Lock$ of Saturday: Week 12
Alright crew, let's get back to basics.
After looking ahead last week, the crew is back to picking spreads for y'all this week in what looks to be an absolutely stacked board. We have one of the best rivalry games in college football in Bedlam, two top 25 BIG10 matchups, some FUNbelt action, and the Hokies taking on an old Big East Rival.
With Miami inching out a 1 point win in a relatively low scoring affair, here is the updated scoreboard:
Oklahoma State +7.0 @ Oklahoma
Sam - Oklahoma -7.0
I think this one might be Spencer Rattler’s coming out party. The Sooners are in a rebuilding year by their lofty standards, and the defense is, as always, less than stellar. But, the Sooners have quietly gone on a 4 game winning streak where they’ve averaged a whopping 52.5 points per game.
Oklahoma State, on the other hand, has struggled offensively this season. Only averaging 28 points per game, the Cowboys are riding the Big 12’s best defense to a 5-1 record. Whatever it is, Mike Gundy has flipped the script on his Cowboys team and it may come back to bite him in a year that the Cowboys were looking like a real contender for the CFP.
Ed - Oklahoma -7.0
Oklahoma seems to have found the explosive offense we are used to seeing. Spencer Rattler is raw but insanely talented. I can’t see Oklahoma State being able to score at a rate high enough to stay with the Sooners.
Robert - Oklahoma -7.0
When they are at their best, Oklahoma under Lincoln Riley has proven to unequivocally be the best of the Big 12. Though they started slow, losing their first two conference games, they are proving to once again be the frontrunner in the Big 12. They are on a four-game winning streak, which has come in large part due to the improvements made by the offense for QB Spencer Rattler.
The Sooners have moved to a more balanced offense, running the ball more often. In their two losses, Rattler averaged 38.5 pass attempts, but during their win streak, he has averaged just 28.5.
This has paid dividends for Rattler statistically, as he has accounted for 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions in their last four wins while only getting sacked four times. During their two losses, Rattler had four interceptions and five sacks.
Oklahoma is simply the better team, so it’s no wonder to me they are a seven-point home favorite. OSU hasn’t looked great in their last three games, so I anticipate them being heavily outmatched as the Sooners cruise to a two-possession victory.
Brett - Oklahoma -7.0
After a shaky start to Rattler’s career, they are on a four-win streak, and three out of those four, the Sooners have put up 50+. They are starting to look like themselves again!
As for the Pokes, they have skirted by to a 5-1 team. They barely have won two out of the last three and those two wins were a combined five points. I would go on to say that the Pokes have plateaued this season while the Sooners have improved every game.
This won’t have the same feel as a rivalry night game in Lincoln, but only seven points here seems way too small. Oklahoma by two scores, led by a big game from Rattler.
Chris - Oklahoma -7.0
Alright, let’s count the angles:
1. OU leads the series 16-1 when both teams are ranked.
2. Since Lincoln Riley joined OU, they are 4-0 against OSU with an average margin of victory of 11.75 points.
3. Under Mike Gundy, OSU is 2-13 against the Sooners with an average losing margin of 13.8 points.
4. In the 106 game history of “Bedlam”, OU leads the series 81-18-7 with an average margin of victory of 15.6 points, with half of OSU’s wins coming occurring up to the end of WWII.
No matter which way you slice it, the safe bet has always been on the Sooners in this matchup, and historically… this isn’t really a rivalry.
Ryan - Oklahoma -7.0
The Sooners are down this year but this one always means more and the Sooners have to be inspired for this game without much to play for. I will start by saying I don’t trust Rattler and I think he is overhyped, and this Oklahoma State D is not as porous as it once was because they have been rather stout in every game but Texas this year. I expect to see that D give a bit here but this is not your typical run and gun shootout. Oklahoma is trending way up after a bit of a disastrous start to the year and I am gonna ride that momentum.
Indiana +20.5 @ Ohio State
Sam - Indiana +20.5
Ohio State will most likely win this game, but Indiana won’t just waltz into the Horseshoe and roll over. I doubted Indiana earlier this season and it cost me.
I may not have the stats to back this pick up, but I’m sure as heck not gonna bet on a top 10 team to lose by 3 touchdowns.
Ed - Ohio State -20.5
The best team in the country, with the best player in the country. Time for Indiana to fall back down to earth, courtesy of Justin Fields.
