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Ryan’s Ramble: The quest for green

We had a tough break on a few lines last week, but regardless I am back to give you another look into my card for week 10 in college football. I’m on a mission to get back in the green this week.

NCAA Football: Memphis at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s Halloween slate of games ended up being a nightmare here at Ryan’s Ramble posting a 6-11-1 record, the worst outing since week 1. We live and we learn, and we can only go up from here on out.

We got lucky with a couple backdoor covers in Arkansas +14 and Iowa State -27.5 to give us at least some wins, but losing both hammer picks really does some damage to morale. The Paradise City parlay of the week actually brought us some better luck, but Notre Dame and Georgia Tech had to rain on the parade; of course the last game in a five-leg parlay.

There were a few bogus losses in the mix as well last week, Purdue lost the spread by 0.5 points thanks to a late 4th quarter push from Illinois. Another one was Notre Dame winning by 18 when the spread was -20. The Fighting Irish had the ball in the red zone in the final minutes of the game but instead of taking a field goal to cover the spread, they ran the clock out.

This week should be another entertaining week of college football considering there are two top 10 matchups on the board. Florida takes on Georgia in a game with huge implications on the SEC standings and Clemson heads to South Bend to take on Notre Dame without their star quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Now that the Pac-12 has joined in on the fun and finally decided to play some football, there are a whole lot more games on the board than there were just a few weeks ago. I want to say that I really like this week’s board, but last time my overconfidence ended up being my downfall so we’ll see what happens.

Back against the wall, no room for losses, let’s do this:

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

Game 1: Michigan @ Indiana

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Michigan -4, Indiana +4
  • O/U: 54.5
  • Money Line: Michigan -175, Indiana +145

Pick: Indiana +4, Over 54.5

Why: I made the mistake of fading the Hoosiers in their season opener against Penn State, but not this time. After Michigan lost a close one to rival Michigan State last week, I am not too hot on the Wolverines going forward, and this is the perfect opportunity for Indiana to make a statement against one of the perennial Big 10 programs. As for the over, both teams are in the top 36 for pace of play and are averaging over 35 points per game after 2 games. I expect there to be plenty of scoring opportunities for each team considering how quickly they move the ball.

Game 2: Nebraska @ Northwestern

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: NW -3.5, Nebraska +3.5
  • O/U: 53
  • Money Line: NW -165, Nebraska +135

Pick: Northwestern -3.5

Why: So Northwestern is… good? It might be too early to tell, but the Wildcats look to be significantly improved from their 3-9 performance last season. Northwestern dominated Maryland 49-3 in their season opener and followed up by upsetting Iowa by one point (21-20) on the road. Northwestern is 7-3-0 against the spread as a home conference favorite since 2015 and I expect that trend to continue this Saturday. Look for the Wildcats defense to control the tempo of this game while the offense puts up enough points to cover the spread.

Game 3: West Virginia @ Texas

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Texas -5.5, WVU +5.5
  • O/U: 54
  • Money Line: Texas -205, WVU +165

Pick: West Virginia +5.5, Over 54

Why: Considering both teams in this matchup have two conference losses, whoever loses this game is practically eliminated from contending for a Big 12 title — which is why I expect the Mountaineers to keep things close. Normally I would be nervous about the atmosphere of Darrell K. Royal Stadium, but considering there is limited seating capacity that shouldn’t be an issue for West Virginia. I think the over might end up being a close call, but last time I faded a WVU over it ended up hitting against Texas Tech so here we are. The Mountaineers defense is only allowing 3.1 yards per carry on the ground and rank 7th in the country in defensive passing success. This is going to be the best offense the Mountaineers have faced all season so we’ll see if they can continue defending at such a high level. Back the Mountaineers in a close one down in Austin.

Game 4: Tulane @ Eastern Carolina

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Tulane -3, ECU +3
  • O/U: 61.5
  • Money Line: Tulane -155, ECU +130

Pick: Over 61.5

Why: Both of these teams have been scoring out the wazzoo this year as well as giving up crazy amounts of points to their opponents. Tulane is currently averaging 36.3 points per game and ECU is averaging 30.8. Tulane is current 5-2 against the over after seven games and ECU is 4-1 through only 5 games. At this point in the season, the only shared opponent amongst these two teams is UCF; both games turned out pretty similar. The Green Wave lost that game in a high-scoring affair 51-34 while the Pirates also lost that matchup in a slightly less high-scoring affair 51-28. Even though these aren’t the most “elite” programs Saturday’s slate has to offer, scoring over 60 points in a game sure makes for some entertaining television.

