“Buy the Numbers” is a column by Michael Loy about professional betting.
The column title might have changed, but the premise is still the same. This week, we’re looking at numbers within college football betting.
Week 7 of college football features three ranked matchups and multiple games positioned for a primetime upset.
Let’s dive into the numbers of the five most interesting games this week.
Game 1: No. 9 Notre Dame vs. USC, Saturday, Oct. 12 @ 4:30 PM
Favorite: Notre Dame (-11)
I might be a homer, but USC has a legitimate chance of playing to Notre Dame’s weaknesses this weekend. In Notre Dame’s one loss to then-No. 3 Georgia earlier this year, Georgia dominated the ground game and recorded 10 more minutes on offense than Notre Dame. Notre Dame also trailed at halftime in a recent victory over then-No. 18 Virginia.
USC tends to develop the ground game early on in its games. However, if USC falls behind and lets Notre Dame control time on possession, this game can look ugly in a hurry. With USC quarterback Kedon Slovis looking ready to return on Saturday, I believe the Trojans have a chance to keep the game close in the fourth quarter. Take the 11 points and hope Notre Dame doesn’t score a late-game garbage time touchdown.
Prediction: USC (+11)
Game 2: No. 6 Oklahoma vs No. 11 Texas, Saturday, Oct. 12 @ 9:00 AM
Favorite: Oklahoma (-10.5)
This is Jalen Hurts’ world and everyone’s a witness. With 14 passing touchdowns, seven rushing touchdowns and only two interceptions throughout the first five games, Hurts’ performance so far is Heisman worthy. Texas will be Hurts’ biggest test; the Sooners haven’t played a ranked opponent yet this season.
Even though Hurts has looked like superman through the first few games, the Red River Rivalry always ends in a close game. Five of the last six showdowns were decided by seven points or fewer, with Oklahoma winning four.
Despite recent close matches, a good analog for this game would be the 2011 matchup when No. 3 Oklahoma took down No. 11 Texas 55-17 behind quarterback Landry Jones’ 367 yards and three touchdowns. Look for Hurts to continue his season domination in the Cotton Bowl.
Prediction: Oklahoma (-10.5)
Game 3: No. 17 Iowa vs. No. 10 Penn State, Saturday, Oct. 12 @ 4:30 PM
Favorite: Penn State (-5)
Iowa’s coming off of a classic Big-10 loss to Michigan last weekend in a riveting 10-3 match. This match was not a pretty sight to see, as Iowa had triple the number of turnovers (three) than total rushing yards (one).
However, Iowa fans have faith in the phrase, “Kinnick after Dark.” In an analysis of games played at Kinnick Stadium after nightfall, Iowa shocked top-ranked opponents multiple times in its home stadium. In addition, Iowa still has senior Nate Stanley under center, and he’s posted a career-high 61.9% completion rate through the season’s first five games. Iowa will likely shake off last week’s catastrophe and defeat Penn State in the nighttime.
Prediction: Iowa (+5) & Iowa Moneyline (+165)
Game 4: No. 5 LSU vs. No. 7 Florida, Saturday, Oct. 12 @ 5:00 PM
Favorite: LSU (-13)
A 13-point spread for a matchup between two top-10 ranked teams shows that bettors don’t trust Florida’s high ranking. Last week, the Gators took down then-No. 7 Auburn in a 24-13 defensive battle. The Gators are fueled by their defense; they have only allowed an average of 9.5 points per game in the team’s first six games. Granted, two of those games were shutouts against FCS teams, and another was against struggling Tennessee.
The Gators’ strength of schedule ranks No. 1 in the country, and their game against LSU will be Florida’s second-straight ESPN College Gameday match.
LSU is a mirror image of Florida, averaging 54.6 points per game and allowing 19.8 points per game. If Florida can control the tempo of the game and quiet the crowd at Tiger Stadium, then this game can be a prime candidate for an upset. However, if LSU quarterback Joe Burrow continues to utilize the air-raid offense to his advantage, this game can tilt towards the Tigers quickly. LSU’s offense will overpower the Gators’ defense behind the home crowd.
Prediction: LSU (-13)
Game 5: Arizona vs. Washington, Saturday, Oct. 12 @ 8:00 PM
Favorite: Washington (-6.5)
After being ranked as high as No. 14 earlier in the season, Washington has dropped out of the AP top-25 following a loss to unranked Stanford. The Huskies are now tied for second to last in the Pac-12 North. Washington’s passing struggles have been the result of the team’s two losses this season; junior quarterback Jacob Eason put up a combined one passing touchdown with two interceptions in the Huskies’ losses.
On the other hand, the Arizona Wildcats are at the top of the Pac-12 South, but their wins have not been impressive. A five-point win over Colorado and a three-point win over UCLA aren’t impressing anyone, but this weekend’s matchup will prove whether Arizona is a legitimate Pac-12 contender. Arizona senior quarterback Khalil Tate finally looks impressive again after struggling for the majority of the last two years.
Arizona’s defense isn’t as strong as Stanford’s or Cal’s, so Washington will have an easier time moving the ball against the Wildcats. Eason will improve as the Huskies roll over the Wildcats in a night game in Tucson.
Prediction: Washington (-6.5)
Overall “Buy the Numbers” prediction record: 0-0
His column “Buy the Numbers” runs every Tuesday.