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Ryan’s Ramble: The Snowball Effect

Two big weeks in a row have put us in excellent position to achieve this year’s goal and finish in the green. Week 12 is just another step in that direction, here is an in-depth look into my card.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There have been even more cancellations and postponements in college football this weekend due to COVID-19 concerns, but alas, the show goes on. There are three top-25 matchups scheduled including a top-10 Big 10 showdown between #3 Ohio State and #9 Indiana.

The Hoosiers and the Buckeyes have played each other a grand total of 83 times, and before this Saturday there have only been two occasions (1944 & 1993) where both teams were in the AP Top 25 at the time of playing one another. For some reason, Ohio State opened as a -20.5 point favorite which in my opinion is a bit disrespectful towards the Hoosiers who have more than earned their ranking.

Last week began as a nightmare, but finished as a heavenly dream. I went 3-6 on my first nine picks for the day yet finished with an overall record of 10-6 winning both hammer picks in the process. FINALLY, the weekly parlay hit for +240 odds thanks to a few safe money line picks. Not to toot my own horn, but if you have had $100 on each of my picks in the last two weeks, you’d be sitting with roughly $1,100 in profit including the parlays.

This is part of the reason this week’s Ryan’s Ramble is titled “The Snowball Effect” as I am hoping that these wins will continue to build off one another over time until we have a massive “snowball” full of wins and wins only.

I am a huge fan of the board this week, and even though a few teams let me down last Saturday I’m keeping a positive attitude heading into week 12. The goal for the year has changed, not only will I be striving to finish in the green, but I’ll be going for the sports betting hall of fame, which yes, I may or may not have created myself. I can dream.

Anyways, let’s take a look into my card for week 12 in college football:

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

Game 1: Illinois @ Nebraska

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Nebraska -16, Illinois +16
  • O/U: 58.5
  • Money Line: Nebraska -770, Illinois +480

Pick: Illinois +16

Why: Nebraska proved me wrong last week, which is ironically part of the reason I will be fading them again. The Cornhuskers pulled off a slight upset against Penn State, forcing the Nittany Lions to go 0-4 for the first time since 2001. Even though Nebraska won 30-23, they were out gained on offense by 200 yards so there was a bit of good fortune present. Their win last week definitely inflated the numbers for this spread, personally I had this line set at Nebraska -11, but what do I know? The Fighting Illini will be getting a key piece in starting quarterback Brandon Peters, who missed the first three games, back from COVID-19 restrictions this Saturday. I expect the Illinois run game to dominate. Fighting Illini running back Chase Brown is averaging a wicked 7.1 yards per carry and will be behind a fully-fit offensive line for the first time all year. This is a great matchup lining up against the Nebraska front seven, which ranks 78th in defensive line yards allowed. Illinois might not win, but they’ll certainly keep things close. Back the orange and blue.

Game 2: LSU @ Arkansas

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: LSU -1, Arkansas +1
  • O/U: 63
  • Money Line: LSU -115, Arkansas -110

Pick: Over 63

Why: I sure do love me some LSU overs. Even though the Tigers stink compared to their national championship squad from a year ago, they’ve still managed to put up points all year. Excluding last week against Auburn, but we don’t need to talk about that. Overall, LSU games have averaged a combined total of 69.4 points per game. Arkansas on the other hand has been somewhat unpredictable this season. One week they hold Tennessee to just 13 points, then the next they give up 63 against Florida. Though one thing has remained consistent — anytime the Razorbacks face a somewhat capable offense, they allow 30+ points. Who would have ever thought picking an SEC over would be the norm? SEC over/unders are being set at 60+ meanwhile the Big 12 has games set at 45 combined points. 2020 is weird.

Game 3: Florida @ Vanderbilt

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Florida -31.5, Vandy +31.5
  • O/U: 68
  • Money Line: N/A

Pick: Florida (1H) team total over 27.5

Why: If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you’d know I am a big fan of what the Gators have going on this year. They’re a top-10 team with one of the best offenses in the country, and not to mention one of the best overall players in the country, Kyle Trask. The Gators offense is averaging an impressive 45.8 points per game and 7.36 yards per play. I would like to take Florida on the spread, but 31.5 points is a lot to cover, so the safest play in my opinion is to rely on a big first half from Trask and the Gator offense.

