UCLA/Oregon over 64 (-110): Through two games, these teams are scoring 38 and 39 PPG, with Oregon averaging 538.5 YPG — 7th-best-nationally. What I like most in this matchup is the UCLA offense, with Chip Kelly calling plays and Dorian Thompson-Robinson as his favorite type of QB. They’ve had a lot of success this year, even hanging 34 points on a very strong Cal defense.
Last week Oregon struggled against a QB with elite mobility in a similarly fast paced offense at Wazzu, and I expect that to continue this week. I also expect UCLA to have no answer for the extremely balanced Oregon offense, especially star RB CJ Verdell. It’s also important to note that Oregon needs style points in their playoff hunt, so more scoring is better for their image.
Clemson/Florida St over 63 (-110): Do you actually think Trevor Lawrence will come back from COVID, in the team’s first game since having their regular season unbeaten streak ended by Notre Dame, and Dabo Swinney will call handoffs? I’m not kidding when I say Clemson might get this number over by themselves, something similar to their 73-7 win over Georgia Tech last month.
On the other side, the Seminoles will get QB Jordan Travis back, and should be able to move the ball against a Tiger defense that’s still missing key players and has been exposed in recent weeks. But this is mainly a feel play on the game’s narrative, and I don’t see any factors that will keep the scoreboard operator from having a busy day.
Appalachian St/Coastal Carolina under 48 (-110): Offense typically reigns in the underwhelming Sun Belt, but now we have the two teams who actually care about defense facing off, highlighted by a 6-0 record to the under for App St against FBS teams this season. App St QB Zac Thomas was carted off last week and likely suffered a concussion, and top RB Daetrich Harrington is also out. Their absences last week contributed to a meager 17-point output.
I don’t see the Mountaineers being able to move the ball against a stout Chanticleers defense that’s 14th nationally in yards allowed and 11th in points allowed. The last time App St faced a team like that, they fell 17-7 to Marshall. I see both teams relying on their defenses and rushing attacks in a pivotal game that will be hotly contested.
Kentucky +30 (-110): I don’t like this situation for Alabama, as they may overlook UK with the Iron Bowl next week. I know the Tide have been running teams out this year, but the only team similar to Kentucky they’ve played is Georgia, who had them on the ropes until falling by 17. Alabama is only 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games when favored by 30-plus against an FBS team.
Look for Kentucky to grind this game down as best they can, and to continue their trend of four straight ATS wins as a double-digit underdog. Alabama and Nick Saban want to get this game over with and go into next week as healthy as possible. Look for the Tide to call off the dogs fairly early and allow the Wildcats to stay inside the number. Alabama is obviously no joke, but 30 points is a lot.
Kansas State +11 (-110): As an ISU grad, this one hurt me, but 11 points for this Cyclones team is too much. This comes down to being a matchup of a great underdog against a terrible favorite. Kansas St under coach Chris Klieman is 9-3 ATS as an underdog. Iowa St meanwhile is 4-10 ATS in their last 14 as a home favorite, and 1-5 in their past six such spots.
The Cyclones might also be looking ahead to next week’s pivotal conference showdown at Texas, while the Wildcats can create plenty of havoc and stay in the Big 12 race with a win. This will also be ISU’s first game without any crowd, which might be weird for them at Jack Trice Stadium. With 11 points covering plenty of key numbers, I’ll roll with the ATS trends and a motivated road team to keep it close.
Boise State/Hawaii over 58 (-110): Jump on the bad weather forecast discount here. This total opened 62.5 and was pushed to 63.5 until heavy rain was supposed to hit Honolulu, which has since left the forecast. There will still be some wind in this game, but I don’t think that will have as big an impact since teams can run all over this Hawaii defense at over 250 YPG, 6th highest nationally.
Boise has been frustrating this season because of mysterious absences by QB Hank Bachmeier. But he returned last week, and we saw the true Broncos offense hang 52 on Colorado St, their 3rd output of 42 or more points. I think Boise does almost all of the work in getting this game over the total again, and I expect the number to climb back near the open so grab the discount while you can.
Liberty/North Carolina St Over 67 (-110): Liberty QB Malik Willis is so hot right now, Jerry Fal…well, never mind. The point is, he simply cannot be stopped, and this week he’s up against a team that can’t stop the pass and struggles with dual-threat QBs. The last time NC St faced a QB like Willis, they allowed D’Eriq King to throw for 430 yards and rush for 100 more in a 44-41 shootout loss to Miami.
The stats for Liberty this season are impressive, and might look a little inflated until you realize that they’ve played two other ACC teams this year, scoring 38 in both games. I’m anticipating a game similar to Liberty’s surprising 38-35 win over Virginia Tech, a back and forth game where the last team with the ball wins. In that scenario, I want to be holding an over ticket.
Tiny Nick is 22-13 (+7 Units) on his locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining, but riskier picks.