Aidan O' Sullivan: Back to the well in search of Redemption

13 min

There’s no way of sugar coating this – Last week was a disaster for my College Football picks as my 4 picks were blown out of the water. Michigan State got run ragged by Ohio State, while the Auburn Offense decided to blow up our solitary total pick while TCU and Notre Dame both may as well have stayed on their respective team buses. My previous college 4 timer a couple of weeks back hit 3 out of 4 but let’s not kid ourselves in looking for any moral victories.

As the saying goes ‘What have you done for me lately’.

To put it mildly, this weeks slate of games is pretty dire. The majority of the top 10 teams have scheduled cake walk games ahead of ‘Rivalry Thanksgiving Week’ but this may actually be to our benefit. I can’t speak for all College Football bettors but I’m personally guilty of focusing in on the top teams or the premier standout games when I start my weekly research.

This week due to the scheduling gods I’ve had to change tack and delve deeper into games that I would ordinarily swerve. To say the least, I’m relieved to do so because from first glance I think I have found a world of value this week.

UCF (15) at Temple

Opening Line: UCF -14
Opening Total: 58.5

UCF has been on fire of late averaging a whopping 48.6 points per game and winning 8 of their 9 games by double digits. First-year Head Coach Scott Frost has brought his Offensive skills from a vaunted Oregon attack and transferred them to the Orlando based school. With the aforementioned gaudy numbers, we got to be leaning on the Knights here right? Not so fast amigo. Let’s look at the other side of the ball and see what the Temple Owls have to offer us this week.

Losing Head Coach Matt Rhule to Baylor in the offseason was an almighty yet inevitable blow for this Temple team but Rhule did leave behind some solid building blocks for a program that up until recent years was in the doldrums. After a disappointing start this year First Year Head Coach Geoff Collins has steadied the Temple ship in recent weeks and this was visibly on display in back to back wins over Navy and Cincinnati.

The change to Junior QB Frank Nutile has kick-started this Owl Offense. Through just 4 starts Nutile has helped Temple average 32.3 points a game and they look to be hitting their straps just in time for a potential bowl game in December.

So why do I like Temple here?

A couple of reasons. Yes UCF is a juggernaut offensively but look a bit deeper at the other side of the ball and there are holes in that Defense especially in the back end in their secondary. The early start in Philly could make it a potential let down game for the Knights coupled with the inevitability of them looking ahead to next weeks showdown with South Florida.

Temple play their home games at Lincoln Financial Field which is more commonly known as the home of the Eagles. Why is this relevant you ask? The ‘Linc’ is still one of those few stadiums where the grass is real and not of the quicker artificial variety. Up-Tempo ‘No Huddle’ Offenses like UCF’s thrive on a fast track. Grass Fields like their own in Florida don’t limit them extensively but it’s still worth noting.

Getting a two-touchdown start here with Temple QB Frank Nutile attacking this vulnerable UCF secondary makes too much sense not to play here. Temple +14.5 to hopefully get us off to a flyer on Saturday.

Mississipi State (16) at Arkansas

Opening Line: Miss State -11.5
Opening Total: 59

If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘Classic Letdown Game’ prepare for a very quick education. A semi middling team plays their absolute heart out, balls to the wall type game in front of their raucous home crowd against a stud team only to come up short in heartbreaking circumstances. They then attempt to motivate themselves for next weeks opponents who are nowhere near as good as last weeks opposition. With their painfully close loss to Alabama last week Mississipi State very much fall into this bracket. The Bulldogs were outstanding last week and most definitely deserved the win. Unfortunately for Dan Mullen’s team moral victories count for little come the business end of the season.

It’s been another underwhelming season in Fayetteville where literally the only show in town is the Arkansas Razorbacks. Head Coach Bret Bielema’s employment seat is burning hot at present as the restless Arkansas natives shout for his head.

Arkansas trump card here may be the eventual return to fitness of QB Austin Allen. Word on the street has it that this will be Allens first start 100% healthy in some time.

Coming off last seasons SEC heroics, Allen was expected to continue in a similar vein this season. Multiple injuries to his throwing arm in the off season and mid season have unfortunately put paid to this ambition.

While Austin Allen is a major reason why I am fading Miss State this week, another factor has to be Seniors Day. For those unfamiliar with this unique college feature, Senior Day is the final home game of team members who are duly graduating or have already completed their studies. While this may be a flippant reason for factoring it into betting prospects it’s a definite angle that needs consideration.

The Razorbacks have shown enough in recent meetings vs Miss State to indicate that this one has the very real potential to be a one-score game. I find it hard to see how the Bulldogs play as well as last week and hence why I’m going to take Arkansas +11.5 here.

Missouri at Vanderbilt

Opening Line: Missouri -7.5
Opening Total: 67.5

It may be a cliche lead-in but to hell with it – I’m saving the best for last with my ‘Lock of the Week’. When I saw this line on Monday I couldn’t get logged into my various sportsbook accounts fast enough. I’m in no way insinuating that my few shillings sent this line from 7.5 to 8.5 but I’d be willing to bet even bigger money that this number hits double digits by Saturday afternoon.

Why So Confident?

Lots of reasons. First off let’s play the weakness over strength card. Vandy is awful. There’s no point in trying to dress this one up folks, the stats don’t lie. They are easily the worst team in the South Eastern Conference (SEC) and their 4-6 record is completely misleading. 3 of their 4 wins came against ‘mighty’ Mid Tennessee, Alabama A & M and Western Kentucky.

Head Coach Derek Mason is widely regarded for his ability to coach Defense but their last four games against decent opposition they have shipped 44, 34, 57 and 45 points against Kentucky, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Georgia respectively.

The Missouri Tigers stumbled out the gates to a 1-5 start but have righted the ship in recent weeks. Head Coach Barry Odom perhaps knowing his job security was very much in doubt has thrown caution to the wind and introduced a number of talented rookies to shore up his Defense in particular.

QB Drew Lock as ever has been an absolute technician dissecting some pretty decent Defenses in recent weeks especially. While both Florida and Tennessee have made in-season coaching changes do not let that overcompensate for the caliber of athlete they both have in their ranks. Lock and the Tigers Offense put 45 and 50 points on their SEC East rivals and this should serve as a major warning that this team is getting red hot at just the right time.

Lock it up with the Tigers -7.5 / 8.5 this weekend in Nashville.

My Picks:

  • Temple +14.5
  • Arkansas +11.5
  • Missouri -7.5 (Lock of the Week)

Click here for Matchbook’s latest NCAA Football Markets


Deprecated: usort(): Returning bool from comparison function is deprecated, return an integer less than, equal to, or greater than zero in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/matchbook-new/includes/show_latest_podcasts.php on line 102