I already know what you’re thinking. This has been a year featuring the worst pandemic in recent history, mass unrest, murder hornets, and SEC Mike Leach; surely the current moment is too volatile for gambling on college football! It’s true that you have to be more careful this year than seasons past, but I’ve found success so far this season by adopting common-sense strategies for a strange sports year. Most essential among said strategies is my strategy of typically waiting until just before kickoff to place my bet, after checking to see if there are any late scratches that could swing a particular bet. If you also adopt this sage advice with the picks I’m about to share in this column going forward, then I think you’ll be in a good spot by the end of the season as well. So good luck and Go Tigers!
UNC (-7) at Virginia
This is still a very good UNC team, as we witnessed last week when the Heels laid a 27-point beatdown on NC State in a rivalry game. This team is aware that they need to win out to have a shot at the ACC championship, so I expect them to come out firing on all cylinders against a mediocre UVA side. The numbers also like the Heels here, with SP+ putting the game at a 13-point margin of victory for UNC on a neutral field. Even if you were to add a home-field advantage bump to UVA, which would be a tenuous thing to do because of limited attendance, the number is still at 10. I’m more than comfortable taking that.
Charlotte (+10) at Duke
I thought that I’d be granted an edge going into this season with Duke, as I expected both the public and Vegas to be lower on Clemson Legend, Chase Brice...about that. Unfortunately, due to an awful supporting cast to Brice, the Duke offense is one of the worst in the nation. Given Duke’s offensive woes and Charlotte’s decent offense, I expect Charlotte to hang within a double-digit margin, so I’m taking Charlotte here. Avert your eyes, my sweet Chase.
Navy at SMU (-13)
Nowadays, there’s a whole online industry based around making sure you come out ahead each weekend with your bankroll. There are hundreds of different advanced stats that you can spend your time poring over, probably when you’re supposed to be working, to get an edge. But sometimes it’s as simple as one team being clearly much better than another team, and that’s the case with this matchup. Navy has looked dreadful against any serious team this year, and SMU is arguably a top 25 caliber team. This could easily end up being a 3+ TD margin for SMU, so I’m happy to take them at -12.5.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, under 63.5
Ever since the Alabama game, in which 100+ points were scored, I’ve been fading every Ole Miss game with a total that looked too high, figuring that these games would come back to Earth. So far I’m 1-1, and I have a good feeling about the under in this one. Ole Miss could easily put up 40 points or so in this one, but Vanderbilt has a truly dreadful offense, only managing a combined 26 points in 2020 through three games. I just can’t see Vandy doing enough of their part to reach the total, so I’m rolling with the under.
Disclaimer: All of the information in the article is current as of 10:30 AM (ET) on Saturday. As mentioned above, ALWAYS check to make sure that there are no significant inactives that will negatively impact the chances of your bet hitting. Additionally, if the odds you’re seeing for a particular line/total are significantly different from what I got (say 4-5 points) then I would advise looking into it, because there is likely a valid circumstance that has emerged to cause such a shift.