Handicapping COVID hard work

This has been a very unique college football season because of the coronavirus, which has already caused multiple team COVID-19 outbreak situations and games to be canceled as a result.

Some of our GT readers may be wondering how do the cancellations impact a bettor and handicapper and how do we handicap those teams involved in the canceled games? It’s been frustrating at times for me because each week I spend a specific amount of time reading articles and handicapping each game. I’ve had several instances where I take time out to handicap a game only to find out later in the week it has been canceled and I’m left wishing I could get the time back I spent working on that game knowing that isn’t going to happen.

There is an impact on the teams that have games canceled as all team activities come to a halt during this process. Teams can’t even practice on the field while they have a fluid COVID-19 situation ongoing.

UL Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Georgia Southern and Kansas State among others have all had coronavirus outbreaks. These teams have seen their practice time cut short and it has affected their ability to adequately prepare and game plan for the next opponent.

The problems are compounded for teams with new coaches and new schemes/systems to implement on either side of the ball because having practice time and on-field activities suspended during an outbreak limits the time they can use to get their players up to speed with all the changes around them.

Make no mistake about it, canceled games due to COVID-19 outbreaks matter and you want to make sure you stay on top of them when they occur throughout the season.


South Carolina at Florida, Total 57.5: I was impressed with the Florida offense last week with QB Kyle Trask leading the Gators to a massive 51-point outburst, throwing for 6 TDs and over 400 passing yards against Ole Miss.

That’s trouble for South Carolina, which got gashed by a solid but not as explosive Tennessee offense last week in a 31-27 loss. The Florida defense wasn’t as impressive though as Ole Miss with a new coaching staff was able to move the football.

South Carolina has Colorado State transfer Collin Hill at QB and their new OC is Mike Bobo, who was with Hill at Colorado State and brings the same offense with him to South Carolina so continuity is there and we saw it on display last week. This game should feature plenty of points. OVER

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Missouri +11.5 at Tennessee: Missouri was up against it in its season opener suffering a 38-19 defeat to mighty Alabama. However, there were positives and things to like for the Tigers as TCU transfer QB Shawn Robinson was able to move the team with some success against the Crimson Tide.

Missouri’s defense struggled but they will be facing a Tennessee offense that isn’t as explosive here. The Tigers were only outgained by 92 yards and only by 1.7 yards per play in the game. The Vols escaped with a win against South Carolina last week but their defense was a bit leaky.

Tennessee is on a 2-6 ATS slide in its last eight games as a home favorite. I think Missouri hangs around in this one. MISSOURI

Memphis at SMU +2.5: The wrong team is favored in this game in my opinion. Memphis still has the chance to be a solid and competitive team but they aren’t as good as last year while SMU is better.

The Tigers have not played since Sept. 5 when they hosted Arkansas State due to a significant COVID-19 outbreak within the team with seven players testing positive. That’s a long layoff without playing, combined with having their practice schedule and routine altered.

SMU has an electrifying offense led by QB Shane Buechele. Their defense appears to be improving with each game. They should be in much better playing rhythm heading into this game and after losing to Memphis on a nationally televised Saturday night game last year, the incentive should be there for the Mustangs to earn some payback. SMU

Arkansas at Mississippi State, Total 69: Mississippi State sure looks like an Over team based on their first game against LSU. The offense was outstanding considering it was the first game of the Mike Leach era in Starkville with a new Air Raid offensive system being implemented and a new starting QB running the show in Stanford transfer K.J. Costello.

However, his experience showed as he moved the ball at will against LSU on the road. The defense struggled for the Bulldogs though and that unit appears to be a work in progress. Arkansas offense had a rough Saturday against an elite Georgia defense last week but they should be improved here with Florida transfer Feleipe Franks at QB for them bringing plenty of experience. I look for a shootout here in this SEC West battle. OVER

Last week: 1-1-1

Season: 5-3-1

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