Robert - Ohio State -20.5
Alright Indiana, enough playing around. I know you’re not the 9th-best team in the country, and you know it too. You have taken advantage of a historically-bad Big Ten this year, but I think your fun is about to end.
Did you know you are currently the only ranked team on Ohio State’s schedule? Meaning you could potentially be the Buckeyes’ only “marquee game” all season? That means this is Ohio State’s only opportunity to make a statement in their playoff pursuit, and a 21+ point victory over #9 would be just that statement.
Sorry, Hoosiers, but it’s time for your fans to start thinking about basketball again.
Brett - Ohio State -20.5
The Big Ten is bad….I mean BAD. I would have never guessed this being the Buckeye’s biggest game of the season. With that being said, Ohio State is going to have to solidify their place in the College Football Playoff.
I truly think they are the best team in the country, but no one is talking about it because we have not seen them as much as the other teams in the top six. Let Justin Fields start to cook and he’s going to serve the Hoosier’s a plate of humble pie. Buckeyes BIG.
Chris - Indiana +20.5
Leading up to this season, Indiana always seems to be that pesky Big Ten opponent that would hold games close until the 4th quarter but never seem to close the deal. Perception is reality considering they only have an average losing margin of -2.8 in conference play under head coach Tom Allen in addition to a -11.0 losing margin as an away underdog and a -14.6 losing margin against ranked opponents. Don’t get me wrong, Ohio State is a juggernaut that “only” has an average margin of victory of 13.9 points against ranked competition, but the value here is taking the Hoosiers and the 20.5 points.
Ryan - Indiana +20.5
DISRESPECT. This goes beyond bulletin board material to billboard material and it should be plastered on every highway in Indiana. This line is a slap in the face to an Indiana team ranked number 9 and coming in undefeated. With that being said I get the line and understand why it is where it is, but Indiana has shown a lot of heart this year and I think they stay within this. Penix has to be safe with the ball and continue to have an excellent TD to INT ratio (he is 9 to 3 respectively right now). I love Ohio State and think they are national contenders big time but this is too many to lay.
Wisconsin -7.5 @ Northwestern
Sam - Wisconsin -7.5
Wisconsin has survived one of the more disastrous COVID situations in college football, and that’s a massive credit to that program. After beating Michigan to a pulp for the second straight year, the Badgers are on a roll with their eyes on a BIG10 title match with the Buckeyes. I don’t see them slipping up here, and I’d expect the defense to continue to be stout. If you’re feeling dangerous, parlaying this with the Over 44 may be a good move. I’d have to imagine the Badgers put up 35+ pretty easily.
Ed - Wisconsin -7.5
I don’t really get this line. While Northwestern has been better than in years past, Wisconsin has looked legit. While it’s a limited sample size, Graham Mertz looks to be a perfect fit for the Wisconsin offense. The Badgers’ balance on offense and overall talent advantage will be too much for Northwestern.
Robert - Wisconsin -7.5
I think this is a case of Vegas putting far too high expectations on the Big Ten. Northwestern may be undefeated, but Wisconsin is worlds ahead of them talent-wise. This game will be over early as the Badgers cover this spread and then some.
Brett - Wisconsin -7.5
This line is solely the fact that no one has any idea what to do with the Big Ten and Wiscy has only played two games. My question is, did anyone not see what they did to Michigan last week? The Badgers eviscerated them on every aspect of the field and looked like they had been playing all season.
Chryst will have his team well prepared for this matchup and I expect Wiscy to take this one easily. This is my lock of the week!
Chris - Wisconsin -7.5
Wisconsin should be favored by more than two TDs in this game. Paul Chryst has developed the only program in the Big Ten that seems poised to present a challenge to Ohio State, evidenced by his 15-5 record against the spread as an away favorite with an average winning margin of 16.7 points. The scary thing now is, they seem to have found a passing attack to match the ground game as highly touted r-FR QB Graham Mertz has finally emerged to lead a pro-style passing attack behind one of the best perennial O-lines in the country that finally compliments their dominant 260 yards per game rushing attack.
Ryan - Wisconsin -7.5
Watch out there is a QB at Wisconsin and that is a dangerous concept. We know Wisconsin football is historically pounding the rock and they are still capable of that but if Mertz’s small sample size of greatness is any indication of his future prowess this Wisconsin team is really interesting. I don’t know if they have enough time and or games on their schedule to be in the conversation for the playoff but keep an eye on that. They don’t have Ohio State during the season but look for a clash in the Championship if these trajectories keep up, that game could be a ton of fun. They win this one by 14 at least. HAMMER.
