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Ryan’s Ramble: Back on track

Don’t let the COVID-19 postponements get you down, there is still plenty of games for you to watch this Saturday! Here is an inside look on my card for week 11.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

BOOM! Last week was exactly what we needed after a rough couple of Saturday’s, posting a 11-5-1 overall record. I never doubted myself for a second… okay maybe a little but that’s besides the point, my confidence is back.

Week 10 taught us that Indiana appears to be the real deal, Northwestern may actually be good again, and Cincinnati is without a doubt the best group of 5 team in the country. Oh, and not to forget that Liberty can hang with the big dogs, beating Virginia Tech on the road 38-35 thanks to some bogus last second shenanigans. I couldn’t imagine being a Hokie fan watching that game.

Florida and Kyle Trask are good, and I mean really good. It’s not easy to put 44 points up against a Georgia defense but the Gators plowed through the Bulldogs like a hot knife cutting through butter. In last week’s Ryan’s Ramble I mentioned that Kyle Trask was being severely underrated in the Heisman race and that all he needed was one big “Heisman moment.” Well, that’s exactly what Trask had against the Bulldogs.

Last week’s Paradise City parlay of the week was close, but no cigar. This marks the second week in a row the parlay has been one win away from hitting — thanks a lot Baylor. Now that we are looking forward to week 11, it’s about time to review my picks up until this point in the season to see where we stand:

Weeks 1-6:

  • Overall record across all picks: 34-24-1
  • Hammer time pick of the week: 3-3
  • Why not pick of the week: 6-4

Week 7:

  • Straight picks: 5-6-1
  • Hammer time pick of the week: 1-0
  • Why not pick of the week: 0-2

Week 8:

  • Straight picks: 7-8
  • Hammer time pick of the week: 0-1
  • Why not pick of the week: 1-1

Week 9:

  • Straight picks: 6-9
  • Hammer time pick of the week: 0-2
  • Why not pick of the week: 0-2-1

Week 10:

  • Straight picks: 10-4-1
  • Hammer time pick of the week: 2-0
  • Why not pick of the week: 1-1

Overall record weeks 1-10:

  • All picks: 64-57-4
  • Hammer picks: 6-6
  • Why not picks: 8-10-1

Even though the win percentage has slightly dropped from 58.6% to 52.9%, we are still in the green, and that’s all that really matters. I can’t lose focus now that we are in the later weeks of the season, these are the games that could make or break my year.

Unfortunately, several games such as Alabama vs LSU and Auburn vs Mississippi State have been cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreaks within the programs. My personal opinion — Halloween parties ruined college football. This has been one of the worst testing periods all year, and with things escalating around the country, it makes me nervous for the security of the 2020 season.

Without further adieu, here is a look into my card for week 11 in college football:

All odds are taken from Friday, 2:00 p.m. CST based on DraftKings sportsbook

Game 1: Indiana @ Michigan State

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Indiana -7, MSU +7
  • O/U: 52
  • Money Line: Indiana -275, MSU +215

Pick: Indiana -7, over 52

Why: We are starting this week off the same way we did last time, with a two-for-one special on the Indiana spread and over. It seemed to work out last week, so why not. Indiana might just be the real deal, and the more they play, the more I regret betting against them in their home opener against Penn State. Even though Michigan State did upset their rival Michigan, they looked terrible last week against Iowa getting blown out 49-7. My favorite matchup in this game is the Hoosiers defense against Michigan State QB Rocky Lombardi, which has to be hands down the coolest quarterback name I have ever heard. Lombardi threw three interceptions last week against Iowa, and the Hoosiers defense has done well forcing turnovers this year as they have already accumulated eight through three games. Indiana’s defense also ranks top 40 in total rushing defense, giving up just 5.3 yards per play thus far. Jump on the bandwagon while you still can and back the Hoosiers to cover again.

Game 2: Penn State @ Nebraska

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: PSU -3, Nebraska +3
  • O/U: 56.5
  • Money Line: PSU -140, Nebraska +120

Pick: Penn State -140

Why: Penn State starting the year 0-3 might just be another one of those weird 2020 things, because I don’t think anyone expected this heading into the year. No way James Franklin lets his guys go 0-4 in a shortened season where each game has more value than it normally would. I can’t say their performance last week helped my case, but the fact that the Nittany Lions were able to keep things within only 11 points against Ohio State gives me some hope. Meanwhile Nebraska got blown out 52-17 against the Buckeyes in their season opener.

