B/R College Football 2021 Betting Locks with Adam Kramer: Week 6
Julio Cortez/Associated Press
The college football gods have once again blessed us with a slate of games for which we should be thankful.
Yes, any game is worth celebrating. But the Week 6 lineup, headlined by a matchup between teams ranked in the Top Five of the Associated Press poll, has a chance to be as good (or better) than Week 5.
I hope that is also the case as it pertains to Locks of the Week—our weekly dose of picks against the spread. The picks, well, weren’t great, and as a result the record is 23-24-2.
We had our chances, though we squandered those chances. And we certainly had some bad opinions along the way. Like a good coach, I have already moved on to my next opponent.
Winners are coming. I can feel it. Oh, and I love this card.
Before I move on to the picks, here is what went right and wrong in Week 5.
The Good: Oregon at Stanford (+8): I mentioned in the column that I thought Stanford could push for an upset, and it did just that. Oh, and the officials certainly helped as well. If only I had more games like this one.
The Bad: Michigan at Wisconsin (-2.5): Yuck. That’s all I need to say. While I could have picked a handful of losses, this was the worst one, far and away. I thought the Badgers would rally, and they imploded like my bank account last week.
Time to get hot. Here is what I like in Week 6.
Connecticut (-3.5) at Massachusetts
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
How do you get back on track? Well, you invest in the worst football game on the board. And that probably doesn’t quite capture how these two teams have played.
UConn is 0-6. UMass is 0-5.
UConn is ranked No. 125 in scoring offense. UMass is ranked No. 128.
With all that acknowledged, kudos to the Huskies. Their head coach retired, the staff will be replaced, and the jokes about the team’s lack of success are regurgitated on a daily basis.
Yet, each week, the team seems to improve.
UConn just covered a 14.5-point spread against Vanderbilt. In fact, the Huskies should have won. They have now covered the spread in the last three contests, and I think they do one better.
UMass has scored 10 points in the last 120 minutes, which isn’t ideal. So, with a bit of momentum—and just the right opponent—UConn nabs its first win.
To watch this game, you probably need money on it. Simple as that.
Penn State at Iowa (-1.5)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
Call me a homer. Go ahead. I’ve heard worse.
For some context, I attended Iowa. But those who have read this column before this year know I don’t shy away from picking for or against the Hawkeyes.
Truth be told, I didn’t love Iowa against Maryland. But then the Hawkeyes defense forced roughly 879 turnovers and cruised on the road.
This is a dramatic step up in competition. Penn State is a good team with a good defense and one of my favorite skill position players in the country. Jahan Dotson is a star.
But I love what I’ve seen from Iowa, and the turnover theme that has carried through the season doesn’t look like a fluke. Kirk Ferentz’s defense has forced two more turnovers than all but one program (Hawai’i, which has played one more game), and I expect that to be a factor.
Also, Tyler Goodson. It’s his time.
Look for Iowa’s star running back to put on a show in his biggest spotlight to date.
Iowa 20, Penn State 14.
Oregon State at Washington State (+3.5)
John Hefti/Associated Press
This pains me.
I love the growth of Oregon State over the past few years. The offense has found an identity seemingly overnight, and the blowout of USC a couple of weeks ago shows how far this team has come.
But this is business. Love, as I have mentioned before, has no place in gamblin’. And as the masses assemble to back Oregon State as a small favorite, I’m heading in the other direction.
The Cougars are coming off a solid win on the road against Cal, and they’ll be at home to play in a venue that has produced its share of odd outcomes. This fits the profile in many ways.
Wazzu has certainly had its struggles. But when one of the darlings of the young season is laying just a shade over a field goal, I know which way I’m going.
Washington State pulls off a mild upset at home.
Stanford at Arizona State (-12.5)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
I bet on both of these teams last weekend. One was included in Locks, as mentioned. The other was a late addition Saturday night.
For many, this line might seem jarring. Stanford, after all, just upended the No. 3 team in the country, has played well in recent weeks and has a bit of momentum.
To me, however, ASU looks to be hitting stride. Jayden Daniels’ full skill set was on display last week against UCLA, and he should only continue to improve. And somewhat quietly, the Sun Devils defense has played quite well. Even in a loss at BYU, it held up nicely.
Another aspect of this game? Emotion. A victory over Oregon at home comes with its own special hangover, and Arizona State should benefit greatly from that.
As we bury the Pac-12’s playoff chances, and in some ways understandably so, don’t sleep on this team.
Arizona State 41, Stanford 24.
Michigan at Nebraska (+3.5)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
I’m about to say something shocking, and I don’t want you to be alarmed.
Ready? Here it goes.
Nebraska might not be bad.
There, I said it.
We’ve come a long way since Week 0. The Cornhuskers fell embarrassingly at Illinois, and it was thought to be a lost season. Along the way, however, there have been strong performances.
The scoring defense ranks No. 13 in the country. The rushing offense is No. 14. Though the narrative surrounding Scott Frost has been largely negative, the progress is evident.
So here we are. The nation’s No. 9 team is laying a little more than a field goal on the road against a team that lost to Illinois. And I find it reasonable.
Nebraska keeps it close, ugly and within the spread.
Other Games on the Card
William Wotring/Associated Press
Michigan State at Rutgers (+5.5): Oh, this line feels strange. The Scarlet Knights just lost by 6,000 points against Ohio State, and the Spartans are unbeaten. Don’t fall for the trap.
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech (+1): I just don’t trust the Fighting Irish, and Blacksburg is a less-than-ideal place to play a week removed from a loss to Cincinnati. The Hokies are flying under the radar, though that will change.
TCU at Texas Tech (Over 61.5): Losing the Texas-TCU over last week stung, though please don’t mistake this for a revenge bet. I like both of these offenses, and I don’t trust the defenses. That’s a solid over position.
Houston at Tulane (+6): The Green Wave are a much better team than their record shows, which is corny and cliche, but I am saying it anyway. Playing at Oklahoma and Ole Miss certainly wasn’t ideal. This will be a much better effort.
West Virginia (+3) at Baylor: It’s been a weird year for the Mountaineers, though lost in their losses is a good defense that should make things hard on the Bears. After a couple of tough weeks, WVU gets a much-needed bounce-back.
UTSA at Western Kentucky (-3.5): An undefeated team getting points against a team with only one win? As a contrarian player, I know where I’m going.
Odds via DraftKings and accurate as of Wednesday.
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