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Hedge your bets with Scott: Football picks for the week

Last week I outlined some helpful terms for those of you who were interested in sports betting, and this week I’ll give you some of my picks. 

I am not an expert analyst or a gambling guru, and I definitely cannot promise any wins, but I am an avid sports fan that likes to procrastinate homework by filling my head with endless sports statistics. Sometimes this results in a couple of extra bucks and allows me to have a little more fun while watching games all weekend.


For this week’s picks, I have stuck to professional and collegiate football, notably leaving out the NBA Finals and the MLB postseason. Unfortunately, lines for those games are not offered far in advance like football, so they will not be taken into account for this week.

If you choose to follow me on some of the picks below, please know that lines are subject to change as betting trends leading up to the games may not reflect exactly what you see later in the week. That being said, you can always take an alternate spread to find what you are looking for if need be.

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. 

Thursday Night Football

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears:

Lines: Tampa Bay -3.5, O/U 44

ML: Tampa Bay -182, Chicago +160

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Chicago Bears at home this week for Thursday Night Football. Both teams will be a victim to a short rest this week, but that may spell trouble for the Bucs more than the Bears. Per the Bucs’ injury report, their top wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin did not participate in Monday’s practice. Head coach Bruce Arians indicated that Godwin is probably out for the Thursday game. 

The Bears’ defense is holding opposing teams to an average of 230.2 passing yards per game, and with a banged-up passing core, the Buccaneers’ offense could be in trouble.


Verdict: Bears +5.5. The Bears may lose, but they’ll keep it close enough to cover the spread against a Buc’s offense that should struggle on a short week.

College football

Texas Tech University vs. No. 24 Iowa State University:

Lines: Iowa State -12.5, O/U 64.5

ML: Iowa State -435, Texas Tech +330

The Iowa State Cyclones’ offense has been roaring, having scored 37 points in each of their last two games, and Texas Tech is boasting equally impressive numbers averaging 37.3 points a game this season.

These high-powered offenses have not been complemented well by their defenses. The Cyclones are giving up an average of 31.6 points a game and the Red Raiders are conceding an average of 42.3 points a game. This game just screams points, and if both teams get rolling early, it could be a very high-scoring affair.

Verdict: Over 65 points. Offenses will run rampant in this game.

Mississippi State University vs. University of Kentucky:

Lines: Kentucky -1.5, O/U 57.5

ML: Kentucky -130, Mississippi State +108

Mike Leach has experienced the highs and lows of college football in his first two weeks as the new Mississippi State University head coach after beating 2019-2020 college football champions, Louisiana State University and then losing to the University of Arkansas, giving them their first Southeastern Conference win since Oct. 28, 2017. Although on the road, Leach and quarterback K.J. Costello will look to bounce back against a winless Kentucky team, who is giving up an average of 276.5 passing yards per game.

Verdict: Mississippi State +110. Leach will inflict his “air raid” offense to good effect and drop Kentucky to 0-3 this season. 

No. 7 University of Miami vs. No. 1 Clemson University:

Lines: Clemson -14.5, O/U 63

ML: Clemson -625, Miami +450

It might be the turnover chain, it might be the incredible ESPN 30/30 documentary about the University of Miami, but I am a staunch supporter of the U.

For Miami and the Clemson University, this will be their first real test of the 2020 season, but I think the Hurricanes undoubtedly will rise to the occasion. This pick may come back to haunt me as all statistical evidence points toward Clemson, but I just think the swagger of Miami may come and surprise Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers more than they anticipate.

Verdict: Miami +14. I will probably end up betting the Miami ML at +450 in the seconds before the game as I convince myself they will win, but a safer guess would be Miami to cover the point spread.  

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

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