A happy return to you, my fellow degenerate. Welcome back to Edge Sorting, the weekly gambling column here at HERO Sports that focuses on college football games that don't have the full attention of bookmakers.
Ahh, bad beats. They're like that cute redhead in your high school English class: the one who got away. Everybody takes bad beats if you gamble long enough, and the length of time that beat stays with you completely depends on the circumstances of the beat.
Take the high school girlfriend analogy. Sometimes, you go out on a couple of dates with a couple of college girls and you're right over it.
Sometimes, you're 34 and working at a Domino's Pizza on the wrong side of town, re-reading what she wrote in your junior yearbook for the 147th time.
Last week's Ohio State–Purdue beats was one of the all-time worst I've ever personally experienced. A total of 68.5 points was all but certain to cash, given that Purdue led 21-6 at the end of the third quarter. As long as both teams didn't combine for six touchdowns in the fourth quarter, we would have ourselves a nice, easy win on the under.
Tragically, just half an hour later, Purdue's Markus Bailey returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown with just two minutes remaining to seal Purdue's 49-20 win. 69 points. Over.
Between my metaphorical Ohio State nightmare and my very literal Friday-night dream that Carolina would beat Philadelphia 21-17, I had a weird couple of days last weekend. I'm ready to move on to this week and get back in the black. So let's do it.
On to the Week 9 Picks!
[divider]BETNOW: Get 100% Bonus
TOP 100: Is LSU in the Playoff Picture at No. 3?
TRENDING NOW: Talking UCF, Coaching Hot Seats, Favorite Bars with Kirk Herbstreit
SUBSCRIBE: The Hot Route Podcast[divider]
Clemson (-16.5) at Florida State
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. EDT
This game is a case of strength vs weakness. Clemson's defensive line has been nasty for years now, and Florida State's struggles at the line of scrimmage have been well documented. I don't think FSU can get to ten points here, but I think Clemson could struggle in this spot on the road, too. A whopping 65 percent of tickets are on the over here, according to Covers.
Pick: Clemson/FSU Under 51
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
There's a lot to like with this game. Duke hasn't looked as crisp in the month of October, with double-digit home losses to both Virginia ACC schools. Now, the Blue Devils go on the road with some lingering health concerns to play Pitt, which has an extra week of prep time thanks to its 10/20 bye. Pitt has covered two straight, including an outright win at Syracuse as a 3.5-point underdog. Give me the Panthers plus the points, and look for the outright win.
Pick: Pitt +2.5
Florida International (-3.5) at Western Kentucky
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EDT
FIU might be 4-2, but it's picked up that record by beating up on a bunch of bad teams. Western Kentucky is actually 4-2 ATS this season in FBS games and catching three plus the hook at home. I like WKU to win outright.
Pick: Western Kentucky +3.5
Oregon State (+24.5) at Colorado
Saturday, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Colorado has played six FBS games this season, and the under has cashed in… all six of them. Seriously. That trend is going to stop eventually, but I don't think it'll be in this week's sleepy, early-afternoon matchup with Oregon State. The total here is 62.5, and I expect this game to stay in the 50s. I've also got a lean on OSU plus the big number.
Pick: Oregon State/Colorado Under 62.5
FCS GAME OF THE WEEK
Idaho (+18) at Eastern Washington
Saturday, 3 p.m. EDT
"Idaho!" you might say. "Hey, I know them! Aren't they an FBS school?" Well, they were, until they stepped back and returned to the Big Sky this past summer. The Vandals were paying a lot of travel money to get blown out by Sun Belt teams every other week, so they relocated back to the Big Sky. So far, the teams are different, but the result is the same — Idaho lost to UC Davis 44-21 and Idaho State 62-28. It also lost to Fresno State 79-13 in an early pay game.
Now, the Vandals will go to Eastern Washington, the most talented team in the conference, for its biggest test of the season. EWU could have All-American quarterback Gage Gubrud back in the fold this week, but even if it doesn't, the Eags have more than enough talent along the offense to smash Idaho. The line opened at 17 and inched up to 18, but I'm ripping this at anything short of three full touchdowns. These teams are nowhere near each other in terms of talent, scheme or execution.
Pick: Eastern Washington -18
[divider]MORE FCS: JMU's Bye Week Was as Good as the Dukes Could've Asked For
MORE FCS: South Dakota State QB Wants More than Just Records[divider]
WEEKDAYS ARE FOR GAMBLING
Georgia Tech (+3) at Virginia Tech
Thursday, 9 p.m. EDT
The total in this game is 59. In the 15-game history the VaTech-GaTech rivalry, there have been 60 points scored… twice. You know how I feel about weeknight unders.
Pick: Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech Under 59
HOLD ON FOR DEAR LIFE
South Florida (+7) at Houston
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
The total here is — get ready for it — SEVENTY-FIVE POINTS! Holy Chocolate Starfish, Batman!
This game could get real weird in a hurry, and yes, USF played in a game earlier this month where 100 points were scored. True, true, true. But on principle, when you see a number this high, you should strongly consider the under, particularly after I tell you this: in eight games against G5 competition this year, USF and Houston have combined to total more than 75 points… twice.
Pick: South Florida/Houston Under 75
THE PRO GAME
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Historically, this spot where everyone expects the Redskins to win an easy game is exactly the sort of spot where the Redskins crater into the Earth and leave the larger DC area on suicide watch. But… the Giants are just so bad. The team is trading away pieces. Eli looks like he's about 10 months away from coaching the PS-114 homecoming Powderpuff team. Lil Wayne is calling dudes out on TV for sucking. How on Earth do you pick against Washington here when you only have to lay one point?
Pick: Redskins -1
WEEK 8 REVISITED: Forty. Two. Freaking. Points.
2018 PICKS RECORD SO FAR: 31-32-1
- Virginia ML
- Pitt -21
- Oregon State +23.5
- San Diego State ML
- Washington ML
- Texas A&M +2.5
- South Carolina ML
- Texas ML
- Penn State ML
- Boise State -10
- Oregon ML
- Georgetown/Colgate Over 33
- Eastern Washington -17
13-leg parlay, $5 to win $2,877.60
Good luck in Week 9, and don't forget — fortune favors the bold!
NO, SERIOUSLY: Kirk Herbstreit and I are Obviously Best Friends Now
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Jim Harbaugh Shouldn't Take So Much Flak