What are the Odds: CFB 150 Edition


AP Photo/Michael Conroy/TNS

Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) throws against Purdue.

By Ben Bobeck, Senior Staff Writer

This action-packed time of year is prime time for sports fans. The NHL, NBA and now college basketball are in full swing alongside the college and NFL football we’ve been enjoying, and you better believe I’ll be watching everything I can lay my eyes on.

As for last week, sometimes luck comes in the form of a nice parlay. More often than not, it’s a game heading to an extra period or two, just enough time for both teams to add a couple additional points and get over the total threshold. Two games went that way last week, with the Lakers and Mavericks adding 23 points in overtime and the Flyers beating the Devils in a shootout after going to overtime, pushing the total of six goals.

In this line of work, the opposite result is always right there, as seen in my Rockets-Nets over pick which ended a mere point and a half under. No matter — I still pulled in my fourth winning week in row. To keep the streak going, I’m going to lean heavily on what’s gotten me here — college football. It’s a fantastic week celebrating 150 years of the college game, and we’re gonna celebrate with some good ol’ fashioned wins. Let’s get to it.

All-time record: 20-15

Last week: 4-2

NCAA Football: 10-8

NFL: 5-6

NBA: 4-1

NHL: 1-0

A quick recap for those who are new to everyone’s favorite degenerate pastime — we’ll be looking primarily at spreads, money lines and over/unders for this series. Spreads are adjusted according to who oddsmakers favor in the matchup and by how many points. Money lines are straight bets on a team to emerge victorious. Over/unders, also referred to as totals, are wagers on the total number of points scored in any given matchup.

All line info used in this series is courtesy of OddsShark.com. The Pitt News does not condone illegal gambling. Sports gambling is illegal in Pennsylvania under the age of 21.

NCAA Football: 

No. 4 Penn State at No. 17 Minnesota +7 (over/under 47.5)

The Pick: ROW THE BOAT. Gophers +7

Somehow, Penn State finds itself sitting pretty at No. 4 in the committee’s eyes, seemingly in position to contend for a playoff spot over the reigning champion Clemson Tigers. After watching the Nittany Lions in person against Pitt back in September, I’m still not sold on PSU as a true playoff contender. The defense is legitimate, but first-year quarterback Sean Clifford continues to show inexperience facilitating the offense while struggling to get the ball to his dynamic playmakers, namely sophomore KJ Hamler

The Gophers, meanwhile, are off to their best start in recent history under the direction of well-dressed head coach P.J. Fleck and are ready to prove their legitimacy in the Big Ten West division. To do so, Minnesota must row against the current with a brutal stretch that begins this week. After facing the Nittany Lions, the team hits the road to face No. 18 Iowa and Northwestern before facing No. 13 Wisconsin at home to close the season. That’s before you factor in the likely conference title game matchup with No. 1 Ohio State.

But before any of that, Fleck and the Gophers need to prove that their undefeated record is not a fluke or merely the result of a soft schedule. They’re touchdown underdogs at home and that may be exactly where the motivational genius Fleck wants them. Row The Boat, Ski-U-Mah, whatever catchphrase you prefer. Gophers cover at home. 


No. 15 Notre Dame at Duke +8 (over/under 51)

The Pick: Duke +8

Speaking of strange ranking decisions by the committee, the 6-2 Irish come in three spots higher than the previously discussed undefeated Golden Gophers. Notre Dame comes into this week’s matchup in Durham limping after eeking out a win at home over Virginia Tech last week. Duke beat that Virginia Tech team 45-10 back in September. 

Simply put, Notre Dame continues to be overrated and over-ranked. The Blue Devils are a well-coached team that has seen some decent defenses this season and managed to confound them with a variety of looks on offense, including the occasional deployment of the triple option. Head coach David Cutcliffe will have a solid game plan and the Blue Devils keep it close with the Irish at home. 


Louisville at Miami -6.5 (over/under 48.5)

The Pick: Louisville +6.5

Miami has been another one of the yo-yo teams that makes the ACC Coastal one of the hardest divisions in college football to get a read on. Seven of the Hurricanes’ eight games have been decided by one possession and Miami is 21 points away from being 9-0. 

Louisville, on the other hand, has done nothing but impress in the Cardinals’ first season with former Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield, upsetting both UVA and Wake Forest and giving Clemson a solid game. 

A total of 6.5 points is a fair spread considering Miami’s tendency to keep games within one possession either way, but I’m taking the Cardinals on the road to cover. 


Purdue at Northwestern -2.5 (over/under 39)

The Pick: Purdue +120 (moneyline)

Northwestern is not very good this year. But if you just watch its practices, you might wonder how it’s not undefeated, at least according to Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald. Unfortunately for Fitzgerald, these games are not played on the practice field. 

Northwestern has particularly struggled on offense, which paid off when I picked the under in its matchup with Iowa a few weeks back. The Wildcats are dead last in scoring offense, averaging a mere 9.8 points per game, while their 258 yards per game is third to last. The only saving grace for Northwestern this season has been its defense, which ranks 36th in yards per game allowed with 348.8. 

Purdue has largely struggled to live up to expectations after being decimated by injuries. The Boilermakers have lost two quarterbacks, as well as All-American sophomore receiver Rondale Moore to season-ending injuries. But not even that could stop Purdue as third-string quarterback Aidan O’Connell marched the Boilermakers down the field on a game-winning drive to beat Nebraska, finishing 6-7 with 62 yards. 

The big question in this matchup is whether you would prefer an offense led by a third-stringer or one that has not averaged double digit points all season. Give me O’Connell and Purdue.