Game 3: Army @ Tulane

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Army +3.5, Tulane -3.5
  • O/U: 46
  • Money Line: Army +135, Tulane -165

Pick: Army +3.5

Why: Tulane has been a tough team to pin all season, and I think the only reason they are favored in this matchup is because Army has had the last two weeks off. For the Black Knights, this could either be a great thing as the team had ample time to rest and prepare for the Green Wave, or a terrible thing in the sense that Army may come out sluggish. I’ll take my chances on this one and roll with the Black Knights. Tulane currently has the 33rd ranked rush defense in the country. This will be an interesting matchup against Army’s 2nd ranked rushing offense, which averages 308.1 rushing yards per game.

Game 4: South Alabama @ LA-Lafayette

  • Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: LA-Lafayette -15.5, USA +15.5
  • O/U: 53.5
  • Money Line: LA-Lafayette -670, USA +475

Pick: Under 53.5

Why: First things first, the weather for this game will have 13 mph winds which typically doesn’t fare well if you’re rooting for points. South Alabama is 6-1 against the under this season, and LA-Lafayette is 5-2; these are numbers you love to see. In fact, South Alabama has not eclipsed 53.5 combined points in any game this season. All the signs are pointing to the under on this one, don’t be that guy, I know you want to root for the over — we all do — but here I’m picking with my brain and not my heart, as tough as that might be.

Game 5: UTEP @ UTSA

  • Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: UTSA -6.5, UTEP +6.5
  • O/U: 45.5
  • Money Line: UTSA -250, UTEP +200

Pick: Under 45.5

Why: To my surprise, UTEP has managed to win three games this season and currently sit at an even .500. Let’s not beat around the bush though, neither team has a great offense so points might be scarce. Both teams prefer to run the ball which will help chew the clock. This won’t be much of an exciting game to watch, but it is what it is. I’m backing both teams to stink up the Alamodome this Saturday.

Game 6: South Florida @ Houston

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Houston -14, USF +14
  • O/U: 57.5
  • Money Line: Houston -560, USF +400

Pick: Over 57.5

Why: Finally, we get to root for some points. Houston is currently averaging 28.6 points per game, but that average was significantly brought down after a 21-point and 10-point performance in the previous two weeks. The Cougars are due for a bounce-back game, and the South Florida defense is the perfect candidate to do so against. The Bulls defense is ranked 84th in the country for points allowed, giving up an average of 35 per game. Houston’s defense is slightly worse giving up 35.4 points per game thus far. The Cougars shouldn’t struggle to beat USF in this matchup, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they allowed several touchdowns on their way to a W.

Game 7: Baylor @ Texas Tech

  • Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Baylor -1.5, Texas Tech +1.5
  • O/U: 56
  • Money Line: Baylor -120, Texas Tech -103

Pick: Baylor -120

Why: Here we have a matchup to essentially determine the best of the worst in the Big 12 conference. For the most part, I see this game as a coin flip as it could go either way, but recency bias sides with the Bears. As much as I despise Baylor in my heart of hearts, the sports bettor in me was a big fan of their performance last week, it showed a lot of upside that had been missing in the previous games. Charlie Brewer finally looked like Charlie Brewer again, and the Bears were just one drive away from sending their game vs 17th ranked Iowa State into overtime. On the other hand, Texas Tech struggled to get much of anything going in their last outing, though we’ll cut them some slack considering they had to play a Gary Patterson defense. The biggest issue for the Red Raiders will be their defense, which has given up 30 or more points in five of Tech’s first six Big 12 games. Baylor’s offense is nowhere near what it was just five years ago, but it’s at least good enough to move the ball on this Tech defense, back the Bears to get their first road win of the year.

Game 8: Northwestern @ Purdue

  • Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: NW -3, Purdue +3
  • O/U: 49.5
  • Money Line: NW -140, Purdue +120

Pick: Purdue +120

Why: Give me the underdogs! Even though it’s only a three point difference, the Boilermakers are still favored to lose this Big 10 matchup, which is somewhat surprising. I think the market is inflated on Northwestern because of Maryland’s recent success. Sure Northwestern dominated Maryland 49-3 in their season opener, but will they have an answer for the Boilermakers if Rondale Moore suits up? I think not. Moore is currently listed as a game time decision, but if he plays expect some great things from the Purdue offense. #BoilerUp baby.

