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Ryan’s Ramble: We’re seeing green!

We are on a roll!

NCAA Football: Independence Bowl-Louisiana Tech vs Miami Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

After a rough start to the year, we are in the green after posting a 5-3 record last week, including a win for the ‘Hammer time pick of the week,’ and boy does it feel good. Though it wasn’t a perfect record, the ultimate goal is always to stay in the green and hit your hammer picks, such as Army (1Q) -6.5 last week.

We are about a week away from entering a full conference only schedule for the most part and I can’t wait. Honestly, I would much rather be glued to the TV watching a Big 12 or SEC showdown instead of settling for matchups such as Texas State vs UTSA. But as any football fan would right now, I’ll take what I can get. I am just happy to see a real, live sporting event on my television considering everything else going on in the world.

There’s not much to say about last week’s picks. UNC got the job done, though not as quickly as I originally anticipated, Oklahoma took care of business in Norman, and both unders hit. Turns out my “lock of a parlay” was not much of a lock after all. The way I see it, going 0/3 in a parlay is just as impressive as going 3/3, or at least that’s what I tell myself to sleep at night.

It’s fun being in the green, so let’s keep it that way. Here are this week’s picks:

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

Game 1: Syracuse @ Pittsburgh

  • Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: PITT -21.5, Syracuse +21.5
  • O/U: 49
  • Money Line: PITT -2000, Syracuse +950

Pick: Syracuse +21.5

Why: I don’t say this often, but I think the oddsmakers have got this one wrong. Don’t get me wrong, PITT is probably the better team overall, but are they really 3+ possessions better than Syracuse? Simple answer: No. Syracuse showed moments of potential in the first half against UNC last week before it all came crashing down in the second. The key to covering the spread in this game is to reproduce a great first half. PITT’s first opponent was a measly Austin Peay squad, so this is the Panthers first real test. I expect Pittsburgh to have a slow first half and take over in the second to win the game, just not cover the spread of -21.5. It’s just too many points for this ACC matchup. I would take this line all the way down to +14, so having it close at +21.5 would be a blessing. If you are feeling lucky this weekend, a stab at Syracuse +950 to win would be a great bang for your buck, risking 1 unit to win 9.5.

Game 2: Tulsa @ Oklahoma State

  • Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Ok. State -23.5, Tulsa +23.5
  • O/U: 66
  • Money Line: Ok. State -3335, Tulsa +1150

Pick: Oklahoma State -23.5

Why: I know 23.5 is a lot of points but hear me out: Tulsa missed 9 practices in August due to COVID-19 complications and have only had padded practices since August 29th, meanwhile Oklahoma State has Chuba Hubbard; that’s all there is to it. Whether it’s on paper or the eye test, Oklahoma State is the better football team. For the Golden Hurricanes to come into Stillwater somewhat unprepared is a recipe for disaster, though it’s a beautiful thing for OK State bettors. Outside of just Chuba Hubbard, the Cowboys have one of the best sets of skill players in the country, one that will be very difficult for Tulsa to contain all 4 quarters. The over/under is a bit too high for my liking and it’s tough to predict just how many points OK. State will put up; could be anywhere from 40-70 which is why I am passing on it. So far this season, teams that were limited in training camps have struggled in their season openers, I mean just look at what happened to Navy. This game will add to the trend, back the Cowboys to win big in their home opener.

Game 3: Austin Peay @ Cincinnati

  • Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Cincinnati -34.5, Austin Peay +34.5
  • O/U: 52.5
  • Money Line: N/A

Pick: Cincinnati -34.5

Why: Cincinnati has the potential to be the best non power 5 team in the country this year, in fact they are my pick to win the AAC. The Bearcat’s offense wasn’t the best in the country, but it did a great job of managing the game and controlling the clock. Though they did lose their leading rusher from last season, the Bearcats bring in Alabama transfer Jerome Ford who is expected to shine behind an excellent offensive line. If you take a look at last week’s scores, you’ll see that Austin Peay got smashed by Pittsburgh 55-0. Here’s my logic: If PITT can beat them by 55, then Cincy can beat them by 70. I’m taking the Bearcats to open up their season with an absolute beat down against Austin Peay.

Game 4: UCF @ Georgia Tech

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: UCF -7.5, GT +7.5
  • O/U: 62.5
  • Money Line: UCF -285, GT +225

Pick: Georgia Tech +7.5

Why: I slipped up on Georgia Tech last week, and I won’t make that same mistake again. I am also more inclined to take this spread considering this is UCF’s first game of the year. The Knights had 10 players opt-out due to COVID-19 concerns including Kalia Davis, who ranked third on the team in sacks a year ago. Georgia Tech’s offense looked much improved in game one compared to last season and they are matching up against a depleted UCF squad known for their high-powered offense, not their defense. This game follows the COVID trend of teams failing to cover the spread in their first game to teams who have already played one. Georgia Tech already has one upset win under their belt, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they snuck out another one at home. The safer pick is to take the Yellow jackets +7.5, I see this being a close game the whole way through regardless of who comes out on top.

