Week 14 college football picks against the spread recap with Jason McIntyre | WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
For as much as we talk about process in this space, sometimes in college football – where the talent gape is enormous – what if you just backed the best teams every week? You can’t do this in the NFL … it simply won’t work. But in college football, Clemson and Ohio State are tied for the best ATS record at 9-3. Barring unforeseen chaos (which can happen but isn’t likely) they are playoff bound. Utah, who has covered for seven weeks in a row, is also 9-3 ATS. Auburn, who came through as an underdog against Alabama, joins them at 9-3. But, all that being said, we’re approaching bowl season … and then, none of that matters. I handicap bowl season completely differently – and we will discuss that in-depth later this month.
Ohio State has playmakers you can bet on
Folks, we saw the same story last year: Michigan was able to hang on for a half, and then the Buckeyes run away with it. Ohio State just has talent on another level … and Ryan Day’s halftime adjustments were brilliant, as Michigan struggled to move the ball – not to mention – their defense was non-existent. Ohio State averaged 7.5 yards per play, and JK Dobbins earned an invite to the Heisman ceremony with a 211-yard, four touchdown performance. The cover of -9 was locked in second half. Listen to this one: In the last two years, Ohio State has outscored Michigan by a combined 118-66.
History can inform bets, but no one can predict the future
My only whiff of the weekend … and it looked so promising until the end. Virginia Tech led by a touchdown at the end of the third quarter – and then tied Virginia at 30 with the ball and five minutes left to win the game. Virginia Tech had scored on three straight possessions, and their quarterback Hendon Hooker had not turned the ball over all season … naturally, he threw an interception – and Virginia scored a field goal to take the lead. On the next possession, needing about 60 yards and to get into field goal range with 1:23 left … Hooker fumbled, and guess what: It was recovered for a touchdown by Virginia.
Clemson was … and remains a bet-on team
Clemson been loyal to me, and I – without a doubt – will bet-on them next weekend in the ACC Championship vs. Virginia. The Tigers covered -27 against South Carolina without even breaking a sweat. Clemson has now scored 30 points in seven straight games … and haven’t given up more than 14 points since in a game since that September near-loss to UNC. This team has grown up so much since then – remember: Their offensive line was new and essentially the entire defensive front seven had to be replaced – it just took some time. Honestly, I’d rate Clemson sightly ahead of LSU and Ohio State as the best team in the country.
It might be risky, but I love betting on the underdog
For the first time in what seemed like weeks, I finally caught some breaks with an underdog. Auburn dominated in the trenches as expected – eight sacks – but the Tigers 100-yard pick-6 was huge … Alabama missed a 30-yard field goal, and the Tide finished with a staggering 13 penalties. You just need that luck sometimes. Alabama gained 515 yards and averaged 6.7 yards per play – to just 354 and 5.4 for Auburn – and lost.
Always consider the schedules before placing any bets
We knew that A&M left it all out there in last week’s game against Georgia, and they covered in that spot. Following that max effort … you had to expect a letdown. Not to mention that LSU wanted payback for losing in seven overtimes last year, 74-72. The Tigers dominated from the beginning Saturday, taking a 14-0 lead after eight minutes and never looked back. It was 31-0 at half, and A&M had a meager 40 yards. Joe Burrow locked up the Heisman with his three touchdown passes.