Updated: Nov 4, 2022
It's Thursday, and you know what that means... that's right people, it's time to make some college football picks.
And boy, oh boy, oh boy, what a fun slate we have: Tennessee-Georgia. Alabama-LSU. Clemson-Notre Dame. On and on.
By now, you know the drill, so there's no reason to waste any time.
Also, as always, make sure to subscribe to the College Football Betting Show. As I've said many times, I truly believe you won't get better college football betting information anywhere, than on this show.
Now, to the picks:
Texas Tech (+9.5) at No. 6 TCU: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX
It's Saturday, Big Noon Kickoff, and for one of the few times this season, TCU gets a national stage, virtually to themselves, to show college football how good they are.
The fact that they were ranked No. 7 in the initial polls, behind one-loss Alabama, and Clemson and Michigan (despite having significantly better resumes) is sure to chew at their craw.
So, the Horned Frogs will come out firing in this one, right? I'm not so sure.
One, this team is definitely ahead of schedule, but it is also a team that has lived on the edge quite a bit this season. Their two big wins of the season were against Kansas State and Oklahoma State, games where they trailed by 18 points and 17 points respectively. They also got to play Kansas for the majority of the game against a back-up quarterback.
I'm not sure if this is the week the Frogs get tripped up, but Texas Tech throws the ball all over the field (they, not TCU, Texas or anyone else actually leads the Big 12 in pass offense) and one of the Frogs' weaknesses is their secondary.
Again, I'm not sure if the outright upset happens. But this will certainly be close.
Kentucky at Missouri (+1.5): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Couple thoughts here.
One, I know the media likes to make fun of Eli Drinkwitz.
Ok, correction, I like to make fun of Eli Drinkwitz.
Whatever, forgive me. He's an easy target.
Anyway, even though I like to make fun of Eli Drinkwitz (again, forgive me), the Missouri defense has actually been really solid this season. Did you know that in its last six games dating back to the out of conference portion of the schedule, they haven't given up more than 26 points in a single game? And it's not like they've played nobody either, facing Georgia, Florida and South Caroliba in that time frame.
Beyond that, I also just think this is a bad spot for Kentucky.
It's the second straight road game, this one off an ass kicking at Tennessee that wasn't all that competitive after about midway through the second quarter.
Now, they have to go on the road, for an 11 am kickoff, to face a team that does nothing to motivate them, yet is actually playing way better football than anyone realizes?
This smells like the recipe for an upset.
Michigan State at No. 16 Illinois (-16.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Imagine if I had told you in August that Illinois would enter their first game of November ranked in the Top 20 of the first College Football Playoff poll and controlling their own destiny to make the playoff.
What would have been the scenario that would've had to unfold for you to believe that could happen?
A meteor wiping out the entire SEC and Big Ten East?
Lincoln Riley leaving USC under the cloak of darkness for Champaign?
I mean, this story is just crazy. And I think it's only about to get better this weekend.
The bottom-line is that while Illinois isn't really built to cover big spreads, this is the near perfect spot for them to do so. Illinois' entire game-plan is to run right at you, play good defense, wait for you to make mistakes, and then repeat the process again.
Well one, not only has Michigan State shown no real ability to stop the run (they rank 97th in rush defense), but two of their top four tacklers (Angelo Grose and Jacoby Windmon) are currently suspended while the school investigates last week's brawl at Michigan. The offense also turns the ball over quite a bit (11 in eight games) and isn't all that explosive as is. Which again, plays right into the Illini's hands.
Because of the way Illinois plays, this won't get "ugly" in a traditional sense.
But it has something like 27-3 written all over it.
Take the Illini here.
BEST BET: No. 1 Tennessee (+8.5) at No. 3 Georgia: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS
It's the biggest game of the weekend, the biggest one of the year, and the next biggest game in what could be - key word "could" - a dream season for Tennessee.
And it's honestly one of the single weirdest games I can ever remember hanicapping.
Tennessee is the No. 1 team in the country, but is the underdog. Yet I haven't seen anyone make the actual argument that Georgia wins and covers, with an absurd amount of money coming in on the Vols.
So obviously, I'm going to zig when everyone else zags, right?
Naw, not this time.
I'm sorry, but I just can't see anyone slowing down this elite Tennessee offense, making it really hard for me to see them losing by 9+ points. That's especially the case since, in theory, the way to beat Tennessee, is to make Hendon Hooker uncomfortable, right? Well, did you know that Georgia is actually dead last in sacks in the SEC and 104th nationally in tackles for loss?
It sounds crazy, but this Bulldog defense really isn't as aggressive as they've been in previous years. And I don't think sitting back and letting this Tennessee offense pick you apart is the answer. Especially since Georgia's corners - outside of junior Kelee Ringo - are young and inexperienced.
Add in the fact that this Tennessee defense is probably a little better than people realize, and definitely more aggressive than Georgia's (58 TFL's, 21 sacks on the season) and I like the Vols here.
Not just to keep things close, but pull the upset.
This is my Best Bet, and my Betfred Boost!
Liberty (+14 - bought up from 13.5) at Arkansas: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
In case you missed it, Hugh Freeze joined the Aaron Torres Podcast this morning. It was a great interview, and if you haven't listened yet, I genuinely recommend you check it out.