Game 4: Indiana @ Ohio State

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: tOSU -20.5, Indiana +20.5
  • O/U: 67
  • Money Line: tOSU -1000, Indiana +600

Pick: Indiana +20.5

Why: I know you might be tired of seeing the Hoosiers on my card, but I can’t help myself, they’re 4-0 against the spread so far and one of the most profitable teams in the country. My main reasoning for taking Indiana in this matchup is because of how ridiculous this line is. 20.5 point spread… in a top-10 matchup… are you kidding me? I really hope these remarks don’t come back to haunt me later, but this feels downright disrespectful towards Indiana. I’m expecting Justin Fields and the electric Buckeye offense won’t struggle too much against a decent Hoosiers defense, but don’t sleep on Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Penix Jr. will look to attack the Buckeyes secondary which is ranked 102nd in defensive passing success rate. I’m hoping we are fortunate enough to see this game go down to the wire, or even overtime if we’re really lucky. It’s been a while since we’ve had as big of a game as this one on Ryan’s Ramble, and I like the Hoosiers to make a statement in Columbus.

Game 5: California @ Oregon State

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Cal -3, OSU +3
  • O/U: 47
  • Money Line: Cal -135, OSU +115

Pick: Oregon State +3

Why: Even though both teams are winless so far, Oregon State has looked to be far the better team, and frankly I’m surprised they are home underdogs this weekend. Cal closed as -3.5 favorites in their season opener against UCLA last Sunday, which playing on Sunday was weird in of itself but whatever, yet ended up losing 34-10. Ouch. I’m looking for the Beavers ground game to lead them to victory as running back Jermar Jefferson is currently averaging 5.8 yards per carry through the first two games. I like the Oregon State money line at +115 here as well, but the odds are relatively the same for the spread, so I’ll take that 3-point safety net any day of the week. Back the Beavers.

Game 6: Wisconsin @ Northwestern

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Wisconsin -7.5, NW +7.5
  • O/U: 44
  • Money Line: Wisconsin -335, NW +255

Pick: Wisconsin -7.5

Why: Northwestern has been one of the more pleasant surprises in college football this season with a 4-0 record thus far. Unfortunately for this Cinderella Big 10 team, the clock will strike midnight this Saturday against the 10th ranked Badgers. Even though Wisconsin has only played two games this season, they have dominated in both outings. The Badgers proved they are the real deal this season with a 49-11 embarrassment of Michigan last week on the road. Wisconsin has covered the spread in their first two games by an average of 24.5 points. I expect the Wildcat’s defense to hold up their end of the bargain, aided by the poor weather conditions, but the offense won’t do them any favors. Northwestern ranks 110th in rushing success rate and lines up against a Wisconsin defense that currently ranks third in defensive havoc; 22% of snaps have resulted in opponent disruption for the Badgers. I’ve got a lot of faith in freshman quarterback Graham Mertz, HAMMER the Badgers to get another big win on the road.

Game 7: Cincinnati @ UCF

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Cincy -5, UCF +5
  • O/U: 65
  • Money Line: Cincy -195, UCF +155

Pick: Cincinnati -5, Over 65

Why: I say this nearly every week and I’ll say it again: Cincinnati is the best group of 5 team in the country, and it’s not even close. Through seven games, the Bearcats have an average win margin of 29.1 points. Not to mention that Cincinnati beat Memphis, a team that UCF lost to, by a whopping 39 points. No group of five team has ever made the playoffs, ironically UCF was the closest anyone has ever been, which means the Bearcats will need to continue making big statement wins to impress the committee and climb the rankings. We all know UCF is capable of putting points on the board, but don’t sleep on this Cincinnati offense. Sure the Bearcats are known for their defense, as they should be, but the offense currently ranks 28th in points per drive, 21st in explosive play rate, and 7th in finishing drives. UCF, led by Dillion Gabriel, is the best offense Cincy has faced all year which is why I’m expecting both teams to light up the scoreboard. The Bearcats are hungry for that playoff spot, hammer ‘em.

Game 8: UCLA @ Oregon

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Oregon -17, UCLA +17
  • O/U: 64
  • Money Line: Oregon -715, UCLA +480

Pick: Over 64

Why: Even though the Ducks lost one of the best quarterbacks in the country last season in Justin Herbert, they have still been able to move the ball on offense rather well. First-time starting quarterback Tyler Shough is currently averaging 352 total yards and three touchdowns per game, and lines up against a defense that gave up 456 yards per game a year ago. Last week the Ducks combined for 72 points, and I expect this to be another high scoring affair in Eugene.

