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Michigan State Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III (9). (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
November 1st, 2021
Week 9 of the college football season saw several notable one-loss teams on the fringe of playoff contention fall in defeat and dash their championship hopes.
Kentucky, Mississippi, Iowa, and Pittsburgh all took their second loss of the year, while undefeated San Diego State and SMU suffered their first losses.
In this weekly column, we landed on two outright winners, Virginia Tech and Purdue, to finish the week at plus money.
Let’s take a closer look at the Week 10 card to find some more outright underdog winners in the week ahead.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are undefeated and climbing up the ranks.
Considering how 2021 has turned out for teams like that, North Carolina may win easily, but the numbers say Wake is an undervalued team that could pull this upset and keep its dream season alive.
Wake Forest is tied for sixth in the nation in yards per play, and quarterback Sam Hartman airs it out early and often.
Sam Hartman: 11 pass TDs of 30+ yardsTied for most in college football 🔥 pic.twitter.com/yX1yhnnLVq— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 26, 2021
Sam Hartman: 11 pass TDs of 30+ yardsTied for most in college football 🔥 pic.twitter.com/yX1yhnnLVq
The defense is average, but so is North Carolina’s. This Tarheels team began the season ranked in the top 10, mostly because of quarterback Sam Howell, but the defense has been abysmal in critical situations.
This has all the makings of a shootout that could easily go either way. Let’s take the plus odds on a team that knows how to win.
The Auburn Tigers and quarterback Bo Nix look like a new team in 2021, and a large part of that can be attributed to first-year head coach Bryan Harsin.
After an impressive home win last Saturday night against Ole Miss, the Tigers will now travel to College Station to take on Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies.
The Aggies are 6-2 this season and earned a big win against Alabama, but their quarterback doesn’t impress me.
Zach Calzada was not expected to be the starter this year, but due to injuries, he has secured the role. He looks lost often and doesn’t hang in the pocket long enough to find deep receivers.
Nix is a gamer, and the Auburn defense should be able to get to Calzada, if it can contain the Aggies’ rushing attack.
The Michigan State Spartans look like they are playing on borrowed time this year.
Some might argue they are a team of destiny, and they have gone this far into the year without losing a game against the spread.
But regression to the mean feels inevitable. The Spartans will hit the road after an emotional comeback victory against Michigan and confront a team that has already proven capable of scoring points and upsetting conference foes.
Michigan State's defense is tied for 36th in opponent yards per play, and quarterback Payton Thorne is 69th in the country in completion percentage.
He'll face off against Purdue’s veteran Aidan O’Connell, who checks in at seventh in the country in that same statistic.
Purdue is a dangerous opponent, and the Spartans surely can’t rely on good luck forever.
The Florida State Seminoles had won three straight before a loss last weekend to Clemson, in which Florida State had a lead late in the fourth quarter.
The Seminoles had two questionable personal foul penalties called against them to pave the way for a Clemson go-ahead touchdown.
A fumble return for a touchdown as the clock expired handed Clemson a 10-point win, but Florida State played well enough to have beaten Clemson and won its fourth straight game.
This Florida State team is undergoing a cultural shift under head coach Mike Norvell and is competing in a way we haven’t seen from this program in the last three years.
Upsets in the ACC are a weekly occurrence, and this looks ripe to be the next one.
North Carolina State is 71st in the nation in yards per pass attempt, and the Seminoles' rush defense has been tougher at home in 2021.
Penn State just played a tough national prime-time contest against Ohio State and ultimately experienced defeat, while suffering a few bruises.
Now the Nittany Lions have to travel on the road to take on a Maryland team that ranks 16th in pass attempts per game and will stretch Penn State's defense from start to finish.
The Nittany Lions have struggled in November, going just 1-4 against the spread in their last five games.
This is a good spot for Maryland to get a marquee win and guarantee bowl eligibility. The Terrapins get two difficult games against Michigan State and Michigan after Penn State.
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