Our picks struggled last week as the Florida State Seminoles let us down against Miami while the Notre Dame Fighting Irish barely squeaked by the Virginia Tech Hokies (and failed to cover the spread). Let’s see if we can get back on course with this week’s picks, which again have a bit of an ACC flavor to them.
Louisville at Miami
Odds: Miami -6.5 at PointsBet
The money is flowing to Miami in this game, with the Hurricanes opening as five-point favorites in a number of outlets and now being 6.5-point favorites. Clearly, many are reacting to the Hurricanes’ 27-10 win at Florida State and seeing it as a sign that Miami is beginning to turn the corner, or something close to that. However, Louisville is coming off a break with two full weeks to prepare for this game. The Cardinals did play a lot of home games in October (three), so it is understandable to think they won’t be ready for this road game, but their preparation time suggests they will be.
Also, Louisville did win its most recent road game, and it won at Wake Forest, a team that could win 10 games this season. The Cardinals have steadily improved this season whereas Miami has been up and down, winning against Virginia and Florida State, but losing to Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
Miami might win, but Louisville should keep this game close enough to cover at the very least.
Wake Forest at Virginia Tech
Odds: Wake Forest -1.5 at PointsBet
The Virginia Tech Hokies are getting better. They also control their fate in the ACC Coastal Division. If they win out, they will win the division title. However, Virginia Tech is burdened by one glaring fact. The Hokies have not beaten a winning team from a Power Five conference at home this season.
Virginia Tech has beaten two teams at home which don’t even play in the Football Bowl Subdivision, FCS members Furman and Rhode Island. Then they also defeated Old Dominion of Conference USA.
The only Power Five team Virginia Tech beat at home this season is North Carolina, and the Tar Heels do not have a winning record through Week 10. Wake Forest won’t be the slightest bit intimidated by playing this game on the road. They looked very strong in blowing out North Carolina State last week and have averaged 40.2 points per game in their last five games. Their offense is humming, and they have been a more consistent team than Virginia Tech all season. They seem to thrive in these small-spread games as they are 7-1 both straight up and ATS in their last eight games where the spread is between +3 to -3.
USC at Arizona State
Odds: Arizona State -2 at PointsBet
The USC Trojans crumbled against Oregon last week, but Oregon is a very good team. Losing 56-24 is an embarrassment for the Trojans – just the latest in a long line for the school. They know that head coach Clay Helton is a goner. This just feels like we’re getting into quitting territory – or at least starting to tune out a head coach who is going to get canned. USC’s defense has also been below average in road games this year, allowing 28 points or more in four road games, and allowing an average of 29.8 points per game.
Arizona State is led by quarterback Jayden Daniels, a contender for Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. He has led three fourth-quarter comebacks, so even if USC improbably keeps this game close, Daniels should be able to move the ball and score against USC’s mediocre road defense when it counts.
There’s no question that ASU has let a lot of people down with back-to-back losses to Utah and UCLA, but consider that both of those were on the road. Arizona State is a young team that’s still building towards something, whereas USC looks like a team that’s tapped out. If this game was played three weeks ago, we’d probably be looking at Arizona State -7. At a smaller number, I’ll take a shot with them.
Overall 11-13 record on the season