College football Week 10 betting primer: What's the best play in No. 23 Michigan vs. No. 13 Indiana?

Sam Cooper
·5 min read

The college football landscape is finally whole again. The Big Ten and Mountain West came back two weeks ago, and now the Pac-12 and MAC return for Week 10.

Week 10 has a ton of good games, and I searched through them carefully in an effort to stop my losing skid. I went through seven weeks without any losing weeks and now I’ve put two straight together. Last week’s 2-4 effort puts me at 23-21 on the year. That’s still better than 50%, but not where I’d like to be.

Here’s what I’m rolling with in Week 10.

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Air Force at Army

Time: 11:30 a.m. | TV: CBS | Line: Air Force -5.5 | Total: 41.5

The under is a must-play when two service academies meet. It’s a game between two option offenses where an inside track to the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is on the line. I know that 41.5 is a low number, but the under has hit six straight times when these two teams meet. The average combined score in those six games is 29.5. On top of that, those six games have gone under the total by an average of 18.9 points.

Pick: Under 41.5

Tulane at East Carolina

Time: Noon | TV: ESPN+ | Line: Tulane -5 | Total: 60.5

East Carolina was robbed of a win last week when it was a 17-point underdog on the road against Tulsa. ECU took a 30-27 lead with 4:24 to go, but Tulsa managed to score the winning touchdown with 29 seconds left in regulation. During that drive, ECU was called for a controversial pass interference on a fourth down play, saw a clear Tulsa fumble (that ECU recovered) get overturned and then a Tulsa fourth-down completion that appeared to hit the ground was ruled a catch.

After all that, ECU returns home to place a Tulane that is coming off a 38-3 win over Temple. But Temple’s roster is ravaged by virus and injury issues, so that score is a bit misleading. ECU’s Mike Houston is too good of a coach to let his team sulk. I think they come back angry and eager to pull off an upset.

Pick: East Carolina +5

North Carolina at Duke

Time: Noon | TV: ESPN2 | Line: North Carolina -10.5 | Total: 64.5

North Carolina is coming off its second upset loss of the year, this time against Virginia, but it still put up 536 yards in the game. I don’t envision Sam Howell and the UNC offense having any issues moving the ball against Duke.

The Blue Devils blew out Charlotte in their lone non-conference game last week and used mostly their running game to put up 53 points. To beat North Carolina, Duke is going to have to have some success through the air. UNC’s defense hasn’t been great this year, but I don’t think Chase Brice and the Duke offense are good enough to keep up with the UNC for 60 minutes.

UNC is 5-2 against the spread after a loss under Mack Brown. Let’s make it 6-2.

Pick: UNC -10.5

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (7) hands off the ball to running back Michael Carter (8) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against North Carolina State in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (7) hands off the ball to running back Michael Carter (8) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against North Carolina State in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

No. 23 Michigan at No. 13 Indiana

Time: Noon | TV: FS1 | Line: Michigan -3 | Total: 54.5

Indiana is off to a 2-0 start to the season, but haven’t been very impressive on offense. The Hoosiers had only 211 yards vs. Penn State and lacked explosiveness for most of the Rutgers game. Late in the game, though, the Hoosiers finally found a rhythm when they put together scoring drives of 55, 75 and 82 yards.

That should carry over against a Michigan team that was surprisingly beat on deep balls over and over in a bad loss to Michigan State. The Michigan offense, meanwhile, couldn’t really run the ball well and ended up throwing the ball 51 times. I expect a bounce-back from the offense with the coaches putting Joe Milton in a better position to succeed.

In Jim Harbaugh’s tenure, the over is 10-4 in games that follow a Michigan loss. Additionally, the over is 10-3 when Indiana has been a home underdog during the Tom Allen era.

Pick: Over 54.5

Arizona at Utah

Time: 4 p.m. | TV: ESPNU | Line: Utah -14 | Total: 59.5

I had to play a Pac-12 game this week, right?

Utah has a lot to replace on offense, so I think Kyle Whittingham will really look to rely on his defense in his team’s first game of 2020. The uncertainty on offense makes me a bit leery about laying two touchdowns, even though Arizona has scored a total of 17 points in its two games against the Utes with Kevin Sumlin as head coach.

In this spot, I’m going to play the under. Since Sumlin became head coach, the under is 6-2 in games where Arizona is an underdog of at least seven points. And on the Utah side, the last 15 times the Utes were favored by double digits in Pac-12 play, the under is 12-2-1.

Pick: Under 59.5

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