This week’s college football slate was cleared for a definitive blockbuster: No. 1 Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia. While that’s the big looming game on the schedule, I’m looking elsewhere for my College Football Week 10 picks and best bets. Instead, I want to pick on a familiar team, the Virginia Cavaliers, and an artificially-top 10 LSU.
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College Football Week 10 Picks, Best Bets
To place a bet on any of the games below, click on their odds in the tables.
North Carolina at Virginia
Virginia has been one of my favorite teams to pick on this season because of how truly dismal their offense is. It seems every week they sink to a new low, only lucking out against equally-disastrous teams for an occasional win. This week, they host Drake Maye and the North Carolina Tar Heels– an offense and QB firing on every cylinder imaginable.
Against FBS teams ranked below 90th in points per drive, Virginia has an average scoring margin of +2.3 points and has a 2-1 record. Against teams ranked 90th or better, that scoring margin drops to -15.25 and the Cavs are 0-4.
Spotting UNC– who is 11th in points per drive and yards per play– just 7.5 points on the road is pretty silly. The Heels defense got off to a historically terrible start, but they’ve improved over the last few weeks to play competently enough to reach 7-1 on the season. My aggregate power ratings favor UNC by 9.8 points on the road and Scott Stadium leaves a lot to be desired in terms of home field advantage.
UVA is a dreadful 95th in yards per play and has been completely non competitive against teams with a pulse. Recent games involving Virginia include: a 4OT 14-12 loss which included zero touchdowns by either team, a 16-9 win over Georgia Tech with 16 punts and comical turnovers, and a blowout loss to Louisville sans Malik Cunningham.
This team is unfathomably bad and North Carolina is a top-20 team. Don’t overthink it.
- Brett’s Bet: North Carolina -7.5 (-108), placed Nov. 1 at FanDuel Sportsbook
- Best Available Number: North Carolina
Army Vs. Air Force
Is this a system play? Sorta.
We know about the triple option by now– it’s a slowly-paced offense built around grinding out four yards a rush and beating your opponent into submission. When countered with a defense whose team runs the triple option, it turns into a stalemate played between the 30s.
Last season, Army and Air Force played the inaugural Commander’s Classic at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, and it’s back this season. I was fortunate enough to see the game and its tradition in person. I was also fortunate enough to see a 21-14 overtime finish that featured 11 fourth-quarter points from Air Force and a 0-0 halftime tie. In that game, Haaziq Daniels attempted 22 passes for Air Force.
Running it back, it’s more of the same. Methodical offenses that look to exploit one single weakness by the other. They both defend the triple option extremely well, regardless of outside record. When it comes to service academy-only games, you have to throw out most of what these teams do against other opponents.
I’m betting on the 10:30 a.m. local start and what I’ve seen these offensive systems have done for years. An average 20 points from each team is asking for a lot.
- Brett’s Bet: UNDER 40 (-107), placed Nov. 1 at PointsBet
- Best Available Number: Under ()
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Alabama at LSU
Don’t get it twisted– the only system which views LSU as a top-10 team is the College Football Playoff Committee; the AP Poll placed them 15th, SP+ 16th, and Sagarin 11th. Ultimately this is a likely ploy to boost the attention around this exact game and to bolster Alabama’s resume moving forward.
Nick Saban and Alabama already had their moment of the season where they find out what losing tastes like. They followed their loss at Tennessee up with a 24-point drubbing of Mississippi State and then went on bye. LSU is also coming off a bye after their big upset win over Ole Miss.
There’s no doubt the Tigers get a boost from playing at night in Death Valley– one of college football’s toughest environments– but this situationally is setting up to be a statement game for Alabama.
What LSU was able to do so well against Ole Miss in the second half (after falling behind 17-3) was taking away their run game and forcing Jaxson Dart to win. Against Bryce Young and Alabama, that just won’t work. We’ve seen the formula to beating the Tide: get them in a shootout and hope you have the football last.
That’s just not LSU’s play style.
Slow starts under Brian Kelly this season have been a real issue for LSU and I expect the Tide to make a statement on primetime here. A fast start for Alabama is a more exciting bet than risking a backdoor cover on a full-game bid.
- Brett’s Bet: Alabama 1H -7 (-105), placed Nov. 2 at DraftKings Sportsbook
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