Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 10/01

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine (USA TODAY Sports)
Locks

NCAA Football (1 Unit) Texas State Team Total Under 14.5 (-110): 12:30 PM CT on ESPN+

It’s going to be cool, rainy, and windy for this game in Harrisonburg, Virginia. That’s bad news for a Texas State team that wants to throw the football as the country’s 23rd most pass-happy offense. They’ll need to run the ball in such weather, but are just 114th in rushing offense. The Bobcats are facing a James Madison team allowing by far the fewest rush yards in the country, so this is a serious mismatch.

Texas State also couldn’t get over this number against a truly horrible Nevada defense earlier this season. They’ve really only found success offensively against an FCS foe and Florida International, the lowest-graded FBS team. The Dukes of James Madison have been extremely impressive defensively in their introduction to FBS football, holding both opponents at home to just seven points apiece. They should use that strong defense and an assist from the elements to shut down another weak team here.

NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) Oregon St @ Utah -10 (-110): 1:00 PM CT on PAC12 Network

This is just a bad spot for Oregon State, coming off a deflating home loss where they let USC off the hook. Now they have to travel to elevation, where Utah typically owns coastal teams. Utah crushed an ASU team that was in a bad headspace last week, and have done everything they’ve needed to in trying to atone for their opening loss to Florida. The Utes only moved up one spot in the AP poll after that win though, so they have a lot of ground to make up and will be forced to hand out beatings.

This is a game where they should be able to deliver a beat down given the matchup advantages they have in the trenches. That’s particularly the case on offense, where an excellent line should continue to clear things out for Tavion Thomas against a Beavers team that struggles against the run. Significant home-field advantage plus the motivation factor should give Utah what it needs to cruise once again.

NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) Alabama @ Arkansas +17.5 (-110): 2:30 PM CT on CBS

You can’t trust Alabama on the road at this point, it’s as simple as that. Yes, they looked incredible last week at home in smashing Vanderbilt by 52, but that’s part of the point here as it inflates their value. The past five road games for Bama have seen them laying big numbers from 14 to 21.5, but things have hardly gone to plan. In those games the Tide have covered once, lost outright once, and won the other three by a combined five points.

Bryce Young and Alabama are likely to throw all over an Arkansas defense that’s 125th against the pass, but the Razorbacks can score on anyone too. Hogs quarterback KJ Jefferson is one of the best dual-threats in the country, and will challenge the Alabama defense in a way they haven’t seen yet this year. Honestly given their history the Tide should be on upset alert here, and at the very least Arkansas can sneak in the back door on a large and key number.

NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) Ohio State Team Total Over 49 (-110): 2:30 PM CT on BTN

I saw a preview article about this game that said Rutgers hopes to use its tough defense to slow down the Buckeyes today. I almost fell out of my chair. Maybe someone at Rutgers can tell me what qualifies them as having a strong defense against anything other than the worst offenses they could possibly face. In addition to FCS Wagner, the Scarlet Knights have faced three FBS opponents whose offenses are all in the bottom 10 for total yards.

A harsh reality is about to set in for Rutgers here, as they face an Ohio State team making up for lost time on offense. Their 52-point outburst last week against an actual tough defense from Wisconsin was eye-popping, and no doubt a sign of things to come. These teams have played every year since 2014, and in those eight meetings the Buckeyes have never scored fewer than 49 points, hanging 53.5 on average. This Ohio State offense is finally healthy, clicking, and in need of style points. They should continue the annual tradition of putting big numbers on this Rutgers program.

NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) GA Southern/Coastal Carolina First Half Over 32 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN+

A total between two teams like this deserves to be fairly high, and that’s what we got for a look-ahead number. But a significant weather impact was expected for this game and drove the total down 11 full points. By kickoff however, all the weather concerns that impacted the total earlier in the week will have cleared, and it’ll be perfect conditions on the surf turf. While the total has been climbing back up, this first half number appears more vulnerable for several reasons and offers the best value.

Both teams play with insane tempo early in games, especially Georgia Southern who is 5th in seconds per play. Both squads are also towards the top of college football in first-half scoring, averaging a combined 34.4 points. But with Coastal tending to slow things down late in games, I’m concentrating on the first half here.

Georgia Southern loves to throw and is 15th in passing yards, and Coastal happens to struggle against the pass. Conversely, Coastal is an elite rushing team at over 200 yards per game facing a defense 121st in rush yards allowed. Strength versus weakness should net early offensive success for both teams, and I’d play this up to the key number of 35 because I see something like 28-14 by halftime.

NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Stanford/Oregon Over 62.5 (-110): 10:00 PM CT on FS1

Both of these teams have their own unique defensive weaknesses, and those are directly correlated to the opposing team’s strength on offense. It starts with Oregon and their run game that’s been going wild since getting smacked by Georgia to open the season. Former Gopher Bucky Irving behind a massive offensive line should continue to rack up the yards and points against a Stanford defense that’s 85th against the run. Over bettors will also benefit from the classic trend that is Ducks quarterback Bo Nix being far more productive at home.

But my goodness has the Oregon pass defense been horrendous so far this season. The Ducks are bottom-5 in the country for all pass defense metrics, and have allowed an insane 373 passing yards per game against FBS opponents. Tanner McKee is an outstanding quarterback for Stanford, with the talent and experience to exploit that defense. Now that this total has dipped under the key number of 63, I’m jumping on it in expectation of a late-night Pac12 shootout.

Degenerates

No degenerates today.

Tiny Nick is 873-730 ATS (+76.9 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. 

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Photo Credit: Dale Zanine (USA TODAY Sports)

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