”

Guarantano threw two touchdown passes against Georgia in the first half to give the Vols a 21-17 lead at the break.

But the Bulldogs shut out the Vols over the final two quarters and Guarantano threw an interception and lost two fumbles that led to Georgia points.

Wildcats at Volunteers Betting Pick for October, 2020

Though they usually meet in late November, the Volunteers have dominated the series with the Wildcats with 33 wins in the last 35 meetings. The Vols haven’t lost to the Wildcats in Neyland Stadium since 1984. Kentucky’s wins in 2011 and 2017 both came in Lexington.

Wildcats at Volunteers Betting Pick:

 Volunteers 21, Wildcats 10

Wildcats at Volunteers Best Bet for October 17, 2020

Both teams have issues on offense, though the Vols’ performance last week at Georgia can be excused somewhat as it came against one of the conference’s best defenses. Kentucky’s shutdown of Mike Leach’s offense at Mississippi State has to be impressive and should help the Wildcats stay within striking range.

Wildcats at Volunteers Best Bet: UNDER 47.5

–Field Level Media

BYU Cougars at Houston Cougars Betting Preview

Friday, October 16, 2020, TDECU Stadium, Houston, 9:30 p.m. ET

BYU at Houston Betting Preview: BYU  (-3.5), Houston (+3.5)

BYU Cougars

No. 14 BYU (4-0) had its closest encounter of the season by far last week when it got by UTSA 27-20, but coach Kalani Sitake thinks the close call may help his team in the long run.

“If there is any silver lining to this, it’s that we were able to be uncomfortable a little bit,” Sitake said. “I told the team that we’d been in this position before and lost these type of games. It felt good to get this win. It feels good to be 4-0 and learn from this. I think we’ll perform a lot better next time.”

Zach Wilson passed for 292 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Roadrunners while completing 22 of 30 attempts. For the season he has completed 81.2 percent of his 101 attempts for 1,241 yards and eight scores against one interception.

Dax Milne has 24 catches for 366 yards and Gunner Romney 453 on 20 grabs, a whopping 22.65 average per catch that ranks 11th in the nation in the category.

Sophomore Tyler Allgeier has a pair of 100-yard rushing games to his credit to give him 391 yards for the season. He has averaged 7.4 yards per carry.

Houston Cougars

Receiver/returner Marquez Stevenson was a big key for Houston (1-0) in the 49-31 win over Tulane in the delayed opener. He recorded the ninth 100-yard receiving game of his career with 114 yards on five receptions (one for a touchdown) and also returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.

It was the third kickoff return for a score in his career.

“It means a lot to him,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said of Stevenson’s accomplishments. “He’s been around here for a long time. He’s going to get his degree here in the next couple of months. He’s going to make a lot of plays for us over the course of the season and then he’s going to go play in the NFL.”

Junior Clayton Tune passed for 319 yards and two touchdowns as Houston rallied from an early 24-7 deficit but also was intercepted twice.

BYU at Houston Betting Pick for October 16, 2020

Houston will present the biggest challenge yet for a BYU team that has rolled over three of its first four opponents. Defensive end Payton Turner showed off his pass rushing skills last week with two sacks among his 4.5 tackles for loss. Once it  got over the opening game jitters Houston broke the game open.

BYU at Houston Betting Pick:

 Houston 34, BYU 28

BYU at Houston Best Bet for October 16, 2020

The two teams have the offensive firepower to run up a big score. Wilson has averaged 310.2 passing yards a game, and Tune threw for 319 in his season debut. Stevenson has the kind of big play capability to make the difference both as a receiver and a returner. BYU has won the only two meetings 47-46 in 2013 and 33-25 in 2014.

BYU at Houston Best Bet: OVER 62.5

–Field Level Media

Auburn Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks Betting Preview

Saturday, October 17, 2020, Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina, noon ET

Tigers at Gamecocks Betting Preview: Tigers  (-3), Gamecocks (+3)

Auburn Tigers

Perhaps overlooked in the aftermath of the controversial ending to their 30-28 win over Arkansas was the emergence of running back Tank Bigsby in giving the No. 15 Tigers (2-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) a much-needed boost on offense.

The freshman rushed for 146 yards for the game and had two carries for 17 yards and a reception for eight in Auburn’s final drive to set up the decisive field goal.

“What has impressed me is just his physicality and determination,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “He’s still learning the plays. He is still learning the schemes and the steps and everything that goes with it.”

Auburn has been seeking more consistency after averaging only 328.7 yards a game on offense through its first three games. Thanks in a big way to Bigsby’s effort, the Tigers nearly doubled their rushing average for the season to 129.7 yards a game from the 65.0 they had averaged through their first two games.

South Carolina Gamecocks

The Gamecocks (1-2, 1-2 SEC) unveiled a rushing threat of their own in their 41-7 pounding of Vanderbilt last week with Kevin Harris bulling his way to 171 yards on 21 carries. Injured last year and limited to just six appearances, Harris has rushed for 326 yards and four touchdowns this season.

“You get tired of hitting him, and there’s nothing really soft on his body,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said of the 5-foot-10, 225-pound sophomore. “He’s a guy that wears on people as the game continues to go.”

Colorado State transfer Collin Hill failed to hit the 200-yard mark last week against Vandy but has completed 69 of his 110 attempts for 698 yards and three touchdowns in three games. Shi Smith is his favorite target with 26 receptions for 271 yards and two of the scores.

Tigers at Gamecocks Betting Pick for October 20, 2020

The Tigers will be without preseason all-SEC linebacker K.J. Britt this week and possibly for the rest of the season after he had thumb surgery. That’s not the kind of thing you want  to hear when preparing for a runner like South Carolina’s Harris, but the Tigers should have enough offense to put the Gamecocks away. Zakoby McClain (13 tackles vs. Arkansas) and Owen Pappoe (10) look ready to make up for the loss of Britt.

Tigers at Gamecocks Betting Pick:

 Tigers 28, Gamecocks 17

Tigers at Gamecocks Best Bet for October 17, 2020

Bo Nix hasn’t gotten off to the kind of start Tigers fans no doubt were hoping for. He has completed only 56.8 percent of his 95 passes for 199 yards a game. Anthony Schwartz (21 catches, 197 yards) and Seth Williams (12-216) are top quality receivers and could provide the breakthrough the Tigers are seeking.

Tigers at Gamecocks Best Bet: UNDER 49.5

–Field Level Media

Texas A&M Aggies at Mississippi State Bulldogs Betting Preview

Saturday, October 17, 2020, Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Mississippi, 4 p.m. ET

Aggies at Bulldogs Betting Preview: Aggies  (-6.5), Bulldogs (+6.5)

Texas A&M Aggies

Quarterback Kellen Mond became Texas A&M’s all-time passing leader after throwing for 338 yards in the 41-38 win over Florida last week, raising his career total to 8,244 yards. He also holds the school record for completions (680) and attempts (1,168).

Coach Jimbo Fisher is concerned with his team’s defense as the No. 11 Aggies (2-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) take on Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense Saturday at Mississippi State.

“You have to be talented and you have to be diverse,” Fisher said. “Can you pressure the quarterback? Can you cover zone? Can you play man-to-man? I mean it’s about being diverse.

“Mike has always thrown the football around and he’s done a great job and he’s very sneaky with how he plays the running game. You’re going to have to play disciplined, hard and tough football.”

Fisher is very aware that the Bulldogs like to use many receivers. Even running back Kylin Hill, the SEC’s third-leading rusher last year, caught a school single-game record 15 passes last week.

