Ohio — Welcome to Rivalry Week! Unfortunately, the college football regular season is coming to a close, but that means it’s time for The Game (among others) and Betting the Buckeyes is ready to close this regular season with a bang after sweeping best bets last week.
My personal bets are 489-390-23 since 2019 and 12-6 (67 percent) over the last month.
Betting the Buckeyes
After an extraordinary run of 8-1 on OSU bets — most of which were first-quarter overs — we finally lost one last week as the Ohio State offense struggled after the first drive of the first quarter. We were bound to lose one of these at some point, but I’m not going to let it dissuade us from hopping right back on the horse for The Game, which my numbers suggest should sail over the total.
The pick: Over 13 points in the first quarter
For more detailed analysis of The Game from a betting perspective, be sure to listen to Thursday’s Buckeye Talk podcast. Let’s see where we can cash some bets on in the national landscape this week.
Best Bets of the Week
Oregon State +3 vs Oregon
Despite Oregon being ranked significantly higher in the College Football Playoff Rankings and having perhaps the more prestigious reputation, my numbers suggest a coin-flip type of game in Corvallis this week.
Removing the first month of the season from the equation (which some might think would be advantageous for the Ducks), it’s actually Oregon State that has played better and more efficient football and would be projected as a three-point favorite in this matchup. The Beavers are 11-0 ATS in their last 11 home games. Couple that with the fact that Oregon star QB Bo Nix got dinged up in the last game, and give me the Beavers plus the points at home.
Kansas State -11.5 vs Kansas
There are a few under-the-radar type teams that I would not want to bet against when looking at their recent performances. Kansas State is very high on that list. They rank in the top 10 of my season-long power ratings and are number five in my aforementioned “recent” power ratings.
The Wildcats are flat-out getting it done on both sides of the ball right now and (spoiler alert) I think they’re going to win the Big 12. I project Kansas State as a 16-point favorite here, as the Jayhawks have come back to Earth after a scorching hot start to the season under coach Lance Leipold — who just signed a nice new contract extension to stay in Lawrence. While Lance is counting his money, we’ll count ours by laying the points here with Kansas State in Manhattan.
Louisville +3 vs Kentucky
Despite not having starting QB Malik Cunningham last week (which wasn’t announced until minutes before kickoff, sending me into a frenzy) the Cardinals took care of business against NC State and cashed a best bet for us, so we’re coming back for more. I project this game with Louisville as a 4-point favorite over the Wildcats and looking at how these teams have performed recently, I would project Louisville to win by two scores.
Kentucky has fallen off a cliff after a solid start to the season, losing to lowly Vanderbilt at home and eking out a win against Missouri prior to that. We’ll forgive the minuscule six points they mustered against the dominant Georgia defense last week, but I still like Louisville to cover the three points and likely win this game outright in the battle for the Bluegrass State.
Upset Alert of the Week
NC State moneyline +200 vs North Carolina
As I mentioned earlier this season, this pick is aimed at identifying a touchdown-or-more underdog that has a chance to win the game outright, so this week was a little harder to find value due to a lot of close spreads. However, I’m going to roll with the Wolfpack here in a game that I project North Carolina as a five-point favorite. This is more of a situational play than anything. The Tar Heels are coming off an unexpected and probably embarrassing loss to ACC bottom-dweller Georgia Tech, which has looked much more competent under coach Brent Pry, to be fair.
The spot here for UNC, though, is a tough one due to the fact that they had College Football Playoff hopes a week ago and now know they’re eliminated from that and have a season-defining showdown with Clemson next week in Charlotte. Forgive me if I’m wrong, Tar Heels fans, but I don’t think NC State/UNC is the type of rivalry that inherently provides motivation (a la The Game or the Iron Bowl), so I will take the Wolfpack at two-to-one odds here on the hunch that North Carolina is on autopilot as they await the conference championship.
Betting Tip of the Week
This week’s tip is one that excites me more than any other that I’ve given out this year, because it builds on the concept of key numbers that we discussed early this season and provides what I think is extremely valuable information that gets in the weeds of the math of betting that will provide us with an edge for the rest of our betting lives. When should you buy points in betting? This is a question that my (previously uneducated) opinion has fluctuated on over the years, but I recently discovered a very useful odds comparison calculator that answers this question and provides the “why” of it.
The Gist: Buy a half point or one whole point if it gets you on or off of the key numbers of 3 and 7, depending on the line, whether you like the favorite or underdog and assuming the odds are -110 or better before buying the point.
Example: You like Ohio State to cover the -7.5 (-110) vs Michigan this week. In this scenario, it is mathematically prudent to buy a half point to get the Buckeyes at -7 (-120).
(Calculator courtesy of Unabated.com)
The exact same concept applies if you like a favorite at -3.5 or 4.
Example: You like an underdog at +6.5. You would apply this concept and pay the extra juice to get the underdog at +7 (-120).
While I can’t lay out every single scenario, I think this gives a helpful guide when placing your bets (it’s already helped me this week!). The key takeaways to keep in mind are
1. This only makes sense on key numbers of 3 and 7.
2. It makes sense to do so up to a full point (-8 down to -7 or +6 up to +7, for example.)
I truly hope this helps and please feel free to reach out to us with any questions on this concept.