Don’t mess with the spread; picking winners for Tennessee-Georgia and Alabama-LSU: Best Bets for Nov. 5

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Alabama offensive lineman JC Latham (65) walks off the field after the team's NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Saturday, Nov. 5:

TOP PLAY

The play: NCAA football money line parlay, Tennessee over Georgia/Alabama over LSU

The odds/bet: -164 ($32.80 to win $20)

The book: DraftKings

Time/TV: Tennessee-Georgia, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS); Alabama-LSU, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Our take: It’s the biggest day of the year in the SEC, with a pseudo-championship game in each division (with apologies to Ole Miss, which still has a say in the West), but we’re not seeing a big surprise in either game.

Tennessee has been an extremely popular side, taking the spread from +11 all the way down to +7½ on Friday before some Georgia money finally started to trickle in. The Bulldogs clearly are the sharp side here — their passing offense is better than folks give it credit for, and that’s where the Vols’ defense struggles — but the spread could be tricky in that 7-to-10-point range.

The same goes for Alabama-LSU. The spread has gone below the key number of 14 to an even 13 or 13½ across the board. That just feels too close to how this game will actually end up, and we all know that sinking feeling of betting a big spread and then having a late touchdown drive cost you.

Instead, the safe play is to take the two favorites. Georgia and Alabama have been heavy chalk in their respective SEC divisions all year long, and despite strong challenges from the Volunteers and Tigers, we don’t see that changing today.

Parlaying two big favorites normally isn’t a very sharp thing to do, but this one time we’re going to recommend it for a safe payday.

PITT’S A GOOD FIT

The play: NCAA football, Pittsburgh -3½ vs. Syracuse

The odds/bet: -110 ($11 to win $10)

The book: FanDuel

Time/TV: 3:30 p.m. ET (ACC Network)

Our take: I went over this in my weekly picks column, but here’s a quick recap:

(1) Syracuse coach Dino Babers has been coy about the injury situation with starting quarterback Garrett Shrader, saying that he might have been well enough to play the second half of a loss to Notre Dame last week but that he didn’t feel as if the Orange could protect him. What? The backup, Florida transfer Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, was fine but inconsistent, but no matter who plays today, this situation smells funky.

(2) Babers has never beaten Pittsburgh in his seven years at Syracuse.

(3) These teams have some of the highest road-home splits in yards per play in the nation. Pitt is just 4-4 but has been a different team at home, beating West Virginia and taking Tennessee to overtime.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Friday’s best bets

NBA, Cavaliers -5½ over Pistons (WON $30)

NCAA football, UConn-UMass OVER 40 (LOST $11)

Friday’s profit/loss: +$19 (1-1)

Total for the week: +$124.70 (5-4, 1 World Series bet pending)

Total for November: +$98 (4-3, 1 pending)

Total for 2022: +$114.30 (283-309, 1 pending)

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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