Tiny Nick Game Pick: 9/24



NCAA Football (1.5 Unit) 2-Team 6 Point Teaser (-110)

Duke @ Kansas -1: 11:00 CT on FS1

No, it’s not a basketball game (these schools will face off on November 15 for that), but it’s a compelling showdown between undefeated teams. I’m tempted to score points with Kansas because I think it’s a place where they’re very motivated, going home with a host of expected ability. But that’s an awkward number, and having them essentially win the game instead makes me more comfortable.

Kansas’ recent brutal football history has always looked down on them in the market, despite this being their first 3-0 start since 2009 and looking fantastic in the process. Scoring 103 total points in two road games against legit teams is very impressive, and this offense is definitely buzzing behind dual-threat QB Milestone Daniels. Duke’s undefeated start is far less impressive if you dig in, especially allowing as many runs as they have over the past two weeks. I just don’t think they have what it takes in a hostile environment like this, facing a side as hungry as they can be for a 4-0 start.

Florida @ Tennessee -4.5: 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS

Again, I’m tempted to put the points with the home favorite, but again, that’s an awkward number. You’re also paying a premium to support Tennessee right now due to their power rating, so I’m looking for a discount. I really like the Vols, and I think they’re in a great position to make Rocky Top forget about 16 losses in their last 17 meetings with Florida. The Gators must be the most fraudulent top-25 team in the nation, with a chance victory over Utah doing all the work to keep them in the standings.

This is another situation where a team has to go into a very hostile environment, and their QB Anthony Richardson makes his first real start on the road while still learning the position. I just think Tennessee has too much offense, especially on the ground with QB Hendon Hookerrunning ability. Florida has been hacked on the ground this season, ranking 112th in rushing yards allowed and will be battling the most athletic players they have faced to date here. The Vols can do a lot to prove themselves in this location and should face their overrated rival.

NCAA Football (0.5 units) Clemson/Wake Forest Over 55.5 (-110): 11:00 a.m. CT on ABC

Clemson’s defense showed cracks, and I think those are showing up in a big way today. Even though the Tigers are dominant up front, the back has been torched for 243 passing yards per game. That puts them 70th in the nation, and they’ve only faced Georgia Tech, Louisiana Tech and Furman.

sam hartmann and Wake’s elite passing game should be able to exploit that here, as long as they can figure out the protection issues that plagued them in previous meetings with Clemson. Obviously, Wake isn’t stopping anything either, as their defense just keeps getting worse. Will Shipley and Co. will find plenty of room to run like they did in the 48-27 thrashing of the Demon Deacons last year. As long as that total is less than that key number of 56, I’m going with the plus.

NCAA Football (0.5 unit) Central Michigan/Penn St. Over 62 (-110): 11:00 a.m. CT on BTN

Penn State will again face a functional infraction after two games against teams that can’t fend for themselves. Central Michigan has a quarterback in Daniel Richardson who is a double threat and a running back in Lew Nichols III who is excellent as a runner and receiver. Let’s not forget that this Chippewa team has amassed 44 points on Oklahoma State, a defense that is struggling to attack.

Penn State happens to rank 125th out of 131 FBS teams in tackles, so they should be giving up a lot of yards and scoring opportunities. But the Chips can’t stop anything either, and Penn State’s offense is rolling behind running back right now. Nick Singleton who averages 11 yards per carry. The Nittany Lions should score in groups early, at the very least CMU will get points behind, and that will push that over the total.

NCAA football (0.5 units) UCLA @ Colorado 1st half +12.5 (-110): 1:00 p.m. CT on the PAC12 network

One of those times, UCLA is going to be burned by the slow starts where they play with their food in the first half of games. The Bruins trailed last week at the break in South Alabama and had just a 7-point lead over Bowling Green at halftime in their season opener. None of these teams are anything special, and while Colorado isn’t either, they’re still the first power conference opponent UCLA has faced.

Those slow starts also came in Los Angeles, making it the Bruins’ first road game. The location does them a disservice, as they have to travel to an altitude where coastal schools always struggle. Plus, UCLA could easily ignore that poor Buffaloes team because they have a short week before welcoming the surprise Pac-12 contender to Washington next Friday. It’s no fun supporting Colorado to do anything, but UCLA is a slow-starting team until proven otherwise. I’m going to take almost two touchdowns early going here.

NCAA Football (0.75 units) Rice / Houston Over 51.5 (-110): 5:00 p.m. CT on ESPN+

I just don’t understand that total given the lack of defense I expect to see in this city showdown. Things turned sour for the Houston Cougars after a home loss at the hands of Kansas. They can’t stop anything on the ground or in the air, ranking 118th in the nation in total yards allowed. Even in their lone win, the Cougars allowed a far inferior UTSA team to hang around and force overtime, so Rice should be able to contribute a lot to that total.

But the Owls won’t have a chance to stop Houston if the Cougars decide to do so, which I think they might do out of frustration with the way the season has gone. The connection between the quarterback Clayton Air and his favorite receiver Nathaniel Dell is hard to stop for any team, let alone a Group of 5 school like Rice. These teams are also combined 6-0 on that total, so whatever style of play is being played here, I see it going over a pretty low total.

NCAA Football (0.75 units) Vanderbilt/Alabama First Quarter Over 13.5 (-110): 6:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network

Vanderbilt begins first year AJ Swann at quarterback, who I think actually has looked pretty good so far. Don’t be surprised if he knocks the Commodores down for an early score — or throws a touchdown to an Alabama defense that likes to jump roads early in games. Either way, Swann will have an impact on tonight’s early score.

But the Commodores still have one of the worst defenses in the nation, and Alabama has been unstoppable at home against bad teams. The Tide has scored 45 first-quarter points in its two home games, and Vandy’s first quarters also sit 3-0 above that number. Plus, Nick Saban and Alabama will want this one over quickly since a trip to Arkansas is on the cards. The Tide certainly can and will likely do all the work here, getting this first quarter above the isolated total.


NCAA Football Maryland @ Michigan -10 First Half (-110): 11:00 a.m. CT on FOX

My family has a lot of ties to Maryland and the Terrapins, so this one hurts a bit. But I just can’t ignore what Michigan has done in the first halves of games recently. Including all of last season, the Wolverines are 14-1-1 ATS ATS in the first half. With that gap sitting flat on the key 10 count, I think it’s a good spot with Michigan against a Terps team that’s giving up a lot of yards and points.

Tiny Nick has an 863-725 ATS (+73.3 units) record on his locks since joining Zone Coverage.

Each day it will offer its Locks and Degenerate choices. The locks are the games he trusts. Degenerates are fun but riskier choices.

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