National Football League
College Football, NFL odds: Best bets for Alabama-Texas A&M, Saints-Patriots
National Football League

College Football, NFL odds: Best bets for Alabama-Texas A&M, Saints-Patriots

Updated Oct. 7, 2023 10:40 a.m. ET

I will never, ever forget Baylor (+12.5) rallying back from a 35-7 deficit to beat UCF outright 36-35. The comeback occurred while I was on a plane from Hilton Head to Baltimore, and I didn’t see a single second-half snap.

Them's the breaks sometimes.

As for this week, I’ve circled three more college bets and two more NFL plays. Remember, this place isn’t the space for a million picks or five-team parlays, either. These will always be the games I love the most.

Let’s go to work.


UCF Knights (-2, O/U 64) at Kansas Jayhawks

Speaking of UCF…

I was assured early this week that Knights quarterback John Rhys Plumlee would be ready to go Saturday. He’s participated in full practice all week, and he’s one of the best dual-threat weapons in the entire country.

The UCF offense hummed without Plumlee, so it’s very reasonable to expect the Knights to light up the scoreboard per usual. They’ve scored 56, 48, 41 and 35 this season and Plumlee’s ability to run only makes things better.

He’s rumbled for 2,214 yards in his five-year college career.

Both these offenses can score points in bunches, and neither defense is anything special. But mostly, it’s about the pace. These offenses take shots and play at furious paces. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 38-35.

PICK: Over 64 points scored by both teams combined

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Alabama Crimson Tide (-2.5, O/U 46) at Texas A&M Aggies

I don’t even care if Jalen Milroe is banged up anymore.

Those were the rumblings out of Tuscaloosa earlier this week, which were shot down by Alabama almost immediately. The thing is, those sorts of rumblings don’t just fall out of the sky. Either way, Texas A&M’s defense is fast and physical enough to make life miserable on Milroe.

Legendary Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White has these two teams numerically equal on a neutral, and he makes this Saturday’s game A&M 24, Alabama 20 in front of 100,000+ fans at Kyle Field. You’re paying a "historical tax" here on Alabama despite Alabama not being national-title good.

I’m ready to take down the Tide.  

PICK: Texas A&M (+2.5) to lose by fewer than 2.5 points (or win outright)

Oregon State Beavers (-8, O/U 50.5) at Cal Golden Bears

Love me some spots like this.

Oregon State is rather shiny at the moment after smothering Utah 21-7 last Friday to earn the Beavers a top-15 spot in the AP Poll. And yet respected money has still driven this number from +9.5 to as low as +7.5.


The Golden Bears have cashed over 65% as an underdog under head coach Justin Wilcox, and we’re talking around 35 games in that role. This is right in Cal’s wheelhouse, and I expect Wilcox’s defense to throw a bunch of twists and tricks against OSU’s forever-erratic quarterback, DJ Uiagalelei.

Let’s grab those points.

PICK: Cal (+8) to lose by fewer than 8 points (or win outright)

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Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons  (-1.5, O/U 41.5) 

Everybody loves the Texans this week.

"We’re seeing a lot of the public money on Houston," Westgate SuperBook executive director John Murray told me Friday. "Houston is a very popular road dog getting less than a field goal. I didn’t think that would be the case."   

This is also a game Atlanta desperately needs after back-to-back losses against Detroit and Jacksonville. I like Houston’s upside, but how many "A" or "B" games are the Texans going to play this season? Seven? 

C.J. Stroud oozes with star quarterback qualities, but this is still a football team that just doesn’t have a ton of talent. I’m excited to see what the Texans look like a couple of years from now, but there’s no way I’m betting ‘em +1.5.

They zig, we zag.

PICK: Falcons (-1.5) to win by more than 1.5 points 

New Orleans Saints  at New England Patriots  (-1, O/U 39.5)

I hate how much I love New England here.

The Patriots have been abysmal, yes, but one could counter they’ve faced three very, very solid teams in the Eagles, Dolphins and Cowboys. Not only are those surefire playoff teams, they all have meter-moving quarterbacks.

Then there’s the Saints.

New Orleans has only scored 21 points one time in its last 10 games. I don’t care if it’s banged-up Derek Carr or backup Jameis Winston —  these are the games Bill Belichick tends to win. When New England starts losing to guys like Carr, Anthony Richardson and Zach Wilson, it’ll be time to blow it all up.

Take the undervalued Patriots at home.

PICK: Patriots (-1) to win by more than 1 point

2023 Record: (11-11-1, -0.9)

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He'll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.


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