Game 9: Virginia Tech @ Pittsburgh

  • Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: VT -3, PITT +3
  • O/U: 54
  • Money Line: VT -140, PITT +120

Pick: Virginia Tech -140, Under 54

Why: After a solid 3-0 start, Pittsburgh’s season looked promising, but that came to a crashing halt considering the Panthers have now lost four of their last five games. After two brutal losses to Liberty and Miami (FL), Virginia Tech is due for a bounce back win. The Hokies definitely have the bigger stars in this matchup, and I’m expecting quarterback Hendon Hooker to lead his team to victory against a rigid PITT defense. Pittsburgh’s offense isn’t nearly as glamorous as their defense considering they rank 100th in offensive success rate and 82nd in explosiveness, which is another reason I’m siding with the under. The Panther defense on the other hand has held opponents to just 4.2 yards per play and 2.4 yards per carry this year.

Game 10: Liberty @ NC State

  • Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: NC State -5.5, Liberty +5.5
  • O/U: 65
  • Money Line: NC State -195, Liberty +150

Pick: Liberty +5.5, Over 65

Why: The Flames are hot, and they simply refuse to be extinguished. Through eight games, Liberty has posted a 6-2 record against the spread, including 2-0 as the underdog. I expect the Flames to find success running the ball considering they currently rank 11th in rushing success and average 5.5 yards per carry, and are lining up against the Wolfpack defense that ranks 70th in defensive rushing success. NC State will be missing two of their starters in the secondary this Saturday, so be prepared to see a shootout with the Flames fighting to hang on through all four quarters.

Game 11: USC @ Utah

  • Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: USC -3, Utah +3
  • O/U: 57.5
  • Money Line: USC -140, Utah +120

Pick: Utah +3

Why: God bless late night Pac 12 football. USC continues to be one of the most consistently overrated programs in college football year in and year out. For some reason, the media yearns for the Trojans to play like their glory days which was exposed over the last couple weeks. USC has failed to cover in both of their games so far this season, in fact both games went down to the wire ending in USC one-possession victories. Utah has dealt with a lot of COVID-19 related issues, which is partially why they are just now playing their season opener and potentially why they are the underdogs in the matchup. Utah is currently scheduled to have a four game season, so they’ll be looking to make every game count in order to compete for the Pac 12 title again. I like the Utes money line here as well, but if I’ve learned anything in sports betting, it’s to take advantage of that 3-point cushion. Back the Utes to cover the spread, and likely win the game.

Game 12: Boise State @ Hawaii

  • Kickoff: 10:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Boise State -14, Hawaii +14
  • O/U: 56
  • Money Line: Boise State -530, Hawaii +380

Pick: Boise State -14

Why: Despite having over 15 players sitting out due to COVID-19 quarantine protocols at some points this season, Boise State finds themselves with a 3-1 record losing to only 8th ranked BYU. Other than their one horrendous loss, Boise State has won their other three games by an average margin of 26.3 points, going 3-0 against the spread as favorites. Meanwhile Hawaii is 0-3 against the spread in their last three games and looks to be struggling early on, highlighted by a 24 point loss to San Diego State last week. In these teams two meetings last season, the Broncos came out on top both times, winning 59-37 and 31-10. 2020 is a year full of differences, but this won’t be one of them, back the Broncos.

Hammer time pick(s) of the week: Wisconsin -7.5, Cincinnati -5

  • These are relatively small spread considering how dominant these teams have looked so far this season. It worked last week, it will work again. HAMMER this double whammy LOCK.

Waluigi’s why not pick(s) of the week: App. State @ Coastal Carolina o48, Arkansas State @ TX State u68

  • These lines seemed a bit off to me, just a gut instinct. Add a couple of over/unders to my card for the fun of it.

Paradise City parlay of the week: Cincinnati -195, Oregon State +115, Iowa State -500, Auburn -420, Boise State -530 (+500 odds)

  • The Paradise City parlay of the week finally hit last week thanks to a few safe money line picks. This time we go the same route with five money lines, though this time we added an underdog to boost the odds a bit.
  • Risk 1 unit to win 5

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

List view:

  • Illinois +16
  • LSU @ Arkansas o63
  • Florida (1H) (tt) o27.5
  • Indiana +20.5
  • Oregon State +3
  • Wisconsin -7.5, hammer time pick of the week
  • Cincinnati @ UCF o65
  • Cincinnati -5, hammer time pick of the week
  • UCLA @ Oregon o64
  • Virginia Tech -140
  • VT @ PITT u54
  • Liberty +5.5
  • Liberty @ NC State o65
  • Utah +3
  • Boise State -14
  • App. State @ Coastal Carolina o48, why not pick of the week
  • Arkansas State @ TX State u68
  • Parlay: Cincinnati -195, Oregon State +115, Iowa State -500, Auburn -420, Boise State -530 (+500 odds)