Appalachian State +5.5 @ Coastal Carolina
Sam - Appalachian State +5.5
Every year, there’s one team like Coastal Carolina. They had no expectations coming into the year, no hype whatsoever, and then boom...top 15. Credit to Coastal, they’ve capitalized on a really soft schedule this season and have played to win. That’s not meant to be a backhanded comment, as I think we’re all aware of how easy it is to play down to the talent of your opponent.
But I don’t see App State even remotely in the same league as some of the other teams Coastal has beat up on this season. We often forget, but App State is one of the winningest programs over the past 5-6 years, and they’ve done so by showing up to the few big games they play every season. QB Zach Thomas has the playmaking ability and the leadership to propel the Mountaineers to the top.
Ed - App State +5.5
As a diehard Eric Church and Luke Combs fan, I have to roll with the Mountaineers in this one. App State has been one of the most consistent programs in the country for years now, regardless of coaching changes. This pick is tough because Coastal seems to be having one of those years where they are rolling. I’ll go with the consistency of App State to hold up in what should be a great game.
Robert - APP-UH-LATCH-UHN State +5.5
This is going to be a fantastic matchup. The Mountaineers from App State are venturing out of the mountains to the beach to play on a turquoise field against the #15 Coastal Carolina. Sign me up.
Honestly, I am not really sure who will win this game. My rationale in picking App State here is I think 5.5 is way too many points for Coastal. ASU’s only loss is to Marshall, who is far better than anyone on CCU’s schedule. Don’t let the rankings fool you; these are two evenly-matched teams.
I could see this game going either way, with a three-or-four point win for either team. We’ll say Miller Gibbs (Joe Gibbs’ grandson) catches a touchdown to give App State the cover.
Brett - Coastal Carolina -5.5
Man, I love the Chanticleers. Due to Troy’s covid-19 issues last week, Coastal got a free bye week to prepare for the Mountaineers. Here’s an interesting stat: ASU is 1-6 ATS while CCU is 5-1-1 this season.
In the Fun Belt, it’s all about the hot team and right now that team is Coastal Carolina. Exceeding expectations and just simply having fun on the football field will get them this win against App State. CCU by a touchdown or ten points.
Chris - Coastal Carolina -5.5
Out of all the selections this week, this game is my favorite and should be flexed to the primetime ABC slot Saturday night. As a newly adoptive parent of the Coastal Carolina football team, my undying love for this program was cemented upon seeing the all teal stadium turf so my pick here is completely biased in hoping their Cinderella run continues in what I believe will be a dominant victory, resulting in what we all need in 2020… an undefeated matchup between Coastal and Liberty at the end of the season.
Also, I would like to formally announce my candidacy to be the next Sun Belt Conference Commissioner.
Ryan - App State +5.5
I am with Sam here. This one comes down to recency bias versus consistency bias. I may have just made up a new psychological phenomenon for betting college football but here is where I am coming from. Coastal Carolina is a wonderful storyline this year. They have been great to follow, but this is a team that came out of nowhere this year and the public loves it because of that reason. App State has a consistent track record of winning and winning against high-caliber teams even some in the ACC (take that high-caliber comment as you like it). I am relying on a team that has been in the conversation before and has proven their consistency.
Virginia Tech -3.5 @ Pittsburgh
Sam - Virginia Tech -3.5
Bet the numbers, not the teams.
Virginia Tech has played exponentially better against common opponents. What was once the best defense in the ACC has now lost all its luster and playmakers. The Panthers went from giving up only 10 points per game in the first 3 games of the season to giving up 30+ in all 4 games in the month of October. I think the Hokies can score on the Panthers, and maybe even continue the upward trajectory of passing yards.
Offensively, the Panthers have struggled to find mismatches in an offense that is completely predicated on capitalizing on mismatches. Kenny Pickett is everything football fans thought he was and nothing like the NFL QB sports journalists wanted him to be. After a really good showing against Miami, the Hokies defense should be able to hold their own and keep the Panthers under 4 touchdowns.
I like the Hokies to finally get a W here by 2 possessions, and maybe have some momentum heading into the bye week.
Ed - Pittsburgh +3.5
Is it basketball season yet? The Hokies should win and cover in this one, but the same has been said for the last 2 weeks, and we’ve seen how that’s gone.