“We’re going to have to tackle in space very well and not miss tackles,” Fisher said. “We’ll have to contain guys and keep leverage on the football. You look at their receivers and it’s usually eight to nine guys a game to catch balls. In their last game, their tailback had 15 catches, so you see the ball goes all over.”

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense that blitzed LSU for 44 points and 623 passing yards in the opener suddenly has sputtered the last two games in Mississippi State’s losses to Arkansas and Kentucky.

K.J. Costello passed for only 232 yards and had four interceptions as the Bulldogs (1-2, 1-2 SEC) failed to score a touchdown in the 24-2 loss to the Wildcats. Will Rogers relieved him  and threw two more picks.

Leach was rather coy in answering a question about what Costello needed to do going forward. Ball security has to be an issue. The Stanford graduate transfer has an FBS-high nine interceptions this season.

“We’ll see,” Leach said. “We’re going to have competition at nearly every position out there because we need to get the most cohesive group. I think as far as being purely competitive out there at every position, I think that’s what we need to do. I think we need to take care of the football better for sure.”

The Bulldogs have had issues running the football with a meager 38.7 rushing average through three games. Hill has far more yards receiving (237 on 23 catches) than rushing (58 on 15 carries).

Aggies at Bulldogs Betting Pick for October 17 , 2020

If Costello gets back the form he showed in the opener against LSU, the football will be flying all over the place Saturday. A&M’s Mond is off to a great start and earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his play against Florida, the same honor Costello earned for his play against LSU in the opener.

Aggies at Bulldogs Betting Pick:

Aggies 42, Bulldogs 24

Aggies at Bulldogs Best Bet for October 17, 2020

Mond has seven 300-yard passing games in his career and an eighth looks to be well in reach. The Aggies will have to protect from a Mississippi State defense that leads the SEC in sacks with 12. The average of 4.0 per game is seventh in the nation.

Aggies at Bulldogs Best Bet: OVER 54.5

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bearcats at Tulsa Golden Hurricane Betting Preview

Saturday, October 17, 2020, H.A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, Oklahoma, noon. ET

Bearcats at Golden Hurricane Betting Preview: Bearcats  (-4.5), Golden Hurricane (+4.5)

Cincinnati Bearcats

Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell is considering giving backup quarterback Ben Bryant a good look when the No. 8 Bearcats (3-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) take on Tulsa. Starter Desmon Ridder has thrown four interceptions and lost a fumble, and some competition might shake things up, Fickell said.

“I think it’s going to make them better,” Fickell said. “It’s going to make us better in the long run.”

Whoever is behind center will be facing a pass rush that has the Golden Hurricane No. 12 in FBS statistics in sacks with 3.5 per game.

The Bearcats are averaging just over 35 points a game and holding opponents to just over 12 while outgaining them in total offense 396 yards to 306.7, but Fickel is hungry for more.

“I think there’s a lot of things that we can kind of look at to find a way to take us to the next level,” he said. “That hunger and little bit of anger inside knows darn well we didn’t play quite up to the expectations that we would like to play.”

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Playing a ranked opponent has become the norm for the Golden Hurricane (1-1, 1-0 AAC). After splitting games against No. 11 Oklahoma State (a 16-7 loss) and No. 11 UCF (a 34-26), they will be looking for their first win over a Top 10 foe in nearly 50 years when they host the No. 8 Bearcats.

The Golden Hurricane haven’t beaten a Top 10 opponent since a 21-20 win over then No. 7 Arkansas in 1971. It will be their first game at home against a Top 10 opponent since they hosted No. 4 Oklahoma in 2014.

Finally, this will be the first time the Golden Hurricane have played three consecutive ranked opponents.

“I am very proud of our football team and those guys for sticking together,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “We have always been a gritty, hard-nosed 60-minute football team.”

Zach Smith has passed for 438 yards in Tulsa’s two outings, completing 61.4 percent of his 57 attempts with four touchdown passes against two interceptions..Keylon Stokes has 10 receptions for 150 yards with six catches for 95 yards in the win at UCF.

Bearcats at Golden Hurricane Betting Pick for October 17, 2020

Most of the Bearcats advantage in scoring came in a 55-20 rout of Austin Peay in their opener. They have followed that with a 24-10 win over Army and 28-7 decision over South Florida before sitting out next week. Tulsa has played well in both of its outings and will be a dangerous opponent.

Bearcats at Golden Hurricane Betting Pick:

Golden Hurricane 31, Bearcats 24

Bearcats at Golden Hurricane Best Bet for October 17, 2020

The Golden Hurricane won’t be intimidated by the Bearcats’ ranking after their comeback win at UCF in their last outing. Their ability to get pressure on the quarterback and get a running game going behind Deneric Prince (5.9 per carry average) will key an outright win for the Golden Hurricane.

Bearcats at Golden Hurricane Best Bet: OVER 47.5

–Field Level Media

Louisville Cardinals at Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Preview

Saturday, October 17, 2020, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana, 2:30 p.m. ET

Cardinals at Fighting Irish Betting Preview: Cardinals  (+17), Fighting Irish (-17)

Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals (1-3, 0-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) are limping in on a three-game losing streak that features a pair of double-digit losses to Miami and Georgia Tech.  A lack of big plays is an issue. They have just three plays covering 50 or more yards in their four games despite the presence of Malik Cunningham, who is sixth in the conference in passing with his average of 246.5 yards a game.

The problem doesn’t ride just with Cunningham, coach Scott Satterfield said.

“Malik’s overthrown a few of them,” Satterfield said. “But it seems like there’s been something different, whether it be Malik not throwing the proper ball or the receiver not running the proper route or the O-line or tight ends not protecting. So, in the course of the season, it’s been a little bit of everybody, I think, that have attributed to some of those shots not being there.”

Javian Hawkins has been a productive offensive threat. He has rushed for 468 yards and has one of the over-50 plays with a 75-yard run against Pittsburgh. He ran for 164 and 155 yards in losses to Miami and Georgia Tech, respectively.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

For No. 4 Notre Dame, just getting back to work is a big plus. The Fighting Irish (3-0, 2-0 ACC) will be playing on consecutive weekends for just the second time this season when they host Louisville Saturday.

They had gone from a 52-0 romp over South Florida on September 19 to the 42-26 win over Florida State last weekend without playing a game because of coronavirus issues.

“For us, getting into a normal work week is enjoyable,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “Certainly, getting back a routine gets back to a feeling of normalcy.”

Kelly said the layoff had an effect on his team’s defensive play after the Irish allowed the Seminoles 405 yards of total offense and 96 rushing yards by first-time starting quarterback Jordan Travis.”There were some uncharacteristic defensive lapses that occurred that we don’t normally see,” Kelly said. “But we will address those, and our guys are aware of them and they will be corrected for this weekend.”

Keeping Louisville’s Cunningham in check will be a priority for Notre Dame’s defense. Cunningham has averaged 246.5 yards a game passing and has 84 net yards rushing with the Cardinals yielding 14 sacks in four games. “Defending him out of the pocket is going to be a big concern for us,” Kelly said.

Cardinals at Fighting Irish Betting Pick:

Fighting Irish 49, Louisville 20

Cardinals at Fighting Irish Best Bet for October 17, 2020

The Cardinals are playing their third consecutive road game after their home loss to Miami was followed by losses at Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. The Irish will be back in the groove after a hit-and-miss schedule brought on by coronavirus issues.

