Finally, a strong week that got the underdog picks back on track, with three outright winners. Unfortunately, the other two picks didn’t even cover the spread, and we remain underwater for the season.
But there’s plenty of time, and while some picks haven’t quite hit, the picks have been on the money as far as valuing teams is concerned. That’s why this week we’ll take the unusual step of going back to a couple of teams that have burned us already this season. Those teams are still being undervalued by bookmakers and bettors, making them strong plays for this week’s best college football underdog picks.
Underdog pick No. 1: Texas Tech
At TCU (-7), 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday, ESPN
Note that this is a Thursday night game, so if you’re looking for some mid-week action besides the NFL (on a night when the MLB playoffs are dark, no less), tune into what should be a quality Big 12 game and put down some cheese. When we last checked in with Texas Tech, the Red Raiders had spoiled a big opportunity by losing at home to West Virginia. But Tech played strong in the second half in that game, and the week before that, it blew out Oklahoma State on the road. Meanwhile, TCU has struggled a bit, losing back-to-back games to Ohio State and Texas and then barely hold off Iowa State at home. Tech’s offense should score enough to cover here — and possibly give the bravest of backers an outright win.
Pick: Texas Tech +7
Underdog pick No. 2: Rutgers
At Maryland (-25.5), noon ET, Big Ten Network
Here we go back to the well. Rutgers didn’t come up with anything close to a cover against Illinois last week in a battle of two of the Big Ten’s very worst teams, so why are we taking the Scarlet Knights on the road? Because the number, 25.5, is just too big. Maryland is good enough to get past Rutgers, but the Terrapins aren’t good enough to blow it open. And the Terps are in a tricky spot, following a road game at Michigan and a week before another difficult trip to Iowa.
Pick: Rutgers +25.5
Underdog pick No. 3: Duke
At Georgia Tech (-3.5), noon ET, ACC Network
Here we go back to a well that served us well in the first few weeks of the season. Duke has proven itself to be a quality road team, and while the Blue Devils have slowed down since then, this is a case of a number being slanted in one direction because one team has been hot. Georgia Tech has beat up on hapless Bowling Green and Louisville the past two weeks. Duke should be no worse than a pick ’em in this game, and that’s enough to take the road team with the points.
Pick: Duke +3.5
Underdog pick No. 4: Baylor
At Texas (-14.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Texas had the biggest win of any team in Week 6, a Red River Rivalry victory against Oklahoma, leading many pundits to declare that the Longhorns are “back” to being contenders. They certainly could be on their way, but let’s not forget this team lost to Maryland and struggled with Tulsa and Kansas State (combined 3-8 record) earlier this season. Baylor shouldn’t be favored here, but the Bears sure seem like they could keep it within two touchdowns. This is a case of an overconfident public — and possibly an overconfident favorite. Fade them and take the underdog.
Pick: Baylor +14.5
Underdog pick No. 5: Arkansas
Vs. Ole Miss (-7), 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Back to the well we go again, this time with the Razorbacks, who split underdog picks for us against Auburn and Texas A&M in consecutive weeks. Keep in mind this isn’t a true home game for Arkansas — it’s the Razorbacks’ annual game in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The results have been horrible for Arkansas, but there’s no doubt this team is getting better. Ole Miss, on the other hand, is very vulnerable on defense and could turn this into a shootout. If that’s the case, take the points and the home team and hope this is the week Arkansas, slowly gaining in confidence, can finally break through with a victory.
Pick: Arkansas +7
SEASON RECORD: 13-19 ATS, 9-23 straight up
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