What are the Odds: Bouncing back with bets on the gridiron and the pitch

The+Ohio+State+Buckeyes+face+off+against+the+Penn+State+Nittany+Lions+this+Saturday+at+Beaver+Stadium.

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The Ohio State Buckeyes face off against the Penn State Nittany Lions this Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

By Ben Bobeck, Senior Staff Writer

Have you thanked your patron Saint today?

I offer my gratitude to dear old Sean Payton and Drew Brees as New Orlean’s six-point victory over Detroit saved me from an otherwise dreadful slate of picks last time around. College football went especially awry, as the Pitt defense slept through their game against NC State — a sign of worse days to come — Texas Tech collapsed late and Georgia disproved all of my misgivings in a rout of Auburn. Virginia Tech couldn’t put enough distance between them and the Blue Devils to cost me a cover there for a clean zero-fer Saturday.

But alas, we’ve had bad weeks before, and we’ll have bad weeks again. But with the Big Ten, Mountain West and soon the MAC and PAC-12 conferences all returning to play, there’s plenty of action to get right back to it.

LAST TIME: 1-4 (1-0 NFL, 0-4 NCAAF)

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 31-22

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

NCAA FOOTBALL:

No. 3 THE Ohio State @ No. 18 Penn State + 12, over/under 64

tOSU took care of business last week against the self-proclaimed saviors of Big Ten football, Nebraska, while Penn State fell just short — and I mean just short — of surviving now-no. 17 Indiana’s upset bid in Bloomington. Junior quarterback Sean Clifford doomed the Nittany Lions, throwing two interceptions to seal PSU’s fate. Clifford may have talked a big game this week, but his reliance on the running aspect of his game won’t lead to success against a deep and talented Buckeye defense, which pairs very nicely with the explosiveness of tOSU’s own signal caller Justin Fields, as the Georgia transfer looks to cap off his collegiate career by proving himself as the nation’s top QB. Buckeyes ruin the home opener in Happy Valley in lopsided fashion.

THE PICK: Buckeyes -12

No. 16 Kansas St. @ West Virginia -4, over/under 46

I’m not sure what Vegas is looking at here that I’m missing. Sure, WVU has shown promise and improvement in the second season under head coach Neal Brown with QB Jarret Doege, but Kansas State has been that much more impressive at 4-1 in the same time under head coach Chris Klieman. Klieman has made his team possible contenders in the wide open Big 12, bouncing back from an early season loss to Arkansas State.

Sure, the Wildcats lost starting quarterback Skylar Thompson to injury for the season, but true first-year Will Howard has filled in admirably so far. More importantly, first-year running back Deuce Vaughn powers KSU’s offense, pacing the team in both rushing and receiving with 309 yards and four touchdowns on the ground to go with 360 yards and one touchdown through the air, 129 of those coming in the Wildcat’s upset win over Oklahoma. Give me the road underdog Wildcats straight up.

THE PICK: KSU ML +155

Western Kentucky @ No. 11 BYU -28.5 over/under 51.5

The still-undefeated Cougars, led by potential first round pick in QB Zach Wilson, have shown that they have a highly potent offense throughout the season, scoring over 40 points five times this season, including 52 last week on Texas State and 55 week one versus Navy. 

Two trends conflict with one another. The Cougars’ last six conference USA matchups have gone under the point total, but they’ve also seen the total go over in eight of their last 12 games. Simply put, life is too short to bet the under. I’m taking Wilson and his explosive offense against a poor Hilltoppers defense to cover a relatively low number given BYU’s track record.

THE PICK: Over 51.5

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE:

Aston VIlla +152 Southampton +188 (Draw +260, over/under 3)

VIlla has emerged as an early surprise with four straight victories to start the new Premier League campaign before a disappointing match last weekend versus fellow upstarts Leeds United. Led by captain Jack Grealish and new arrival Ollie Watkins, look for AVFC to bounce back against a Southampton squad struggling for consistent form, despite a great victory last week over league leaders Everton.

THE PICK: Aston Villa +152

Newcastle +303 Everton +103 (Draw +257, over/under 2.5)

Speaking of both surprises and the aforementioned table leaders, Everton seeks to bounce back as well from that 2-0 defeat against Southampton, taking on Newcastle at St. James Park. The Toffees have surged to start the year under manager Carlo Ancelotti, burgeoned by newcomers James Rodríguez and Allan in midfield, as well as dominant play from English striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Newcastle has some final third firepower of their own with the arrival of Callum Wilson from recently relegated Bournemouth and Everton — despite their success — have only kept one clean sheet this year, so I like this match to go over as well. 

THE PICK: Everton +103, Over 2.5

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