Cardinals at Fighting Irish Best Bet: OVER 64

–Field Level Media

North Carolina Tar Heels at Florida State Seminoles Betting Preview

Saturday, October 17, 2020, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida, 7:30 p.m. ET

Tar Heels at Seminoles Betting Preview: Tar Heels  (-13.5), Seminoles (+13.5)

North Carolina Tar Heels

The No. 5 Tar Heels (3-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have their highest national ranking since 1997 but now need to stay focused as they take on the unranked Seminoles.

“We need to buy a house in this neighborhood. We haven’t been here much,” said coach Mack Brown, who was just finishing his first stint as Tar Heels’ coach the last time the Heels were ranked this high. “We’ve been visiting the first couple of weeks in the Top 10. This is who we want to be, but have we earned it yet.”

The Tar Heels put it all together offensively last week in a 56-35 romp past then No. 19 Virginia Tech, their first ranked opponent of the season. Michael Carter rushed for 214 yards and Javonte Williams for 169 as the Heels ran for 399 yards.

“They’re some of the best backs I’ve ever seen in my life,” said quarterback Sam Howell, who completed 18 of 23 passes for 257 yards and three scores.

Howell has completed 67.8 percent of his 83 passes for an average of 259 yards a game. Dyami Brown is the leading receiver with 23 catches for 240 yards, an 18.5 per catch average.

Florida State Seminoles

For just the third time in 20 opportunities the Seminoles (1-3, 0-3ACC) are unranked at the time of their meeting with the Tar Heels, and they will be facing the nation’s fifth-ranked team for a second consecutive weekend after their 42-26 loss at then-No. 5 Notre Dame last week.

First-year coach Mike Norvell thinks the ‘Noles showed some progress in the 16-point setback to the Irish.

“I think we took a step in the positive direction,” Norvell said. “I thought we played with the right mindset. We need to go play our best game this week.”

Sophomore Jordan Travis will be getting his second career start at quarterback after passing for 204 yards and rushing for 96 in his first last week. The transfer from Louisville showed some playmaking skills that were not evident from earlier FSU starters.

“I’m excited to see him build upon that,” Norvell said.

Tar Heels at Seminoles Betting Pick for October 17, 2020

The Tar Heels have won the last two meetings with the Seminoles, but the last was four years ago by a second consecutive 37-35 score. The other meeting was in 2010 and also in Tallahassee. Brown is 0-9 as a coach against his alma mater with an 0-6 mark during his earlier time with the Tar Heels. The streak figures to end this week.

Tar Heels at Seminoles Betting Pick:

 Tar Heels 42, Seminoles 28

Tar Heels at Seminoles Bet for October 17, 2020

Both teams have shown offensive capabilities. The Seminoles are one of 14 FBS teams that has rushed for at least 250 yards and passed for 250 yards in every game this season. The Tar Heels have averaged 245 yards a game rushing and 261.7 passing with a dual threat at running back (Carter 137.7 ypg rushing, Williams 94.3 ypg).

Tar Heels at Seminoles Best Bet: OVER 61.5

–Field Level Media

Georgia Bulldogs at Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Preview

Saturday, October 17, 2020, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 8 p.m. ET

Bulldogs at Crimson Tide Betting Preview: Bulldogs  (+6), Crimson Tide (-6)

Georgia Bulldogs

Contrasting styles will be on display in this Top 3 matchup. The No. 3 Bulldogs (3-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) have held opponents to just 12.3 points and 236.7 yards a game and will be facing a Crimson Tide offense that leads the nation in scoring (51.0 points a game) and is third in total offense (560.3 yards a game).

The Bulldogs have averaged 36 points and 420 yards a game behind junior quarterback Stetson Bennett, who climbed his way up the depth chart from No. 4 going into the season. Bennett has passed for 229.7 yards a game while completing 63.1 percent of his attempts since taking over in  the second quarter of the opener at Arkansas.

“I honestly think he’s just himself,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “He doesn’t try to be someone else. He doesn’t try to artificially lead or fake it. He never did that while he was trying to compete for the job, and he hasn’t done it since he got the job.”

Bennett has yet to throw an interception in 84 pass attempts.

Kearis Jackson leads the team in receptions with 19 for 300 yards while George Pickens has only eight catches for 87 yards.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Coach Nick Saban wasn’t happy with the way his second-ranked Crimson Tide (3-0, 3-0 SEC) played in allowing Ole Miss to amass 643 yards in total offense in last week’s 63-48 win over the Rebels.

“We’ve had some guys that have made multiple mistakes; either have to get that fixed or replace them,” Saban said. “And we’re going to work in every endeavor and try to get better. Believe me, there is no one satisfied with the way we played.”

Offensively, however, the Tide has put on a remarkable show behind Mac Jones. Jones is the national leader in passing efficiency in completing 66 of 83 attempts for 1,101 yards with eight touchdowns against one interception.

He has a pair of explosive receivers to throw to in DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Smith has 27 catches for 316 yards and two scores while Waddle has 19 receptions for 396 yards and three scores.

Najee Harris has rushed for 115.7 yards per game and also has 76 yards on seven receptions.

Bulldogs at Crimson Tide Betting Pick for October 17, 2020

Saban is 21-0 against his former assistants, including a 2-0 mark against Smart. The Tide beat the Bulldogs 26-23 in overtime in the 2017 national championship game and 35-28 in the 2018 SEC title game. This will be the third consecutive meeting for Saban against a former assistant after wins over Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M and Lane Kiffin of Ole Miss with Jeremy Pruitt of Tennessee up next.

Bulldogs at Crimson Tide Betting Pick:

 Crimson Tide 34, Bulldogs 27

Bulldogs at Crimson Tide Best Bet for October 17, 2020

Georgia has gotten off to a slow start in two of its three games, trailing Arkansas 7-5 and Tennessee 21-17 at halftime of their meetings. The Bulldogs have given up only two field goals in the second half all season, but the Tide have scored 69 of their 153 points in the third and fourth quarters. Smith and Waddle should have big efforts in the passing game.

Bulldogs at Crimson Tide Best Bet: OVER 58.5

–Field Level Media

Clemson Tigers at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Betting Preview

Saturday, October 17, 2020, Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, noon ET

Tigers at Yellow Jackets Betting Preview: Tigers  (-26.5), Yellow Jackets (+26.5)

Clemson Tigers

Trevor Lawrence returns to the scene where he won the starting job as a freshman back in 2017 when the No. 1 Tigers (4-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) visit Georgia Tech Saturday.

In 2018, Lawrence took over for Kelly Bryant in the second half after the Tigers struggled in the early going and guided Clemson to the 49-21 victory. The next day coach Dabo Swinney announced that Lawrence would take over the Tigers’ starting quarterback.

A national championship and 29 wins later, Lawrence likely will be making his final appearance against the Yellow Jackets this weekend as he is expected to be the top pick in next spring’s National Football League draft.

“Trevor’s an amazing player and he was just clearly the best guy,” Swinney said, reflecting on his decision. “What he’s done since then is incredible.”

Lawrence enters the game with a streak of 355 pass attempts without an interception. He has completed 72.4 percent of his 116 attempts this season for 1,140 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has a number of targets with four receivers already in double figures in receptions for the season topped by Amari Rogers’ 19 catches for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

The Yellow Jackets (2-2, 2-1 ACC) are hosting the nation’s No. 1 team for the first time since 1980 when they held Notre Dame to a 3-3 tie. With overtime now being played, there won’t be a repeat of that, of course, and the Tigers are overwhelming favorites as they try to extend their winning streak in regular-season games to 34 in a row and their conference streak to 24 straight.

