The first round of College Football Playoff rankings came out this week and have gotten a lot of discussion. It’s November, which means games featuring CFP contenders take on added importance.
A secondary storyline this month involves all of the teams trying to get to a bowl game for a swag bag and one last chance to shine.
For Week 10, I asked pro bettors Brad Powers (@BradPowers7, BradPowersSports.com) and Kyle Hunter (@KyleHunterPicks, HunterSportsPicks.com) for their thoughts on those topics and more.
How do you incorporate the College Football Playoff rankings into your handicapping?
Powers: I don't. Total non-factor for me right now. I know some will say TCU will play the disrespect card, but to me that's all speculation.
Hunter: The College Football Playoff rankings mean nothing to my handicapping. I consider them something the NCAA wants to do to hype up the fans. There is always controversy, but for bettors it really means nothing.
Does bowl eligibility factor into your handicapping at this point (or is it still too early)?
Powers: No, too early. Even in the final week, I'm not sure how positive-EV it is. With that being said, sometimes the market factors it in the final week and you're paying premiums on those teams trying to get to bowl eligibility. I'll either get in front of it on the open or fade the premium at post.
Hunter: As far as teams who could possibly make a bowl game, I think it is too early to factor that into handicapping. The only spots where I believe it does matter some, at this point, are the teams who expected to make a bowl game but are already clearly out of the bowl picture. Those are the type of teams that could already be shutting it down for the season. There aren't many of them yet, but there will be plenty more in the next couple weeks.
Which underdog of a touchdown or more has the best chance to win outright this week (and why)?
Powers: Texas Tech +9 over TCU. TCU has been extremely fortunate with several opposing QB injuries. They've also had a couple of late TDs versus Kansas and West Virginia that has given their backers wins when they easily could have been losses. I feel Texas Tech is underrated, as the Red Raiders are +110 YPG versus the sixth-toughest schedule (according to Jeff Sagarin). They lost by 28 last week to Baylor but were -4 in TOs in the game.
Hunter: I'm going to take Army (+7.5 vs. Air Force) for this one. A game that is typically very low scoring. Both teams know each other really well, and an upset in a game like this shouldn't surprise anyone very much.
What is your favorite bet for this week?
Powers: Texas -2.5 over Kansas State. For starters, they are the better team in the stats, ranking No. 11 in YPP margin, No. 40 in YPG margin and No. 17 in PPG margin, despite playing the 10th-toughest schedule. The Horns have lost three games this season but still rank in the top 10 of my power ratings as all three losses were close.
They’re off a bye and catch Kansas State off a 48-0 destruction of Oklahoma State, so we’re selling high on the Wildcats.
Hunter: I'm going to take Boise State (-8 vs. BYU). The Broncos have been a completely different team with Taylen Green at quarterback and Dirk Koetter as the offensive coordinator. The Broncos defense is still nasty. Jaren Hall of BYU isn't completely healthy, and the BYU defense has been a disaster over the last few weeks.