Florida @ Mississippi St. (-7, 51): This sets up to be a solid bounce back spot for the home team, Miss State. I expect them to be angry and focused.
On the other side, I’m not sold on Florida being able to step up in class here on the road. The Gators only outgained Colorado State and Tennessee by a combined 46 yards despite winning those games by a combined score of 95-31.
The Gators absolutely feasted on turnovers and special teams/defensive scores to achieve those margins of victory but the offense remains a problem as QB Feleipe Franks continues to struggle with throwing the football, completing barely 50 percent of his passes.
The Gators defense has also had trouble against the better offenses they’ve played including Kentucky who both these teams have in common as a team that defeated them. I still view Mississippi State as the superior team and I’m not going to downgrade them just because of last week’s loss. And, because of it, we get a better and cheaper price to back them here at home. I’ll lay the TD here with the Bulldogs. MISS ST.
Stanford @ Notre Dame (-5, 54): My thought process coming into the season in terms of the Stanford Cardinal was to take a proactive approach and look for this team to play some higher scoring games and be a solid Over the total team on a weekly basis.
It hasn’t played out that way so far this season, until last week when Stanford’s comeback win in OT against Oregon by a score of 38-31 flew Over the total.
Stanford has one of the more balanced offenses in the country between Heisman candidate Bryce Love at RB and QB K.J. Costello along with a solid group of receivers in the passing game.
Notre Dame’s offense sputtered in their first three games, which led to head coach Brian Kelly making a QB switch prior to last week’s matchup against Wake Forest. The move paid off for the Irish as Ian Book at QB in his first start was terrific replacing Brandon Wimbush. Book completed 25-of-34 passes for 325 yards through the air along with a pair of TD’s.
Stanford’s secondary got shredded by Oregon QB Justin Herbert last week and one would figure Book should be able to make some plays in the passing game here against this Stanford defense, which could also suffer from some fatigue after being on the field for 82 snaps in last week’s game.
On the flip side, Notre Dame’s defense has been very good so far but I think Stanford’s effective run/pass balance will be able to do some damage and help send this OVER.
Virginia @ NC State (-6, 53): One of the winners I had in last week’s column was Marshall/NC State Over the total and I’ll be looking at a similar wager this week involving NC State as they host Virginia in ACC action.
The Wolfpack have a very experienced and dynamic offense led by QB Ryan Findley, who is firmly comfortable running this group along with offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz. They were together at Boise State before going to Raleigh. They have scored 37-plus points in B2B games against Marshall and Georgia State.
It won’t be as easy here against what has been a solid UVA defense but the Wolfpack have too talented an offensive group with senior QB in Findley, solid RB in Reggie Gallaspy Jr. and a very talented receiving corps to expect them to be shut down completely.
However, I like Virginia’s offense to be successful moving the football against an NC State defense that, as I stated last week, lost plenty of personnel from last year’s squad on that side of the football.
Virginia has their own confident dual threat QB in Bryce Perkins who has 9 TD’s and just 2 INT’s while completing 65.7 percent of his passes, and he’s also accounted for 317 rushing yards on the ground in four games.
Virginia dominated Louisville in impressive fashion last week, rolling to a 27-3 home win and the Cavs enter this game with confidence. I view them as the superior defensive squad as well.
Virginia is 4-0 ATS this season, which illustrates they have been an undervalued pointspread commodity from day one. VIRGINIA & OVER
Last week: 3-1