“Their roster is filled with great players,” Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins said. “You look at their personnel on both sides of the ball and they’ve got great players all across the roster. We know we’ve got a big challenge.”

Collins’ Yellow Jackets are coming off a 46-27 victory over Louisville that saw them rally from an early 21-7 deficit. Freshman quarterback Jeff Sims completed only 11 of 21 passes, but they were good for 249 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored on a 22-yard run.

For the season, Sims has completed 54.6 percent of his 119 pass attempts for 236 yards a game, but he does have eight interceptions. Malachi Carter and Jalen Camp each have 14 receptions with Carter’s catches good for 213 yards and Camp’s for 142.

Tigers at Yellow Jackets Betting Pick for October 17 , 2020

The Tigers have not only a premier quarterback but also an outstanding runner in Travis Etienne to go against a Georgia Tech defense that has given up nearly 450 yards a game (189.2 rushing). The Tigers have yielded less than 280 yards a game rushing and passing and held Miami to just 210 yards last week.

Tigers at Yellow Jackets Betting Pick:

 Tigers 49, Yellow Jackets 14

Tigers at Yellow Jackets Best Bet for October 17, 2020

The Tigers made a statement with their 42-17 rout of Miami, and they seem to be on a mission since losing last season’s national championship game so a letdown would be a surprise. Lawrence and Etienne are a huge 1-2 punch offensively, and a defense that corralled Miami’s D’Eriq King should be able to keep Sims under control.

Tigers at  Yellow Jackets Best Bet: OVER 60.5

–Field Level Media

OddsUSA College Football Best Bet of the Week for Week 7: Georgia at Alabama

Spread: Alabama -6.0

Moneyline: Alabama -235; Georgia +188

Over/Under: 57.0

*Odds via DraftKings.com

While the 2020 college football season is still relatively young and two conferences have yet even to start playing, it looks like one team is a lock to make the college football playoffs—Clemson. But with the Big 12 not looking too hot, there is a solid chance another conference, i.e., the SEC, could see two teams make it in.

Should that be the case, the two teams most likely to do so would be Alabama and Georgia—who happen to play this weekend in Tuscaloosa.

It may be too early to say there is anything definitively on the line in this game, but the winner will undoubtedly be in the driver’s seat for one of the four college playoff spots. However, while a loss would usually damage the other’s chances, that may not be the case this time.

But the margin of error for the loser will become much narrower. So—who is going to win?

Georgia Bulldogs Betting Preview

The Bulldogs entered the season with a lot of questions on the offensive side of the ball. But they had one thing working in their favor—their defense. They had one of the best units in college football on that side of the ball last year, and most of it was coming back this season.

It is safe to say much of the same was expected. If the defense could contain opposing offenses well enough, maybe they could get things figured out on the offensive side of the ball.

During the first half of their season opener against Arkansas, it looked like the offense would need that help. That was okay because the defense looked up to the challenge. But then they changed quarterbacks at halftime of that game, and the offense has looked great ever since.

While Stetson Bennett continues to grow in his role as starting quarterback, the defense appears ready to give him some breathing room. After three games, they are the No. 1 defense against the run, No. 2 in total yards, No. 3 in passing efficiency, and tied for No. 5 in scoring.

However, while they appear to be a dominant unit, they have yet to play a team quite like Alabama.

Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Preview

If anyone had doubts about the Crimson Tide coming into this season, they must not know college football very well. No one reloads like Nick Saban does. When you recruit as well as he does, there will always be talent waiting in the wings for their chance. This year has been no different.

Mac Jones has brushed aside any concerns about him by completing a ridiculous 79.5 percent of his passes for 1101 yards and eight touchdowns. But he is not getting the job done by himself. Najee Harris has churned out 347 yards on the ground, including a 206-yard, five-touchdown effort last week against Ole Miss.

It also helps to have two future NFL wide receivers to throw to in Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. However, while the offense is incredible, the defense is not. While it did not look bad against Missouri or Texas A&M, it was terrible against Ole Miss (48 points and 647 total yards allowed).

Does this mean the defense is vulnerable to good offenses? Possibly. But luckily, they have the No. 1 scoring offense, No. 2 passing offense, and No. 3 total offense, putting games out of reach for most teams.

But Georgia is not like ‘most teams.’

Georgia at Alabama Betting Prediction

If you watch one football game all year, this is the one you should watch. It will feature many future NFL stars, tons of offense, and some stellar defensive play as well. Georgia is certainly going to move the ball on Alabama’s defense. But the question is whether the Georgia defense can slow down the Alabama offensive juggernaut enough.

Look for this one to be a close, high-scoring game. Either team could end up winning, but going with Alabama to win straight up is the safer bet. However, go with Georgia to win against the spread. Their defense is too good not to slow Alabama down a little. With how the Crimson Tide defense has looked, they will put up some points.

Will Georgia put up enough to win? That is hard to say, but they will put up enough to cover the spread. As for the over/under—this one is easy.

Take the over.

Travis’ Best Bet: Georgia +6 and OVER 57

Big 12 Championship Odds for Week Seven: Cowboys Riding Cyclones?

For years, the Big 12 has featured two teams— the one that wins the conference all the time (Oklahoma), or the one everyone talks about winning the conference that continually falls short (Texas). This year, the world expected much of the same; the conference winner would be Oklahoma or Texas.

While teams have only played a few conference games each, it is looking like the Big 12 will have a new champion this year.

The Longhorns and Sooners are not living up to expectations so far. However, since the season is so young, they could still win the conference title. But they are certainly going to have their work cut out for them reaching the title game—and they are going to need some help.

So, if it is not going to be either of those teams, then who?

Big 12 Championship Odds: If Not Texas Or Oklahoma, Then Who?

For some reason, the oddsmakers at DraftKings still have Oklahoma listed as the conference favorite at +150. Somehow, they overlook the 1-2 conference record, the ambiguity at quarterback, and the fact that they have allowed more points (120) than they have scored (118).

To even have a remote shot of making the title game, they have to run the table. While TCU, Texas Tech, and Kansas should not be a problem, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and Baylor will be.

Iowa State and Oklahoma State (+350) look more like contenders than the Sooners do. After some early struggles, Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy is playing well. They still have a couple of challenging games ahead, but they are definitely in control of their own future.

The same could be said for Oklahoma State. It took some time for the offense to wake up. But once they figured out who their starting quarterback would be and Chuba Hubbard woke up, they have been clicking on that side of the ball. Defensively, they are doing well, but they have yet to play a really good offensive team.

They will undoubtedly get tested in a couple of weeks when they face Iowa State followed by Texas, with Oklahoma still to come a couple of weeks later.

When it comes to Texas (+450), maybe they will get it together when people quit jumping to the conclusion that they have it together. Yes, Sam Ehlinger is a good quarterback, and the offense is playing well overall. But this defense is just as bad, if not worse than last year’s dismal defense.

Like Oklahoma, they have to run the table even to have a chance to make the title game. With Kansas being the only cupcake game left on their schedule, it doesn’t look likely.

Will the Big 12 Odds Apply to Anybody Else Like the Wildcats and Red Raiders?

Kansas State (+900) jumped into the conference title conversation a couple of weeks ago with an upset win over Oklahoma.  But after losing senior quarterback Skyler Thompson to a season-ending injury, the Wildcats should be approached with caution. If they are going to have a chance, new starting quarterback Will Howard will need to get up to speed quickly.

