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College: Best Bets Week 9

Fontaines' Picks

Another 3-2 week last Saturday. I guess that's better than the opposite. And the losses were pretty close. Maybe not Clemson, but that was largely the result of an intercepted shovel pass. C'mon! Let's see if we can keep a modest winning streak going.

Miami (+9) at Pittsburgh

I went against both of these teams last week, and both bit me. I don't like being wrong and going back to that well in consecutive weeks, but I'm kinda buying Miami's effort right now. And I'm a staunch Miami homer, so if they are winning me over, goodness. They haven't quit on Manny Diaz as Miami teams have in the past, and their losing streak involved winnable games. QB Tyler Van Dyke has some moxie and I think I trust this offense to score enough to keep it inside a score, if not win outright. Keep an eye on Pitt's injury status. Leading rusher Israel Abanikanda and leading receiver Jordan Addison are both uncertain due to concussions. It's pushed this number down from closer to two touchdowns where it opened Sunday evening. More fluctuation in either direction is likely once we know their fate.

Buffalo (-13.5) vs. Bowling Green


Whenever I see Bowling Green as less than a two-touchdown underdog, I am intrigued. Maybe I shouldn't be, as they are 3-0 ATS in this spot, but they just aren't a good team. Since they miraculously upset Minnesota, they've gone 0-4 SU against MAC teams, losing by an average of 15.3 points. Yes, that's skewed by last week's 31-point loss, but the Falcons also lost to Akron by 15 as a 14-point favorite. Buffalo isn't a world-beater, so maybe they shouldn't be trusted with a number this large, but they did just crush that same Akron team BGSU fell to by 35. If this goes above two touchdowns, no thank you.

Georgia (-14) vs. Florida

Outside of facing Alabama, I think I'm buying Georgia against anyone with a spread less than three touchdowns. Yes, this will be the best rushing attack the Bulldog defense has seen. And yes, I'm a tad worried about Georgia's plan to rotate Stetson Bennett and JT Daniels in the latter's return to action from injury. I just find this defense to be the elite of elite, and they are so tough up front, that four quarters of sustained offensive success from the Gators seems unlikely. Even if they do, Florida has proven they'll give up points, and Georgia has the firepower to put up big numbers if necessary. I'm expecting more like 35-10, but 48-33 is just fine too.

Old Dominion (+4) vs. Louisiana Tech

Truth be told, I don't like a ton on this slate, and taking a 1-6 SU ODU seems silly. I clearly haven't learned from my mistake of even making a choice in the UMass/UCONN game a few weeks back. But what has Louisiana Tech done to deserve being a road favorite? They've failed to cover in two of their last three, losing three straight while scoring just 19 points in their last two outings. Their only FBS win is against a North Texas side that doesn't have one. ODU doesn't have one either and has been giving up points, but their defense is decent overall, checking in at 53rd nationally in total defense. Louisiana Tech isn't, coming in 118th. The Monarchs are coming off a bye, I think they'll bend but not break against LT's pass, but keep them one-dimensional, stuff the run and keep it close, if not win outright.

BYU (-2.5)vs. Virginia

I'm just not buying this UVA defense on the road to come away with a win. They are one-dimensional offensively, and if they get going through the air early, BYU could be in trouble trying to match points. But I think the Cougars will find success on the ground, keep QB Brennan Armstrong and that Cavalier passing attack on the bench in the process. UVA's run defense ranks 113th nationally, allowing 198.4 ypg and 5.3 ypc. So long as we get a positive game script, Tyler Allgeier will run BYU to a win.

Last week: 3-2; Season 22-22

Sleeper PICKS

Navy (+11) at Tulsa

My first instinct was to side with Tulsa here because the number seems too large to give to a team that hung with Cincinnati for four quarters, but after a closer look, I decided to side with the Midshipmen. Why? Well, for starters, Tulsa is just 3-4 and the Golden Hurricane having looked very impressive this season, so why are they laying double digits? They aren't stout against the run and they are surrendering seven move points per game than they are scoring. Perhaps the line has baked in a hangover from Navy?

Michigan (-4) at Michigan State

I'm going to start this by saying that MSU has passed the eye test to this point. The Spartans are one of the most improved teams in the nation. With that said, it's time we look back at the schedule and reassess those seven wins. Upon further review, there isn't a single quality win in the bunch. They've had wins that looked good at the time, but don't look good any longer, such as Miami and Northwestern. Michigan doesn't have a great win either, but the Wolverines do have the most impressive win as they blew out Wisconsin on the road. The biggest weakness on either side is the pass defense of MSU and while Michigan doesn't have a great passing attacked, they can leverage their run game to further expose that poor MSU pass defense.

Iowa (+3.5) at Wisconsin

Before I get to the side, I have to mention the total in this game, which is as low as I've ever seen a college game at just 36.5. I'd say go under, but man that would be nerve-wracking. You'd have to avoid any strange plays like special teams touchdowns and negative field turnovers. Anyhow, as for the side, I'm not sure how the Badgers are supposed to move the ball against Iowa. The Badgers have a bit of a running attack and no passing attack. That doesn't work against Iowa. Iowa will struggle on offense as well, but that's where the 3.5 points come into play.

Over (61.5) Texas at Baylor

As long as the Longhorns aren't facing a solid defense, the game has a great chance of going over the total. Baylor has been decent on defense this season, but the Bears will have a hard time slowing the Texas offense. The same is obviously true on the other side as Texas is surrendering almost 30 points per game. The biggest mismatch here is the Baylor running game, which averages 239 per game, vs. the Longhorn rush defense which gives up over 200 per game. I came close to taking Baylor as well, but I think the over is the safest play.

Cincinnati (-25.5) at Tulane

Cincinnati has its slip-up this past week and now it's back to business. That's bad news for a Tulane team that is surrendering over 42 points per game this season. The Green Wave aren't playing a murderer's row either, they allowed 55 to SMU, 40 to Houston, 52 to ECU – the list goes on. This game comes down to one thing and one thing only – will Cincinnati be focused? If the Bearcats are focused, they put up 50+ points and I can't see them allowing more than a couple of scores.

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