Well, my 8-2 ATS streak betting college football ended last week. On paper, it ended with a thud, and unfortunately, in gambling, on paper is all that matters. The fact of the matter is that I missed Baylor by 1.5 points (-4.5, won by 3), and lost Vanderbilt by a point (+27, lost by 28). Stanford just didn't show up against Utah (-5, lost outright by 19), so no excuses there.
Thankfully, I salvaged a 2-1 Sunday in the NFL, and we are still above water on the season, but it's time to string together a few winning weeks, with the holidays right around the corner. The NFL is tricky this week, with 11 of the 15 games carrying a spread of 3.5 points or less, so this week, we are back to a lopsided best bets, with four college and two pro games.
Let's get back to winning.....
LSU +7.5 over Georgia
If you read my college football playoff projections, you know that I am holding off on putting Georgia in the top four until they beat somebody significant. (You may be asking "Who has Alabama beaten, Sean?" Alabama is my one seed. My answer — when Jake Fromm is routinely sitting out second halves of games because his team is up by 40 at halftime, I'll put Georgia in there.) And that's my handicap for this game — LSU is battle tested (wins over Miami and Auburn), and GETTING over a touchdown at home? I'll take that all day long. The atmosphere should be fantastic in Baton Rouge, and I think LSU can win this one outright.
OREGON +3 over Washington
Ranked 17th in the AP poll, Oregon is one of the more underrated teams in the country. The thing keeping their ranking suppressed right now was 15 minutes of unfortunate, bad coaching and poor turnover luck against Stanford. In that game, Oregon was one foot from making it 31-7 and blowing out the Cardinal. Instead, we all know what happened — fumbles, bad defense, just a horrible night for the Ducks. I think Oregon has the advantage at QB in this game (I love Justin Herbert), and home field advantage, and they're GETTING three points! I'll take it!
IOWA STATE +7 over West Virginia
We continue the trend of taking home underdogs against top 10 teams with the Cyclones over the Mountaineers. Iowa State is a very deceptive 2-3 on the season. Their three losses are all hard fought losses to Iowa, Oklahoma, and TCU, the latter a three-point loss last week in Fort Worth. They won in Stillwater last weekend against Okie State. West Virginia, meanwhile, has played four home games versus unranked (like BAD unranked — Tennessee, Youngstown State, and the two Kansas schools) and a road win over Texas Tech. Again, I'll take the battle tested team and the points at home AT NIGHT (that matters), all day long.
USC -7 over Colorado
Without question, the weakest of the remaining undefeated Power Five schools is Colorado. If you think West Virginia's resume is shaky, they have nothing on Colorado, whose five "victims" have combined for a 6-21 record. Meanwhile, 3-2 USC has losses to Stanford and Texas, and a significant overall talent edge over the Buffaloes. Saturday is finally the day where I don't have to include Colorado in the playoff survivor post anymore. Buffs go down BIG.
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FALCONS -3.5 over Buccaneers
The whole concept of picking a team because "this is a must win" in the NFL is kind of funny, considering it feels like we've been saying that about the Atlanta Falcons for the last two weeks, and yet people are saying it again. I mean, if the last two weeks were "must wins" and they didn't win, should they not be dead? Look, I think Atlanta is much better than their 1-4 record, so it's not inconceivable that they can go on a little run the next few weeks and get back to 4-4. They have the Bucs, Giants, the bye week, then the Redskins. 4-4 is very doable, and it starts this week, as they get a Buccaneers team whose defense is AWFUL and they get turnover-prone Jameis Winston as the opposing QB in his first start of the year. Finally, a "must win" that the Falcons actually DO win, and by at least four points.
Steelers +2.5 over BENGALS
The team that smoked the Falcons last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers are traveling to Cincy to take on a Bengals team that everyone is falling in love with because of their 4-1 record. Digging a little deeper, two of their four wins have been basically coin flips — Week 1 against the Colts (Colts fumble late in the game made the final score deceiving), a one-point late win over Atlanta, and last week's game where the Dolphins coughed up 1 17-0 lead with the Bengals getting handed two defensive TD's. The Bengals could easily be 1-4, and if that were the case, the Steelers would probably be favored here, so I'll gladly buy the 2.5 up to a full three if need be, and just root for a close game.
Last Week: 2-4
Season Record: 18-17-1 (51.4 percent)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.