TCU (+1600) is not out of the equation by any means, and neither is West Virginia (+2000) or Baylor (+2500). But TCU can not afford another loss since they already have two in the conference and still have a few challenging games left. As for the Bears and Mountaineers, running the table will be the surest route for both. But with the schedules each has, that is not going to be easy.

While Texas Tech (+50000) has shown more promise than Kansas (+75000), they need to win a conference game before even thinking about winning the conference.

With the build-up and drama that preceded the 2020 college football season, we should not be shocked at how things have played out. It is only fitting that in a year as crazy as 2020, we see the top dogs in the Big 12 falter.

The only question now is who will become the new lead dog.

Pac-12 Championship Odds: Better Late Than Never

So much for the possibility of spring football, right? It did not look like the college football season was going to have a full dance card. But with the Pac-12 now set to come back, it seems like we will—which is good.

Now there will be no question marks as to whether someone who did not play could have won it all. However, it remains to be seen if the Pac-12 will factor into the national title picture, anyway. Had Utah beaten Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game last year, they would have likely made it in.

However, with the Pac-12 only playing seven games this season, will the College Football Playoff Committee see enough from the conference champ to give the Pac-12 a seat at the table? To that end, who will the conference champ be?

Pac-12 Championship Odds: It Is Really Anyone’s Conference to Win

Oregon is still the presumed favorite (+200; odds via DraftKings). However, they are far from a lock to get back to the title game, let alone win it. While they have quite a few pieces coming back from last year’s excellent defense, the offense could have some issues.

They have an excellent running back tandem in CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, and a great wide receiver in Johnny Johnson III. But with Penei Sewell opting out, they need a new offensive line along with a new quarterback. Since they are jumping right into conference play, there will be no time to work out the kinks.

If the Oregon offense does struggle to get on track, USC (+200) is expected to be the next team-up. Why? Because they have an excellent quarterback coming back in Kedon Slovis. As for the skill position guys—they lost one, Michael Pittman Jr., to the Indianapolis Colts via the draft.

With the interior of the offensive line coming back, there is reason to believe the Trojans offense can get off to a fast start. But while they have a lot of experience coming back on defense, they have a new defensive coordinator in Todd Orlando. 

However, Orlando did not do much with the Texas defense last year. Will he be able to go better with USC?

Can the Huskies Be Top Dog in a Topsy Turvy Year?

Washington (+350) is expected to be competitive this year. But they will have a lot of things working against them in a shortened season. Longtime assistant Jimmy Lake is the new head coach. He tabbed one of his defensive assistants to be the new DC but then went with a questionable choice in John Donovan, a former Penn State assistant working with the Jaguars for the last few years.

He will not have much experience to work with since he has only four returning starters. While they have had some talented recruiting classes, that is a lot of new pieces to work-in while rebuilding the offense. But with much of a talented defense coming back, maybe they will be able to give the offense a helping hand in the first few weeks.

Utah (+650) is not going to make it easy for USC in the South Division. However, after losing their quarterback, running back, and much of a talented defense, it will not be easy for them. But head coach Kyle Whittingham has a great system in place and has had excellent recruiting classes in the last few years.

Without a nonconference opponent or two to work out the kinks, though, the best they may hope to do is play spoiler to someone else’s season.

Herm Edwards has a good team coming back at Arizona State (+1200) led by his quarterback Jayden Daniels. But he has two new coordinators, lost most of his offensive line, and his best wide receiver. His defense will need a few new starters to step up as well—especially on the defensive front.

Stanford (+1400) was not expected to be great last season. It was not expected to be so bad, either, but that sometimes happens when you get hit hard by injuries.  With a healthy team of promising young talent and veteran talent coming back, the Cardinal could be something this year. But they will have some work to do once play begins.

The Rest of the Pac-12 Odds

As for the rest of the conference, there is some potential, but each team will need a lot of things to go their way to win the conference. Cal (+2000) was great last year when quarterback Chase Garber was healthy. They struggled when he was not. Washington State (+2000) has some good pieces coming back on offense but not much on defense, and they will have a new head coach running the show with Mike Leach now in the SEC.

UCLA (+2500) could be seeing the end of the Chip Kelly Era soon if the Bruins do not at least show some improvement. The same could be said for Kevin Sumlin in Arizona (+3300). Oregon State (+6600) has some good defensive players coming back but not much on offense. Colorado (+10000) will need quite a few guys to step up, even to be competitive.   

So—who is going to win?

It will probably be whoever can get off to a strong start. As we have seen with the other major conferences, several teams will likely struggle to find their footing to start the season. So, whoever can get off to a strong start will probably win the conference—whoever that happens to be.

Heisman Trophy Odds for Week 7: Is a Fellow Tiger Nipping at Lawrence?

Depending on how the games played out last week, somebody could have shaken up the Heisman Trophy race. If Miami could have upset Clemson, oddsmakers may have had to rethink who the favorite is.

As it turns out, Clemson and Trevor Lawrence are who we thought they were, and Miami—well, Miami isn’t.

Lawrence and King were not the only Heisman candidates in action over the weekend. It’s not fair to mention Lawrence without mentioning his running back, Travis Etienne. Mac Jones had an excellent game for Alabama, but so did Najee Harris and Jaylen Waddle.

We may not have really known who Stetson Bennet was before the season started, but we are getting to know him now.

Some stars are shining as bright as we thought they would, others, not so much. But the proof will be in the pudding for some in the weeks ahead as the competition gets more challenging. If guys do not make a good enough impression before the Big Ten and Pac-12 start playing, voters could forget who they are.

Heisman Trophy Odds: Lawrence Not the Most Impressive Tiger

Miami’s defense looked like it might give Trevor Lawrence some trouble, but it did not. Lawrence had little trouble carving up the Miami D for 292 yards and three touchdowns. It was a good enough showing to drop his odds from +200 down to +110 this week at DraftKings.

But his backfield buddy, Travis Etienne, may have a more impressive day with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries along with another 73 yards in the passing game (eight receptions). As a result, his odds took a nice jump from +4000 to +2200.

D’Eriq King (+3300) could have cemented his status as a front runner with a god showing against Clemson. But the Tigers defense held him to 205 total yards, one touchdown rushing), and two interceptions. He and the Hurricanes will have to run the table for him to have a legitimate shot now.

As usual, Alabama is full of potential Heisman candidates. With another 400+ yard day, it is impossible to ignore quarterback Mac Jones (+500). Najee Harris (+1600) put his best foot forward with 206 yards on the ground with five touchdowns. 

Jaylen Waddle (+1000) was not Jones’ favorite target against Ole Miss, but he had a solid day (six receptions, 120 yards). DeVonta Smith (+5000) was his favorite target, though, with 13 receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown.

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral (+25000) does not have much of a chance of winning this year with two losses already. But fans should keep an eye on him in the future.

The Big Hat Heisman Trophy Odds of Stetson Bennett

Stetson Bennett (+1000) is not putting up the kind of stats voters like to see. He had just 260 total yards of offense and three touchdowns last week against Tennessee. But he will have his chance to prove his worth this week against Alabama.

Kyle Trask had another Heisman-worthy day with 300+ yards and four touchdowns against Texas AM. But since Florida lost the game, his odds dipped from +600 to +1400 this week. His chance to get back in the thick of the race will come in a couple of weeks when Florida faces Georgia.

If you are a fan of longshots, there are a few worth keeping an eye on. North Carolina’s Sam Howell (+4000) has played well, and the Tar Heels are playing better and better. If they can remain undefeated and take care of business against Notre Dame and Miami late in the season—and then Clemson in the ACC title game – he may still have a shot.

