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.
Normally, this column goes up at noon every Thursday during the college football season. This one is a bit late going up, because I had to stumble out of my friend Chandler's Arlington townhouse at 6am this morning after imbibing unfathomable amounts of alcohol last night.
Why, do you ask?
— Chase Kiddy (@chaseakiddy) October 31, 2019
Because the Washington Nationals won the World series, and your boy had tickets to watch from inside the park.
I am not a Nationals fan, and I do not claim to be. The Nationals moved to the DC area about 15 years ago, and I had already given my allegiance to Cal Ripken Jr.'s Orioles by that time. Still, this was a really cool experience, as many of my high school and college friends are long-suffering DC sports fans. DC won titles with the Redskins around the time I was born, in 1991, but from then, all the way up until last year, DC was in the grips of a title drought that spanned the width and breadth of three full decades.
In 18 months, all that has been totally wiped away. The Capitals finally hoisted the Stanley Cup last year; then, this year, Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics preempted the Nationals' title. Forget the District of Columbia — evidently, this is the District of Champions, baby.
If I've learned anything from this Nats, who were, believe it or not, 19-31 at one point this season, it's that a strong finish can erase a lot of ills. And that's what I'm taking into this weekend's special edition of Edge Sorting — I want a strong finish here.
I'd be the first to tell you that this has not been a vintage season of college football handicapping. I've been quite good on the FCS stuff, as I always have, but many of the other games just haven't broken my way. I'm slightly under .500 with a month left in the season.
But it's not how you start, right? A strong November showing can put us in the black for the year, and I have every confidence that I'm going to pull some nice winners off the board in these last weeks of the season. I'm seeing the board really well right now, and after two months of banging my head into the wall, I think I'm finally starting to see opportunities ripe for exploiting. Looking at you, Big 12!
Let's get on to the Week 10 picks.
Saturday, 8 p.m. EDT
There are a lot of sharps that are afraid to pick Oregon as the road favorite here, and given the Pac-12 road cannibalization, that's not totally out of line. Still, I'm backing the Ducks this weekend. USC has more power as a brand than as a football team right now, which is the only real reason I can think of why this number is less than six or seven. Oregon is better at literally every position on the field; it has more to play for, and more to play with. Until USC gets healthy, I don't trust them to beat middling Pac-12 teams, let alone legit CFB Playoff Contenders. Oregon might start slow, but I'm confident that the Ducks are going to cover this number.
Pick: Oregon -4.5
Kansas State (-5.5) at Kansas
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. EDT
How is this total this high?
No, seriously. How?
Pick: Kansas State/Kansas Under 55
TCU (+2.5) at Oklahoma State
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Oklahoma State continues to be undervalued for reasons I don't really understand. The Cowboys are 6-2 against the spread and coming off a big road win at Iowa State. Back in Stillwater, they're slated to play an extremely middling TCU team. The spread was set at… 4? And then bet down to 2.5?
Look, keep doubting Oklahoma State if you want. Nobody is telling you this is a national title contender, or even a Big 12 title contender. But when it comes to handling the second and third tiers of the Big 12, Oklahoma State is going to keep getting it done this year. After being bet down from -4, this number is both good and valuable. Roll with the Pokes.
Pick: Oklahoma State -2.5
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Traditionally, big FCS-FBS mismatches are nice spots to bet the Under. Wofford is a pretty decent FCS team that's likely to find itself in the playoff field this season, but it's a heavy ground game up against Clemson's fearsome front line. Wofford should struggle to score anything in this game, even when Clemson dumps the 2s and 3s into the game.
I expect the Tigers to be in firm control of this game at halftime before coasting to a win. This has 49-3 written all over it.
Pick: Clemson/Wofford Under 58
FCS GAME OF THE WEEK
Weber State (+7) at Sacramento State
Saturday, 9 p.m. EDT
We went against Sac State last week, and they burned us. Whatever. I'm doing it again. This is one of the marquee games of the season, and a full touchdown is simply too much to give here. On principle, we have to play the dog.
Pick: Weber State +7
[divider]MORE FROM THIS GAME: What's at Stake when Weber State Heads to California?
MORE FCS: Everything You Need to Know About Next Week's Playoff Selection Preview[divider]
The Pro Game
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT
Full discosure: on most weeks, I would use this space to highlight tonight's West Virginia-Baylor game, as I think Baylor might be one of the best picks of the month. Still, with this column dropping just three hours before game time, I'm opting to give out Baylor as a bonus pick on Twitter, and focus my column kicker on the NFL.
My pro picks have been really hot through the last three or four weeks, and I think this is another gem. Oakland has literally been on the road since, like mid-September. The Raiders are finally getting a home game, and it comes against the Detroit Lions, a team I'm higher on than most.
Here's the thing about the Lions, though. They're not particularly healthy — even quarterback Matt Stafford allegedly has the flu right now. The secondary was never great, and it's now even worse since the front office traded Quandre Diggs to Seattle.
If Detroit wasn't in the NFC North, I really think it would probably be a playoff team this year. This is just a bad spot for them. Combined with the fact that Oakland is actually sneaky good and undervalued, this is a nice spot to bet Oakland as a short home favorite.
Pick: Oakland Raiders -2
[divider] Week 9 Rewind: Alabama Cashes Another Under
Last Week's Record: 2-4
2019 Official Picks Record: 29-34-1[divider]
With my compressed schedule this week — thanks again for the good time, Nats! — we're going to skip right past the 2K Parlay.
So with that.. we're out of here 'til next week. Don't spend all of your bankroll on football this weekend — there's plenty of money to be made on NBA underdogs that the market won't correct on for another few weeks. I'm looking at you, Phoenix Suns.
Good luck in Week 10, and don't forget… fortune favors the bold!