Game 5: Liberty @ Virginia Tech

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: VT -17, Liberty +17
  • O/U: 67.5
  • Money Line: VT -835, Liberty +460

Pick: Liberty +17

Why: When I think of this matchup, I like to picture a puny high school defensive tackle lining up against an enormous 300 pound NFL lineman. Normally the NFL lineman wins that battle everytime right? Well in the wise words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast.” Liberty has already shocked the college football world by coming out of nowhere to earn a top-25 ranking after a 6-0 start to the season. The Flames, along with Coastal Carolina, have become the college football world’s Cinderella stories, which is why I think they can compete against the Hokies. They aren’t going to go down without a fight. Even though Liberty hasn’t beaten anyone super impressive, they have been dominating most games which can be a huge confidence booster for big time games such as this one. As much as I want to take the Flames moneyline, it’s just not as safe as a spread worthy of three possessions. Look out for the Flames to potentially shock the college football world once more this Saturday against the Hokies.

Game 6: Boston College @ Syracuse

  • Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: BC -14.5, Syracuse +14.5
  • O/U: 53.5
  • Money Line: BC -715, Syracuse +480

Pick: Boston College -14.5

Why: Coming into this season, I would have never expected Boston College to be one of my favorite teams to follow, but hey it’s 2020 so here we are. Syracuse showed some form of life in their game against Clemson a few weeks back, but that all came crashing down quick as they got pummeled 38-14 vs Wake Forest last Saturday. The Orange have now lost four games in a row, including three home games, by a margin of at least 14 points. On the other hand, BC has turned things around ever since their lackluster outing against Virginia Tech. The Eagles were just one drive away from beating the #1 team in the country on the road, but unfortunately the game ended with a heartbreaking safety. If BC can hang with the best team in the country on the road, I don’t see any reason as to why they can’t handle a 1-6 Syracuse team on the road this week.

Game 7: UMass @ Marshall

  • Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Marshall -44.5, UMass +44.5
  • O/U: 55.5
  • Money Line: N/A

Pick: Umass +44.5

Why: I realize how terrible UMass is, I really do, but -44.5 is A LOT of points even for a top-25 Marshall team. I expect the Thundering Herd to come out to an early lead against the Minutemen and pull all their starters to get the backups some in-game experience. This is a golden opportunity for Marshall to try things out such as new plays or unique formations that normally would be too risky. Marshall is one of the slower paced offenses in the country, so even if they get ahead early, a 45 point lead might be hard to reach for the backups. Umass only has four games on their schedule so it would be really cool of them to at least score one touchdown this year, preferably this week against Marshall.

Game 8: Florida @ Georgia

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Georgia -3, Florida +3
  • O/U: 54
  • Money Line: Georgia -140, Florida +120

Pick: Florida +3

Why: Of course I couldn’t pass up on this top 10 matchup, especially when one of my favorite non-TCU players Kyle Trask is involved. Trask is still being underrated in the Heisman race in my opinion, and every player has that Heisman moment at some point in the season; this is his chance. This game holds a lot of weight for both teams considering they each have one conference loss as is. Whoever loses this takes a big hit in regards to pushing for an SEC championship game appearance. I trust in Trask to get the job done, back the Gators.

Game 9: Kansas @ Oklahoma

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Oklahoma -38, Kansas +38
  • O/U: 64
  • Money Line: N/A

Pick: Oklahoma (1H) team total over 30.5

Why: Kansas stinks, and Oklahoma dropped 48 in the first half against Texas Tech last week. Moving on.

Game 10: Houston @ Cincinnati

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Cincy -13, Houston +13
  • O/U: 53
  • Money Line: Cincy -560, Houston +370

Pick: Cincinnati -13

Why: Over the past two weeks, Cincinnati has proven to the college football world that they are the best non power 5 team in the country. The Bearcats won both of their previous two games by an average margin of 34 points, and both opponents were ranked. This group is the real deal. The bee’s knees’ if you will. Houston has been up and down this season so far, and this is a tough matchup to try and gain some momentum from. Even though the Cougars are averaging 33 points per game, the Bearcat defense will be the best they’ve faced all year. The Cincinnati defense only allows an average of 4.22 yards per play and 2.68 yards per carry on the ground. On the other hand Houston’s D has given up over 40 points in half their games thus far. Cincinnati is on a mission, and if anyone is going to get in their way it’s not going to be Houston, back the Bearcats to win big… again.

