Folks, we’ve reached the last full week of the CFB season. Rivalry week is upon us, and the only thing standing between us and Bowl Season is Conference Championship week. You could make the argument that these next 6 weeks is the best stretch of sports in the calendar year. Some massive CFB games, NFL still rolling every Sunday, NCAABB early season tournaments, NBA getting into full swing. Let’s keep stacking units so we can add a couple of presents for you and yours under the Christmas tree. Per usual we’ve cooked up some winners that will taste even better than the finest fried turkey, enjoy.
Q’s Best Bets (10-15 Overall)
Penn State @ Michigan State – Saturday, 11/27 (3:30 PM EST)
Pick: Michigan State +6 (line adjusted before kickoff upon the announcement of a flu outbreak in Michigan State’s locker room affecting 8 different starters)
So, Sparty ended up letting me down last week… to put it nicely. While the Spartans postseason dreams have absolutely come to an end, this team (and a certain individual) still has something to fight for. Michigan State is one game away from their best conference finish since 2017, Kenneth Walker is still in the Heisman conversation (despite a porous performance against Ohio State last week) and Michigan State’s defense will almost certainly be out for blood after letting up 56 points to the Buckeyes. Penn State has been inconsistent for the back half of the year, their offense has struggled to put up points all season and Michigan State (despite their recent struggles) has quite a few offensive weapons in Walker, Thorne, Reed and Nailor. Mel Tucker has had the Spartans fired up all season and a win against the Nittany Lions this week could mean a New Year’s Six Bowl game. I’m keeping the faith in this Cinderella team and backing the Spartans by a field goal in a close bounce back victory in East Lansing.
Iowa @ Nebraska/Cincinnati @ ECU
Pick: 7 Point Teaser: Iowa +10.5, ECU +21.5 (-130 odds)
Betting against Cincy under pressure and on the Hawkeyes against seemingly comparable competition, at my own risk.
Iowa started the year out hot but had their CFP hopes dashed after back to back losses to Purdue and Wisconsin. Since then they’ve gone back to the basics of Hawkeye football, pounding the ball and relying heavily on big boy defense. If Iowa can pull off a win this weekend then they’re very much still in the Big 10 Conference Championship conversation. That task became even easier with the recent announcement that Nebraska’s QB Adrian Martinez will be out for the game with a shoulder injury. I’m taking the Hawkeyes to win this one outright so 10.5 points is too good to pass up.
I know what you’re thinking… this guy is shorting Cincy AGAIN? Yep, I’m doing just that. The Bearcats are currently holding the weight of history on their backs, attempting to become the first non Power 5 conference team to ever make the College Football Playoffs. That’s quite a bit of pressure for a team that’s only gone undefeated once in school history. ECU is a deceivingly hostile environment to play in (especially involving high stakes), their run game is actually pretty solid and the Pirates are 5-1 against the spread this year as underdogs. Oh, and ECU actually leads this overall series at 13-11. Not saying the Pirates will win this one outright, but I definitely expect them to make this a game.
UNC @ NC State/Oregon State @ Oregon
Pick: 7 Point Teaser: UNC +14, Oregon EVEN (-130 odds)
This UNC/NC State matchup had ironically different expectations at the beginning of the season. The Tarheels were a preseason top 10 team and a popular underdog to win the ACC while not too many people gave NC State a chance to accomplish much of anything. These two teams ended up having very different seasons but I would argue that their records are deceiving. UNC has lost numerous nail biters this year but they’ve played well against ranked competition for the most part, most recently knocking off undefeated Wake Forest at the time, and they’re still well coached with a future NFL play caller under center in Sam Howell. NC State is super overrated, they’ve barely played any ranked teams all season and they got lucky against a struggling Clemson squad early on in the year. The only thing that can ease the pain of a disappointing season is upsetting your rival in their own house and I absolutely suspect that could be the case for this Mack Brown led squad Friday night. Add two touchdowns to the spread and it’s a no brainer.
This Oregon pick is pretty simple. Oregon State is suspect at best and Oregon is loaded with way more talent (two words, Kayvon Thibodeaux) and an opportunity to clinch the PAC 12 North this weekend at home. Oregon will be looking to bounce back from a 38-7 throttling at the hands of Utah last week which should give them some motivation to prove their worth against an inferior Beavers squad. Let’s not forget, this Oregon team beat Ohio State earlier this year (led by Heisman front runner CJ Stroud).
DPJ’s Best Bets (12-10-1 Overall)
Ohio State @ Michigan/Wisconsin @ Minnesota
Pick: 6 Point Teaser: Ohio State -2, Wisconsin -1 (-110 odds)
If you have followed my last couple weeks of picks, you should know that I’ve had this OSU game circled. I picked Michigan the last two weeks knowing they would roll their way through Penn State and Maryland just to get their asses handed to them by the Buckeyes. Well guess what? That ass whooping has arrived, and it’s time to ride CJ Stroud to the promised land. I don’t hate the -8 straight up for OSU but I absolutely love it in a teaser in case of any backdoor shenanigans. When in doubt, bet against Harbaugh in the big game. Michigan simply doesn’t have enough offense to keep up with OSU.
Wisconsin is another team that I’ve been keeping my eye on for several weeks. They are now squarely in position to make it to the Big 12 Championship game and get hosed by OSU, just like Michigan. All that is left on the table for Wisco is to clean up against Minnesota and then they are on to Indianapolis. Minnesota has been beating up on some bad teams giving the appearance that they are decent but this offense is simply gonna get shut down by the Badgers. If the total is under 40 points, as this one is, you ride Wisconsin.
Best of the Best Bets – DPJ & Q approved (9-10 Overall)
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State – Saturday, 11/27 (7:30 PM EST)
Pick: Oklahoma State -3.5
If I told you that the Bedlam Series has a total under 50 points you would think I was a mad man. Well the Cowboys defense is really that good, and this Sooners team has just not looked like themselves this year. Caleb Williams has been the lone bright spot for Oklahoma after taking the reigns from Spencer Rattler but he has not faced a defense nearly as good as this OK State team. Good luck throwing or running on these Cowboys, they are allowing just 85 yds per game on the ground (13th best in the country) and just 182 yds through the air (34th in the country). That reads like an SEC defense playing in the Big 12, and we’ve seen how Lincoln Riley’s offense looks against good defenses in the CFP before. This should be a fun game but I like the Cowboys to control the run game and squeeze time of possession out of the Sooners. TD+ victory feels more than plausible. – DPJ
Other Action (8-10 Overall)
Pittsburgh @ Syracuse: Pittsburgh -13
Ole Miss @ Mississippi State: Ole Miss +3
BYU @ USC: BYU -6.5
Risky Business (4-15 Overall)
3 Team – 7 Point Teaser (+130 odds): Nebraska +9, Arkansas -7, Utah -16
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