Hedge your bets with Scott: Football picks for the week

Scott Nies

Let’s start this week by addressing the elephant in the room: I went 1-3 last week. I was blindsided by the unpredictable nature of college football and was made out to look like an absolute fool. 

Thank you to the Chicago Bears for covering the point spread (+5.5) last week and allowing me to retain some form of dignity, as they were my only win of last week’s picks. No thanks whatsoever to Mike Leach and Mississippi State University for scoring only two points against a winless University of Kentucky — that one hurt. 

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But here I am for week 2. I am back, I am hungry for success and I am in dire need of winning a couple of bucks for beer money. 

After COVID-19 outbreaks within the Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots, all the picks for this week will be from either the college football slate on Friday or Saturday or the NFL games on Sunday. 

Sports betting has provided me with added levels of entertainment but only because I bet within my means. If you feel you need help, call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.

All betting lines listed are taken from the DraftKings sportsbook.

College Football

Southern Methodist University vs. Tulane University 

Lines: SMU -6.5, O/U 65 

ML: SMU -215, +170

SMU has not played since Oct. 3 when it beat the then ranked #25 University of Memphis. Tulane is coming off an 18-point loss to the University of Houston from last weekend. These two teams have an almost identical rushing offense. SMU’s lead rusher Ulysses Bentley IV has 412 yards for seven touchdowns on the season. Tulane’s lead rusher Cameron Carroll has 285 yards for seven touchdowns as well. 

Their passing offenses are a completely different story. Senior SMU quarterback Shane Buechele has thrown for 1,326 yards and 10 touchdowns this season whereas Tulane will be relying on freshman quarterback Michael Pratt to lead the offense in only his second career start this weekend. Pratt has had a successful start to his college career, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns over his first two games, but it is hard to see him getting past an undefeated SMU team that averages 44 points a game

Verdict: SMU -6. The Mustangs are hot right now, and I think this goes against the young Tulane quarterback. 

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Duke University vs. North Carolina State University 

Lines: NC State -4.5, O/U 59.5

ML: NC State, -190, Duke +155

NC State is coming off a three-game road trip for just their second home game of the year. Duke just got its first win of the season against Syracuse University. The evidence for this game is rooted in their shared opponents. It is important to note that, while both teams lost to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University by more than 15 points, Duke lost to the University of Virginia by 18 points and NC State beat UVA by 17 points. 

This game will come down to who can hold onto the ball. Somehow, Duke committed four turnovers last week against Syracuse and still won. Ultimately they have had 10 unrecovered fumbles and nine interceptions so far this year. In contrast, NC State has zero unrecovered fumbles and four interceptions this year. 

Verdict: NC State -4.5. If the Wolfpack can force some turnovers, which it appears the Blue Devils are very prone to, this should be their game to lose. 

NFL Sunday

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins

Lines: Dolphins -8, O/U 47.5 

ML: Dolphins -345, Jets +295

The Jets are arguably the worst team in the NFL right now. They are averaging just 15 points a game and are 0-2 on the road, averaging 12 points on the road. The Jets are second to last in the NFL for total offensive yards per game, with an average of only 279.4. To put that stat in context, only three teams in the NFL are under an average of 300 total offensive yards per game. 

The Dolphins, while averaging 27.2 points a game, are 0-2 at home and are averaging only 25.5 points at home.

Verdict: Under 47.5 points. This game is tough because with two bad teams, sometimes offenses can run rampant, but I just can’t wrap my head around this being a high scoring affair. 

Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Lines: Packers -1, O/U 54.5

Packers -124, Bucs +110

The Packers’ main wide receiver, Davante Adams, is still listed as questionable for this game, which could have huge implications. That being said, even without Adams, the Packers were able to put up 30 points last week in a win over the winless Atlanta Falcons. Aaron Rodgers has been putting up insane numbers, recording 1,214 passing yards and 13 touchdowns through the first four games, so it is fair to assume he can get it done with any wide receiver at his disposal. 

Tom Brady will be looking to rally the Bucs after a one-point loss to the Chicago Bears last week. Even though the Bucs had more passing, receiving and rushing yards than the Bears last week, they failed to consistently execute, which is what hurt them. 

Verdict: Packers -4.5. While it’s always questionable to bet against Brady, the Packers look good this year, even with Adams out. I think they will win, and if Rodgers continues being good at football, they win significantly which, is why I am taking an alternate spread. 

Scott Nies can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @scott_nies98.