Game 9: Oregon @ Washington State

  • Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Oregon -10, WSU +10
  • O/U: 57.5
  • Money Line: Oregon -360, WSU +275

Pick: Over 57.5

Why: No Mike Leach? No problem. Washington State managed to move the ball just fine in their season opener against Oregon State, winning the game 38-28. Oregon also began the year on a positive note, beating Stanford 35-14. A year ago this contest combined for 72 points, which would cover this over with ease. In 2019, Washington State’s defense ranked 124th in earned points average per play so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ducks had a field day on offense. Root for the points, we both know you want to.

Game 10: Wisconsin @ Michigan

  • Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Wisconsin -4.5, Michigan +4.5
  • O/U: 52.5
  • Money Line: Wisconsin -200, Michigan +160

Pick: Wisconsin -4.5

Why: Should Jim Harbaugh be in the hot seat after another disappointing start in charge of the Wolverines? Yes, the answer is yes. Michigan got exposed against Michigan State, they lost the game even though they were -21.5 point favorites, yikes. Last week’s 17-point loss against Indiana proved that Michigan’s woes were not a fluke. Wisconsin has everything to play for right now, they’ve got a good chance at making it to the Big 10 championship game or even the playoffs if things go according to the Badgers plan. Meanwhile, Michigan’s season is already toast, and the only thing that can salvage it at this point would be by beating Ohio State and we all know that won’t happen. In Wisconsin’s case, it is hard to take much away after only one game, but the Badgers looked dominant and much more in sync than their opponent this week. I’m so low on the Wolverines right now, I’m willing to HAMMER this line like no tomorrow. Big play = big pay, let’s get it.

Game 11: Florida State @ NC State

  • Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: NC State -10.5, FSU +10.5
  • O/U: 59.5
  • Money Line: NC State -345, FSU +270

Pick: NC State team total over 34

Why: Florida State’s defense stinks, and NC State is averaging 32.9 points per game, that’s all you really need to know. The Wolfpack are hungry again, feed them with touchdowns and take their team total over.

Game 12: Oregon State @ Washington

  • Kickoff: 10:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Washington -14, OSU +14
  • O/U: 52.5
  • Money Line: Washington -590, OSU +410

Pick: Under 52.5

Why: Got to love some late night west coast action to round up an always great Saturday full of college football. Here is to hoping we can all stay awake for the end of this one. The game is going to be played in light rain and 10 mph winds, which are perfect factors for an under. Both teams will be rolling with inexperienced quarterbacks under center so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an abundance of punts in this one. Where are the punting prop bets when you need them? I got -120 Oregon State gets at least two punts within the Washington 20.

Hammer time pick(s) of the week: Wisconsin -4.5, South Alabama @ LA-Lafayette u53.5

  • I have a curse, I can’t choose just one of these picks to be this week’s hammer play, so back to the double whammy we go.

Waluigi’s why not pick(s) of the week: Fresno State -10, UNLV @ SJSU u59.5, MTSU @ Marshall u56.5

  • A couple of Mountain West picks from Waluigi himself, because why not?

Paradise City parlay of the week: NC State -345, Houston -560, UTSA -250, Indiana -275, UNC -500 (+240 odds)

  • I know what you might be thinking, this is an absurdly basic parlay, and you’d be exactly correct. We need a win, so safety first for this week’s Paradise City parlay. Take me down where the grass is green, and so are my bets.
  • Risk 1 unit to win 2.4

I am sending positive vibes to you and all of your college football picks this weekend. #BeatTheBookie

List View:

  • Indiana -7
  • Indiana @ Michigan State o52
  • Penn State -140
  • Army +3.5
  • South Alabama @ LA-Lafayette u53.5, hammer time pick of the week
  • UTEP @ UTSA u45.5
  • USF @ Houston o57.5
  • Baylor -120
  • Purdue +120
  • Oregon @ Washington State o57.5
  • Wisconsin -4.5, hammer time pick of the week
  • NC State (tt) o34
  • Oregon State @ Washington u52.5
  • Fresno State -10, Waluigi’s why not pick of the week
  • UNLV @ SJSU u59.5, Waluigi’s why not pick of the week
  • MTSU @ Marshal u56.5, Waluigi’s why not pick of the week
  • Parlay: NC State -345, Houston -560, UTSA -250, Indiana -275, UNC -500 (+240 odds)