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Saturday, 3 November 2018

College Football Week 10 Picks 2018 (November 3rd)

After the early games had been concluded it looked like Week 9 was going to be a disappointing week for the College Football Picks, but a 4-0 run from the late afternoon kick offs ensure another winning week has been produced.

We enter the final month of the regular season and that means the first College Football Play Off Rankings were announced.

I don't think anyone was surprised by seeing Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame in the top four, but it was very interesting to see the LSU Tigers in the Number 3 spot. While some moaned about that, I am of the opinion that the Tigers are playing to prove they are worthy of a Play Off spot or being eliminated this week when they face the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Either way the Play Offs don't begin tomorrow so I wouldn't be worrying too much about LSU's current Ranking going into Week 10.

More interesting is seeing the Michigan Wolverines in at Number 5 and Georgia Bulldogs at Number 6 ahead of the potential Big 12 Champion Oklahoma Sooners. There are so many twists and turns to come though that none of the Head Coaches will be overly concerned about their current Ranking and instead will be urging players to win out and see where they stand at the end of November and then after the Championship Games to be played in early December.

Michigan State Spartans @ Maryland Terrapins Pick: You have to describe the situation at Maryland as being a mess as first they reinstated Head Coach DJ Durkin amidst protests, but then decided to fire him one day later. Most of the players will be satisfied with the overall decision to get rid of Durkin as Head Coach who has been largely blamed for the death of Offensive Lineman Jordan McNair back in the summer.

It has not been ideal preparation for the Terrapins but this is a team who has been under the guidance of an interim Head Coach all season and already surpassed the number of wins earned in 2017. They are one win away from being Bowl eligible and Maryland will want to draw a line under the Durkin era by moving on immediately in this very big home game.

Michigan State Spartans are needing a lot of things to go their way if they are going to have a chance to play in the Big Ten Championship Game, but they are trying to avoid all distractions as they look to back up the win over the Purdue Boilermakers in Week 9. The Spartans are 3-2 in Big Ten play, but they can still match the 10 wins they earned in 2017 if they can win out, although Michigan State can't overlook Maryland and focus on the big game with Ohio State in Week 11.

The Spartans do have to make a big decision at Quarter Back with Brian Lewerke due back this week, but Ricky Lombardi performed above expectations in the win over the Boilermakers. It is a good problem for Mark Dantonio to have although this will be a tough game for whoever starts behind Center.

Much of the success Maryland have had this season is thanks to the strong Defensive performances they have put together, but take away the win over the Texas Longhorns in Week 1 and the Terrapins have really been a team who have beaten those they should and lost to those they shouldn't. The losses to the Temple Owls, Michigan Wolverines and Iowa Hawkeyes have all come in comfortable fashion too which makes the test of facing the Spartans a big one for Maryland.

It does feel that the key to the entire game is going to be on the Maryland Offensive Line and whether they can impose their run game on the Spartans Defensive Line. Over the course of the season Michigan State have been very strong at stopping the run, but they have faced a tough three games in a row and there is a suggestion they are wearing down up front while some of the players could want to keep something in the tank for the home game with the Buckeyes next week.

However the Spartans will feel clamping down on the run will at least put Maryland in a tough position to win this game. Michigan State are also getting healthier on the Offensive side of the ball and I think they are the superior team and can take advantage of any distractions that the Terrapins are dealing with.

The Terrapins did blow out Illinois in Week 9, but they are just 1-10 against the spread in their next game following a win by 20 plus points. Maryland are just 20-41 against the spread in their last sixty-one games following a win and with all the goings on in College Park means I will back the road favourites.

Nebraska Cornhuskers @ Ohio State Buckeyes Pick: You have to expect that any major College Football programme will be heading into the Play Offs if they remain unbeaten, but that is no longer an option for the Ohio State Buckeyes. They have had a couple of weeks to think about the defeat to the Purdue Boilermakers, but that won't hinder them from making the final four if Ohio State are able to win out.

Coming out of the Bye Week, Ohio State have the weakest of the four teams left on the schedule as they take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. After this Ohio State face Michigan State and Maryland on the road before hosting the Michigan Wolverines who currently hold the Number 5 Ranking in the College Football Play Off picture and are the only team who have yet to lose a Big Ten Conference game.

The Buckeyes will be making a big mistake if they are looking towards that game at the end of November as they won't be doing anything but playing spoiler with one more loss before then.

