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NFL Draft

College Football Week 6 Best Bets

  • The Draft Network
  • October 9, 2020
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Welcome back to our weekly look at college football’s lines. Here, we take one of the most volatile sports in one of the most volatile years and pretend to be able to predict it. It’s kinda fun.

Last week, we went an anticlimactic .500 (2-2-1) but ended up in the green because of an outright win by Ole Miss (+200) against Kentucky. This week? We aren’t as big on the Rebels.

Here are five lines I like when looking at Week 6’s slate. I’ll be around on Twitter if there are any other games you’re looking at. Odds are supplied by our friends over at BetOnline.

Alabama @ Ole Miss: Under 69

Hurricane Delta is making landfall in Louisiana on Friday night, and the expected forecast for Ole Miss includes flash flood warnings with rain expected for the duration of Saturday. This game’s kickoff time was pushed back from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in an effort to see less torrential rain, but precipitation should still be expected.

As such, the total of 69 seems inappropriately inflated. The Alabama offense has made its hay with explosive passing plays during the early days of the Mac Jones era, but seems unlikely to air out deep passes in wet conditions. While the Tide defense hasn’t been as elite as usual in the first two weeks of the season, the lack of a legitimate downfield passing game for Ole Miss will allow Saban to load the box and play aggressive with safeties against the dual-threat backfield.

You can worry about a backdoor cover as the weather clears up and Lane Kiffin keeps his foot on the gas because, well, he’s Lane Kiffin. But I’d imagine Alabama builds a healthy lead and is content to sit on it late in what ends up a lower-scoring and sloppier affair than people project. 

Tennessee @ Georgia: Tennessee +12.5

There’s a couple layers to this one. Looking at the Georgia defensive trenches and the Tennessee offensive line has any red-blooded football fan salivating, as this is a premier matchup of SEC big boys. Tennessee true sophomore running back Eric Gray has looked tremendous now that he’s healthy, while quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has cut down on the mistakes while adding a workable quarterback run element to the ground game.

Tennessee does not have the arm or wide receiver options to hang with Georgia’s secondary, so this ground game is critical to the cover—if they get behind, I don’t think they’ll climb their way back up. Georgia has been suffocating on the ground thus far against Arkansas (who couldn’t really run it against Mississippi State) and Auburn (who couldn’t really run it against Kentucky), so I’m willing to bet there are a few cracks of sunlight the Vols can exploit. While Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett IV has been impressive through six quarters, I’m still betting into an expected regression, and the opportunistic and motivated Tennessee defense could very well cause it.

There’s a matter of pride here for a Tennessee team that has recently been waxed by Georgia and is now on an SEC heater they’d prefer not to lose. If they win the physicality game against the Bulldogs in both trenches—something they’ve done in both weeks thus far—they’ll bring home the cover here.

Texas Tech @ Iowa State: Iowa State -12.5

There’s room for action everywhere on this line, with the status of Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman in jeopardy following a tough injury against Kansas State from which he’s apparently day-to-day. I’d be willing to jump on this line right now even with him questionable, but if he’s a no-go, this is a big spot to buy Iowa State, and also consider taking the under on Texas Tech’s total or the game overall. They have a Utah State transfer quarterback in Henry Colombi to make the start if Bowman can’t go. He knows the system but struggled against Kansas State and will be meeting the absolute worst defense to start your career against in Iowa State, who has been great at home under Matt Campbell. The Cyclones also find themselves weirdly atop a messy Big 12 after the opening-season dud to Louisiana-Lafayette—and with playoff hopes still firmly in reach for veteran quarterback Brock Purdy and his go-to tight end Charlie Kolar, they’ll rip up a shaky Tech defense. Expect Breece Hall and that Iowa State offensive line to have a day as well.

Live Dogs

Last week, our live dogs gave us a winner in Ole Miss over Kentucky in overtime and a miss on a Texas Tech/Kansas State matchup that saw two backups enter the game. We’ll keep it running this week.

Firstly, I would encourage a small bet on Tennessee if you’re buying the Vols as I am for the reasons listed above. Beyond that, my interesting dogs are East Carolina (+5 ½, +185 on the moneyline) @ South Florida, and Texas (+2 ½, +121 on the moneyline) on neutral ground against Oklahoma in the Red River Showdown.

I don’t have a strong feel for Texas (probably disappointing) or Oklahoma (definitely disappointing), but the one thing I don’t doubt is that Texas will be able to score points on this horrific Oklahoma defense. Oklahoma leaked big plays against worse offenses in Kansas State and Iowa State to open the year, and Texas’ RPO-heavy approach will put them one broken tackle away from chunk gains on early downs. I’m not sure there’s a defense in college football tackling worse than Oklahoma right now. Add in Sam Ehlinger’s veteran presence against Spencer Rattler, who has lived up to his surname with his shaky play in two tight end-game scenarios, and I’ll take the dog here in a game that is appropriately priced but always wacky.

East Carolina and South Florida is a continued strong fade spot for the Bulls, who do not have a clear starting quarterback and are atrocious in the trenches. The Pirates were shooting themselves in the feet with penalties on an otherwise effective day on offense against Georgia State, while South Florida’s turnovers were the sources of their big deficit—but they couldn’t move the ball much otherwise. The Pirates offense is by far the most trustworthy unit in this game, while the South Florida defense has yet to stop anyone above the Citadel this season.

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