Game 11: Baylor @ Iowa State

  • Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Iowa State -14, Baylor +14
  • O/U: 47.5
  • Money Line: Iowa State -590, Baylor +425

Pick: Iowa State (1H) -7

Why: If history repeats itself, then Baylor will have yet another god awful first half performance this time against a ranked opponent on the road. In general the Bears are struggling, losing three games in a row now and having Kansas as their only win of the year so far is a tough break. Iowa State running back Breece Hall is going to have an absolute field day against the Bears defense. Last week against TCU, Baylor allowed 247 rushing yards and 5.61 yards per carry. Hall is currently 2nd in the country in total rushing yards with 901, behind only a player who has played in two more games than he has this season. Now that Oklahoma State lost, the Cyclones path to the Big 12 championship game is as open as ever. I expect Iowa State to make light work of Baylor early on.

Game 12: Tennessee @ Arkansas

  • Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Tennessee -1.5, Arkansas +1.5
  • O/U: 53
  • Money Line: Tennessee -122, Arkansas +102

Pick: Arkansas +102

Why: Even though Arkansas is 2-3 overall, they have managed to go a perfect 5-0 against the spread this season. The spread in this matchup is too close for my liking, so might as well go for that + money. After being ranked at the beginning of the year (for some reason), Tennessee has lost their last three games in a row; though two of those were to Bama and Georgia so we’ll give ‘em a pass. I’ve never liked that gaudy orange Tennessee wears, and I never will — take the Razorbacks at home.

Game 13: South Alabama @ Coastal Carolina

  • Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: CCU -17, USA +17
  • O/U: 55
  • Money Line: CCU -910, USA +575

Pick: Coastal Carolina -17

Why: I don’t know what they’re putting in the water over in Conway, South Carolina, but whatever it is it’s working. The Chanticleers just can’t be stopped, I demand a CCU vs Bama matchup simply for the hype. I was pretty confident with CCU’s spread last week against Georgia State at -4, and then they went on to obliterate them 51-0. Based on that I’m rolling with the Chanticleers regardless of what Vegas sets that number too, I’m jumping on the bandwagon before it’s too late.

Hammer time pick(s) of the week: Cincinnati -13, Arkansas +102

  • Well after last week’s disaster, we are back with another DOUBLE WHAMMY hammer time play for week 10. What else can I say? These babies are locks, hammer ‘em.

Waluigi’s why not pick(s) of the week: Clemson @ Notre Dame o50, Oklahoma State team total o29.5

  • Even without Trevor Lawrence, Clemson can still score and they proved it last week, it’s going to be a battle in South Bend. Kansas State showed us last week they aren’t as good as most anticipated after a few solid wins so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys score a bunch especially after a tough loss at home.

Paradise City parlay of the week: Oklahoma State -500, Cincinnati -560, ISU (1H) -7, BC -715, UNC -430, Clemson @ Notre Dame o50 (+630 odds)

  • The switch from the Purple Rain parlay of the week to the Paradise City parlay of the week almost paid off, and last week we were just one win away from hitting on +600. 2nd time’s the charm here with another juicy one.
  • Risk 1 unit to win 6.3.

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

List view:

  • Indiana +4
  • Michigan @ Indiana o54.5
  • Northwestern -3.5
  • West Virginia +5.5
  • WVU @ Texas o54
  • Tulane @ ECU o61.5
  • Liberty +17
  • BC -14.5
  • UMass +44.5
  • Florida +3
  • Oklahoma (1H) (tt) o30.5
  • Cincinnati -13, hammer time pick of the week
  • Iowa State (1H) -7
  • Arkansas +102
  • Coastal Carolina -17
  • Clemson @ Notre Dame o50, why not pick of the week
  • OK. State (tt) o29.5, why not pick of the week

Parlay: Oklahoma State -500, Cincinnati -560, ISU (1H) -7, BC -715, UNC -430, Clemson @ Notre Dame o50 (+630 odds)