One of the things that was clear in that interview is how much respect he has for Arkansas and Sam Pittman. But at the same time, I also can't help but look at recent results and feel like Flames have a shot here.
One, Liberty is 7-1 with their only loss to Wake Forest by one point, and two, they smacked around an BYU team a few weeks ago, that Arkansas also smacked a few weeks before. If the Flames can do what they did to the Cougars, I think they can at least keep things competitive against the Hogs.
Ultimately Arkansas wins, and the 13.5 scares me, so I went ahead and bought the half point to be safe and push it to a 14-point spread.
But this one stays close, in an Arkansas win.
No. 5 Alabama (-13) at No. 10 LSU: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
So if you've followed me for any amount of time, you know that I'm a huge Brian Kelly guy. To say I've always believed in him is an understatement, and to say that I am reveling in him being awesome (which I always knew he'd be) at LSU is an understatement. I'm basically like one step away from being asked to pose for the guy's damn Christmas card alongside his family, I swear.
At the same time, I do think the narrative has swung too positively in the LSU direction and too negatively in the Alabama one.
For Alabama, as much as much as people want to throw dirt on their grave, here's the truth: They lost by three points, on the road at Tennessee, in a game where they muffed a punt, gave up 21 first quarter points, and still outgained the Vols by the time the game went final. If Bill O'Brien knew how to call plays, at worst, Bama is kicking a field goal as time expires to win the game, and at worst they lose in overtime.
Instead, they lost, and the world is ready to write off this Bama team.
To me, off a bye, I think we get their best effort, especially considering that Bryce Young will be as healthy as he's been in a month. Nick Saban is also roughly like 237-1 against the spread when he has more than one week to prepare (that number is approximate. We're working to confirm).
Plus, as great as the vibes are for LSU, this is still a club which was down to 39 players in their bowl game, is starting two true freshmen on the offensive line, and is nowhere close to the 85-man scholarship minute. In the "across the board" talent category, they aren't in the same stratosphere as Bama.
I love Brian Kelly, and you may see me on the Christmas card when it's all said and done.
But even in Death Valley and at night, this is a bad spot for the Tide.
No. 4 Clemson (-3.5) at Notre Dame: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Another team, another program who everyone wants to completely write-off this season is Clemson.
By now, you've heard it all:
How can they be ranked No. 4?
They had to bench their quarterback against Syracuse.
Well, whether or not they deserve to be ranked No. 4 in the country, here they are. And this is a near perfect spot for them.
The Tigers are coming off a bye, and more importantly, their strength goes against Notre Dame's: The Irish want to run the ball, and keep running it, and not put too much on quarterback Drew Pyne's plate. Well, Clemson once again has an elite run defense (Top 10 in the country) and an average pass defense, which perfectly lines up against the Irish.
If the Irish can't run the ball, they can't win.
This one has something like 27-10 written all over it.
South Carolina (-7) at Vanderbilt: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
I'll be blunt: I'm not a Shane Beamer guy.
I'm sure he's nice enough, but his entire resume has been built off doing quirky things on the internet people love (posing like Steve Spurrier, getting a mayo bath) and beating big brand teams when they're at their lowest to prop up their resume.
Seriously, the Gamecocks got bowl eligible last year thanks to wins right as Florida and Auburn were falling apart last year, which led to the firing of Dan Mullen last November and Bryan Harsin this week. This year their "big" wins are against Kentucky without Will Levis and against Texas A&M, in which they were outscored after the first play of the game.
Literally. South Carolina returned the opening kick-off for a touchdown against A&M, and then were outscored from there.
Still, to Beamer's credit, his players seem to like him. And outside of Missouri the last two years, they seem to win the exact games they need to, to keep their fans happy and to keep anyone from really saying anything critical of Beamer or this team.
I think the Gamecocks are a slightly above average football team.
But they'll win this one like 34-14 to get bowl eligible.
Florida at Texas A&M (-3.5): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network: I know everyone likes to rag on Jimbo Fisher. But as mentioned above, this team played Alabama down to the final play, outscored South Carolina after the first play of the game and easily could've beaten Ole Miss last week. They're going to eventually breakthrough in one of these big games. But I'm just not going to spend my money trying to find out if it's this one or not.
No. 24 Texas (-2.5) at No. 13 Kansas State: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, FS1: Fun fact, did you know that Kansas State is actually 6-2 straight up in their last eight against Texas in Manhattan? Admittedly, they have lost their last two, and more importantly got blown out two years ago, in what turned out to be the final regular season game of Tom Herman's regime. With Texas off a bye, and K-State's quarterback situation up in the air, I can't bet either side. Even though I want to take the Wildcats.
Florida State (-7.5) at Miami, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET: Remember when this used to be the rivalry in college football? Yeah, well it ain't anymore. And while I think Florida State is going to win, I can't get excited about giving 7.5 points in what will likely be the only big crowd in Miami all season long.
A reminder: The picks are brought to you by Betfred Sportsbook. New users can get $250 when they bet $50 on any game this weekend - good in Arizona, Colorado and Iowa only