Sat. Nov 17th, 2018

Week 9 College Football Picks: Georgia, Washington State, Oklahoma State Highlight Michael Roth’s Weekly Selections

I went 6-7 last week to drop to 59-47 ATS this season, but I felt that I was on the right side of most of my picks last week. If I can pick games as well as I did last week I’ll eventually get out of my funk and get back closer to 60%.

Thursday 7:00 PM: Ball State At Ohio -10.5: Ohio is finally looking like the preseason MAC favorite that many expected in the preseason. Nathan Rourke has been awesome, winning three MAC player of the week awards. Rourke is also fifth in the country in ESPN’s total QBR rating, I expect him to destroy Ball State’s defense that has struggled all season. Ball State has also fallen off after a competitive start to the season, the Cardinals rank 117th in S&P+ and their defense is ranked 112th in success rate. Rourke should keep the Bobcats ahead of the chains all night at home and also on a short week, having home field advantage should provide an additional boost.

7:30 PM: Georgia Tech At Virginia Tech -3: The Hokies have a rest advantage, something that is crucial when going against a triple option attack. Virginia Tech is also ready for the triple option because they face the Yellow Jackets every single season. Georgia Tech is coming off a Duke loss in a game they got outmatched in pretty much every category. Virginia Tech should be prepared in a crucial game for their odds of making the ACC title game.

Saturday Noon: Central Michigan At Akron under 45.5: Akron comes into the game with the 126th offense in S&P+ and Central Michigan is at 130. These are two of the absolute worst offenses in the country and are taking each other on in a colder environment with probable rain. Gimme all of the under.

Wake Forest At Louisville under 65: Neither of these teams play good defense, but they also play bad offense as well. Louisville has hit 31 points twice, which is their highest scoring total, while Wake Forest has scored 20.8 PPG against FBS teams not named Rice. I don’t think either defense dominates, as they are both below average, but a total in the mid 60s for these offenses is way too high.

Wisconsin -6.5 At Northwestern: Wisconsin was completely outclassed by Michigan, and despite an embarrassing loss to BYU, the Badgers haven’t been a huge disappointment. Jonathan Taylor has been a consistent force offensively, helping the Badgers have the fourth highest success rate in the country. Northwestern is also coming off back to back rough games, getting a lucky victory over Nebraska before beating Rutgers by a field goal. This is a Wildcats team I want to fade.

Purdue +2.5 At Michigan State: This seems like an overreaction to the Boilermakers huge upset victory over Ohio State, but it isn’t. Michigan State got completely destroyed by Michigan, which says a lot about how dominant Michigan is, but also how average Sparty is this season. Purdue is set for a letdown early after a huge home victory, but I love their offense with Jeff Brohm at the helm. Rondale Moore is an All-American candidate as a freshman and David Blough has been the sleeper NFL prospect from the Big 10 that scouts expected Brian Lewerke to be. Michigan State’s offense has been disappointing all season, they are 111th in offensive success rate and 99th in marginal explosiveness. Michigan State is really only good at one thing, rush defense. The Spartans are second in rushing defense S&P+, but Jeff Brohm is intelligent enough to not rely on the run and let his 33rd ranked passing offense go crazy.

2 PM: Coastal Carolina -3.5 At Georgia State over 58.5: Coastal Carolina is 27th in offensive S&P+ and Georgia State is 124th in defensive S&P+; that mismatch makes me want to double up on this game and go crazy against a defense that has given up over 30 points against every FBS opponent except one this season.

3 PM: Oregon State +24 At Colorado: This is simply too many points to be giving a team facing Colorado in conference play. Colorado started off the season impressively, but if they lost to Nebraska (a game they had a 5% post game win probability) how do we view the Buffaloes this season? I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be treated with as much respect as they have right now. Oregon State also has an underrated offense, the Beavers have the 32nd ranked rushing offense according to S&P+, and if they can control the time of possession battle, they can keep this game competitive for as long as possible.

