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Ryan’s Ramble: Lessons learned

Nearing the end of this crazy 2020 college football season, there are some great matchups to watch for this weekend. Here are my picks for week 14 in college football.

NCAA Football: North Alabama at BYU USA TODAY NETWORK

Well last week certainly could have gone better, but at least we ended with a positive record. Despite losing my third consecutive hammer time pick (oops), I pulled out a 6-5-1 overall record.

Even at this late stage in the season, COVID-19 continues to affect numerous college football games week in and week out, including three games on last week’s card. UTEP vs Rice, SJSU vs Boise State, and Virginia vs FSU were all either postponed or cancelled.

I learned two important lessons after last week’s games. 1. Kyle Trask may have stats like a video game character, but turns out a good defense can slow him down enough to hit the under. Who knew? 2. I will never pick SMU to cover a spread again… ever. Having the Ponies -12 last week against ECU may have been my worst pick of the season. I checked the score at halftime to see they were losing 45-7 and couldn’t help but laugh. We live and we learn.

As we near the end of the season, now feels like the perfect time to review my picks up until this point in the year.

Weeks 1-10

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

Week 11:

  • Straight picks: 7-6
  • Hammer time pick of the week: 2-0
  • Why not pick of the week: 3-0

Week 12:

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

Week 13:

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

Overall record weeks 1-13:

  • All picks: 87-78-5
  • Hammer picks: 8-9
  • Why not picks: 12-11-1

The overall win percentage has stayed roughly the same since we last checked in, sitting at a solid 52.7%. Considering this has been one of the craziest college football seasons to date, I’ll be happy to finish with anything over .500.

If you have been following along all year, first of all thank you, and secondly I hope I have given you some useful advice pertaining to college football betting this season. It’s been a fun ride, but we aren’t done yet.

Here is a look into my card for week 14 in college football:

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

Game 1: Ohio State @ Michigan State

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: tOSU -23.5, MSU +23.5
  • O/U: 59
  • Money Line: tOSU -2500, MSU +1050

Pick: Over 59

Why: Ohio State’s style of play is perfect for overs, and I’m not expecting Sparty’s defense to give Justin Fields and co. too much trouble this weekend. The Buckeyes 13th ranked total offense is currently averaging 7.2 yards per play and scores an average of 46.3 points per game. My only concern for this over would be Michigan State’s poor offensive play so far. Spartan quarterback Rocky Lombardi might be the Jameis Winston of college football considering he has eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Then again, Ohio State’s defense gave up 27 points against Rutgers and 25 against a struggling Penn State squad. I’m backing the Buckeyes to make up for the majority of the points in what should be a high-scoring rout.

Game 2: Nebraska @ Purdue

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Purdue -1, Nebraska +1
  • O/U: 63.5
  • Money Line: Purdue -115, Nebraska -106

Pick: Purdue -115

Why: I may be winless this season when picking Purdue, but that changes now. The Boilermakers have lost three one-possession games in a row and are due for a bounce-back win at home. Nebraska looked decent last week against Iowa, but before that they gave up 490 yards and 6.4 yards per play against a weak Illinois offense. Purdue hasn’t been the most consistent on offense this year, but they’ve certainly been better than the Cornhuskers. This is a great matchup for Rondale Moore to have a big day, I’m expecting him to tear up Nebraska’s tainted secondary.

Game 3: Oklahoma State @ TCU

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: OK. State -2.5, TCU +2.5
  • O/U: 51.5
  • Money Line: OK. State -130, TCU +110

Pick: Over 51.5

Why: I try to shy away from making any picks on my home team’s games, simply for the fact that I want to eliminate any potential for bias that could sway my decision making, but this line is too appealing to pass up. TCU finally seemed to find some sort of offensive stride last week, even though they were playing Kansas, it was still a big improvement. Oklahoma State last week showed us that they are still capable of playing stereotypical, high-scoring back and forth Big 12 football, which is exactly what you want to see when taking the over. The Horned Frogs don’t have much to lose considering they aren’t in contention for the Big 12 championship, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some trickeration or gutsy calls from Coach P. Oklahoma State has an even better reason to play full tilt — if they win, there is a minute chance they could make the conference championship, but if they lose, they are eliminated from contention. I’m generally surprised to see TCU as just a 2.5 point underdog against the 15th ranked team in the country, but I could never pick against my Frogs. Take the over.