They should not be slipping in this one despite Nebraska going 9-2 out of their Bye Week in recent years, but Scott Frost is still trying to get his ideas across to this team. It can't be ignored both of Nebraska's losses out of a Bye in that run have come against Ranked Big Ten opponents on the road and back to back wins has done little but paper over the obvious cracks.

First year Head Coaches can go through some trying moments and Frost will be hoping the back to back wins at least give his players some belief that big things will come if they pay attention to what he wants. The Cornhuskers need to win out if they are going to be Bowl eligible, but that looks a long shot considering they will be underdogs in three of their remaining four games.

Even reaching the four wins they earned in 2017 looks beyond Nebraska. They could have some Offensive success in this one with the balance they try and play with and now facing an Ohio State Defensive unit that has underachieved to this point.

Adrian Martinez has shown some growth at Quarter Back, but he has to show he can perform much better on a big stage after overseeing Nebraska being blown out by the Michigan Wolverines. That is going to be the test for the entire Nebraska team when they head to Columbus having been beaten by 46 points by the Wolverines.

I do think Nebraska will have more success on both sides of the ball in this one but I am not sure that will be enough to get within this point spread. Martinez and the Cornhuskers should make some good Offensive plays, but the Buckeyes have a Quarter Back in Dwayne Haskins Jr who has been throwing the ball very well having become the first player in Buckeyes history to have three consecutive 400 yard passing games.

The Nebraska Secondary have continued to struggle so I would expect Haskins Jr to have another strong day at Quarter Back. Nebraska have stiffened on the Defensive Line when it comes to clamping down on the run, but they may leave more space up front as they look to defend the pass and I think the Buckeyes move the chains with some consistency throughout this game.

Ohio State have covered in their last four games against Nebraska and the Buckeyes have a strong 26-11-1 record against the spread in their last thirty-eight games following a loss. The motivation should be high to remind the College Football Play Off Committee as to how good the Buckeyes and that means trying to produce a big win here and I do like Ohio State to win and cover this number.

Georgia Bulldogs @ Kentucky Wildcats Pick: There is still every chance that two teams from the SEC Conference are going to be invited into the College Football Play Off, but we are going to see some of the contenders being separated in Week 10.

There is a huge game being played in Death Valley between two of the top four Ranked teams, but don't ignore this one in Lexington as the Kentucky Wildcats host the Georgia Bulldogs in a game that may decide which of these teams is going to represent the SEC East in the Championship Game.

Both have lost one SEC game already, but they are the top two teams in the Division at 5-1 in Conference play. The Wildcats may feel a little fortunate to be in this position having needed to score a Touchdown with an untimed Down last week in their victory over the Missouri Tigers.

While that was happening for Kentucky, the Georgia Bulldogs blew out the Florida Gators which means both the Bulldogs and Kentucky have beaten the Gators this season. Whichever of these teams wins on Saturday is likely to be playing in the SEC Championship Game in early December and that means there is some pressure that the players have to deal with.

The superior team looks to be the Bulldogs who have perhaps been underestimated by fans because of their loss to the LSU Tigers. That doesn't look a bad defeat at the moment, and could look even stronger if LSU beat Alabama, while the Bulldogs have looked more dominant than the Kentucky Wildcats.

Both teams certainly will feel they have the Defensive players who can make a huge difference in this game, but it is the Bulldogs who look to have the edge at Quarter Back and that may be the reason they are able to win this game. I love the way the Kentucky Defensive unit have been playing but they have been struggling on the other side of the ball and Georgia could cover this number if they score 20 points.

Much of that feeling is because the Wildcats have been mainly stagnant on the Offensive side of the ball and have not scored more than 15 points in any of their last three games. Those have been played against SEC opposition, but Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Missouri do not match up to the kind of Defensive unit that the Georgia Bulldogs will bring to town.

Home advantage is important for the Wildcats who are having a very good season regardless of how this game ends up. Benny Snell was kept in check on the ground by the Missouri Tigers last week, but the Wildcats really need him to break some runs in this one if they are going to upset Georgia, because it is going to be very difficult for the inconsistent Terry Wilson to make enough plays through the air to keep the chains moving.

There have been some concerns about Georgia Quarter Back Jake Fromm too, but he is 19-3 as a starter and I think he can make some big plays through the air to put the Bulldogs over the top. Kentucky do have a fierce pass rush led by expected First Round Draft Pick Josh Allen, but Fromm should show enough poise to make the plays that gives Georgia a good looking win with which to impress the Play Off Committee.

