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As I do every Saturday, I was watching games in my living room and checking scores on my phone. Something dawned on me that I had not realized sooner. I noticed so many top-rated teams giving up tons of points. This piqued my curiosity.

I delved into it and what I found astounded me. Of the Top-25 teams that have played at least six games this season, only three rank in the Top-10 defensively: Marshall, Cincinnati and BYU. You’d be surprised to find out that teams like Coastal Carolina and yes, even Oklahoma State statistically have better scoring defenses than the likes of Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, and Auburn. Some Top-25 teams are so far down the list, it’s a wonder they are winning (Oklahoma, Miami-Florida, Texas A&M and Iowa State).

It doesn’t matter how stacked you are offensively. Eventually, you have got to stop teams defensively. What’s going to happen in the coming weeks when some of these teams start facing each other? Moreover, what’s going to happen come the Bowl season or even the CFP? You’re going to start seeing the teams with the stouter defenses start claiming victories over the high-flying offenses.

When you see these matchups and the favorites are laying big wood, start taking the points and chop down your book like a lumberjack.

Things are starting to heat up after another 3-1 result in last week’s column to bring my current run to 16-8. 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):

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Wake Forest +13.5 at North Carolina: You’d be hard-pressed to find a team that is more Jekyll and Hyde than the Tar Heels. Consistency is important in both football and in sports betting. And one thing is for sure — the Demon Deacons have been a consistent moneymaker, covering five of six outings this season. Wake Forest has been competitive in every contest on the campaign, including an season-opening loss to Clemson, which they covered.

Smart and savvy Wake quarterback Sam Hartman (1,253 yards passing, 62% completion rate, 4 TDs) doesn’t make mistakes, nor does the rest of the offensive unit (one turnover through six games). As a matter of fact, the team is +14 in turnover margin. Not bad for a squad that puts up over 37.0 PPG.

Giving a clever head coach like Dave Clawson two touchdowns is a mistake. The Demon Deacons are 11-4 ATS the last 15 as a road ‘dog. The Tar Heels are 2-5 ATS the last seven following an ATS win. WAKE FOREST

Texas State at Georgia Southern -10: As long as you’re making money, it doesn’t matter if it’s with Georgia, Georgia Tech, or even Georgia Southern. This is a team that has won eight consecutive games at home SU, going 6-2 ATS. The Eagles, who own the nation’s 9th ranked rushing offense, will absolutely shred the Bobcats’ “D”  that is a dismal 88th vs. the run. Dual-threat quarterback Shai Werts and running back J.D. King will score at will.

Even a change at q and talenteduarterback last week couldn’t help Texas State from extending their losing streak to six straight. And it won’t matter here as GSU’s stingy defense allows just 19.1 PPG (19th). The Bobcats are 3-7 ATS the last 10 as a road ‘dog. The Eagles are 5-2 ATS the last seven in November. GEORGIA SOUTHERN

Army at Tulane -5: The Black Knights’ 6-1 record is impressive. Yeah, impressive on paper. They beat Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Monroe, Abilene Christian, The Citadel, Texas-San Antonio and Mercer. Not being an underdog in any of those outings and being a favorite of between 24 to 31 points in four of them. They stepped up in class just once this season and got stomped, 24-10, by Cincinnati.

Tulane, which has covered five of the last six, has faced much stronger opponents. Head coach Willie Fritz has won and covered the last three meetings in this series. Defensively, once again, the Green Wave owns a tough stop-unit against the run, yielding only 128.0 yards per game on the ground. Quarterback Michael Pratt and his tandem of 500-yards rushers, Stephon Huderson and Cameron Carroll possess the firepower to keep the Black Knights’ defense on the field and their offense off of it.

Army is 1-3-1 ATS the last five vs. the AAC, 2-5 ATS the last seven on the road, and 1-4 ATS the last five as a ‘dog. Tulane is 4-0 ATS the last four vs. Independents, 17-5 ATS the last 22 at home, and 11-3 ATS the last 14 as a favorite. TULANE

SMU +2.5 at Tulsa: SMU’s sole defeat this season came at the hands of the AAC’s top team, Cincinnati. Once again, the Mustangs possess an explosive offense accounting for over 40.5 PPG. The backfield of quarterback Shane Buechele (2,581 yards passing, 66.8% completion rate, 20 TDs,3 INTs) and running back Ulysses Bentley IV (774 yards rushing, 10 TDs) are also joined by one of college football’s top receiving corps (No. 13 in the nation).

Tulsa is no slouch. But they just don’t have the firepower to keep pace offensively here. Look for the Golden Hurricanes’ mistake-prone quarterback Zach Smith to continue his interception streak (at least one INT in every game thus far).

SMU is 5-2 ATS the last seven at Tulsa. Tulsa is 0-4 ATS the last four as a home favorite. SMU

Last week: 3-1

Season: 18-12

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