Game 4: Texas @ Kansas State

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Texas -7, K-State +7
  • O/U: 51.5
  • Money Line: Texas -265, K-State +210

Pick: Texas -7

Why: I have a feeling Texas is going to come out playing with a vengeance after that brutal loss at home last week to Iowa State. Plus, Kansas State has looked awful the last four weeks, going from 4-1 to 4-5 now. The key matchup in this game will be the Longhorn’s D-line against the Wildcats run game. Ever since Skylar Thompson got injured earlier in the year, Kansas State has had virtually no passing game; running the ball has been the only way they’ve found any sort of success. Last week, the Texas D-line held Iowa State, the best rushing attack in the Big 12 behind Breece Hall, to just 3.7 yards per carry. If they can repeat a performance like that against K-State, they should be able to do enough on offense to cover the spread. It’s never fun rooting for Texas to win games, but now we can watch with the relief of knowing they won’t be playing for a conference championship any time soon.

Game 5: West Virginia @ Iowa State

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: ISU -6, WVU +6
  • O/U: 49
  • Money Line: ISU -230, WVU +185

Pick: Under 49, Iowa State -230

Why: West Virginia has failed to reach at least 49 combined points in their last three games, and are playing better defense than any other Big 12 team. They’ve held their opponents to an average of 11 points per game in their last three contests. Iowa State’s defense has also exceeded expectations this year as they currently rank 21st in the FBS for defensive success rate and specifically 18th in rushing success rate allowed. The Cyclones solid front seven should be able to contain the Mountaineers struggling rushing attack, which ranks 101st for rushing success. These defenses are going to be simply too good for one another, which is why I’m backing a low-scoring ball game. As for the Iowa State money line, this game is the final chapter in their storybook season that ends in the Big 12 championship game, and they aren’t going to end the year on a loss. I’m taking the money line because I’m confident the Cyclones will win, but not quite sure if they’ll cover the spread.

Game 6: Florida @ Tennessee

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Florida -17.5, Tennessee +17.5
  • O/U: 61.5
  • Money Line: Florida -770, Tennessee +525

Pick: Florida team total over 39.5

Why: Every week I tell myself maybe I’ll pass on the next Florida game instead of riding them the whole season, but then I looked at these lines and couldn’t help myself. Remember when Tennessee was ranked at the beginning of the year? That was hilarious. The Volunteers started the year 2-0 and now stand at a mighty 2-5. The fact of the matter for this matchup is that the Vols can’t hang. I feel like I say this every week — Kyle Trask is going to rip this secondary apart, the Gators rank 4th in FBS for passing success rate while the Vols rank 116th in defensive passing success rate allowed. They may not be my hammer pick this week, but I do expect the Gators to put up big numbers against the Vols defense.

Game 7: Stanford @ Washington

  • Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Washington -12, Stanford +12
  • O/U: 49
  • Money Line: Washington -480, Stanford +350

Pick: Stanford +12

Why: I think Stanford is undervalued here. The spread originally opened up with Washington as -9.5 favorites, but has moved all the way to -12 in the Huskies favor. Stanford hasn’t looked great this year, but they have had to deal with several COVID-19 issues including not having their starting quarterback, Davis Mills, to open the year. Mills has now thrown 144 consecutive passes without an interception, if he can continue to take care of the ball against the Huskies I don’t see Stanford losing by more than 12 points. Stanford’s biggest weakness this season has been defending dual-threat quarterbacks, and luckily for the Cardinal, Washington QB Dylan Morris has just 10 rushing attempts for 21 yards through three games. Stanford probably won’t win, but I think they will get enough done on offense to cover a 12-point spread.