Georgia have covered the spread in the last five of this series, while they are 11-3 against the spread in their last fourteen road games. The Wildcats are a much improved team, but I think they will be shut down Offensively and the Defensive unit won't be able to hold out through the entire 60 minutes of this Week 10 game.

Alabama Crimson Tide @ LSU Tigers Pick: The first Play Off Rankings of the season were produced last Tuesday and that means we are going to be seeing a game between two of the top three in Death Valley in Week 10.

For the LSU Tigers this is already essentially a Play Off game as a win would keep them in a position to be picked as one of the top four teams in the nation. However a defeat would mean they have two losses and there has yet to be a two loss team who have made the final four, which would not be likely for the Tigers as they won't even be able to reach the SEC Championship Game.

That puts plenty of pressure on the home team, but they are also going to come into this one without much expectation of the masses as a huge home underdog.

A defeat for the Alabama Crimson Tide would not be as catastrophic as we have seen them make the final four just twelve months ago despite missing out on the SEC Championship Game to the Auburn Tigers. It turned out to be the right decision as Nick Saban was able to guide the Crimson Tide to another National Championship and the feeling for me is that Alabama could afford one loss and still be picked to play in the Play Offs.

In most cases you would think that eases some of the pressure on the players, but Saban is not someone who will leave things to chance and knows the best way to make the Play Offs is by winning every game they play.

Alabama haven't even looked like coming close to a loss so far this season and there is a feeling this is the most talented team they have had under Saban. That's a big statement considering how many National Championships Alabama have won over the last few years, but they have the best Quarter Back this time around and the Crimson Tide have been roughing up every opponent they have faced.

Both teams have had a Bye Week to prepare for this one.

The LSU Tigers will be hoping it has given them time to rest the Defensive Line who have been giving up some chunk yards on the ground in their last few games. It will be a real problem for them if they have not resolved those issues because the Crimson Tide will still look to power through on the ground which will then open things up for Tua Tagovailoa who announced himself in the National Championship Game in the 2017 season and has taken over as the full time starter at Quarter Back.

Saban has spoken highly about the Tigers Defensive strength, but this Crimson Tide have not been worried about reputation and I do fully expect them to find a way to move the chains with some consistency.

The Offensive Line should be able to set things up by protecting their Quarter Back and also opening things up for the running game.

On the other side of the field it is going to be very difficult for the Tigers to move the chains as confidently as I feel the Crimson Tide will be able to do. Joe Burrow has given them a boost at Quarter Back which has been a position that has been tough to fill for the Tigers over the years, but he won't have played against too many Defensive teams like the Alabama Crimson Tide.

It will all be up to Burrow too who won't be given much support from the run game against a powerful Alabama Defensive Line who have clamped down on Running Backs and dared teams to throw on them. If the run can't be established it will be tough for the LSU Offensive Line to protect Burrow and I do think their drives are going to stall much more often than the Alabama Crimson Tide drives.

This is a big spread- a two Touchdown road favourite in a game featuring two of the top three teams in the nation at this point of the season is clearly a very big number.

However I think Alabama are head and shoulders above the rest of the College Football participants and that is going to show up here. The favourite is also 4-1 against the spread in the last five in this series while Alabama are 13-6 against the spread in their last nineteen when playing a team with a winning record at home.

The Tigers do have some impressive numbers against the spread at home, but they are 3-9 against the spread in their last twelve hosting the Crimson Tide and I am going to back the Number 1 team in the College Football nation to underline that position.

MY PICKS: Michigan State Spartans - 2.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Ohio State Buckeyes - 18.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Clemson Tigers - 38.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Georgia Bulldogs - 8 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Iowa Hawkeyes + 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
TCU Horned Frogs - 9.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Alabama Crimson Tide - 14 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (1 Unit)

Week 9: 5-3, + 1.73 Units (8 Units Staked, + 21.63% Yield)
Week 86-4, + 1.46 Units (10 Units Staked, + 14.60% Yield)
Week 75-5, - 0.45 Units (10 Units Staked, - 4.5% Yield)
Week 65-5, - 0.59 Units (10 Units Staked, - 4.5% Yield)
Week 55-3, + 1.55 Units (8 Units Staked, + 19.38% Yield)
Week 47-4, + 2.41 Units (11 Units Staked, + 21.91% Yield)
Week 35-5, - 0.55 Units (10 Units Staked, - 5.5% Yield)
Week 26-5, + 0.52 Units (11 Units Staked, + 4.73% Yield)

Season 201844-34, + 6.08 Units

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