After a slow start to the season, Iowa State’s Brock Purdy (+5000) has come on strong the last two games. Chuba Hubbard (+8000) hasn’t been as explosive as he was last season, but it is still too soon to count him out.

With Clemson not facing too much tough competition the rest of the way, the stage is set for Trevor Lawrence to win. But there is still plenty of time for someone to shine so brightly the voters will have no choice but to take notice.

After all, Justin Fields (+250) hasn’t stepped onto the field yet.

OddsUSA College Football Best Bet of the Week: Miami at Clemson

  • Spread: Clemson -14.5
  • Moneyline: Clemson -625; Miami +450
  • Over/Under: 63.5

*Odds via DraftKings.com

While it would be nice to say the four College Football Playoff spots are up for grabs every season, it is no mystery who one of the teams will likely be—the Clemson Tigers. They have been one of the best college football teams in the country for a few years now.

You could try to argue that they should not start at the top every year. But when you have been as good as they have been from one year to the next, you deserve to be on top until someone knocks you off. During the regular season, there just has not been anyone good enough to get the job done.

However, there is one team that might be able to do the deed this year—the Miami Hurricanes.

Miami Hurricanes Betting Preview

If fans were expecting another mediocre season like they saw last year out of the Hurricanes, they must be pleasantly surprised with what they have seen this year. As usual, the defense is stout, one of the best in the country. But unlike last season, the offense has been clicking as well.

With the addition of D’Eriq King at quarterback and new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, the Miami offense is averaging 43.3 points a game and 499.0 total yards of offense. King has been everything he was believed to be and has accounted for 893 total yards and seven touchdowns.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had this to say recently about King:

“He’s a great quarterback — he can do it all. There’s really nothing he can’t do. He can make all the throws and when he runs it, he’s a running back. He’s got that mindset of a running back, too. You’d better have your big-boy pads on. He’s averaging 5.4 yards after contact, so this is a very physical player.”

Having a good running back like Cam’Ron Harris certainly helps. If Harris and King can get the ball moving early, the Hurricanes will have an honest shot at winning the game. That will, of course, not be easy to do against Clemson’s defense.

But if their defense can live up to its reputation and just slow Trevor Lawrence down, the outcome may not be what oddsmakers think.

Clemson Tigers Betting Preview

The Tigers have ruled the ACC and the national scene for year. So far, there has been little to no reason to think this season is going to be any different. Trevor Lawrence has been playing as good as ever. Through three games he has already tallied 848 yards in the passing game and ten total touchdowns.

He still has one of the best running backs in the backfield with him in Travis Etienne. When they two are on their game, Clemson’s offense is virtually unstoppable. But they have yet to face a defense quite like Miami’s.

However, what will be even more important for the Tigers will be how the defense steps up to the challenge of containing Miami’s offense—especially D’Eriq King and Cam’Ron Harris. The front has been holding opposing running backs to 2.3 yards a carry and will need to do the same.

Clemson’s linebackers will get the unenviable task of keeping King from breaking into the secondary when he runs.

OddsUSA NCAA Football Best Bet of the Week Betting Prediction

Miami is going to give Clemson a much better game than anyone expects. The Hurricanes defense will succeed in slowing down Lawrence and Etienne, but they will not be able to stop them altogether. Clemson’s defense will have a similar impact on Miami.

If the Hurricanes are going to win, they will need to score touchdowns rather than settling for field goals. They can’t let Lawrence start to build a lead; when he scores, Miami needs to follow suit. Most of all, their defense has to play their best game ever if they hope to contain Trevor Lawrence.

While they may do so for a half or maybe even three quarters, they are not going to do so for the entire game. Eventually, Dabo Swinney is going to figure out what adjustment he needs to make to get the offense rolling.

Miami makes a game of it but falls short in the end.  So, take Clemson to win, but take Miami to win against the spread. As for the over/under, go with the over. Defense is going to win the day in the end, but it is not hard to see both teams

Virginia Tech Hokies at North Carolina Tar Heel Betting Preview

Saturday, October 10, 2020, Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, N.C., noon ET

Hokies at Tar Heels Betting Preview: Hokies (+5.5), Tar Heels (-5.5)

Virginia Tech Hokies

Kansas transfer Khalil Herbert has been the big story for Virginia Tech’s offense so far. He rushed for 212 yards in the 38-31 win at Duke, giving him 311 for the season for an FBS-best 155.5 per game average. He also had 150 yards on three kickoff returns.

“I do think we need to make sure that we’re not overusing him, and we have really good guys that can fill in and not have a huge drop-off that I feel really comfortable with,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “But I certainly like having him here.”

The Hokies will be up against a North Carolina defense that held Boston College to just 40 rushing yards in last week’s 26-22 victory. That could put more pressure on the passing game with Brendon Hooker back at quarterback.

Hooker, last year’s starter, was limited by quarantine issues in the preseason but is expected to take over for Oregon transfer Braxton Burmeister. Burmeister started the first two games but has only 16 completions in 36 attempts.

North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels have held their first two foes to just 108 yards rushing combined but coach Mack Brown expects his defense to be severely tested against the Hokies. “”I think it’s obvious what Virginia Tech’s going to do,” Brown said. “For two weeks, they’ve rushed for over 300 yards. If you rush for over 300 yards, you’re usually going to win the game.”

North Carolina’s defense has yet to yield a rushing touchdown in two games. Linebacker Chazz Surratt has been the leader with a team-best 17 tackles. He has three of the team’s 10 sacks).

Sam Howell has completed 65 percent of his passes for 520 yards but defenders have picked off three of his 60 attempts so he could be more consistent. The Heels have a pair of capable running backs in Michael Carter (199 yards rushing, 8.7 per carry average) and Javonte Williams (114 yards with all four of the Heels’ rushing touchdowns}.

Hokies at Tar Heels Betting Pick for October 10, 2020

The Hokies are somewhat difficult to figure because of all the players who have missed time because of coronavirus issues with as many as 20 players missing time the first two games. A walk-on sophomore, Tyler Matheny, started last week at safety against Duke and was credited with seven tackles, two of them for losses.

Hokies at Tar Heels Betting Pick:

Tar Heels 24, Hokies 14

Hokies at Tar Heels Best Bet for October 10, 2020

The Tar Heels have held their first two opponents to just 555 yards in total offense. The Hokies have given up 796 yards but limited their first two foes to 55 points total in their wins over North Carolina State and Duke. If the Hokies have all their defensive players available, they should keep the game close and low-scoring.

Hokies at Tar Heels Best Bet: UNDER 58

–Field Level Media

UTSA Roadrunners at BYU Cougars Betting Preview

Saturday, October 10, 2020, LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo Utah., 3:30 p.m. ET

Roadrunners at Cougars Betting Preview: Roadrunners (+33.5) , Cougars (-33.5)

UTSA Roadrunners

UTSA hopes to have Frank Harris available to start at quarterback after he left the Middle Tennessee game with an injury and did not play in last week’s loss at UAB. Harris has passed for 508 yards and is second on the team in rushing with 162 to leader Sincere McCormick’s 527.

Joshua Cephus has 22 catches for 205 yards to lead the Roadrunners in receiving. He has three of the team’s four touchdown receptions.

The two teams will be meeting for the first time, and the Roadrunners go into the game as decided underdogs.

“We are going to go up there and find a way to scrap and see if we we can hang in there with them and pull off a shocker,” coach Jeff Taylor said.