Game 8: BYU @ Coastal Carolina

  • Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: BYU -10.5, CCU +10.5
  • O/U: 61.5
  • Money Line: BYU -400, CCU +290

Pick: Over 61.5

Why: FINALLY! The only positive that came from all these college football games being cancelled or postponed was that now we get to watch BYU and Coastal Carolina battle it out as they try to prove to the committee they belong in the playoff conversation. BYU is 4-1 against the over in their last five games and currently average 45.3 points per game, enough for the 9th scoring offense in the country. Coastal Carolina on the other hand averages 37.9 points per game. I’m no mathematician, but when you add one explosive offense with another explosive offense, you’re bound to see some points on the board. Personally, I’m hoping to see Coastal Carolina keep this game closer than a 10.5 point difference, but taking the over here makes the most sense. HAMMER this line.

Game 9: San Jose State @ Hawaii

  • Kickoff: 5:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: SJSU -1.5, Hawaii +1.5
  • O/U: 60
  • Money Line: SJSU -118, Hawaii +103

Pick: San Jose State -118, Under 60

Why: San Jose State has exceeded their expectations this year. The Spartans are now 4-0 overall and 3-0-1 against the spread this season, already doubling their conference wins compared to 2019. Hawaii looked decent in their season opener against Fresno State, winning 34-19, but since then they have been on a slight decline. As for taking the under, San Jose State is currently 3-1 against the under while the Warriors are 4-2 against the under on the year. I’m expecting San Jose State to come away with a close win in a rare 5:00 p.m. game in Hawaii.

Game 10: Oregon @ California

  • Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Oregon -9, Cal +9
  • O/U: 59.5
  • Money Line: Oregon -335, Cal +250

Pick: Oregon -9, Oregon team total over 34.0

Why: With last week’s loss to Oregon State, the playoffs are likely out of the picture for Oregon considering their shortened season. With that being said, the Ducks aren’t a team that typically drops two in a row. California has yet to cover the spread this season with a record of 0-2-1 against the spread, losing each game by an average margin of 10.8 points. As per usual, Oregon has a decently explosive offense averaging 38.5 points per game right now. Cal might have the worst defense the Ducks have faced all year, which is why I think they can put up 34 with ease. The Ducks offense has an average of four 20+ yard passes per game, and quarterback Tyler Shough is averaging 9.9 yards per attempt through the air and 5.2 yards per carry running the ball. Back the Ducks to bounce back on the road this week.

Game 11: UCLA @ Arizona State

  • Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: ASU -3, UCLA +3
  • O/U: 55.5
  • Money Line: ASU -155, UCLA +125

Pick: UCLA (1H) +1.5

Why: It’s been four weeks since Arizona State last played a game, and since then UCLA has played every week on a normal schedule. Because of this disruption to routine for the Sun Devils, I think they will come out cold, so I’m taking UCLA to cover the first half spread.

Hammer time pick(s) of the week: BYU @ Coastal Carolina o61.5, Oregon (tt) o34.0

  • I decided to bring back the double whammy hammer pick this week because we are in desperate need for a win. This looks like an easy 2-0 to me. HAMMER these lines.

Waluigi’s why not pick(s) of the week: Texas A&M -6, Washington State +13

  • The Aggies are on a mission to keep up with the big dogs in the college football playoff picture. I doubt Auburn will be the one who spoils it for them, so why not?
  • I’m taking Washington State because even though USC got the win against Utah last week, I will always view the Trojans as overrated.

Paradise City parlay of the week: Indiana +13, Iowa State -230, NC State -240, Oregon -335, Kentucky -450 (+500 odds)

  • 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:

  • tOSU @ MSU o59
  • Purdue -115
  • OK. State @ TCU o51.5
  • Texas -7
  • WVU @ Iowa State u49
  • Iowa State -230
  • Florida (tt) o39.5
  • Stanford +12
  • BYU @ Coastal Car. o61.5
  • San Jose State -118
  • SJSU @ Hawaii u60
  • Oregon -9
  • Oregon (tt) o34.0
  • UCLA (1H) +1.5
  • Texas A&M -6
  • Washington State +13
  • Parlay: Indiana +13, Iowa State -230, NC State -240, Oregon -335, Kentucky -450 (+500 odds)