Michigan running back Hassan Haskins
(25) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Indiana, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


Patrick Werkmeister

Astonishingly, it is now the final week of the college football regular season before the start of conference championship games and then finally bowl season. This week’s college football playoff rankings feature the top four of Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, and Cincinnati. Following their 38-7 blowout loss to Utah, Oregon was quickly taken out of the playoff equation. Although there’s just one more regular season game left for these teams, a lot can change between now and December 31st. Following a solid 2-1 performance in last week’s college ‘Best Bets’, the picks for this slate are primed to stay hot. Here is what I’m confident in for this Saturday.

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Ohio State (-7.5) @ Michigan
From the Big House in Ann Arbor, C.J. Stroud and the Ohio State Buckeyes look to steal one on the road against Cade McNamara. The opening line for this matchup favored the Buckeyes by six and a half-point, but they are now listed as seven and a half-point road favorites. Although Michigan is a 6-0 SU in their last six home games, Ohio State is an impressive 13-0 SU in their previous 13 games on the road. While the Wolverines swiftly defeated Maryland last week, the Buckeyes destroyed the previously top five ranked Michigan State Spartans 56-7. Led by quarterback Heisman candidate C.J. Stroud, the Ohio State freshman already has an astonishing 36 touchdown passes with the best QBR in the entire country. Although the Buckeyes’ defense has shown some weaknesses over the season, they have been on fire since they let up 35 points in the Week 2 loss to Oregon. Their defense hasn’t allowed more than that  total since then and it seems like they are impregnable at this point in the season. As long as they take care of the ball with just minor success on defense, they should have no problem covering this margin. Take the Bucks minus the points in this heated rivalry.  

Pittsburgh @ Syracuse (+13.5)
For this ACC matchup, the Syracuse Orangemen host the Pittsburgh Panthers. The opening line for this contest favored the Panthers by 11 points but they are currently listed as whopping 13.5 point road favorite. Syracuse comes into this one with a terrific ATS record of 8-3, where they are 5-0 ATS in their last five at home. In Week 12, the Panthers scraped by with a 10 point victory over the Virginia Cavaliers. Contrarily, Syracuse was blown out by NC State, 41-17.  Even though they wound up being dominated by their opponent, they kept it close all game except for the second quarter where they allowed 28 points. With Syracuse being a top five team in the country ATS, it’s hard to bet against them when they are this large of a dog at home. Take ‘Cuse plus the points to cover this inflated spread.

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (-4.5)
For this edition of the Bedlam series, the Oklahoma Sooners travel to Stillwater to face off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Cowboys opened as just one point home favorites but are now favored by four and a half. They have been favored just once in this matchup in the last 10 years and four times since the turn of the century. However, the Okies have been 9-0 ATS in their last nine games played and seemingly have their best chance in a while to earn a victory in this matchup. Last weekend, Oklahoma barely defeated Iowa State whereas the Cowboys shutout Texas Tech, 23-0. Although both of these programs are at 10-1, this season feels different for the Sooners since they have had trouble with most of the teams they’ve faced. On the other hand, Oklahoma State has put together one of their best seasons in recent memories, with one of the best defenses in the country. With the Cowboys covering the spread in their last five games by a margin of 11 or more, I like the position the Okies are in for this one. Take Oklahoma State minus the points to cover this margin.

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