BYU Cougars

The Cougars enter the game as statistically the nation’s top offensive (558.5 yards per game) and defensive (241.3 ypg) teams and are heavy favorites to add to those numbers against the Conference-USA foe.

Quarterback Zack Wilson has put himself in Heisman conversations after coming off a five-touchdown performance in which he completed 24 of 26 passes in a 45-14 romp past another C-USA team, Louisiana Tech, last week.

For the season, Wilson has completed 84.5 percent of his 71 attempts for an average of 316.3 yards per game with six touchdowns against one interception. Dax Milne has 17 catches for 264 yards and a touchdown and Gunner Romney 16 for 373 yards (a 23.3 per catch average) and two scores.

Linebacker Keenan Pili leads the defense in tackles with 19, and defensive end Tyler Batty has four of the team’s dozen sacks.

Roadrunners at Cougars Betting Pick for October 10, 2020

Linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi said he knows the big wins have put a target on the Cougars’ backs and they need to “really focus on things” going forward. UTSA coach Jeff Taylor says his Roadrunners at looking at the prospective mismatch as an “opportunity.”

Roadrunners at Cougars Betting Pick:

Cougars 56, Roadrunners 10

Roadrunners at Cougars Best Bet for October 10, 2020

The Roadrunners have put up 51 points in two overtimes in a win over Texas State and 37 in a win over Middle Tennessee but are coming off a 21-13 loss to UAB in their last game. With Harris back, they should be able to get some points, but not nearly enough to overcome the hungry Cougars.

Roadrunners at Cougars Best Bet: OVER 63.5

–Field Level Media

Texas Tech Red Raiders at Iowa State Cyclones Betting Preview

Saturday, October 10, 2020, Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa, 3:30 p.m. ET

Red Raiders at Cyclones Betting Preview: Red Raiders (+12.5), Cyclones (-12.5)

Texas Tech Red Raiders

The Red Raiders have lost their first two Big 12 outings but with a play or two going in their way could be at the top of the league heading into Saturday’s matchup. The Raiders lost in overtime to Texas and then squandered a fourth-quarter lead to lose to Kansas State in their last two outings.

“We’ve got to keep knocking on that door and at some point that door’s going to open and hopefully we don’t just stick our little toe in it and stop it,” Texas Tech coach Matt Wells said.

The Raiders have averaged 37.3 points and 512 yard of total offense in the three-game stretch that started with a 35-33 win over Houston Baptist. Their 56 points in the 7-point loss to the Longhorns represented the most points they had ever scored against Texas.

Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell wants his Cyclones to keep their focus as they come off a big win over Oklahoma that has the Cyclones at the top of the Big 12 standings despite the embarrassing loss to Louisiana in the opener.

“If we want to have the ability to become a team that’s got the ability to have success down the run here and in the long haul, then we’ve got to really work on our precision in our detail,” said Campbell, who is 4-0 against the Red Raiders.

With a 13-5 record against conference opponents, Brock Purdy now has more Big 12 wins than any other quarterback in Iowa State history. He has passed for 465 yards in Iowa State’s wins over TCU and Oklahoma after managing just 145 in the opener.

The big star has been running back Breece Hall, who leads the Big 12 with a rushing average of 132 yards per game (No. 2 in FBS statistics).

Red Raiders at Cyclones Betting Pick for October 10, 2020

Alan Bowman has thrown for an average of 261.3 yards a game this season and he passed for 323 yards and touchdown against Iowa State in 2018 and did not play against the Cyclones last year. He is listed as questionable this week because of an ankle injury sustained in the loss at Kansas State last week.

If Bowman is not able to play at 100 percent, backup Henry Colombi, a transfer from Utah State who was 20 of 29 passing for 221 yards in six appearances for the Aggies last season, would get the nod. He was 30 of 42 passing for 244 yards in relief of Bowman last week.

Red Raiders at Cyclones Betting Pick:

Cyclones 35, Red Raiders 21

Red Raiders at Cyclones Best Bet for October 10, 2020

The Cyclones seem to have recovered from their opening loss and have put together a solid offensive punch with Purdy and Hall and now have tight end Charlie Kolar (nine receptions for 93 yards) back after he missed the opener to injury. KeSean Carter (21-215) is a threat for the Red Raiders in what figures to be an offensive show.

Red Raiders at Cyclones Best Bet: OVER 52.5

–Field Level Media

Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners Betting Preview

Saturday, October 10, 2020, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas., noon. ET

Longhorns vs. Sooners Betting Preview: Longhorns (+1.5), Sooners (-1.5)

Texas Longhorns

Quarterback Sam Ehlinger will be facing the Sooners for the fifth time and has performed rather well though the Longhorns are 1-3 in the previous meetings. He has rushed and passed for 1,362 yards against the Sooners, passing for 349 yards when they met in the 2018 Big 12 Championship Game. He has rushed for eight touchdowns against the Sooners.

Ehlinger has completed 63.2 percent of his 109 pass attempts for 924 yards in three outings this season with 14 touchdowns against a pair of interceptions. He also has netted 130 yards rushing, third best on the team behind Keontay Ingram (173) and Roschon Johnson (145).

“I’ve always been impressed with his competitiveness and toughness,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said if Ehlinger. “I think he’s improved as a thrower over the years and then one of the most impressive things about Sam has been his durability. We’ve had a lot of fun battles against him.”

Oklahoma

Though his late interception ended Texas’ hopes in the loss to Kansas State, Spencer Rattler has put up some impressive numbers as a freshman in his first three games. He has completed 73.5 percent of his 94 pass attempts for 977 yards and 10 touchdowns for a 325.7 yards per game average that ranks eighth in FBS statistics.

“For a guy that is just taking over the starting role he’s got a great command of the offense, can make plays with his feet, phenomenal thrower of the football,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. “Kind of a total package.”

Overall, 15 Sooners have at least one reception with Charleston Rambo leading with 13 catches. Marvin Mims and Jeremiah Hall have three touchdown receptions each. Brian Asamoah leads the defense with 18 tackles and DeShaun White has 2.5 sacks.

Longhorns vs. Sooners Betting Pick for Oct. 10, 2020

Both quarterbacks have impressive numbers but Ehlinger has the edge in one category. Since 1990, the quarterback with the most experience in the rivalry is 14-3-1 against a team with a quarterback making his first start in the Red River Showdown. The Sooners have won the last two meetings and seven of the last 10.

Longhorns at Sooners Betting Pick:

 Longhorns 42, Sooners 38 

Longhorns vs. Sooners Best Bet for Oct. 10, 2020

Both teams have given up lots of points (Texas 89 the last two games, Oklahoma 75 the last two after an opening shutout) and both teams have quarterbacks that can have big days. Defensive coordinators Chris Ash of Texas and Alex Grinch of Oklahoma are in for a long day.

Longhorns vs. Sooners Best Bet: OVER 72.5

–Field Level Media

Tennessee Volunteers at Georgia Bulldogs Betting Preview

Saturday, October 10, 2020, Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia., Kickoff Time 3:30 p.m. ET

Volunteers at Bulldogs Betting Preview: Volunteers (+13), Bulldogs (-13)

Tennessee Volunteers

Coach Jeremy Pruitt says the Volunteers need to cut back on mistakes to have a shot against No. 3 Georgia in Athens Saturday. Though his team romped past Missouri 35-12 last week for their eighth consecutive victory, Pruitt saw things on video that gave a somewhat different picture.

“We ran one particular play 10 times in the game and only blocked it correctly four times,” Pruitt said. “We’ve got to eliminate those mistakes to give ourselves a chance to have more success. We’ve got lots of things that we need to work on.”

