Bench Points Bet the Board: Week 9

I’m still recovering and processing what happened in Atlanta on Saturday night. I also would like to profoundly apologize for telling you that picking FSU was stealing money. Georgia Tech is terrible this season, it felt safe. Regardless, if you lost your house on last week’s 6-4, fear not. Go double or nothing on 10-0 this week*! 

*Seriously, do not do this. 

There are some bonus picks this week due to lots of good games. As a reminder, the lines and totals are as of the day I hit print on 5Dimes or OddsShark, many have moved since. 

Let’s Bet the Board. 

Format Note: due to feedback I have received regarding the format of this article, I have made a change to how I highlight my picks. In addition to bolding the pick, I will also put the spread on the same side as the pick. Hopefully, this clears up any confusion. 

Georgia vs. Florida -3.5

Obviously, I’m going to start with the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party That Can’t Be Called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Network Television Because People Have Died. Florida and Georgia both enter the game with the season on the line, which feels so right. The Halloween matchup should always feel like an SEC Conference Semi-Final. Georgia has more losses than Florida, but because of divisional tiebreakers, the winner has the head to head over the other and is in the driver’s seat. Last year, the tables were turned and Florida embarrassed Georgia. This year is Georgia’s year to return the favor. Yes, it’s a rivalry game so it’ll be closer than it should be on paper, but I’ll lay the points on the Gators. The Bulldogs are worse on defense and still scrambling after losing Chubb. Michel and Marshall are capable backups, but Florida is more complete. Should be a thriller. 

South Florida vs. Navy -7.5

South Florida has been rolling the past month, but that roll comes to a stop in Annapolis. Navy executes the triple option better than anyone in the country. South Florida’s defense has to adjust from the Chad Morris spread attack to the triple option in a week. Additionally, babe has excellent players and knows how to exploit their strengths. I think the Midshipman win by 14+ in a tune up game for divisional rival Memphis. Anchors aweigh, lay the points. 

Virginia Tech vs. Boston College (under 37.5)

Yes, I know that a 37.5 point total is really low. I’ve also seen these teams play. Boston College didn’t score on Wake Forest, but held the Deacons to 3 points. Whenever you hold a team to 3 points, its on your offense if you can’t find a way to win. Before facing Clemson, BC had the number 1 defense in the country. Now, they’re 2nd, but they still can’t score with an offense ranked 122nd in FBS. Virginia Tech took 4 overtones to score 46. I don’t think they will score all that much on BC in regulation. Couple that with the fact that BC’s offense may not crack double digits and you’ve got a recipe for an under. 

Georgia Tech vs. Virginia +6

Before we get started, how great was that last second win? Pretty awesome, right? That said, you’d be a fool to think that Tech has turned the corner on a miracle. That just doesn’t happen. Emotions ran so high for the Jackets in the FSU game, that I think more sloppy football is in the forecast. Additionally, Georgia Tech and Virginia have been in the same division of the ACC together for a long time–lots of home and homes. The Jackets have beat UVA maybe 4 times in Charlottesville in the past 25 years. Tech has 5 conference losses and Virginia has two heartbreaking losses–one was to Notre Dame who pounded Tech. You take the points here because of psychological letdown, the mental hurdle of winning in Charlottesville, and the fact that GT just isn’t a very good football team. I’m not sure why they’re favored. 

Clemson -10.5 vs. NC State

The Wolfpack have the dumbest schedule on the planet. They are 7 games in with a bye week and have only played 3 conference games. They finish their last five games of the season against ACC opponents. That said, they have lost to Louisville and Virginia Tech and only beat Wake Forest in conference play. Clemson may very well be the best team in the country and just buzz-sawed Miami 58-0. I’m will to risk 11 points on the expectation that Clemson has fixed its sights on a national title and that they’re planning to trample anyone in their path to get there. I think the Tigers win big. 

USC -5.5 vs. Cal

Yeah, taking Utah last week was a dumb move (apparently). I’m not sure what to think about USC, other than the fact that they are the best 3 loss team in the country. Cal just got crushed by UCLA, and now USC rolls into town after pummeling the number three team in the country–by the way, what is it with number three teams getting crushed? Anyway, 5.5 seems like not a whole lot to lay on the Trojans in this game. I think they win by 10, but Cal has one of the best quarterbacks in the country, so I think it’s competitive for 60 minutes. Still, lay the points, take the Trojans. 

Vanderbilt vs. Houston (under 49)

I think Vanderbilt is undefeated on the under this season. The Commodores have a great defense–homework assignment: I challenge you to find a team mascot name that is more pretentious or waspy than ‘Commodores.’ Like BC, Vandy also has a terrible offense. So, they probably won’t be scoring all that much. Houston on the other hand has an incredibly prolific offense. So, something’s got to give. Herman is basically auditioning for other jobs next year–SCAR, imo–and what better way to prove you’re destined for greatness in the SEC than beating Vanderbilt soundly. Still, I think Vandy’s defense prevents it from being a runaway. I have Houston by 20, but still think that’s under the total. 

North Carolina vs. Pitt +3

Pitt is being disrespected. Granted, their signature wins are iffy and it took a last second field goal to beat Georgia Tech, who was reeling on 4 straight losses. North Carolina’s experienced the same kind of win-erosion, but they’ve won almost every game by a comfortable margin. I would also like to point out that Pitt and North Carolina is a huge conference game this year…in football. So that’s how odd this season has been. The loser will be virtually eliminated from the divisional race. I think it’s a toss up and I always like the points in that situation, especially if you can get them on the home team. 

West Virginia +14 vs TCU

This is actually a pretty good line. West Virginia is always just good enough to be dangerous and TCU is severely overrated. West Virginia is ranked 28th in total defense, which is bad for TCU. However, Boykin could catch fire and the Frogs could crush the Mountaineers. I don’t see it happening, but I don’t see WVU winning either. I think West Virginia keeps it close-ish. Who knows? Maybe they can upset TCU and expose the Frauds Frogs. I just don’t think you can lay 14 when it’s West Virginia. Take the points and hope for the best. Feel free to fade this pick, I think it’s a coin flip.

Notre Dame vs Temple +10

Temple has been on a tear this season. They’re undefeated, ranked, and just got to host College GameDay. None of this, however, really matters for their game against Notre Dame on Saturday. The Irish are banged up and coming off a big win over USC and a bye week. I think the Irish are ready to spoil the Owls party, but I don’t think they get it done by more than 10 points. Maybe we will even see number 9 go down again. This game won’t be a runaway, take the points on Temple. 

Oregon vs. Arizona State -2.5

I know I usually like to take the points in even games like this, but I don’t think that Oregon is any good this season. They lost to WAZZU for crying out loud! Meanwhile, ASU has lost three games to decent teams–Texas A&M (before the wheels came off the wagon), Utah, and USC. I think the Sun Devils take care of business on Saturday while wearing their Pat Tillman tribute uniforms. Lay the points and expect ASU to win by at least a touchdown. 

So, these go up to 11 this week. 11-0 here I come!

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