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Ryan’s Ramble: Brutal bad beats

Here is an in-depth look into my card for week 15 in college football.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Well... turns out I have lost all capability of correctly selecting which lines to hammer each week. Despite posting a 9-7 overall record in week 14, I suffered my fifth consecutive loss on the hammer time pick of the week — brutal.

At this point it feels like I have a better chance of winning my hammer picks if I close my eyes and choose one at random, but I will redeem myself. Last week’s Paradise City parlay of the week was just one game away from hitting yet again. Oregon rained on my parade last Saturday accounting for two of my losses and bombing the parlay on it’s last leg.

I’ve glanced over a few bad beats throughout this year, but TCU and Oklahoma State not hitting the over was straight up highway robbery. I could write an entire separate article on the debauchery that took place in Fort Worth, so I’ll try to keep it short.

My pick was the over of 51.5. After a slow first half, TCU scored a touchdown to go ahead 29-22 with roughly nine minutes left in the game, bringing the combined total to 51. After two missed field goals, a missed PAT, and a failed 2-point conversion, the combined score ended at 51. There were 11 points left on the table, yet the score finished just 0.5 points away from hitting the over. You hate to see it.

The majority of FBS teams are wrapping up their regular seasons this week, but there’s still plenty of time for some late-season drama. Some matchups I am most excited for this Saturday include Wisconsin @ Iowa and UNC @ Miami (FL).

With a 96-85-5 overall record on the year, we’re in good shape heading into week 15. I don’t want to celebrate anything too soon, but as long as I don’t completely bomb these next two weeks, I’ll finish above .500.

Here is an in-depth look into my card for week 15 in college football:

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

Game 1: Wake Forest @ Louisville

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Louisville -2, Wake Forest +2
  • O/U: 63
  • Money Line: Louisville -130, Wake Forest +110

Pick: Wake Forest +2

Why: The wrong team is favored this Saturday in Louisville (famous last words). After starting the year 0-2, Wake Forest went on a tear winning their next four by an average margin of 25 points including wins over Virginia and Virginia Tech. It doesn’t always come down to head-to-head matchups, but it is worthy to note Louisville lost to both Virginia and VT earlier in the year. This will be the Demon Deacon’s first game since Nov. 14 and the Cardinal’s first since Nov. 28. I feel like if Wake Forest can hang with North Carolina, only losing by six, then they can definitely hang with a struggling 3-7 Louisville squad.

Game 2: Alabama @ Arkansas

  • Kick off: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Bama -32, Arkansas +32
  • O/U: 68.5
  • Money Line: N/A

Pick: Alabama (1H) team total o27.5

Why: We all know Alabama is going to win big, but the million dollar question is how big? I tossed and turned debating whether or not to take the full game over of 68.5 or the 1st half over of 37.5, but then I realized I trust Bama to score 28 by halftime way more than I trust the Razorbacks to put up even 10 points. This is a huge look-ahead spot for the Crimson Tide considering they have their sights set on the SEC championship game next week, which is why I think the scoring might slow down after the first half. Bama will likely rest their starters after stacking up a decent lead, so I’d say the first half is safer play than the full-game lines.

Game 3: Western Michigan @ Ball State

  • Kick off: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Ball St. -2, W. Michigan +2
  • O/U: 66
  • Money Line: Ball St. -120, W. Michigan +100

Pick: Under 66

Why: Since 2005, college football games with average wind speeds between 13 and 50 mph are 549-415-14 against the under. Saturday’s matchup between the Broncos and Cardinals has a weather forecast of light rain and 19 mph winds which is perfect for the under. Trust in mother nature and back a slow, low-scoring ball game.

Game 4: Minnesota @ Nebraska

  • Kick off: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Nebraska -10.5, Minnesota +10.5
  • O/U: 60.5
  • Money Line: Nebraska -375, Minnesota +280

Pick: Minnesota +10.5

Why: This is a great spot to buy the Gophers. Nebraska is coming off an impressive one-possession loss to Iowa and a double-digit win over Purdue, each on the road. Because of this, and the fact that Minnesota hasn’t played since Nov. 20, this line is skewed in the Cornhusker’s favor. Nebraska still stinks, take the Gophers.

Game 5: Illinois @ Northwestern

  • Kick off: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: NW -14, Illinois +14
  • O/U: 40.5
  • Money Line: NW -715, Illinois +480

Pick: Illinois +14

Why: Northwestern may be a good football team, but they sure are boring to watch. Outside of their 43-3 blowout over Maryland to open the year, the Wildcats haven’t won a game by more than 10 points. Excluding the Maryland game, their average margin of victory is only 6.5 points. Illinois has had an up and down year and I’m not really giving them a great shot of winning outright, but Northwestern’s style of play is so slow that I think a 14-point difference is too large to reach. Last time the Wildcats were favored to win by at least two possessions, they were upset by Michigan State 29-20. Back the Illini to keep things close (enough).

