Jack is despondent after LSU thrashed the Ole Miss Rebels last week, so I’ll be flying solo for this abbreviated version of our weekly picks. We are heating up after a sneaky winner we gave out on Thursday with Washington State, so we’re gonna keep things rolling.
Florida at #1 Georgia (-23.5, o/u 56.5), Saturday 10/29 3:30 EST, CBS
But I’ll try my hand at it anyhow.
Florida has struggled when they’ve run up against good defenses, particularly defenses that limit big plays. The problem is that Georgia is pretty solid in both of those areas.
I’m not sure if the Gators can score enough to keep this competitive against a really good Bulldog defense.
Ultimately, this is a game in which a middling defense (Florida) is facing an elite offense (Georgia), and a middling offense (Florida) is going up against the best defense they’ve faced this season (Georgia).
Anyone who reads this knows I usually hate to lay big points, but all roads lead to the Dawgs in a blowout here. Pick: Georgia -23.5.
#20 Cincinnati at UCF (-1.5, o/u 55.5), Saturday 10/29 3:30 EST, ESPN
Last week we were all over SMU against the Bearcats, and SMU just barely covered due to a complete lack of focus and breakdowns by Cincy in the 4th quarter.
In last week’s edition of this column, we discussed the weak schedule for Cincy and how it may be covering some flaws for this team.
We’re going back to the well on that same premise here. The Bearcats just haven’t proven themselves reliable over the course of an entire game and routinely struggle to put teams away.
The Bearcats just haven’t shown me much, and I’m willing to fade them again here. Their run defense is soft and UCF should be able to exploit them. Expect the home crowd to be electric for the UCF homecoming game at the Bounce House. Pick: UCF -1.5
#8 Oregon at Cal (+17, o/u 56.5), Saturday 10/29 3:30 EST, Fox Sports 1
This is mostly just a pure situational play, and I have little data to back this up. I like Cal here plus the points almost exclusively because I’m not sure how Oregon will handle the pressure of being this highly rated.
This one isn’t sexy, but Oregon has struggled to defend the pass and it’s an area that Cal should be able to exploit well enough to hang around.
I don’t expect Cal to win, but I expect Oregon to be getting a little tight after rebounding so well from their early season blowout against Georgia. Pick: Cal +17
Missouri at South Carolina (-3.5, o/u 45), Saturday 10/29 4:00 EST, SEC Network
This is a story of two very different teams. I’ve been high on South Carolina as underdogs this year, but the world is starting to catch on, so I don’t see much value there.
Ultimately, South Carolina’s defense isn’t great, especially against the run. I’m not sure if Mizzou has the weapons to exploit that weakness, but it might not take much to make that vulnerability abundantly clear.
South Carolina wins with its offense and even though Missouri has a pretty sound defense, I think we can get enough points to cruise over this total. I don’t love it, but I think this line is giving a little bit too much credit to the Tiger defense. Pick: Over 45
Pitt at #21 UNC (-3, o/u 65.5), Saturday 10/29 8:00 EST, ACC Network
It’s sort of a travesty that this game was relegated to the ACC Network in this time slot as this should be a fun game to watch.
Drake Maye has been an absolute electric factory for the Tarheels, accounting for 24 touchdowns against three interceptions. The dude is absolutely balling as a freshman.
Pitt has had some struggles with their quarterback, but the run game has been solid.
Ultimately, the Tarheel defense is garbage, and they seem to have settled into their identity as a team that absolutely has to outscore opponents to compete.
This has shootout written all over it, so take the over and enjoy the fireworks. Pick: Over 65.5.
Nevada at San Jose State (-24.5, o/u 44.5), Saturday 10/29 10:30 EST, CBS Sports Network
I couldn’t leave off talking about the school that Jack and I are semi-proud alumni of.
Nevada is a once-proud team that is in freefall. They have been terrible in their conference, going 0-3 to begin their Mountain West campaign.
Things aren’t getting any easier against a sneaky good San Jose State team.
Nevada can’t score, they struggle to defend the run, and the only thing they are pretty decent at is containing the passing game.
San Jose State would prefer not to run the ball and they don’t do it a ton. That’s good news for Nevada as the game plan might play to the Wolf Pack’s strength on defense.
The bad news is that Nevada hasn’t shown they can score against anybody but the worst opponents.
I’ll take the under here, but I couldn’t fault you for taking the Wolf Pack either. I just don’t want to get hurt again betting on this team. Pick: Under 45.5