Game 5: Appalachian State @ Marshall

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: App. State -5, Marshall +5
  • O/U: 59.5
  • Money Line: App. State -200, Marshall +165

Pick: Under 59.5, Appalachian State -200

Why: This is a perfect recipe for an under. Both teams love to run the ball and have pretty comparable defenses. Last week was a piece of cake for Marshall as they beat Eastern Kentucky 59-0, though this week will be quite the opposite. I expect this to be a dog fight throughout the entire game. Both teams are capable of explosive plays, but in this matchup I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 60 minutes of fundamental, game managing football. Appalachian State is the better team overall, which is why I’m taking a slightly bigger play on the Mountaineers at -200. This may be the first time in my life I can say I am rooting for the Mountaineers.

Game 6: Louisiana Tech @ Southern Mississippi

  • Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: USM -5.5, LA Tech +5.5
  • O/U: 58.5
  • Money Line: USM -200, LA Tech +160

Pick: Louisiana Tech +5.5

Why: Louisiana Tech was one of the better non power 5 teams in the country last year, and they capped off a 9-3 regular season with a post-season win over Miami (FL) in the Independence Bowl. Considering one of those 3 losses came to Southern Mississippi by just 1 point, I have a feeling the Bulldogs will be back for revenge. LA Tech returns a 1,000 yard rusher as well as 5 out of their top 6 receivers from last season. I know this game goes against the trend I mentioned before, but Southern Mississippi did not look great in their season opener against South Alabama. The Golden Eagles were -12.5 favorites but ended up being upset 32-21. I wouldn’t be surprised if Southern Mississippi improves from their last game, but I don’t think it will be enough to beat a tough LA Tech team by more than a field goal.

Game 7: Miami (FL) @ Louisville

  • Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Louisville -2.5, Miami +2.5
  • O/U: 64.5
  • Money Line: Louisville -135, Miami +115

Pick: Miami (FL) +115

Why: Finally, this is the kind of conference matchup I’ve been waiting for. In what will likely be the game of the week, we get to watch two explosive quarterbacks, D’Eriq King and Michael Cunningham, battle it out in prime time. Both Louisville and Miami looked good in their season openers, Louisville topped a mediocre Western Kentucky team 35-21 while Miami had a convincing 31-14 win over a good UAB team. This game is going to come down to whichever team can best contain the opposing quarterback, and I think Miami’s defense has a slight edge. Miami’s offense is capable of great things, especially now that D’Eriq King is at the helm. The key to winning this game is going to be making big plays on defense; I’m hoping to see the Hurricane’s signature turnover chain multiple times over the course of the game.

Game 8: Abilene-Christian @ UTEP

  • Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: UTEP -5, ACU +5
  • O/U: 54
  • Money Line: UTEP -205, ACU +165

Pick: Under 54

Why: Here we go again, I mean why not get in on some UTEP action to end an action-packed Saturday of college football am I right? On the bright side, there are worse things you could watch, like a Baylor game for example. I like the under in this game for a few reasons. This is ACU’s first game of the year, and I expect their offense to start out slow. On the other end, UTEP’s offense isn’t what you would call “high-powered” though they do have a decent run game. I expect UTEP to take the lead early on which will allow them to implement their run game, chewing the clock in the process. I always feel better about taking the under when a team runs a ground and pound offense. Another reason I like this line is because of sharp action on the under. 93% of public money is on the under while only 58% of the bets are on the under, giving a difference of 35%. This indicates that big time, “sharp” bettors are hitting this line. I recommend taking this early in the day because the line could drop a point or two by kickoff.

Hammer time pick of the week: Louisiana Tech +5.5

  • It’s hard not to like the Bulldogs in this matchup after the season they had last year. HAMMER this bad boy, it’s a lock.

Waluigi’s why not pick(s) of the week: USF @ Notre Dame u48.5, Wake Forest @ NC State u53

  • Throwing in two unders to the third edition of the why not pick of the week. I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but I am always a big fan of Notre Dame unders regardless of the circumstance. Just a hunch. Wake Forest and NC State will be a much different story than last year’s 44-10 blowout, I expect this to be a nail biter for the under. I wouldn’t be surprised if the under hits at exactly 52 total points.

Purple Rain parlay of the week: UTSA (1H) -435, LA-Lafayette -700, WKU -560, App. State -200, OK. State team total o44.5 -115 — (+350 odds)

  • Well last week’s parlay went straight to the gutter after kickoff, let’s hope this week is a quick turnaround. This 5-team parlay pays out juicy +350 odds, meaning you risk 1 unit to win 3.5.

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

List view:

  • Syracuse +21.5
  • OK. State -23.5
  • Cincinnati -34.5
  • Georgia Tech +7.5
  • App. State @ Marshall u59.5
  • App. State -200
  • LA Tech +5.5, Hammer time pick of the week
  • Miami (FL) +115
  • ACU @ UTEP u54
  • USF @ Notre Dame u48.5, Waluigi’s why not pick of the week
  • Wake Forest @ NC State u53, Waluigi’s why not pick of the week
  • Parlay: UTSA (1H) -435, LA-Lafayette -700, WKU -560, App. State -200, OK. State (tt) o44.5 (+350 odds), Purple Rain parlay of the week