Robert - Pittsburgh +3.5
Looks like the rest of the season will be one large emotional hedge. Aside from my own feelings (which are, admittedly, far too dependent on the Hokies and my Lock$ picks), I think this matchup favors the Panthers. Pitt’s secondary took a huge step back when Paris Ford opted out, but their front seven is still ridiculous. They only give up 86.2 rushing yards per game, and they shut down a very run-heavy Florida State offense two weeks ago.
With Khalil Herbert’s health still a question mark, this makes doing what the offense does best an even taller task. I could see this game turning into a pass-heavy showdown between Hendon Hooker and Kenny Pickett, and the numbers would tell you Pickett wins that battle by a landslide.
The Hokies could have a chance to win if the defensive front is able to get pressure on Pickett as they did against Miami last week, but even so, 3.5 is too many points for me to pick VT to cover.
Brett - Virginia Tech -3.5
As much as I love Virginia Tech football, it is getting exhausting trying to gauge these lines with this team. Here is my quick take to get the Hokies to cover:
- Herbert is healthy
- No Paris Ford
- No turnovers
- Get pressure on Pickett
- Pitt coming off ‘Covid Reserve’
No Paris Ford is big for the offense, he was able to stretch the field against QB’s like Hooker. If the defensive line can get pressure on Pickett just like last season, it would create major issues for him to get the ball out of his hands.
Chris - Virginia Tech -3.5
Normally, I’d bet against any number that favors VT as a road favorite when they are 1-3 against the spread this season (with a -1 point margin of victory) and 5-11 overall under Justin Fuente in addition to the fact that Tech is 1-5 straight up when playing at Pittsburgh (a venue much like the Syracuse Carrier Dome) which somehow turns into the stadium version of the Bermuda Triangle for the Hokies, it makes sense to take the points, especially with the extra half point, in what will likely be a close defensive battle.
However, Pittsburgh has been experiencing significant COVID issues the last few weeks, which basically nullifies their bye week advantage that came as a result of canceling the previous GT game, and if there is one coach I trust the LEAST to properly manage their roster, players, and game planning responsibilities, its Pat Narduzzi. VT bounces back following a herculean defensive effort last week and the offense does enough to cover.
Ryan - Virginia Tech -3.5
There are two things that I won’t do right now and in any future where COVID is in the picture
- Bet against the Hokies (to be fair I will never do that)
- Bet on the team dealing with COVID-related suspension of practices and team activities.
As always you can take my VT bets with a grain of salt cause I am not taking the opponent in any of these games. I do however like a bounce-back for this team. The psyche of the whole program is up in the air right now and I have no idea what the attitude is like. I think however that the passing game has to make its return this week. We know about Pitt’s defense and we have heard about it for years now it seems. I need to see more from Mitchell and Robinson in the passing game this week and the Hokies have to sustain drives. Look for some trickery this week in a “nothing to lose” type of scenario game.
Over/Unders of the Week with Ryan Hartmann
Cincinnati and UCF Over 63.5
This is a last-minute sub here as Kansas and Texas got postponed this afternoon and I was all on the over with the Jayhawks and Longhorns. However, this one pops out as an opportunity. UCF comes into this game with a potent offense as usual with 619 yards per game. I don’t even think they win this game as Cincy is one of the hottest teams in the country and likely wins this game by 7 or more. Dillon Gabriel vs. Desmond Ridder is an intriguing matchup and I am taking the over here based on both of these quarterbacks who can score.
Auburn and Tennessee Under 50.5
So I know I have been preaching for the SEC overs this year and I am not off that train at all. Auburn and Tennessee haven’t yet caught up to the new age of SEC football in my opinion. Auburn’s UNDER record is 5-1. This is not a team with as much explosivity as we thought and Tennessee is right there with them with an UNDER record of 4-2. The trends are king this week for me. I don’t have faith in this one getting to 50.
Wisconsin and Northwestern Over 44
I am staying away from an ACC pick this week mainly for my own sanity and health. Has Vegas not seen this new guy at Wisconsin throw the football? I am a believer in Graham Mertz and an O line that dominates. Northwestern is subtly averaging 28 points per game as well. This is not your classic Wisconsin and Northwestern game. Wisconsin is running with a new style and new swagger and I expect them to score a ton. This line is hovering around an NFL number and I don’t get it. I like over by a lot here. Get in on this one early.