With Tua Tagovailoa sidelined, LSU’s, Joe Burrow is now the favorite in the Heisman Trophy race.
Burrow is followed by Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts (ya’ think Nick Saban wishes Hurts still wore a ‘Bama uniform about now?), then Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
Speaking of races, next week there is a potential game of the year matchup — No. 2 LSU at No. 1 Alabama. This week, LSU (11.5-point favorite) is at home against Auburn and Alabama (32.5-point favorite) hosts Arkansas. Third-ranked Ohio State (14-point favorite) plays Wisconsin in Columbus.
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Assuming all three favorites win this week, the Buckeyes will most likely become the No. 2 ranked team in the nation two weeks from now after LSU and ‘Bama work each other over. They don’t have a tough matchup until late November when they face Penn State and finish the season up with Michigan. Just something to think about.
Here are this week’s Best Bets (Lines are as of Tuesday and can change. If a line is around a Hot Number or moves against us, be smart):
Central Michigan +2.5 at Buffalo: Earlier this season, I wrote that we should not overlook lesser conferences, because there is gold in them thar hills. For prospectors like us, the MAC offers a gold strike.
Central Michigan has rattled off three consecutive wins and covers and seem to step up when facing tough opponents. They shredded Akron, kept it close as a 30.5-point ‘dog against Miami, and beat Eastern Michigan outright. The Chippewas are also 3-1 SU in conference play.
Buffalo has no passing game to speak of and depends solely on their 21st ranked rushing unit. CMU counters with a defense that allows just 113.5 yards per game on the ground (24th nationally).
Jim McElwain’s boys are 4-0 ATS the last four games played vs. teams with a losing record and 6-2 ATS overall this season. The Bulls are 1-4 ATS the last five games played vs. teams with a winning record and 0-4 ATS the last four games played following a SU win. CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Western Kentucky +6 at Marshall: Marshall, Marshall, Marshall is in real trouble here as they face an extremely tough defense, defense, defense. Western Kentucky owns the nation’s 17th ranked “D”, yielding a mere, 17.9 PPG. The Hilltoppers are equally strong against the pass and the run. They are on a four-game win and cover streak, holding those foes to only, 9.5 PPG.
The Thundering Herd are a rushing team behind running back Brenden Knox (719 yards rushing, seven TD’s). But so were the Black Knights of Army who mustered just eight points on 137 yards rushing.
Western Kentucky is 5-0 ATS the last five games played vs. Marshall and 6-0 ATS the last six games played vs. conference opponents. Marshall is 0-5 ATS the last five games played at home and 1-4 ATS the last five games played vs. conference opponents. WESTERN KENTUCKY
South Carolina -4 at Tennessee: Both squads are dealing with issues at the quarterback position. South Carolina’s Jake Bentley has been out since Week 2. Tennessee’s starter Brian Maurer is questionable here with concussion-like symptoms. Gamecocks backup Ryan Hilinski (1,198 yards passing, 7 TDs, 3 INTs) is certainly more reliable than Vols second-stringer Jarrett Guarantano (911 yards passing, 8 TDs, 4 INTs).
The Tennessee offense is less than stellar to begin with (21.6 PPG, ranked No. 121). With Tavien Feaster and Rico Dowdle’s (949 yards, eight TD’s combined) legs and the hands of Bryan Edwards (40 receptions, four TD’s), Hilinski and company will exploit the leaky Volunteers defense.
The road team is 16-5-1 ATS the last 22 meetings in this series. The Gamecocks are 7-3-1 ATS the last 11 games played at the Volunteers, 5-2 ATS the last seven games played vs. conference foes, and 8-3 ATS the last 11 games played following a SU loss. SOUTH CAROLINA
Texas -1 at TCU: The oddsmakers are way off on this number. It should be closer to -5 or even -6.
Texas took last year’s meeting, 31-16. The Longhorns phoned in a 50-48 win over Kansas last week, giving starters a bit of rest. TCU comes off back-to-back road losses and no covers at Iowa State and Kansas State and now must face a Texas team that is 2-0 both SU and ATS as a visitor in 2019. The Horned Frogs just can’t keep pace offensively in this matchup.
If Texas has a weakness, it is their pass “D”. But, they are in little danger here, as TCU quarterback Max Duggan and the 96th ranked passing unit poses no threat.
TCU is 3-11 ATS the last 14 games played vs. conference opponents, 3-10 ATS the last 13 games played vs. teams with a winning record and 6-20 ATS the last 26 games played at home. TEXAS
Last week: 2-2