Each week, The State News’ degenerates who are 21 and older will be helping you try to earn some money with three picks of their own. We will also update our records from the last week, so you can see who is really helping you cash in.
For the first time this year, we have some disagreements between Sam, Alex and Eli.
Sam Sklar, Sports Editor (10-8)
Alabama was one play away from losing as a 24-point favorite, but hey, North Carolina won outright at Miami! 1-2 for me last week.
Minnesota at Illinois (Under 39.5)
This right here is your prototypical Big Ten West matchup. You’ve got two of the better defenses in the conference (or should I say in the country) and a pivotal matchup in what can determine the West.
You also get two teams with phenomenal running backs and offenses that like to eat up the clock. With the status of Illinois quarterback Tommy DeVito uncertain, this game is going way under.
Clemson (-3.5) at Florida State
I really like this Clemson team. Dabo Swinney and his defense are always wreaking havoc and D.J. Uiagalelei is playing at a much higher level than he was last year. On the other side, I am not convinced that Florida State is a great team, despite a narrow loss to NC State two years ago.
Oklahoma State at TCU (Over 68.5)
I think this game will be absolutely bananas. Oklahoma State’s defense is not the same since Jim Knowles left and Max Duggan is playing like one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Spencer Sanders isn’t bad either.
Alex Faber, Football Reporter (6-12)
Another 1-2 week. I’m stuck in a rut and I have no idea how to escape.
Things have to turn around at some point, right?
Penn State at Michigan (-7)
I hate to say it, but I think this Michigan team is legit.
Under Jim Harbaugh, Michigan has struggled to find consistent quarterback play. J.J. McCarthy seems to be shifting that narrative. He’s been excellent this season after taking the starting role from Cade McNamara. With Blake Corum bowling over people in the run game and a collection of talented wide receivers, this McCarthy-led offense is proving to be one of the more effective units in the Big Ten. And, of course, the defense is stout. Michigan will be out to prove itself against the best team they’ve faced all season.
Plus, I don’t trust James Franklin in big games.
This matchup always seems to be a blowout, with the visiting team on the receiving end. I think that trend continues this season. Give me the Wolverines in a route.
Minnesota at Illinois (Over 39)
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A few weeks ago, I caught a little flack for choosing the over in the Rutgers-Iowa game. I figured that the point total was just too low for a division one college football game. That bet hit.
I’m going to do the same thing here.
Yes, on paper, the battle for the Big Ten West should be a low-scoring affair. Both teams love to pound the rock and control the time of possession. Both defenses have actually been pretty solid so far. It's likely going to be one of those classic Big Ten games where the winner is decided by the play in the trenches.
However, 39 points is just too low in college football. Weird stuff happens all the time. If the final score is 24-21, by all means a pretty low total, the bet still hits. Easy money.
Alabama at Tennessee (+7)
For the first time in years, there’s something to be excited about in Knoxville. The Volunteers have a truly potent offense led by Hendon Hooker. He has been electric all season. This weekend, he has a real shot to have his Heisman moment.
Plus, Alabama has just not looked like its usual indestructible self. Last week, the Crimson Tide were a play away from losing to unranked Texas A&M. A few weeks ago, Texas nearly upset the visiting Tide. Bryce Young was on a “pitch count” in practice this week, so it seems as though Alabama’s starting quarterback won’t be at 100 percent.
This is the biggest game Knoxville has seen this decade. I’m fully aware this bet could totally backfire — one of the rules of college football is to not bet against Alabama — however, I think the Volunteers are legit this season. I won’t bet the moneyline, but Tennessee will keep this one close.
Eli McKown, State News Contributor (7-11)
Didn’t anticipate Oklahoma not scoring a single point last week, but 2-1 is still a step in the right direction.
Penn State (+7) at Michigan
I was down on Penn State prior to the season, but I’ve fallen in love with this squad. The running game is back and is making Sean Clifford look fantastic. Add in a tough Manny Diaz defense and you’ve got something here that I think can beat Michigan and potentially win the East.
Alabama at Tennessee (+7)
Rocky Top. Hendon Hooker. Take the moneyline if you dare.
Oklahoma State (ML) at TCU
Death, taxes and underestimating Oklahoma State. The Cowboys haven’t had a strong test yet, but TCU scraped by with Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels falling down with an injury. I like Oklahoma State to run away with a victory despite being the underdog here.
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