Youmans: Best bets for college football Week 10

November 5, 2022 12:32 PM

As a freshman at Clemson, DJ Uiagalelei made a phenomenal first impression. He was so impressive that the quarterback he replaced, Trevor Lawrence, was barely missed -- and Lawrence was the eventual No. 1 pick of the 2021 NFL draft.

In the second start of his career, Uiagalelei passed for 439 yards and two touchdowns in a classic game at Notre Dame. (Lawrence watched from the sideline after testing positive for COVID-19.) The top-ranked Tigers fell to the Fighting Irish 47-40 in double overtime, but the Clemson defense was the disappointment.

Two years later, Uiagalelei and the Tigers, 8-0 and ranked No. 4, are back in a similar spot. There are differences, though, because Uiagalelei has not been great the past two seasons, and the Irish are unranked home underdogs this time. (Also, Lawrence has been far from great in two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.)

A better Clemson defensive performance should be the difference. Notre Dame is getting subpar quarterback play from Drew Pyne, who opened the season as the backup. In a win at Syracuse last week, Pyne passed for only 116 yards and the Irish ran 56 times for 246 yards, a run-pass imbalance that’s unlikely to be effective against the Tigers.

Uiagalelei has solid numbers — passing for 21 touchdowns with four interceptions — yet was benched after turning the ball over three times two weeks ago, when coach Dabo Swinney went to freshman Cade Klubnik in a 27-21 comeback victory over Syracuse. If Uiagalelei struggles this week, Swinney will make the switch again, and Klubnik is more than capable.

Clemson, riding a 14-game winning streak, is the only ACC team to beat the Irish since 2018. I was on the home dog in this matchup two years ago, but I’m switching sides and betting against a Notre Dame team that is 0-4 against the spread at home with embarrassing losses to Marshall and Stanford. I never lay the hook on -3.5.

Pick: Clemson -3 (-130)

Week 10 college football best bets

Eight more plays for Saturday (HOME team in CAPS):

Iowa (+3.5) over PURDUE: Under coach Jeff Brohm, the Boilermakers have had the Hawkeyes’ number, going 4-1 straight up. Four of the games were tight late in the fourth quarter, and this figures to be another close, low-scoring brawl on a cold and windy day in West Lafayette, Ind. It’s a role reversal for Purdue, which was the underdog in 12 of the 13 previous series meetings, and Brohm is better as a dog.

KANSAS (PK) over Oklahoma State: A week after senior quarterback Spencer Sanders left the Cowboys’ 48-0 loss at Kansas State with a shoulder injury, Sanders is considered doubtful to play. His backup, Gunnar Gundy, went 2-for-7 for 16 yards with an interception in that humiliating defeat. The Jayhawks, who need one more win to become bowl eligible, are expecting quarterback Jalon Daniels to return from injury.

Arizona (+18) over UTAH: Utes quarterback Cameron Rising plans to return from a knee injury, but he’s usually a running threat and his mobility will likely be limited. This is a potential flat spot for Utah, which has bigger games ahead. The Wildcats were live dogs in their 45-37 loss to USC last week, when Jayden de Laura totaled 434 yards (380 passing) and three touchdowns.

STANFORD (+4.5) over Washington State: The Cougars are headed the wrong way, losing three in a row while scoring a total of 41 points. With a weak running attack, their offense is relying completely on quarterback Cameron Ward. The Cardinal pass defense is solid, and quarterback Tanner McKee was hot before he flopped in last week’s loss at UCLA. Sharp money is showing on the dog.

ARIZONA STATE (+11) over Ucla: Wild things tend to happen in the Pac-12 at night, and this should be a shootout in the desert. The Sun Devils are showing more life offensively, led by quarterback Trenton Bourguet and running back Xazavian Valladay. Arizona State can trade scores for the most part with Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet. (I’m splitting one unit on this play, with a half-unit on the home dog and a half-unit Over 66.)

Auburn (+13) over MISSISSIPPI STATE: With the Bryan Harsin debacle in the rear-view mirror, expect to see a more motivated Tigers team playing hard for a different coach -- interim Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. Auburn can move the ball behind freshman dual-threat quarterback Robby Ashford. Bulldogs coach Mike Leach has seen his offense bog down, totaling only 23 points in back-to-back losses.

Tennessee (+8.5) over GEORGIA: The Vols are public dogs, drawing more than 80% of the betting action, so that’s obviously concerning. It’s not going to be surprising if the top-ranked team in the new CFP rankings takes a humbling fall. Still, from a matchup perspective, Tennessee has the better quarterback (Hendon Hooker) and its receivers will cause problems for the Bulldogs’ secondary. Hooker has 21 touchdown passes with one interception, and the dog should cover if Hooker continues to avoid turnovers.

LSU (+13.5) over Alabama: The Crimson Tide’s troubling trend on the road — with a one-point win at Texas and a loss at Tennessee — extends to last season. A night game in Baton Rouge is never easy for the visitor. Plus, Alabama’s pass defense has been a problem. Jayden Daniels is finally dynamic in coach Brian Kelly’s offense, accounting for a total of 762 yards (597 passing) and 11 touchdowns in the past two wins against Florida and Mississippi. (I’m splitting one unit on this play, with a half-unit on the home dog and a half-unit Over 56.5.)

Last week: 5-5 against the spread

Season: 29-30-1

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