Welcome to the second season of The Old College Try. I’ll be here each week, trying to beat the book by betting on college football. All lines accurate as of Thursday, December 10th. Picks appear in bold.
Happy Friday on what should have been the last regular season week of the year for most teams. As of now, we have some make up games scheduled next week along with the expected conference championships, but with the way games have been canceled this season, who knows how many of those will be played. Week 14 saw the column go 2-2 for a $20 loss, and our record on the season now sits at 32-24-2 on the season for a $470 profit.
The original plan included six bets for Week 15. Unfortunately, both the Texas game and the Miami Ohio-Bowling Green game (probably my favorite play of the week) were canceled. At this point, that’s not much of a surprise. I still managed to find four bets that I really like, though, and that’s the part everyone (all 12 of you) came for. So let’s get straight to our locks of the week.
The ACC Consolation Clash of the Week
UNC +3.5 at Miami (-110)
Bet: $110 to win 100
UNC at Miami Over 67.5 (-110)
Bet: $110 to win $100
This one should be an absolute shootout. Two of the best quarterbacks in the country face off against two defenses that have given up a lot of points. This is essentially the ACC consolation game, a match up to see who the third best team in the conference is this year.
Miami, on paper, should have the better defense. But they haven’t made it too difficult for opponents to score this season. UNC, on the other hand, has the better playmakers. Howell doesn’t have to do it all like D’Eriq King does. The Tar Heels have one of the most dynamic backfield duos in college football in Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, and Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome are scarier than any of the wide receivers that Miami has to offer. D’Eriq King does have Brevin Jordan back from his injury earlier in the season, but in comparison to the weapons Sam Howell has on hand, it’s basically him against the world.
I see this being a barn burner, and while the total is pretty high, I still think the over is a good play here. Both teams like to play fast (Miami runs 76 plays per game while UNC runs 74) and to stretch the field. Neither defense should provide a ton of resistance. That being said, I think UNC’s ability to run the ball and take pressure off of Sam Howell’s arm will be the deciding factor. Lock in the underdog and the over.
The Nashville Hot Chicken Butt Kickin’ of the Week
Tennessee -15 at Vanderbilt (-110)
Bet: $110 to win $100
Tennessee has a lot of problems, which I’ve discussed in this space multiple times this year. The biggest of these is that they lack any type of creativity in their offensive playcalling. No, their quarterback situation isn’t great. But that problem is exacerbated by an offense that runs on first and second down nearly every time, resulting in frequent third and long attempts.
Guess what? If the defense can’t stop the run on first and second down, the lack of imagination won’t really matter. I’m guessing that will be the case this week. Vanderbilt seems like they’re ready for the season to be over, and I don’t blame them. Having to quarantine, avoid family (especially over the holidays) and have a swab shoved up your nose multiple times a week just to risk injury every week in a winless season doesn’t sound like a great trade off.
Going up a more physical and more talented team in Tennessee doesn’t seem like a great match up for a team that probably has one foot out the door already. I think the Vols win this one by 21 points or more, so at 15 it’s an easy bet.
Can We Bet on the Dawgs?
Georgia -13.5 at Missouri (-110)
Bet: $110 to win $100
I’ve been waiting to say this for a while, but yes we can. Georgia isn’t a perfect team right now, but Missouri isn’t the type of squad that causes problems for these Dawgs. The Tigers throw the ball better than they run, but they don’t do either all that well. In fact, they’re not much better than mediocre at any phase of the game.
Georgia should be able to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and Missouri doesn’t have the receivers to make up for that disadvantage on offense. The Dawgs will let Daniels throw often enough early in the game to stretch the defense with Pickens, Jackson, and Burton, which should open up opportunities in the ground game once a lead is established. My biggest concern here is opening the backdoor for a late cover when Georgia gets too conservative late in the game. I think they will be able to run the ball well enough to avoid that, though. We’re riding with the Dawgs this week.
We’re getting to the end of the season here, so hopefully we can end on a hot streak and win a little extra money to pay for gifts this holiday season. Reach out to let me know if you are fading or following these picks here in the comments or on twitter (@slapnslide). I’m always happy to talk through the other games you’re betting as well. Now enjoy your weekend, stay safe, and go win some money.