In what was supposed to be the second full week of Power Five conference matchups, the SEC has seen a rough week due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocols, which has forced it to cancel four games. There will still be plenty of action this Saturday, including Florida State visiting Carter-Finley Stadium Saturday night.
Florida State at NC State (-10)
I was very skeptical of NC State staying competitive once redshirt sophomore quarterback Devin Leary came out of NC State’s game against Duke with a broken fibula. However, with the exception of the games at Virginia Tech and UNC-Chapel Hill, redshirt junior Bailey Hockman has done a solid job filling Leary’s shoes as quarterback.
Hockman had one of the best games of his career against Miami and almost led the Wolfpack to a win over the much favored Hurricanes. I expect this to continue against Florida State and its pass defense, which ranks near the bottom of the ACC.
In addition to NC State looking impressive last week, Florida State has just looked downright bad for much of its season. While the Seminoles did beat the then-No. 5-ranked Tar Heels, the rest of their season has been awful.
The only other conference game the Seminoles have been within 9.5 points, besides against the Tar Heels, was Georgia Tech. Florida State didn’t even beat the Yellow Jackets, it just kept the game close. Even with these horrible performances, Florida State is being overvalued as it has gone just 2-5 against the spread this season.
Pick: NC State (-10)
Indiana (-7) at Michigan State
The bandwagon for Indiana is getting awfully full after the Hoosiers were ranked inside the top 10 for the first time in over 50 years in this week’s AP poll. While it may be up for debate whether or not it converted the 2-point conversion in overtime that gave Indiana the win over Penn State, the fact that this is at least a good team can’t be debated.
In addition, the Hoosiers are 3-0 against the spread this season. While odds makers have been rushing to figure out the true value of this Hoosiers team, I don’t think they hit the mark with the spread they put out this week.
Just like NC State’s matchup, not only is Indiana trending in the right direction, but it is going up against a truly bad team. Michigan State is 1-2 this year record-wise and against the spread. Its only win in both categories came as a 3-point victory against a Michigan team that has somehow looked even worse this season than its in-state rival.
Pick: Indiana (-7)
Arkansas at Florida (-17.5)
This Florida team, like many to come before it, seems overhyped. Head coach Dan Mullen can make all the noise he wants, which he certainly has this season, but his team just can’t consistently compete on a national level. Sure, Florida had a big win over Georgia last week, but it also lost to a Texas A&M team that loves to underperform in big games. Florida is a good team. The Gators will probably even end up in a New Year’s Six Bowl, but it should not be getting two-and-a-half-touchdown spreads against solid SEC teams.
Not only do I think Florida gets too much credit, but I don’t think Arkansas gets enough credit. Arkansas put up a terrible 27-point loss to Georgia to start the season. However, since then, Arkansas has quietly and quickly put together a very respectable season. In the five games since, Arkansas has gone 3-2 and 1-2 against ranked teams. This includes a nail-biting 2-point loss to Auburn and a respectable 11-point loss to Texas A&M.
If the schedule comparison isn’t enough, take a look at Arkansas’ 6-0 record against the spread. Of the Power Five conferences that are attempting to play a full season — the ACC, SEC and Big 12 — Arkansas is the only team with an unbeaten record.
Pick: Arkansas (+17.5)
Last week, staff writer Ben Ellis struggled in all three games, going 0-3 while incorrectly picking Miami, Clemson and Stanford to cover in their matchups.
Wolfpack Wager Record: 7-14
Ben Ellis: 0-3
Bryan Pyrtle: 2-1
Camden Speight: 3-3
Andy Mayer: 1-2
Will Thornhill: 1-5
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