Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 9/16

Locks

NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Minnesota Gophers Team Total Under 21.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 2:30 PM CT on ESPN

I’ve seen enough from this offense against the above-average defense of Nebraska, and the non-power conference defense of Eastern Michigan, to know that they just don’t have much for firepower this year. Today the Gophers face the best defense they’ve seen and will see until the Michigan game, as UNC is no joke on that side of the ball for once. The full-game total keeps rising here to account for excellent offensive potential out of the Tar Heels, but that also pulls the Minnesota isolated total above this key number of 3 touchdowns. I don’t think they get there in what should be more of a defensive-oriented game.

 

NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Alabama First Half Team Total Over 24 (-110; Odds via DraftKings): 2:30 PM CT on ABC

Nick Saban off a high-profile home loss is guaranteed to be one angry man. Let’s be honest, Alabama will be able to name their score in this game against a South Florida team that can’t stop a nose bleed. The Bulls gave up 24 points last week to FCS Florida A&M, so vengeful Tide team is in position to dominate here. With Tyler Buchner named as the Alabama starter over Jalen Milroe, that tells me Saban is looking to throw early and often in this game. That should result in them running it up in the first half, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tide score in the 30’s or more before halftime.

Bonus Bet (0.5 Unit) Alabama First Half -20.5 (-110; Odds via DraftKings)

If Alabama does run it up early on this awful defense, then I don’t see how USF keeps up. They’re likely without starting QB Gerry Bohanon today, and he was the only one on the roster capable of executing Alex Golesh’s veer-and-shoot offense. Something smells like 35-3 at halftime of this game, and that has me liking both these bets.

 

NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Northwestern Team Total Under 14.5 (-110; Odds via DraftKings): 2:30 PM CT on ACC Network

Two home games, two total touchdowns allowed by this Duke defense. The fact that one of those came from FCS Lafayette is not impressive, but the other coming from Clemson certainly was eye-opening. So the question here becomes whether Northwestern, with one of the barest cupboards in college football, is going to put up more than both those teams combined. I say definitely not, especially on the road against a defense that’s really feeling itself right now. Mike Elko’s defensive coaching acumen is fully on display so far, and I think they take this opportunity to pad some defensive stats.

 

NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Western Kentucky/Ohio State Under 66 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 3:00 PM CT on FOX

This under is not for the faint of heart, since all Western Kentucky wants to do is throw and play shootouts. That’s pretty obvious given their first two games of 65 and 74 points, but the opposing defenses were about the worst you can find on any FBS schedule. Things are looking different in Columbus this season, with the defense finally figuring out the Jim Knowles system in his second year.

That’s fortunate for the Buckeyes who have not looked good offensively as Kyle McCord has struggled so far. But Ryan Day doesn’t need to run it up on teams with a stronger defense that he can rely on now. The Buckeyes also have a massive game next week at Notre Dame that they’ll likely be looking ahead to and wanting to preserve things for. Look for them to lean on the run game and defense to close this game out with less scoring than expected.

 

NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) North Texas @ Louisiana Tech -4.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN+

This is a strange and awkward number, but I think Tech rolls in this game against such an awful defense. North Texas has been completely shredded in both games so far against offenses that looked very pedestrian otherwise. Only a handful of teams have allowed more points and yards than the Mean Green, and help is not coming for this defense.

Louisiana Tech has also started slowly this year, but had a good tune-up game last week against an FCS opponent. They’ll see a defense not that much different from a pure talent standpoint, and their run game should churn out big chunks against the 124th ranked rush defense. Even with QB Hank Bachmeier’s inconsistency, the Bulldogs should roll in this game and cover the short number.

 

NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) San Jose State @ Toledo -7 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN+

Toledo has been extremely impressive in the early part of this season to justify why they’re the MAC favorite again. They returned so much production at the skill positions on offense, and great dual-threat QB DeQuan Finn is taking advantage. The big upgrade to the Rockets was on the offensive line with three power-conference transfer additions, and the run game is excellent as a result.

They should run right through a San Jose State defense that’s really feeling the loss of front-seven starters from last season. With Toledo also looking excellent on the back end of their defense, I don’t think the Spartans will be able to play catch-up, allowing the Rockets to play from ahead and pull away by a solid margin.

 

NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Syracuse @ Purdue ML (+115; Odds via Caesars): 6:30 PM CT on NBC

Purdue figured out their defense in an impressive win at Virginia Tech last week, a notoriously tough place to play. They’ll need it here against a Syracuse offense that’s very balanced with Garrett Shrader at quarterback, but has played absolutely nobody. Two home games against Colgate and Western Michigan make Syracuse extremely untested, and a hostile night-time road environment against quality competition should be a shock to the system. Purdue has the balance on offense to stay more than competitive here against the overinflated Orange, and instead of taking points at a meaningless number, I’ll call for the small upset outright.

 

NCAA Football (1 Unit) Colorado State/Colorado Over 62.5 (-110; Odds via Fanduel): 9:00 PM CT on ESPN

Everyone and their third cousin will be lining up to bet Colorado and the over in this game, especially with it on ESPN in a bail-out time slot. You can’t get me to lay 24 points with Colorado considering their sketchy defense, but that does translate to more scoring from a Colorado State team that’s no slouch offensively.

With the Rams switching quarterbacks for this week, the total hasn’t seen as much action as I’d expect. But the expected fast tempo under Jay Norvell is there so far, and a Rams team with lots of skill position talent can have success against a bad Buffaloes secondary and non-existent pass rush.

You’re obviously counting on quite a few points from Colorado here, and I think they’ll put up plenty against a CSU team that had no ability to defend another Pac12 spread offense in their opener. You also simply have to handicap the narrative here with Coach Prime making this game personal. Once the Buffs offense starts rolling it becomes an avalanche, and I don’t expect the dogs to get called off tonight so lots of points are coming.

Degenerates

No degenerates today.

 

Tiny Nick is 1502-1350 ATS (+68.5 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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