NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Toledo +17 @ Notre Dame (-110): 1:30 PM CT on Peacock
I assume that Notre Dame comes into this game fairly shorthanded after coach Brian Kelly had his whole team executed this week, so that would put the Irish in a tough spot against a good Toledo team.
All bad jokes aside, I really don’t like the spot here for Notre Dame and think they could be overlooking a Rockets team well-suited to exploit the Irish weaknesses. Toledo returns just about everyone from last season’s strong team and has a well-rounded offense that can attack Notre Dame in the same ways that almost cost the Irish a win on Sunday night. The Rockets also have an excellent pass rush that will cause trouble for a Notre Dame offensive line that looks like their biggest team weakness. Notre Dame also finds itself at a disadvantage with two fewer days to rest and prepare for this game, having played a road game on Sunday night.
With this line sitting right on the key number of 17 I’d much rather be taking points with an experienced Toledo team, and I think they’ll keep it close against an Irish squad that doesn’t seem as good as advertised.
NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) Air Force -6 @ Navy (-110): 2:30 PM CT on CBS
Service academy games can be tough to handicap because of the intense rivalries and strange styles, but this one does not feel like it will be close.
This game was a 40-7 blowout last year, with Air Force running all over Navy and showing off a strong defense as well. Navy’s offense has only gotten worse this season, and there’s already talk of a change at quarterback. The futility of their poorly executed triple-option was on display against a good Marshall defense last week, as the Midshipmen ran 100 plays and only scored 7 points which is truly unheard of. Going up against a Falcons defense fully familiar with defending the triple-option should give Navy more trouble, and they simply do not have the option to throw the football no matter how far behind they get.
These programs are on opposite trajectories right now and I see Air Force taking the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy easily here, so less than a touchdown is a very reasonable amount of points to lay.
NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) UAB +24 @ Georgia (-110): 2:30 PM CT on ESPN2
If you’re looking for offense, avert your eyes from this game as we have two elite defenses clashing in this one. UAB has been a defensive powerhouse in C-USA for years, and Georgia made quite the statement in stifling Clemson on Saturday night. That should create a low-scoring game here that naturally benefits the underdog, and I think the Blazers keep it close for a few other reasons as well.
Georgia is facing a tough situation here in a classic letdown spot after such a big win on the national stage to open the season. They’re also dealing with an undisclosed number of COVID absences, as well as injury issues for quarterback JT Daniels and several of his top targets. If Daniels is unable to go, the Bulldogs will be forced to use last season’s ultra-conservative offense with backup Carson Beck. Regardless, UAB should be able to leave their elite secondary on an island and stack the box against Georgia’s run game. And an improved UAB passing game should be able to avoid the elite front seven for Georgia and produce some points for the Blazers.
I see the Bulldogs wanting to get out of this game as quickly as possible with SEC play starting next week, and a sneaky good UAB team should keep this within such a wide spread.
NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) NC State/Mississippi State Over 55.5 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN2
These teams are excellent on offense and firmly offensive-oriented, you just wouldn’t know it from their openers.
NC State blew the doors off South Florida last week 45-0, which is causing their defense to be overvalued given how feeble USF is. But their offense is still getting undervalued as I don’t think the market is fully grasping how well-balanced the Wolfpack is. Quarterback Devin Leary being healthy gives them the opportunity to unleash their excellent two-headed monster at the running back position. They should find plenty of scoring opportunities against a Mississippi State team that gave up 369 yards to a bad Louisiana Tech team to open the season.
The Bulldogs lived a nightmare last week with one of the worst mid-game stretches you’ll see. After taking a 14-0 lead they surrendered 34 straight points with their offense having 4 punts, 3 fumbles lost, and throwing a pick-six. That sloppiness isn’t likely to repeat, and with Mike Leach at the helm of his Air Raid offense I see plenty of scoring from the Bulldogs as well. Both teams should go up and down the field in this one, and having this number just below the key number of 56 creates value that I’m going to exploit.
NCAA Football (1 Unit) Stanford/USC Under 53.5 (-110): 9:30 PM CT on FOX
This rivalry game has all the makings of a low-scoring slugfest, especially with both teams bringing plenty of offensive question marks into this meeting.
Stanford coach David Shaw has a pretty awful offense this season, is squarely on the hot seat, and is fully aware of both facts. The Cardinal will be changing quarterbacks this week after a bad showing last Saturday, but that won’t help them much here. Shaw will be forced to keep his game plan conservative with a new QB, plus a desire to not get blown out and strengthen the case for his dismissal. USC should cooperate with that as the Trojans tend to play down to the competition in the favorite role. They struggled last week in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated, although the defense looks the best it has in years.
I see USC employing a balanced and efficient offensive attack that keeps the clock moving here. And with an excellent defense to shut down a first-time starter at quarterback, they might keep Stanford off the scoreboard altogether.
Bonus Bet (0.5 Unit) Stanford Team Total Under 18 (-110)
I just don’t see how Stanford gets to this, I really don’t. Last week the Trojan defense held a much better offense from San Jose State with a veteran QB to just 7 points. With the Cardinal turning to a backup QB and still missing their top wide receiver, I can’t envision them visiting the end zone enough times to reach this total.
No degenerates today.
Tiny Nick is 373-270 ATS (+84.7 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.