College Football Picks: Week 3 Bowl Games, 2016-17
College Football Picks (Week 1, 2016): 5-0 (+$1,000) College Football Picks (Week 2, 2016): 1-4 (-$900) College Football Picks (Week 3, 2016): 2-3 (-$480) College Football Picks (Week 4, 2016): 3-2 (+$360) College Football Picks (Week 5, 2016): 3-1-1 (+$370) College Football Picks (Week 6, 2016): 1-4 (-$900) College Football Picks (Week 7, 2016): 1-4 (-$900) College Football Picks (Week 8, 2016): 3-2 (-$50) College Football Picks (Week 9, 2016): 5-0 (+$1,200) College Football Picks (Week 10, 2016): 3-2 (+$250) College Football Picks (Week 11, 2016): 3-2 (+$150) College Football Picks (Week 12, 2016): 3-2 (+$40) College Football Picks (Week 13, 2016): 3-2 (+$40) College Football Picks (Week 14, 2016): 2-3 (-$395) College Football Picks (Week 1 Bowls, 2016): 3-2 (-$20) College Football Picks (Week 2 Bowls, 2016): 4-0-1 (+$1,100) College Football Picks (Week 3 Bowls, 2016): 3-2 (+$360)
College Football Picks (2016 Season): 48-35-2 (+$1,185) College Football Picks (2015 Season): 42-44 (-$560) College Football Picks (2014 Season): 46-39-1 (-$325) College Football Picks (2013 Season): 52-33 (+$3,970) College Football Picks (2012 Season): 45-34-1 (+$2,500) College Football Picks (2011 Season): 36-32-2 (-$390) College Football Picks (2010 Season): 37-31-2 (+$190) College Football Picks (2009 Season): 34-34-2 (-$3,820) College Football Picks (2008 Season): 49-38 (+$3,020)
South Florida vs. South Carolina. Line: South Florida by 10. Thursday, 2:00 p.m.
As a disclaimer, don't go nuts with my college football picks. I'm much better at picking NFL games (which is saying a lot). Follow @walterfootball for updates.
I find this spread quite puzzling. South Carolina is obviously from the better conference, while South Florida hasn't played tough competition all year, except when they battled Florida State and lost, 55-35. The Gamecocks' tough defense will slow down the Bulls, who lost their head coach. Willie Taggart, a character from Beverly Hills Cop, took the Oregon job and disgracefully betrayed his players. That doesn't bode well for South Florida in this game.
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College Football Pick: South Carolina +10 (3 Units) -- Correct; +$300
North Carolina vs. Stanford. Line: Stanford by 3. Friday, 2:00 p.m.
Stanford had great aspirations heading into 2016, yet they're stuck playing in the stupid Sun Bowl. No wonder Christian McCaffrey bailed on his team. I can't imagine the Cardinal having the motivation to play this game. On the other hand, North Carolina will be happy to be here, and its explosive offense will be the difference-maker in this meaningless bowl game.
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College Football Pick: North Carolina +3 -115 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
Washington vs. Alabama. Line: Alabama by 13.5. Saturday, 3:00 p.m.
Count me as someone who believes Washington really doesn't belong in the college football playoff. The Huskies weren't even the best team in their own conference, as USC went into Seattle and absolutely blasted them. It wasn't a fluky victory like Iowa and Pitt had over Michigan and Syracuse, respectively; the Trojans completely dominated the game from start to finish. Washington quarterback Jake Browning had a very difficult time with USC's defense, so I can't imagine a quarterback with limited arm strength handling Alabama's stop unit very well. The Tide should win this game pretty easily.
Final Thoughts: There's been sharp money coming in on Washington, especially this afternoon. This line has dropped to +13 in most books, and it's been +12.5 at Pinnacle for most of the day. Pinnacle is the sharpest sportsbook out there, so it's dubious for Alabama bettors that they're welcoming more action on the Crimson Tide. That said, I still think Alabama is the play. I don't see Jake Browning doing much versus the top team in the country, and I love having Nick Saban with so much time to prepare. My only regret is that I have a bit of a bad number at -13.5, but the Tide should still roll by more than two touchdowns.