Game 6: Navy @ Army

  • Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Army -7.5, Navy +7.5
  • O/U: 37.5
  • Money Line: Army -315, Navy +245

Pick: Army -7.5, Over 37.5

Why: Sure the under in this matchup has hit for 14 straight years, but do I care? No. As Lee Corso would say, “not so fast!” Trends like this are called a “trend” for a reason, it’s meant to end eventually. Oddsmakers are taking advantage of this trend by setting the line at a ridiculously low number. Since 2005, the under is 14-0, but if the line was set at 37.5 every year, the under would go only 6-6-3. Army is averaging 50.25 combined points per game in their last four contests and are in poised position to sink the struggling Midshipmen. Navy has now lost four games straight, and considering the defense gives up 5.3 yards per carry, enough for 115th in the FBS, they should have trouble stopping Army’s run-heavy offense. I’m tired of slow, low-scoring service academy games, let’s root for some points!

Game 7: North Carolina @ Miami (FL)

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Miami (FL) -3, UNC +3
  • O/U: 68.5
  • Money Line: Miami (FL) -135, UNC +115

Pick: Over 68.5

Why: At this point in the season it’s evident that the Hurricanes are either going to walk out on the field and drop 50 points with ease or struggle to get first downs and score less than three touchdowns. They’re inconsistent. North Carolina’s offense is electric, and I think the only way Miami comes out on top is if they also score at least 30+ points to match the Tar Heels. UNC ranks 11th for offensive success rate and 4th in explosive play rate at 10.2%. No matter who wins, both teams are gonna pad the stat sheet for another classic high-scoring UNC game. Who knows, maybe the Tar Heels will break 100 combined points for the third time this season.

Game 8: Houston @ Memphis

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Houston -5, Memphis +5
  • O/U: 62.5
  • Money Line: Houston -200, Memphis +200

Pick: Over 62.5

Why: Each of these teams have offenses ranking in the top 40 overall with Houston at 40th and Memphis at 22nd. It seems like anytime a pair from Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF play nearly 100 combined points are scored. This is both teams last game of the year, so I’m expecting them to come out firing in an attempt to finish 2020 on a positive note.

Game 9: Duke @ Florida State

  • Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: FSU -4, Duke +4
  • O/U: 57
  • Money Line: FSU -160, Duke +130

Pick: Florida State -160

Why: Both of these teams have had tragedies of a season, especially for the Seminoles who have much, much higher standards for their program than a 2-6 record shows for. There honestly isn’t much positive to say about either team, neither Duke or FSU have offenses or defenses ranked above 60 according to the FPI, but ironically each team has a top-20 special teams unit. I guess when the punters are on the field every other drive a few good plays are bound to happen. I never thought I’d say this in 2020, but I am confident the Seminoles can pull out a win. HAMMER this line.

Game 10: USC @ UCLA

  • Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: USC -3, UCLA +3
  • O/U: 64
  • Money Line: USC -150, UCLA +123

Pick: USC -150

Why: I’ve picked against USC in their last two games which cost me two losses. Even though I feel like USC is a tad overrated, I’m picking ‘em this week to basically fade my past self. The Trojans were off to a sluggish start in their first two games, but since then they’ve turned it around covering the spread in their next two and winning by an average margin of 20.5.

Game 11: Fresno State @ New Mexico

  • Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Fresno St. -12, UNM +12
  • O/U: 59
  • Money Line: Fresno St. -435, UNM +310

Pick: Under 59

Why: Of course I had to end this week’s card with a late night Mountain West clash. Both of these teams have failed to reach 59 combined points in three of their last five games. New Mexico has yet to break 59 points in a single home game this year. On top of that, there is currently a 12 mph wind in the forecast which could bring down the frequency of pass plays and potentially mess with the special teams — perfect for the under.

Hammer time pick(s) of the week: Florida State -160, Alabama (1H) team total o27.5

  • After five straight losses, there’s not much to say here. Lock ‘em in and pray.

Waluigi’s why not pick(s) of the week: Central Michigan +12 against Toledo, App. State @ Georgia Southern o45

  • For some reason the picks I do absolutely zero analysis on have a better record than my most analyzed picks. Funny how life works out sometimes.

Paradise City parlay of the week: Wisconsin @ Iowa u41.5, Coastal Carolina @ Troy u51.5, Georgia @ Mizzou 54.5 (+600 odds)

  • Might as well end the year with a banger of a parlay. I’m feeling the unders this week.
  • Risk 1 unit to win 6

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

List view:

  • Wake Forest +2
  • Alabama (1H) team total o27.5
  • W. Michigan @ Ball State u66
  • Minnesota +10.5
  • Illinois +14
  • Army -7.5
  • Navy @ Army o37.5
  • UNC @ Miami (FL) o68.5
  • Houston @ Memphis o62.5
  • Florida State -160
  • USC -150
  • Fresno State @ New Mexico u59
  • Central Michigan +12
  • App. State @ Georgia Southern o45
  • Parlay: Wisconsin @ Iowa u41.5, Coastal Carolina @ Troy u51.5, Georgia @ Mizzou 54.5 (+600 odds)