Here are our staff picks for this week’s top college football games., which are listed in standard Vegas rotational order.
Last week and year to date standings are at the bottom.
South Jersey record-setting quarterback Devin Leary, a redshirt freshman from Sicklerville’s Timber Creek High School, will make the first start of his career as N.C. State (4-3, 1-2 ACC) tries to pull an upset.
“In the last game, he threw three touchdowns [in reflief] and they were all on fourth down, which shows a lot of clutch,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. “So he’s earned this opportunity. I’m excited for him.”
» FROM THE ARCHIVES: Devin Leary’s final high school game was magical
Leary is Doeren’s third quarterback in four conference games. He threw for 259 yards and three scores in a loss at Boston College on Oct. 19.
Four of Wake’s last five have been under, while N.C. State is in a 1-4 slump against the spread.
The Terps haven’t been the same since Temple beat ‘em in mid-September. Penn State beat the Terps by 59 and Minnesota trounced them by 42. They’ve got injuries at quarterback and are getting a Michigan team that seems to have turned a corner.
Worth noting, however, that Michigan is 1-3 this year against the spread when laying 20 more and 3-8 over the last three seasons.
Virginia has lost three of four, mostly because they keep turning the ball over.
“I’ve got to do a better job of just being smarter about not trying to always be superman and make the superman plays,” quarterback Bryce Perkins said.
This game opened as a pick, so early money was on the Tar Heels. Virginia is on a 1-4-1 run against the spread and they lost last week at Louisville. As Phil Steele’s excellent college football preview pointed out, the Cavaliers have lost eight straight of their second consecutive road games.
A little obscure, but certainly interesting.
The Irish are licking their wounds after getting thumped at Michigan last week, but they’ve won 15 in a row at home, going 10-5 against the spread. Most 'books will allow you to buy some points if 17.5 is too many.
Could be a dangerous spot for seventh-ranked Oregon (7-1), which needs some more teams ahead of them to lose in order to elbow their way into the playoff conversation. USC is 4-0 at home straight, covering their last three. The Ducks are 2-0 on the road, covering both (at Stanford, at Washington).
Good to see the AAC getting some primetime love from one of the networks. SMU (8-0) has been an underdog twice and obviously won outright each time (at Arkansas State, at TCU).
At Jacksonville, Florida will get a boost from the return of linebacker Jon Greenard, who sprained his ankle on Oct. 5. Georgia running back D’Andre Swift (107.7) and Georgia (238.4) lead the SEC in rushing yards per game.
Greenard grew up a Florida fan despite living in Hiram, Ga., which is 90 miles from UGA’s doghouse.
“This game is huge. This is a game I’ve been thinking about since I was a child,” said Greenard, a grad transfer from Louisville. “Obviously, I heard about it, the opposite side, me being a Florida fan all my life. I got all the trash talk already, still got trash talk on my phone. But it’ll be good. It’ll be really good to get a W.”
The favorite has covered the last six.
TCU has won the last two meetings outright as underdogs (+13 in 2017, +6 in 2018).
Tailback Cam Akers has become such a dangerous weapon in the Wildcat formation that fans have dubbed it the “WildCam”. Not bad.
“He throws the ball extremely well, and we’ve seen it since I got here in January," said offensive coordinator Kendal Briles. "He’s accurate with the football and he makes good decisions. He’s played the position and that’s why you trust him being back there. It definitely adds a different dynamic.”
Miami’s strength is its defense, though both teams are 4-4 straight up and combined 7-8-1 ATS.
Another rugged road test for a Pac-12 contender. Utah has covered its last four, all of which have been under. Since their surprise 30-23 loss at USC, the Utes defense has given up just 23 points in four games.
Washington is 11-1 all-time in the series, which dates back to 1931. The Huskies won and covered both meetings last season. Utah covered in a loss at Washington in 2017.