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Clemson Tigers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) passes the ball during the game between the Clemson Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs on September 4, 2021 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire)
October 18th, 2021
Only one college football ranked in the top 10 took an "L" this past weekend, but it was a big one as Iowa fell at home to Purdue. It was also unfortunately the only straight-up underdog winner from this column, although both Indiana and California certainly had plenty of chances against No. 10 Michigan State and No. 9 Oregon, respectively.
Miami also showed plenty of signs of life in covering the spread but couldn’t capitalize late to get the outright win. Let’s try to improve on last week’s record and pick a few more outright underdog winners in Week 8.
The ACC is a conference where teams seem to regress to the mean. Now that Clemson has ceased operations as the dominant force ruling the rest, there are arguably eight teams that could end up winning the conference because of the absence of one dominant team.
Two teams that are right in the thick of the madness with two conference losses are Virginia and Georgia Tech. Virginia just dominated a bad Duke team, but have looked vulnerable defensively having given up 33, 28, 37, and 59 points in their four previous games.
Georgia Tech is coming off a bye and have a dynamic young quarterback in Jeff Sims who can throw and pass. He is completing over 60% of his passes and averages nearly 10 yards per attempt. He ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns in the Yellow Jackets’ big win against North Carolina earlier in the year.
Start off your week with some art, courtesy of @JeffSims_10 and @Dono_XII 🎨#4the404 /// #PtBD pic.twitter.com/vcKUwh2DWa— Georgia Tech Football (@GeorgiaTechFB) October 11, 2021
Start off your week with some art, courtesy of @JeffSims_10 and @Dono_XII 🎨#4the404 /// #PtBD pic.twitter.com/vcKUwh2DWa
This should be a back-and-forth game with the last team to have the ball possessing an excellent opportunity to win.
We’ll stick to the ACC for our second pick, with the Clemson Tigers shockingly coming in as underdogs against Pittsburgh. Clemson has been absolutely horrific offensively, and injuries aren’t helping, so in a way this line makes sense.
Pittsburgh is 5-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play, with a veteran quarterback and an offense that can put up points. The Panthers rank fifth overall in the country scoring 42.6 points per game.
The unstoppable force will face Clemson’s immovable object this weekend, though, as Clemson still fields a defense that ranks fourth overall in points allowed per game and third in points allowed per play.
Clemson has been a bad favorite in 2021, but maybe their luck will turn now that Dabo Swinney has an entire week to tell them they are an underdog.
Last week I thought TCU would put up a better fight against conference blue blood, Oklahoma, but the defense just didn’t have it.
The Sooners ran roughshod over the Horned Frogs and put up 52 points, making it look relatively easy. It was a troubling sign for a program that earned its reputation on Gary Patterson’s defensive tenacity.
𝙂𝙖𝙢𝙚 𝙏𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝘼𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩#WVUvsTCU - 7:30 PM ET📺 @ESPNU #TrustTheClimb pic.twitter.com/NJb1Bj0ZQs— West Virginia Football (@WVUfootball) October 17, 2021
𝙂𝙖𝙢𝙚 𝙏𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝘼𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩#WVUvsTCU - 7:30 PM ET📺 @ESPNU #TrustTheClimb pic.twitter.com/NJb1Bj0ZQs
Now TCU must pick up the pieces and welcome West Virginia into town. The Mountaineers are coming off a bye which is always a plus in the underdog’s favor, and quarterback Jarret Doege can air it out.
WVU gives up 100 less rushing yards per game, and is a better passing team. WVU’s defensive efficiency is much better than TCU’s, and might prove to be stout enough for a TCU team that has to be questioning things following that Oklahoma beatdown.
Ed Orgeron has a much better winning percentage as an interim coach than a permanent coach, so maybe the recent announcement that he’s leaving the team at season’s end will help LSU’s chances?
On the field, the LSU Tigers are dealing with injuries but still have more talent than Ole Miss. The Rebels are winning games on the strength of their exciting offense and excellent quarterback, but the defense leaves a lot to be desired.
They are 80th in the country in points allowed per play, 81st in yards allowed per play, and 90th in yards allowed per rush.
Matt Corral should be able to torch this Tigers defense that is missing some of its most talented players, but as we saw with the Florida game last week, LSU may have found enough offensively for that to not matter. This Tigers program still has a lot of prideful players, and may play loose with Orgeron’s destiny now written.
South Florida is favored against a division I foe for the first time this year, and Temple is perpetually underrated. The Owls cashed a nice upset winner for us earlier in the season against Memphis, and nothing about this 1-5 South Florida team is very convincing for earning favoritism in this matchup.
ICYMI: Highlights from our 34-31 win over Memphis#TempleTUFF | @PALottery pic.twitter.com/CRpbUi2EnP— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) October 3, 2021
ICYMI: Highlights from our 34-31 win over Memphis#TempleTUFF | @PALottery pic.twitter.com/CRpbUi2EnP
Home field advantage is basically a wash when a team is 1-5 and there isn’t a traditionally strong fanbase, and at 3-3, Temple has plenty of motivation to earn wins against lesser conference foes to earn bowl eligibility.
This game should be a pick ‘em, so take the plus odds value on this live underdog.
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