Hedge your bets with Scott: Football picks of the week

Scott Nies

The Denver Broncos’ 16-points against the Kansas City Chiefs were the only reason I did not go winless in my picks last week. Unfortunately, North Carolina State University forgot how to score, the Boise State University Broncos and Utah State University Aggies both remembered how to score and the Las Vegas Raiders disappointed me beyond repair. 

As my 4-8 record over the past three weeks indicates, I am not very good at sports betting … so far. Just because I’m struggling early in my career doesn’t mean I should be counted out entirely. To be as cliché as possible, I am merely experiencing a minor setback for a major comeback. 

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There will be three picks this week as well as one three-team parlay for NFL Sunday. In case you need a refresher; a parlay is a single bet that has multiple wagers within it, but in order for the bet to cash, every wager within the parlay must hit. 

Maybe with the resurgence of Colorado State football I will have Cam the Ram on my side for some good luck as we begin the latter half of football season. 

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.

College Football

Colorado State University Rams vs. Fresno State University Bulldogs

Spread: CSU -1.5 points, FSU +1.5 points
Moneyline: CSU -122, FSU +100
Over/Under: 59.5 points

Colorado State University will finally get a chance to showcase a new-look team under new head coach Steve Adazzio. Fresno State will be looking to change its own losing narrative after last week’s 34-19 loss against the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

From a statistical standpoint, there isn’t a whole lot to analyze; the Mountain West Conference is still just a budding flower this season as teams venture into week two of their conference games. Thus, we look to the past. History favors CSU in this one as the Rams have won the last three of their matchups.

But our very own Jack Taylor has brought up some significant points in his recent column previewing the game. Specifically, he illustrates the dangers of a run-centric Fresno offense highlighted by senior running back Ronnie Rivers. Rivers was a bright spot in Fresno’s loss last week, putting up 79 yards and a touchdown.

CSU has plenty of offensive weapons of their own. Even with the loss of star receiver Warren Jackson to the NFL draft, the Rams have wide receiver Dante Wright, running back Marcus McElroy Jr. and tight end Trey McBride.

McElroy should expect to see an increased workload, as the Rams may trend toward a rushing offense, but that won’t negate Wright or McBride as offensive options, especially considering their offensive output last year. All are looking to have a statement year under the new head coach, and big things are expected of them in their first chance to play this year.  

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Verdict: CSU Moneyline. Let’s be honest here: Myself and most of you reading this are members of the green and gold faithful, and more often than not, this is your team. Allegiance is a bigger factor of where you throw your money than the stats themselves. It just so happens, the stats seem to lean in favor of CSU in this one, which helps everyone’s case.

University of Nevada, Reno Wolfpack vs. University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels 

Spread: UNR -13.5 points, UNLV +13.5 points
Moneyline: UNR -560, UNLV +370
Over/Under: 60.5 points

Who doesn’t love a rivalry game? This one has some high stakes as the University of Nevada, Reno has not beaten University of Nevada, Las Vegas in two years. Although the game is being played on the Rebels’ home turf, they will have a steep hill to climb to challenge the Wolfpack. 

Last week UNLV only put up six points and 186 total yards of offense in a loss against San Diego State University. In contrast, UNR put up 37 points and 496 total yards of offense in an overtime win against the University of Wyoming. It should be noted that SDSU was a significantly better team than Wyoming last year, which may account for UNLV’s huge loss, but still, that point differential is concerning for UNLV. 

Verdict: UNR -7.5 points. Teams have a tendency to play up to their opponents in rivalry games, and I don’t think this one will be different, as UNLV should show significant improvement from last week. However, I trust the Wolfpack to win, but I don’t trust them to win by 13.5 points, which is why I am taking an alternate spread here. 

NFL Sunday

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos

Spread: Chargers -3, Broncos +3
Moneyline: Chargers -167, Broncos +148
Over/Under: 44.5

Both of these teams have 2-4 (0-1 conference) records, so this game will be vital for deciding who wears the label of last place in the American Football Conference West. 

When in doubt of a pick, look toward the offenses in conference games. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is putting up video game stats in his rookie season. Herbert has put up 1,542 passing yards in just five games. To compare, reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes has put up 1,899 passing yards in seven games

The Broncos and Chargers have both been giving up an average of a little over 25 points a game, but a silver lining for the Broncos defense is the 18 sacks they have acquired this season, five more than the Chargers

Verdict: Over 44.5 points. Even though both defenses aren’t doing horrifically, I think the offenses flourish in this game. Herbert is playing out of his mind, and Drew Lock could use this game as an opportunity to return to levels of offensive production he saw late last season. Also, if the Broncos covered the over in last week’s snow game, the expected sunny weather in Denver on Sunday should only help. 

NFL Sunday Parlay

Pittsburgh Steelers ML at +175, Philadelphia Eagles -8 points (point spread) at -110 (ML), Seattle Seahawks ML at -165. 

These three picks combine for odds of +759, which means if you bet $5 you win $42.95. Parlays are fun because, more often than not, you just throw a couple of bets together and pray to the gambling gods that your hunch is right, which is exactly what we will be doing for this one. 

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