In last week’s write-up, I recommended plays on Cincinnati (+16.5), Marshall (+12), Stanford ML, Clemson 1H (-10), Clemson (-17), Texas (+6.5), and Miami (-3.5). If you bet the games at these lines and risked the same amount on each game, then you struggled. These picks went a brutal 2-5 against the spread, bringing the overall record to 4-8. If you waited until the Texas and LSU line moved to 7 or followed my play I tweeted on Purdue (-7), then you had a better weekend. This week I’ll analyze North Carolina at Wake Forest.
Betting college football can be very challenging. The purpose of this column is to educate those dabbling on the games how to make smart wagers. One way I have found to make smarter wagers is by gathering information from multiple sources and adjusting the size of your wagers based on your confidence in the play. I recommend using these articles as a tool for improving your handicapping. The purpose is not to blindly follow the plays. I have personally bet all of the plays recommended in the write-ups, as well as some others. I recommend as many plays as possible on my twitter.
One tool that has been useful for me in managing my bankroll is capitalizing on “live wagering.” During each break in the game-play, bettors have the option to place a wager on a “live spread.” This is a current spread that has been generated based on how the game is playing out. Using the Clemson and Texas A&M game as an example, you would have seen that Clemson was -7.5 at halftime. This was a “live spread” of 21.5 as Clemson was leading 17-3.
I had a strong opinion that Clemson was going to cover the original spread of 17 points. This made it an easy decision to grab them at -6.5 when the score was tied in the second quarter. If you took Clemson at -6.5, you could have also grabbed Texas A&M at +21.5 after Clemson erupted in the second half. That would have given the bettor a 14 point middle opportunity. In this outcome the bettor would have won both the Clemson -6.5 wager and the Texas A&M +21.5 wager. This is also a good way to “hedge” after winning the first half bet to guarantee yourself a profit on the game.
North Carolina Tar Heels
You could not ask for a better start to the season for the legendary Mack Brown. Oddsmakers and bettors did not give his team much of a chance as they opened 7.5 point underdogs to South Carolina in Week 1. After the open, bettors steamed that line up to 11.5. Mack Brown returned from retirement with an outright win. In Week 2, his team opened as a 6-point home underdog. Bettors had mixed opinions as the line bounced down to 3.5 and then back up to 5. The Tar Heels won outright again. This week will be a different challenge for Brown and his true freshman quarterback, as they hit the road for the first time this year.
Phil Longo looks like he has the right guy to lead his up-tempo offense in quarterback Sam Howell. Howell has been an absolute stud so far, averaging 10.8 yards per attempt and a 64.6% completion%. He has done this well throwing for 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. Against Miami, he was able to go for 11.7 yards per attempt, despite his offenses run game getting shut down against a stout Miami Front 7. Against the Gamecocks, the offense was able to stay more balanced by rushing for 238 yards on 52 attempts. I do not see any reason why the success would not continue against a Wake Forest defense that is much inferior to Miami.
The biggest concern for the North Carolina defense will be slowing down a hot Wake Forest attack without their senior defensive back Patrice Rene. North Carolina so far has been mediocre defensively in their first two contests allowing 0.312 points per play. I think the South Carolina game was more impressive for this unit because the Gamecocks will likely be the superior offense compared to Miami. Going on the road without one of their leaders in the secondary could lead to issues for the Tar Heels on this side of the ball.
Dave Clawson is an even 7-7 against the spread as a home favorite at Wake Forest. His team got the job done in their first two games vs a solid Utah State team and an outmatched Rice team. They failed to cover as 5 point chalk against Utah State and pushed as a 20 point favorite against Rice. It looks like oddsmakers have been very accurate in how they have Wake Forest priced so far as they won by three against Utah State. Last year Clawson’s team struggled at home. They went 2-5 straight up with their only wins at home coming over Rice and Towson.
The Wake offense has had no problem humming along behind the arm of Jamie Newman. The 6’4″ 230-pound gunslinger has completed 74.3% of his passes and is averaging 9.6 yards per attempt. The offense as a whole is averaging 0.465 points per play and 6.4 yards per play. These are good numbers, but the level of competition they have faced has not been top notch.
With 5 starters back, the season has not started out that well for the Deacons’ defense. They are giving up 0.359 points per play and 5.9 yards per play. They have tightened up in the red zone allowing points on only 60% of red zone scoring opportunities (11th nationally). The opponents Wake Forest have faced are not offensive powerhouses.
If this was a Week 1 game, I would have taken Wake Forest minus the points. After two weeks, it seems necessary to adjust the power rankings on these teams. Mack Brown has his team trending in the right direction and he has players who were competitive last season despite the poor record. Sam Howell has looked like one of the better quarterbacks in all of college football. North Carolina is the better team at this point, so I am taking the plus money on the money line. If they fall behind early, I will look to bet the Tar Heels live.
Michigan State 1H -7.5⭐ (look for live line less than -10.5)