It was great to get away from the Tuley’s Takes home offce to take in the festivities at SuperContest Weekend at the Westgate Las Vegas, reconnecting with old friends and making new friends with the dozens of readers/followers that I met. I hate to drop names (oh, who am I kidding? I love dropping names as much as the next guy!), but after golfng and watching the end of the Florida/Miami-Fla. game with Patrick Everson of Covers.com, I watched the Arizona-Hawaii game with VSiN colleagues Matt Youmans, Brady Kannon (also part of the 2011 SuperContest champion team of Sans Souci), Wes Reynolds and Lou Finocchiaro, plus 2019 SuperContest Gold champ George King (aka There Can Be Only 1 and Squarepants) and 2019 Golden Nugget Ultimate Football Challenge champ Rich Velez (aka Monsterloc).
Neither game was a masterpiece of quality football (and all four teams could have been accused of trying to give away the game at certain points), but they were flled with drama as Florida held on for a 24-20 win over Miami-Fla. but didn’t cover as a 7-point favorite and then Hawaii beat Arizona 45- 38 as 10.5-point home underdogs and 310 on the money line (Youmans bet both). Youmans and I both started 2-0 ATS on the NCAA Consensus Page here in Point Spread Weekly, but while I bet Miami-Fla. like I wrote in last week’s Tuley’s Takes, I passed on Hawaii, so I consider my Best Bets record here as 1-0 ATS. For those who don’t know, the games on the Consensus Page are selected by the powers-that-be and mostly focus on the marquee games of the week.
While I’m making a pick on those, it doesn’t mean I believe it’s worthy of a bet. That’s what this column is for, so if I really like a game I’ll also write about it in that week’s PSW (along with other games that might not be on the Consensus Page). So, if I don’t also pick it here, consider those picks as “leans.” If I’m taking a favorite on the Consensus Page, that generally means that I can’t make enough of a case for the underdog (note: many readers of mine over the years have said they consider that to be a sign that the chalk is the right side, but take that with a grain of salt).
Since I annually ignore NFL Preseason Week 4 (even though I went 3-0 ATS in “dress rehearsal week” with the Giants, Buccaneers and Steelers not only covering but all winning outright but 0-3 on Over/Unders to fnish a respectable 9-7 overall in the preseason, so I’ll take it) and my 1st Inning Yes/ No plays have dried up (6-10 on suggested plays and a second straight losing week, so I’ll leave it), I have no problem turning over the rest of this column to the frst full weekend of college football. Note: starting next week, I’ll lead with my “takes” on every game on the upcoming NFL weekend card, plus my NCAA best bets.
Takes on College Football Using the NCAA Consensus (Page 8) again as a starting point, I picked favorites in four of the 10 games, but I’m not betting Utah -5.5 at BYU, Oklahoma State -15.5 at Oregon State, Auburn -3 vs. Oregon or Notre Dame -20.5 at Louisville.
It just means I can’t make a case for the underdogs. Of the six dogs I picked, I’m also not planning to bet UCLA 3 at Cincinnati, Mississippi 6 at Memphis, Northwestern 6.5 at Stanford or Houston 24.5 at Oklahoma as I don’t feel I’m getting enough points to have an edge. So, that leaves me with best bets on Utah State and Boise State, plus an extra play on East Carolina.
Utah State ( 3.5) at Wake Forest (Friday)
Utah State was an offensive juggernaut last season, averaging 45.4 points-per-game behind starting QB Jordan Love (3,567 yards passing, 32 TDs, 6 INTs).
Head coach Gary Andersen returns to replace Matt Wells, who left for Texas Tech, and all of Love’s top weapons are gone but he’s in good hands with offensive coordinator Mike Sanford (former head coach at Western Kentucky and OC at Boise State and Notre Dame). These teams are power-rated pretty close with Wake Forest given a few points for home-feld advantage, though I’m not sure the Demon Deacons have much of one. Best Bet: Utah State 3.5 or better (some 4s popping up so wait for best number).
East Carolina ( 17) at North Carolina State
Yes, East Carolina is rebuilding under new coach Mike Houston (formerly at FCS James Madison), but NC State is in rebuilding mode, too, as we’ve all seen how well Ryan Finley has played for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL preseason and he’ll be hard for the Wolfpack to replace. This is basically a play on believing this NC State team shouldn’t be favored by more than 10 points, so I feel we’re getting an extra TD for ECU to keep this game competitive.
Boise State ( 5) at Florida State
As of this writing, some 5.5s are out there, so also shop around here for the best number on this game. I agree with those betting this number down as I’m not so sure the right team is favored and love Boise getting any points (but wouldn’t take less than 4.5; 4 isn’t as key of a number as 3 or 7, but you want it working for you if you can get it). Boise State also loses key offensive players, but they’re in the mode of other top programs that reload instead of rebuild. Florida State used to be in that class but comes off a 5-7 record in Willie Taggart’s frst season. The Seminoles also don’t even have homefeld advantage with this game being in Jacksonville, however, monitor Tropical Storm Dorian and any changes to this game’s location or starting time. Best Bet: Boise State 4.5 or better (though I locked in 5 on Tuesday).