The VSiN college football expert dives into some betting angles for four games on Saturday’s slate.
LSU at Mississippi (-9.5, 75.5)
With Ed Orgeron officially out at the end of the year, it’s hard to know just exactly how LSU will respond. LSU suddenly found a running game against Florida — one that has been missing all season — and racked up 321 rushing yards in the 49-42 win over the Gators. The Tigers closed as 13-point underdogs. Ole Miss played a bizarre football game against Tennessee that included questionable officiating along with thrown golf balls, bottles, beer cans and everything Vols fans could find. Still, Ole Miss prevailed. One thing to watch this week is the status of QB Matt Corral. The Heisman co-favorite (currently 2/1) took a lot of shots and appeared to be banged up near the end of the game. If he can’t run the way he has — which has become a huge part of the Ole Miss offense — that could change the outlook on this game quite a bit.
Clemson at Pittsburgh (-3, 48.5)
This is not a spread I expected to see before the season, but here we are. Pitt QB Kenny Pickett has been sensational, the Panthers look like a pretty decent football team, and they’ll be playing Clemson at the right time. Outside of the loss to Western Michigan, which feels like an outlier, Pitt has been solid. The Panthers easily covered the 6.5-point spread at Virginia Tech, and they will now try to stay hot against the Tigers. Yes, Clemson beat Syracuse. Well, Syracuse beat Syracuse with terrible clock management. And as we enter the meat of the season, Clemson’s offense is still a bit of a mess. Nothing cute or fancy. It just feels as if Pitt is better, and I don’t trust the Tigers at this point.
Oregon at UCLA (-2, 60)
The Chip Kelly Bowl is actually fascinating this year. Both teams were red-hot at the start of the year and have since cooled down. With Oregon, the injuries and the inconsistencies seem to be mounting since beating Ohio State. The Ducks beat Cal last week, although they fell well short of covering the 13.5-point spread and are 0-3 ATS in their last three. UCLA has recovered nicely since being blown out by Arizona State, and Saturday’s win at Washington as a small underdog was a good one. That momentum feels like the opposite of what Oregon has cooking, and playing at home certainly helps the Bruins plenty. I don’t like what I’ve seen out of the Ducks lately at all, and at some point it’s going to result in another loss. This feels like a good spot for it.
Oklahoma State at Iowa State (-7, 47)
Two early losses pushed the Cyclones out of the spotlight after an offseason of hype, although they looked a lot more polished at Kansas State on Saturday. Still, this point spread will surprise some. Oklahoma State is coming off its biggest win of the year — a thrilling 32-24 win at Texas. The Pokes closed as 3.5-point underdogs in that game, and the victory boosted them to No. 9 in the AP poll. Still, Mike Gundy’s team will be getting points in a tough environment. I actually like both defenses quite a bit in this spot, and the early lean might be the Under. I’ll also be honest with you: I still don’t know how good OK State is two months into the season. This is another fine measuring stick.