Still, the Vols did rush for 352 yards as right tackle Cade Mays made his first appearance of the season. The transfer from Georgia was ruled eligible on Sept. 30 and started against the Tigers three days later.

Certainly there will be familiarity between Mays and his former Georgia teammates when the two teams clash. Mays had 18 starts in 25 appearances in two seasons in Athens, including the Sugar Bowl win over Baylor.

“They’re used to going against Cade. Cade’s used to going against them,’ Pruitt said. “So they’re real familiar with each other.”

Georgia Bulldogs

The Bulldogs are coming off a dominating performance in their 27-6 win over Auburn last week. Stetson Bennett was 17 of 28 passing for 240 yards and a touchdown and Zamir White rushed for 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the unexpected romp, giving him a team-best 159 for the season. He has yet to lose a yard on 32 carries.

Kearis Jackson had nine catches for 147 yards, giving him a team-high 15 catches for 209 in the two games. Last year’s leading receiver, George Pickens with 49 catches for 727 yards, has only six receptions for 73 yards, but two have gone for touchdowns.

Georgia’s defense has dominated in holding its two opponents to just 16 points and 496 yards to total offense combined. Azeez Ojulari and Adam Anderson have combined for half of the teams’ 10 tackles for loss.

Volunteers at Bulldogs Betting Pick for October 10, 2020

Georgia has won the last three meetings in the series with Tennessee’s last win coming on a Hail Mary pass in a 34-31 victory in  Athens in 2016. The Bulldogs won last year’s meeting in a 43-14 romp though the cast of characters has changed considerably since then. Still, the Bulldogs have played the last six quarters like the SEC contender most expected them to be  

Volunteers at Bulldogs Betting Pick:, Bulldogs 35, Volunteers 20

Volunteers at Bulldogs Best Bet for October 10 2020

Jarrett Guarantano didn’t start last year’s game for Tennessee and threw only five passes, completing just one for 14 yards against the Bulldogs. He is off to a good start (33 of 54 for 449 yards and two touchdowns without an interception) so the Vols should be able to get enough points to keep things interesting for a while.

Volunteers at Bulldogs Best Bet: OVER 44.5

–Field Level Media

Missouri Tigers vs. LSU Tigers Betting Preview

Saturday, October 10, 2020, Faurot Field, Columbia, Missouri, Noon ET 

Missouri at LSU Betting Preview: Missouri (+20.5), LSU -20.5)

Missouri Tigers

Missouri will be playing its third consecutive game against a ranked opponent when it takes on No. 17 LSU after losses to No. 2 Alabama and No. 21 Tennessee. But Mizzou gets an unexpected home game due to Hurricane Delta. Mizzou has managed only 31 points in its two losses combined as first-year coach Eliah Drinkwitz seeks to find more production at quarterback.

Drinkwitz has started Shawn Robinson (20 of 29 for 185 yards) and brought Connor Bazelak (20 of 35 for 286 yards) off the bench. Bazelak gave the offense a slight lift against Tennessee.

Drinkwitz has not named his starter for the game at LSU. Both quarterbacks have been hurt by dropped passes by receivers, especially in clutch situations..

“We can’t drop the football,” Drinkwitz said.

LSU Tigers Odds

Myles Brennan became the first LSU quarterback to pass for over 300 yards in each of his first two starts when he threw for 337 yards in the 41-7 win at Vanderbilt last week after his 345-yard effort in the opening loss to Mississippi State.

“Myles maneuvering in the pocket with pocket presence, being patient and stepping up is something that we worked very hard last week on him doing it, allowing the routes to become open,” coach Ed Orgeron said. “Then when they become open, let ‘er rip, throw it.”

LSU’s offense added some depth when starter Chris Curry missed the outing at Vanderbilt because of an undisclosed injury and John Emery II the bench recorded his first 100-yard rushing game behind Tyrion Davis-Price, who started in Curry’s place. Emery thus became the team’s leading rusher with 130 on the season.

“We made tremendous improvement from Week 1 to Week 2,” Orgeron said. “Now we’ve got to continue to make that improvement, and we cannot make the mistakes that we make and play the elite teams in the SEC and expect to win.”

Missouri at LSU Betting Pick for October 10, 2020

The two teams have split two previous meetings, though LSU won the first after they met as conference colleagues in 2016. That 42-7 win was in Orgeron’s first game as LSU’s interim coach. LSU had trouble against slowing Mississippi State’s Air Raid attack in the opener but should find the going much easier against a struggling Missouri offense.

Missouri at LSU Betting Pick:

LSU 42, Missouri 7

Missouri at LSU Best Bet for October 10, 2020

LSU should be able to cover the spread against a struggling Missouri team whose statistics might be even worse if Alabama had not eased off in the opener. But getting to the Over/Under might be difficult if Mizzou doesn’t contribute more.

Missouri at LSU Best Bet: UNDER 55.5

–Field Level Media

Miami Hurricanes at Clemson Tigers Betting Preview

Saturday, October 10, 2020, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, South Carolina, 7:30 p.m. ET

Hurricanes at Tigers Betting Preview: Hurricanes (+14.5), Tigers (-14.5)

Miami Hurricanes

The difference offensively for Miami this season is pretty clear. Houston transfer D’Eriq King has passed for 848 yards and seven touchdowns in the three wins. He also has shown an ability to escape pass rushers as the Hurricanes have yielded only three sacks in their three outings, a big improvement over the 51 they surrendered last year.

“He’s a great quarterback. He can do it all,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “There’s really nothing he can’t do.”

Brevin Jordan has flourished since King’s arrival as well. Though listed as a tight end he really plays more like a wide receiver and has 15 receptions for 212 yards and three touchdowns.

Cam’Ron Harris leads Miami’s rushers with 311 yards and King is second with 157. Freshmen Donald Chaney Jr. and Jaylan Knighton have provided a spark off the bench. Knighton has a 75-yard touchdown reception to his credit.

Clemson Tigers

The Tigers have a huge stock of offensive weapons with quarterback Trevor Lawrence establishing himself as a Heisman favorite by completing 73.3 percent of his passes for 848 yards and seven touchdowns. He has a streak of 314 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, a school record and third most in ACC history. He hasn’t thrown a pick since Oct. 19, 2019, against Louisville.

Amari Rogers has 12 receptions for 206 yards and three touchdowns and Frank Ladson Jr. has averaged just a tick under 20 yards a reception on his nine catches. Ladson and Rogers have combined for five touchdown receptions.

Veteran Travis Etienne has rushed for a team-high 243 yards and has the potential to break off big runs, though his longest dash so far has been for only 29 yards. With Clemson jumping on outmatched foes, he has seen somewhat limited time with 39 carries, an average of 13 a game.

Hurricanes at Tigers Betting Pick for October 10, 2020

With King leading Miami and Lawrence heading up Clemson, both teams have enough weapons on offense to match each other score for score. If the issue comes down to a defensive stop, the Tigers look to hold a slight edge over an improved Miami unit.

Hurricanes at Tigers Betting Pick:

 Tigers 45, Hurricanes 38

Hurricanes at Tigers Best Bet for October 10, 2020

The last two meetings between these two have produced huge routs by the Tigers. They have outscored the Hurricanes 96-3, though 58 of those points came in the 2015 meeting. The Tigers won 38-3 in the 2017 ACC title game. The Hurricanes should contribute much more this time around.

Hurricanes at Tigers Best Bet: OVER 63.5

–Field Level Media