Northwestern real deal

We enter the Thanksgiving holiday week of college football with several teams, including Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Northwestern, Marshall, BYU, Nevada, Coastal Carolina and Alabama remain unbeaten. 

I excluded the teams in the MAC and Pac-12 that are unbeaten since those teams have only played two or three games at most. Those nine undefeated teams I mentioned have a combined 41-17-3 ATS record this season for a 71% cover rate. 

I used to believe in the theory that it’s difficult to make money with the best teams in college football because they get power rated like great teams and tend to be overvalued. But we are seeing clear examples of the betting markets not catching up to how good these undefeated teams are, especially the teams from outside the power five conferences. 

Against the spread, Cincinnati is 5-3, Marshall is 5-2, BYU is 6-2-1, Nevada is 4-1 and Coastal Carolina is 6-1-1. Northwestern is the undefeated team with the best point spread record from the power five conferences as the Wildcats are 4-0-1 ATS to go along with their perfect 5-0 straight up mark. 

I think Northwestern has the best chance to maintain their winning ways moving forward from a point spread perspective. The Wildcats aren’t loaded with four- and five-star recruits and they don’t get the national TV and media recognition and attention that many of the other undefeated teams do. Northwestern is a well-coached, disciplined football team that does all the little things right. They rarely turn the football over, they play great defense and they have a balanced attack on offense between the run and pass. 

Northwestern is laying -13.5 against Michigan State on Saturday and yes, the spot is dubious for the Wildcats coming off a big home win against Wisconsin. But the Spartans look terrible on offense this season and letdown spots have not been as strong as we see in normal seasons. Notre Dame didn’t suffer a letdown after beating Clemson as they dominated Boston College in their next game. Nor did Florida after beating Georgia as they rolled to a blowout win against Arkansas. 

I think Northwestern can win that game comfortably and continue to be a very good money-making team for their backers throughout the remainder of the season. 

Friday

UCF -25 at South Florida: UCF is off a tough loss against Cincinnati while South Florida enters this “War On I-4” rivalry game after a bye week. Yet I still like UCF to roll in this game. 

South Florida’s defense is hideous and they just allowed 56 points to Houston in their most recent game. UCF may see QB McKenzie Milton make his long awaited and amazing return from a nearly career threatening injury which should fire up the team even more. Central Florida has won the last two meetings against South Florida by 27+ points and I expect a similar result here. UCF 

Notre Dame at North Carolina, Total 67: This game should be filled with offensive fireworks on both sides. 

The Notre Dame offense has taken off in recent weeks as the Fighting Irish and QB Ian Book have looked unstoppable scoring 31+ points in four straight games and 40+ in two straight against Clemson and Boston College. 

North Carolina’s defense has allowed 44+ points in two of their last three games but their offense, led by QB Sam Howell. has been dynamic putting up 48, 41, 56 and 59 points in their last four games. This game should soar over the total. OVER 

Saturday

San Jose State +11 at Boise State: San Jose State, another undefeated team, is 4-0 SU, 3-0-1 ATS this season as head coach Brent Brennan has done a terrific job bringing this program back from the gutter. 

The Spartans have a veteran QB in Arkansas/Texas A&M transfer Nick Starkel and a defense that has gotten significantly better this season. They will be tested by QB Hank Bachmeier and a very good Boise State offense that just piled up 40 points in a win over Hawaii.

San Jose State is 2-0 ATS in the last two meetings against Boise State since 2018 and the Spartans were a combined +1 in total yardage in those games making this point spread look a little too high on the favorite. SAN JOSE STATE 

Auburn at Alabama, Total 62.5: Alabama has scored at least 41 points in six straight games and it’s fair to expect this potent Crimson Tide offense will exceed that mark here against Auburn in the Iron Bowl. 

Auburn hasn’t faced a truly elite offense yet this season and their defense is primed to struggle in this game. On the flip side, Auburn’s offense is showing steady signs of improvement in the last three games, scoring 30+ points in each contest and I don’t expect Alabama to completely shut them down, even though their defense has improved. 

The last two Iron Bowl meetings in 2018 and 2019 had 73 and 93 total points scored. Expect another high-scoring affair here. OVER 

Last week: 1-1

Season: 15-22-1