3:30 PM: Florida Vs Georgia -6.5: Georgia is a team that I’ve been super high on all season, and despite the fact that they got smoked by LSU, I’m still buying stock in the Bulldogs. Jake Fromm is the fifth ranked QB in the country according to quarterback rating and he leads an offense that ranks sixth in S&P+. Georgia also could have their fair share of chunk plays offensively, as Georgia ranks 22nd offensively in marginal explosiveness. Despite Florida having a stout defense, the Gators are only 63rd in defensive marginal explosiveness.

South Florida At Houston -7: Fading unbeaten teams that are an underdog after week six has been a principle of mine at this point in the season, as well as taking unranked favorites over ranked teams. This case includes both of these trends that win at a 55%+ rate. South Florida is so overrated. The Bulls should have at least one loss on the year, but they probably should have at least two if we’re being honest. South Florida could’ve lost to Georgia Tech (25% win probability) and Tulsa (last second field goal) but the Bulls are still somehow unbeaten. Houston has an awesome offense and Kendall Briles has brought even more pace to a potent Cougars offense. Houston is fourth in the country in isolated points per play, and has a top 26 rush offense, rush defense, and pass offense according to S&P+. South Florida is also coming off a rough performance against arguably the worst team in the country in Uconn. All this points to a huge loss for South Florida and Houston cementing themselves as the biggest threat to UCF in the AAC.

4:00 PM New Mexico +21 At Utah State: I know Utah State has been awesome this season (6-1 ATS, only loss by a touchdown to Michigan State ) but I cannot help but go against the Aggies this weekend. New Mexico has a solid offense, but most importantly the second best special teams according to S&P+. If the Lobos can dominate field position and dominate special teams, they should be able to slow down the Aggies consistent offense. (17th ranked success rate)

6:30 PM: UNLV At San Jose State -2: This is simply another principle play for me: taking winless teams that are favorites at this point in the season. San Jose State is due for a victory and with UNLV coming to town, now this is the best time to buy on the Spartans. UNLV has a horrendous defense, giving up 40+ points the past three weeks. San Jose State also has an underrated defense that has appeared worse than what they actually are due to being ranked the 126th starting field position defensively. The Spartans defense rank 67th against the run and 51st against the pass, two stats that are much better than what the public would assume.

7:00 PM: Washington State +3 At Stanford: I know that Stanford has been a proud program under David Shaw, but I’m not sure this Cardinal team is above average this season. Bryce Love has been a huge disappointment for having the 109th ranked rushing offense according to S&P+. Washington State is also 7-0 ATS despite having negative turnover luck, which is insane. The Cougars only loss is At USC on a weeknight, and they still put up 36 points in that matchup. I honestly think Wazzu is a much better team than Stanford and this won’t be a crazy atmosphere or a significant home field advantage for the Cardinal.

Texas A&M At Mississippi State under 45: Mississippi State has become an under machine since entering conference play. The Bulldogs games have averaged 27 total points in four SEC matchups this season. Texas A&M would be the side I would like to take, but going against the unranked favorite against a ranked team is not a path I’m willing to take. Mississippi State should control the line of scrimmage, but with Nick Fitzgerald playing QB, there’s always the possibility for a slow, defensive struggle.

8:00 PM: Texas At Oklahoma State +3.5: Texas has somehow outperformed their second order wins by 1.6 already this season, the Longhorns are closer to a projected 4-3 team than even a 5-2 team according to S&P+! Texas is also fairly average on both sides of the ball, the Longhorns are 41st in offensive and defensive success rate and are 113th and 99th in marginal explosiveness on offense and defense. Texas is best at rush defense (30’th in the nation) but Oklahoma State has the 21’st ranked rush offense and 28th pass offense according to S&P+. Combine all these factors and I’m getting a team I think should be a clear favorite as a field goal underdog. I like my chances.

10:30 PM: Hawaii At Fresno State over 58: Hawaii has an awesome offense led by Cole Mcdonald, but the Rainbow Warriors have been destroyed defensively the past two weeks, giving up 49 and 40 points respectively. Fresno State has been flying under the radar, but the Bulldogs have been dominant since an early season loss to Minnesota. Fresno State’s defense has been impressive the past couple weeks, but they are 81st in sack rate, if Mcdonald has time he could put up enough points to push this total over.

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