College Football Pick: Alabama -13.5 (3 Units) -- Correct; +$300
Ohio State vs. Clemson. Line: Ohio State by 3. Saturday, 7:00 p.m.
Both of these teams were leaking oil to finish the season. However, both have obviously had some time off, and I think that benefits the Buckeyes more than the Tigers. Ohio State simply has more talent, and I trust Urban Meyer to devise a great game plan with so much time to prepare. That said, I'm not very confident in this pick, and I could actually see it being a push. If this weren't one of the playoff games, it wouldn't be one of my five selections.
Final Thoughts: Here's another game where I'm not getting the best line. This spread has dropped to -1.5, thanks to some sharp money coming in on Clemson. I didn't feel very strongly about Ohio State at -3 because I thought that was about the right number. Buckeyes at -1.5 seems better, as I like Urban Meyer to win outright with tons of time to prepare. I wouldn't worry about this sharp money; the pros lost on Washington, and they could easily fall to 0-2. That said, I feel less strongly about this game. One unit almost seems like too much.
College Football Pick: Ohio State -3 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
USC vs. Penn State. Line: USC by 7. Monday, 5:00 p.m.
I mentioned earlier how dominant USC was against Washington. This was not a surprise to me, as I picked the Trojans in that game. Their defense has always been great, but the difference in their late-season surge has been Sam Darnold. The redshirt freshman quarterback has been terrific, offering a huge upgrade over what USC had earlier at the position. Penn State, meanwhile, managed to win some games flukily; special teams led the way versus Ohio State, while Michigan State's entire backfield got hurt in the second quarter of the regular-season finale. The Nittany Lions' luck could finally run out, especially against a superior opponent.
Final Thoughts: I loved USC when I made this pick, and I still feel the same way. Actually, I'm even more confident in the wake of how horribly the Big Ten has performed in the bowl season. Penn State is the third-best team from the Big Ten, while USC is the best the Pac-12 has to offer, as the Trojans have been unstoppable with Sam Darnold at the helm. I think this is going to be a blowout. This spread has risen to -7.5, thanks to sharp action, but -7 -120 is still available at Bovada. I'd rather have that than -7.5.
College Football Pick: USC -7 (3 Units) -- Incorrect; -$330
Clemson vs. Alabama. Line: Alabama by 6. Monday, 8:05 p.m.
I've been asked why I hadn't posted my Alabama-Clemson pick yet, and it's because I was still trying to figure out this game. Under normal circumstances, I'd love Alabama. They're far and away the best team in the country, and they've dominated all of their competition. Clemson, meanwhile, lost to Pitt and also snuck by mediocre teams like N.C. State. Furthermore, Clemson's blowout victory over a fraudulent Big Ten team in the semi-final has deflated this spread. I think Alabama would've been at least -9.5 or -10 over Clemson prior to the semi-final. Thus, we're getting great line value with the Tide.
So, what's my concern? I don't know how to factor in the Lane Kiffin firing. Kiffin, Alabama's offensive coordinator, was dismissed from the team last week because he and Nick Saban were super pissed at each other (more so than usual). The team now has a new offensive coordinator, so how will the Tide offense respond to that? What about any sort of possible distractions? I've been holding off my pick, just in case any other stories broke out. I've heard nothing, however.
I'm going to stick with Alabama, but instead of what would've been a three-unit wager, I'm going to pick them for one unit, and I'm going to grab the -6 -120 available at Bovada. I'll have final thoughts for this game around 7:30, so check back or follow me @walterfootball to see if anything changes.
Final Thoughts: Bovada is offering slightly better juice (-115) on -6, and that's the best number I see if you're an Alabama supporter. I still like the Tide. As I said, they're definitely a lot better than Clemson, and this spread has dropped after what happened on New Year's Eve. Plus, if you bet the Tide, you're going against public money. Again though, my concern is with Alabama's focus amid possible distractions in the wake of the Kiffin firing.