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College Football Betting Picks for Week Six (10/9/2021)

The 2021 College Football season has been chaotic, to say the least. After five weeks, just 17 teams remain unbeaten out of the 130 that trotted out just over a month ago in the hopes of winning a national championship. The remaining 17 fall into several tiers such as national title contenders (Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma & Cincinnati), aspiring Big Ten champions (Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State & Penn State), Group of Five teams with varying outside chances at making the playoff (Cincinnati, BYU, Coastal Carolina, SMU, San Diego State, UTSA & Wyoming) and upstart Power Five programs that few prognosticators expected to be undefeated at this point in the year (Kentucky, Oklahoma State & Wake Forest). We'll see at least one more of these teams join the ranks of the defeated, as #3 Iowa hosts #4 Penn State in a game that will surely feature a plethora of punts and a constant battle for field position, like so many classic Big Ten matchups.

A few bad breaks caused a 1-2 performance in Week Five. UConn and Vanderbilt sputtered in a back-and-forth game that went over the total thanks to an out-of-the-blue offensive spurt in the second half from the Huskies. In what amounted to a larger miss, Temple's offense had its most impressive passing performance in several years on its way to a shocking upset and over against Memphis. While Michigan State had the game in hand early on, Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe helped pour on the points in a game that easily cashed the over in the third quarter for our only win of the week. The season-long record is 10-9.

For Week Five of the college football season, here are some expert money-line and over/under betting picks.

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Louisiana State (LSU) @ Kentucky (-3.5)

O/U: 50.5

The LSU Tigers are only two seasons removed from their 2019 national championship run, which endeared Coach Ed Orgeron to the national stage as "Coach O." The Tigers have started the 2021 campaign with a 3-2 record, despite being favored in all five games thus far. A 38-27 letdown against UCLA in the opener and a home loss to Auburn last week have put a sour taste in the mouths of the fanbase. Traveling up to Lexington, Kentucky will bring a unique challenge for Coach O and his fighting Tigers. Sophomore quarterback Max Johnson, whose father Brad was the starting quarterback on Jon Gruden's 2002 Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has thrown 16 touchdowns and four interceptions through the first five games, but is only completing 56.5% of his passes (identical 26-for-46 performances) in his two losses. Dynamic fellow sophomore receiver Kayshon Boutte is among the best in the nation at his position, and will be suiting up on Sundays soon enough. The defense, helmed by coordinator Daronte Jones, has been stout, having held all opponents under 30 points since the opener.

After their fans rushed the field once again, the SEC levied a fine against coach Mark Stoops' Kentucky Wildcats football program for their third infraction last week. The field rushing might have been justified, as the team knocked off previously 10th ranked Florida in a dominant defensive performance. Quarterback Will Levis, a transfer from Penn State, has played poorly (only 7 completions for 87 yards last week, and at least one interception thrown in all five games) but the team continues to find ways to win in spite of him. The 5-foot-10, 225 pound human bowling ball named Christopher Rodriguez Jr. has made a name for himself in the early going, taking over the lead back role and averaging 6.0 yards per carry with six touchdowns thus far. Fellow running back Kavosiey Smoke and Nebraska transfer receiver Wan'Dale Robinson offer speedy options for coach Stoops to utilize in space to get the team's points.

Both teams sport strong defenses, and it will be fascinating to see LSU's run defense try to stop Kentucky. Kentucky's defense, helmed by safety Yusuf Corker and others, stymied Florida quarterback Emory Jones last week as they have allowed less than 300 total yards of offense per game on average this year. If Kentucky's defense continues at this elite level, people might need to take them seriously as an SEC East division contender alongside Georgia.

Pick: Under 50.5

 

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Utah at Southern California (USC) (-3)

O/U: 52.5

The start of this season could have gone quite a bit better for the Utah Utes. Back-to-back losses in the Holy War at BYU and at San Diego State, alongside an 0-4 record against-the-spread, have weighed heavily in bettors' evaluation of this team. Luckily, coach Kyle Whittingham's team got the much-needed off-week last week. Former starting quarterback Charlie Brewer, who transferred in this spring after starting parts of four seasons at Baylor, struggled and left the program over the off-week. This departure gives way for sophomore Cameron Rising, a former four-star recruit who began his career at Texas, to take the helm as the lead signal caller. In limited playing time, Rising has offered a dual-threat option (7.8 yards per carry) and has been efficient with the football (4 touchdown passes, 0 interceptions). Expect Rising to lean on junior tight end Brant Kuithe and Cole Fotheringham, who sport a combined 47 career starts between the two stars.

Since former coach Clay Helton's dismissal following an embarrassing September 11 home loss to Stanford, the Trojans are 2-1, with the sole loss against "better-than-we-all-expected" Oregon State. In last week's trouncing of Colorado, the running game finally caught wind with Texas transfer Keontay Ingram becoming the first Trojan to eclipse 100 yards in a game. Junior quarterback Kedon Slovis threw for three touchdowns, and has utilized receiver Drake London early and often (second in the nation for receptions and receiving yards). The defense, while sporting big-time recruits all over the field, has been terribly inconsistent. Edge rusher Drake Jackson had a pair of sacks last week, but he and his teammates have given up over 40 points twice this season already, and the team has yet to enter the expected "meat" of their schedule.

USC interim coach Donte Williams was dealt a difficult hand, and he should be commended for the work that's been done to keep this team together. Both Utah and USC are littered with talented and highly-rated recruits who have great individual performances but the team results leave much to be desired. NFL scouts will keep a close eye on USC receiver Drake London, Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd, and others, but bettors should keep a closer eye on the scoreboard which I expect to be lighting up quickly.

Pick: Over 52.5

 

Boise State at Brigham Young (BYU) (-5.5)

O/U: 56.5

The Boise State Broncos enter Week Six with a 2-3 record and losses to UCF, Oklahoma State and Nevada. This week's trip to Provo, Utah, will not be an easy one for quarterback Hank Bachmeier and his team. Receiver Khalil Shakir is averaging 103.6 yards per game, and running back George Holani looks to be back and healthy, but the overall results have not been there for the Broncos. Some of the fault lies with the senior-laden offensive line, which needs to do a better job of protection, but the real culprit of the shaky start is the lack of depth at skill positions. The defensive has been solid, at times, including an impressive 27-3 victory over Utah State on national television (CBS).

Coach Kalani Sitake, a former BYU fullback, has finally built a stalwart national program to be reckoned with. Sitake's nearly undefeated campaign last year was brushed off in 2021 projections, with many pointing to the wealth of talent being lost on both sides of the ball due to graduations and the NFL. However, the Cougars are reloading and still running, rather than rebuilding this year. New quarterback Jarren Hall, who had the unenviable job of replacing #2 overall pick Zach Wilson of the New York Jets, has starred thus far with his legs and his arm. Running back Tyler Allgeier, who was converted from linebacker before his breakout 2020 season, is proving last year was no fluke, and pass-catchers Gunner Romney, Neil Pau'u, Puka Nacua, and Isaac Rex give Hall plenty of options for who he might want to sling the ball to. Operating as an independent, every game is important for BYU as they seek out another dominant season.

While Boise State's start might appear disappointing on the surface, none of the three losses appears to be a bad loss and the Broncos were competitive in all three. For the Cougars, the key will be neutralizing Khalil Shakir. If BYU can shut down the Broncos' star receiver, Bachmeier will be forced to look elsewhere - something that might bring back his propensity for ill-advised turnovers.

Pick: Under 56.5



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