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Every Friday during the college football season, theScore's sports betting writers release their best bets for the week. Each member has been given a fictitious $1,000 bankroll to manage throughout the season. If you decide to follow any of the picks, please gamble responsibly.
All lines are courtesy of theScore Bet as of Friday morning.
Season record: 8-7-1, $0
When are the markets going to adjust for Baylor? The program is performing similarly to Iowa State. (The Bears are No. 26 in offensive SP+ and No. 30 in defensive SP+; Iowa State is No. 26 and No. 20, respectively.) Yet, these totals continue to be released as if the team is still running at a breakneck pace with no defense, a la the Art Briles days. The Bears are surely efficient, averaging 6.8 yards per play, but the offense is No. 105 in the nation in plays per game, down from 80.2 last season.
Head coach Matt Rhule doesn’t like to get into shootouts, and I doubt anything changes this weekend against Texas Tech, which caught lightning in a bottle last week in its win over Oklahoma State. Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells was underwhelming offensively to start his tenure in Lubbock; I don’t trust him and his backup quarterback to pull another rabbit out of their hats against an elite defense.
Pick: Under 58 ($50)
Season record: 5-7-1, -$204
Texas Tech beating Oklahoma State last week is exactly what I was hoping for. The Red Raiders benefited from Mike Gundy's poor against-the-spread record as a favorite, but this is still a team with a lot of holes, including a tackling problem on defense and a real difficulty performing away from home. Baylor plays such impressive football on both sides of the ball and remains one of the most underrated and balanced teams in the country. The Bears will roll Texas Tech on Saturday night at McLane Stadium.
Pick: Baylor -11 ($70)
If this line doesn't shout, "Bet Florida, please," I don't know what does. A tight SEC clash between the nation's fifth- and seventh-ranked teams, both undefeated, and LSU is laying nearly two touchdowns? The Gators haven't allowed more than 21 points in a game this season, twice shutting out their opponents. Yeah, Florida's defense is great, but Joe Burrow is better. Lay the points.
Pick: LSU -13.5 ($50)
Miami seemed rejuvenated when N’Kosi Perry took over in the loss against lowly Virginia Tech, as the quarterback threw for 422 yards and four touchdowns off the bench. At home, in a desperate bounce-back spot, he steps up and sparks the offense as the Hurricanes avoid falling behind early en route to an ... upset?
Pick: Miami -2 ($30)
Season record: 2-12-1, -$330
Two top-15 defenses meet this week in Ames, as the Hawkeyes return home after an ugly loss to a reeling Michigan team. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is 23-9-2 ATS when returning home after a road loss, with a 10-5 record to the under in the last 10 years.
Penn State has shined in recent weeks but could struggle Saturday in its toughest defensive test. Since James Franklin took over in 2014, the Nittany Lions are 0-15-1 ATS against Big Ten teams when scoring 21 points or fewer and 22-5-3 ATS when scoring over three touchdowns. Expect a defensive battle in this one.
Picks: Iowa -3.5 ($25), under 41.5 ($25)
This line crept toward USC with news that quarterback Kedon Slovis would return. It won't matter. The Irish defense is better than anything Slovis has seen, and Trojans head coach Clay Helton is 1-9 ATS as a road 'dog. Notre Dame wins big.
Pick: Notre Dame -11 ($25)
Season record: 3-8-1, -$336
Let me start by saying that after going 0-3 last week, my CFB best bets have been an absolute joke. No excuses. I've disgraced myself and anyone related to me. If you follow my NFL best bets (5-1) and fade my college plays, you are 13-4-1 on the season. That's my advice. Take my NFL plays and fade my college bets until I turn things around.
Someone told me I'm picking too many under-the-radar games and I should just take Alabama. Sold. It just so happens that I love the Tide in this spot. Alabama is coming off a bye and gets a vastly overrated Texas A&M team. Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond has struggled this season and I expect a rested Bama defense to eat him up Saturday. The trends favor A&M at home and I typically don't lay 17 on the road but will do it here. Oddsmakers are still giving the Aggies too much respect.
Pick: Alabama -17 ($50)
It feels like Iowa wins this game at home every season. The Hawkeyes are coming off a bad offensive performance and face a red-hot Penn State team. This has the makings of another ugly, low-scoring game in Iowa City. Iowa is 12-5 ATS in its last 17 home games. Give me the Hawkeyes catching over a field goal at home. I see Cowart is also on Iowa this week, making Penn State the bet of the decade.
Pick: Iowa +3.5 ($50)
I really like the over 59 with USC getting Slovis back from a concussion. Matt Fink led the Trojans to an upset over Utah but Slovis is the more talented quarterback and should ignite USC's passing game. Notre Dame will have little trouble moving the ball against a Trojans defense allowing 411 yards and 25 points per game. The over is 4-1 the last five meetings. I like that trend to continue Saturday.
Pick: Over 59