Sean Pendergast

College Football, Week 8 and NFL, Week 7 — This Weekend's Best Bets

Photo by Jack Gorman

After going 2-4 a week ago, and bringing my overall record for the season precariously close to .500, we finally got that elusive perfect week this past weekend. 6-0! The underdogs ruled the day, as Iowa State (+6.5 over West Virginia), Oregon (+3 over Washington), and LSU (+7.5 over Georgia) all won outright! In fact, those three teams covered their numbers by a cumulative total of 54 points. That's a great day!

Then add in USC covering over fraudulent undefeated Colorado, and two NFL plays that came through late (Atlanta -3.5 over Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh +2.5 over Cincinnati), and we were eating the prime cuts of meat come Sunday evening, my friends!

So my job this week is to keep that loot train rolling. So let's do this, six winners for you and me....

Stanford -2.5 over ARIZONA STATE
It's been a rough patch of schedule for the Cardinal, with losses by 21 points to Notre Dame and 19 points to Utah preceding the bye week. When you throw in wins over USC and Oregon preceding the bye week, along with a game against the physical San Diego State Aztecs, this Stanford team NEEDED a bye week badly. As bad as the last two weeks have been, the Cardinal still control their own destiny for the Pac-12 title, and with this line under a field goal, they basically just need to win on the road against a spunky, but limited Arizona State squad. I like Stanford here.

Memphis +9.5 over MISSOURI
These next two games involve the participants in one of the more important (and exciting) matchups of Group of Five schools this season. Last weekend, undefeated UCF escaped from Memphis with a one point win, and a loss ATS, as they were 5.5 point favorites at kickoff. You'd think Memphis might be down the week after that game, but I think playing a Power Five school might be just the right tonic for the Tigers to get back on their feet. Missouri is coming off of a trip to Tuscaloosa and a 29 point loss to Alabama. I'm guessing recovery from a game like that lends itself to regressed performance the following week. In fact, the four Power Five schools the Tide have played this season are 1-3 ATS the week following the Alabama game, and the one win was Arkansas last weekend, barely hanging on for dear life to a cover against Ole Miss. Memphis is the play.

So on the other side of that game, UCF has to be feeling two things here. First, they have to be relieved that their undefeated season is still intact. All of their goals remain attainable. Secondly, that said, the win over Memphis was a close shave, and if UCF is going to have any argument for the four team playoff — a SUPREME long shot, but still — they have to DESTROY lesser opponents. No messing around. Last season, UCF trounced ECU 63-21, and aside from the head coach of UCF being a different (but equally effective) human being, not much else has changed. Before the Memphis game, UCF was 4-1 ATS with a 31 point average margin of victory. We take them to roll here.

JAGUARS -5.5 over Texans
I hate to have to do this, but I feel strongly about the Texans not only losing this weekend to Jacksonville, but losing fairly handily. On paper, the Texans are on about as bad a run ATS as any NFL team, 1-9 in their last 10 games. Meanwhile, Jacksonville has coughed up a two game lead in the division with ugly losses to Kansas City and Dallas, the latter by 33 points last Sunday. In the end, it boils down to this...

49ERS +11 over Rams
At 1-4 on the season, the perception of the Niners may still be that they are downtrodden with their dreams shattered into pieces, thanks to Jimmy Garoppolo's sketchy decision to try to pick up an extra yard and, instead, tearing his ACL. However, the Niners have been frisky with C.J. Beathard at quarterback, covering 10 point spreads easily against the Chargers and Packers within the last three weeks. I like taking double digit points in division games any time, but especially at home and with Kyle Shanahan as the head coach getting those points, as I think he can scheme the Niners into a few touchdowns against a Rams defense that is talented, but has performed at around an average level overall (17th in DVOA). The Rams are 0-3 ATS in their last three games, close wins over Minnesota, Seattle, and Denver.

CHIEFS -5.5 over Bengals
If you're looking for the early season favorite to win the Pendergast Super Bowl (team with the best record against the spread), the Kansas Citiy Chiefs are the greatest show on turf! They've covered in every game this season, 5-1 Straight up and 6-0 ATS. On Sunday, they go up against Andy Dalton, who is 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS on Sunday nights in his career. We are still at a point in the season where it's super safe to bet on Andy Reid. This will cap off another 6-0 week for us.

Last Week: 6-0
Season Record: 24-17-1 (58.5 percent)

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