After a bye last week, I’m back to make y’all some money. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just a college student who watches too much college football and places bets he can’t afford — like most of y’all. This weekly column is where I will give you my best bets for the week in college football. I am not responsible for any money lost.
#18 Iowa vs #17 Penn State
Last year, Penn State traveled to Iowa City as a fourth-ranked team with College Football Playoff aspirations in mind. The Nittany Lions escaped, 21-19, with the line favoring them by 11. This time around, Penn State enters this game with two losses and an outside shot of making the Big Ten Championship. However, Iowa — with its only loss coming against Wisconsin — is a better team than the 2015 squad that made it all the way to the Big Ten title game before losing to Michigan State. Penn State is in no position to be a touchdown favorite against any team after squeaking past Indiana last week. It’s tough to put any faith in either of these teams, but count on Iowa to keep it close, just like the Hawkeyes did last year.
Pick: Iowa (+6.5)
#19 Oregon vs Arizona
Two weeks ago, I picked the Wildcats against Utah. I would like to thank Kevin Sumlin for teaching me the valuable lesson that he has no idea what he’s doing. Now, not being able to misuse Khalil Tate might help out Arizona, but Rhett Rodriguez looks to be just as ineffective as his dad was at Arizona. Oregon’s loss might have dashed any Pac-12 playoff hope, but they still have Justin Herbert at quarterback and that’s enough to beat a
below-average Arizona squad.
Pick: Oregon (-9.5)
#21 South Florida vs Houston
For the second straight year, Charlie Strong will play against Houston with a 7–0 team, and just like last year, Houston will put an end to the Bulls’ undefeated season. While you can make an argument that last year’s USF team deserved to be undefeated and ranked, you can’t for this year’s team. USF is 2–5 against the spread so far, failing to cover their last two matchups against Tulsa and Connecticut, two of the worst teams in college football. Houston’s only loss has been at the hands of a Texas Tech team who, dare I say it, might be better on the defensive side rather than on the offensive side. Historically, Charlie Strong has fielded teams that play up and down to their opponents, but this Houston team will be too much to keep up with.
Florida International (-3.5) vs Western Kentucky
Western Kentucky is part of the bottom dwellers in the C-USA with Rice and UTEP. The Hilltoppers were embarrassed against Charlotte and lost to FCS Maine at home. Meanwhile, FIU joins UAB as the only undefeated teams in conference play. 3.5 points is right in the Vegas zone, which usually tells me to stay away, but this is a no-brainer. Butch Jones led FIU to its first bowl game since 2011 in his first season as head coach and now has this program turned around. WKU on the other hand? Not so much.
Pick: Florida International(-3.5)