Sometimes the biggest games on the boards aren't the most interesting from a gambling perspective. Our experts' best bets for Week 10 of college football all deal with the middle classes of major conferences.
Georgia Tech (-4.5) at North Carolina
Sat. 11/3, 12:15 p.m. ET
Pick: Georgia Tech -4.5
It’s an achievement that has gone a bit under the radar, but Georgia Tech has won three of its past four games and averaged 59.3 points per game in those victories. The Yellow Jackets’ single defeat in that stretch came against a Duke team that had only one loss entering the contest, so you can fairly say that Georgia Tech has been playing well as of late. Well, look for head coach Paul Johnson’s team to keep rolling this week.
The Yellow Jackets couldn’t possibly have a better matchup, as the Tar Heels are the lousiest team in the ACC this season. North Carolina’s only win of the year was a 38-35 win over mediocre Pittsburgh in the team’s home opener. This team also happens to have an atrocious rushing defense, which is going to make things pretty difficult against Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense. The Tar Heels are allowing 191.3 rushing yards per game this season, which is more than only 30 teams in FBS. That means that the Yellow Jackets should be able to run all over them in this game, and that’ll be the case whether it’s TaQuon Marshall or Tobias Oliver at quarterback. Georgia Tech did just that in last year’s 33-7 win over North Carolina as a 10-point home favorite, and the team will do it again on its way to its seventh win and cover in 10 games against the Tar Heels. — Zachary Cohen
Florida State at NC State (-7)
Sat. 11/3, 3:30 p.m. ET
Pick: NC State -7
After Florida State’s 59-10 home loss to Clemson last weekend, head coach Willie Taggart couldn’t hold it in any longer. He described some of his players as having quit on the team, then gave a further indictment on the state of the program when he looked to its future. "You know, find the winners on your team and make sure when you're out recruiting,” said Taggart of what the Seminoles need to do. “Make sure you're recruiting winners. That's really important. You can't just recruit off the Internet. You have to make sure you do your work and get the right kind of people here."
Does this sound like a team prepared to go on the road and hang with another high-powered ACC offense? At 4-4, the ‘Noles are simply playing out the string; NC State, meanwhile, is continuing to find ways to put up points. Kelvin Harmon hauled in 247 yards and two scores in a 51-41 loss at Syracuse, while quarterback Ryan Finley threw for nearly 500 yards. Despite now riding a two-game losing streak, the Wolfpack get to head home, where it has already posted impressive straight-up wins against Boston College and Virginia. There is plenty of talent in Raleigh, where Florida State has lost its last six games against the spread. — Ed McGrogan
Kansas State at TCU (-8)
Sat. 11/3, 3:30 p.m. ET
Pick: Kansas State +8
While Kansas State enters this game off a 37-point loss and TCU comes into this one off a one-point loss, a case could be made that the Horned Frogs’ defeat was far worse. That’s because while K-State was clearly overmatched in a road loss to a top-10 opponent at Oklahoma, TCU handed lowly Kansas its first victory against a Big 12 opponent since 2016. The Horned Frogs had driven inside the Jayhawks’ 10-yard line with a little more than a minute remaining before running back Darius Anderson took a handoff and bumped into the backside of offensive lineman Ian Burnette. The ball popped onto the turf and into the arms of a Kansas defender, conjuring up memories of the infamous butt fumble to which Mark Sanchez treated our nation six Thanksgivings ago.
The proverbial wheels appear to be coming off at TCU. The Horned Frogs enter November having gone 1-5 straight up and 0-5-1 against the spread since mid-September, and the loss at Kansas was one of three TCU straight-up defeats as a favorite over that stretch. FBS favorites of between 3.5 and 10 points are 5-13 against the spread in November games since the start of 2009 when coming off an upset loss as a road favorite of seven or more points. TCU’s 2-17 ATS record in games played on a grass field since the start of the 2016 season includes a 2-15 ATS mark at home.
Kansas State, meanwhile, is 11-4 against the spread since 2011 in road games played after Halloween. The Wildcats are 15-3-1 against the spread under legendary head coach Bill Snyder when coming off a double-digit loss to a conference opponent, and they’re 10-1 against the spread under Snyder when coming off a loss by 17 or more points. Expect a similar bounce back in this spot, and don’t be surprised if K-State wins this one outright. — Scott Gramling
Colorado at Arizona (-4)
Sat. 11/3, 10:30 p.m. ET
Pick: Colorado +4
Arizona picked up by far its most impressive win of the season this past Saturday, clocking Oregon 44-15 at home to snap a two-game losing streak. Colorado, meanwhile, suffered its worst loss of the year, falling 41-34 to the lowly Oregon State Beavers in overtime after leading by as many as 28 points in the second half. But with the Wildcats and Buffaloes at their absolute highest and lowest points of their respective seasons, there's some recency bias coming from both directions into this week's matchup between the two teams.
Last year, Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate ran wild for 327 rushing yards in a three-point win in Boulder, an FBS record for a quarterback. This year, it's safe to say he won't repeat that performance. Tate hasn't run for more than 40 yards in a game this season while struggling through injuries, and while he threw three touchdowns against Oregon last week, he also threw an interception and averaged only 5.7 yards per passing attempt. Meanwhile, Colorado's Steven Montez is quietly fourth in the Pac-12 in passer rating this season, and is the only QB in the conference with two 500-yard receivers at his disposal in K.D. Nixon and Laviska Shenault. Shenault was arguably having the best season of any wideout in the nation before missing Colorado's last two games with injuries. There's a good chance he could return in this one, and he'll change the entire gravity of the Wildcats defense if he does.
While there aren't many silver linings to be found in a loss to Oregon State, Colorado's offensive success in that defeat may bode well for its chances in Tucson. Over the last five seasons, road teams averaging between 5.6 and 6.2 yards per play on the season that gained at least 525 total yards in their previous game are 34-8 against the spread when playing a defense allowing between 4.8 and 5.6 yards per play. — Sam Chase