There’s minimal movement this week in our the Bet the Board Top 10 however there’s a new sheriff in town. Stop us if you’ve heard this…Alabama is back to being the #1 team in the country leapfrogging Clemson. Meanwhile don’t sleep on the scarlet and grey; Ohio St further proved to those remaining skeptics that they are very much a player for the College Football Playoffs in annihilating Nebraska moving their road record in conference to 2-0. We stay in the Big 10 for our overrated team this week, trek out west for our underrated squad, and the best bet takes us to America’s heartland with a double digit dog that has plenty of bite.
Bet the Board Top 10 Week 6:
5.) Ohio State
Overrated: Iowa Hawkeyes
Let’s be clear about this one: In the grand scheme of college football we like Iowa and Nate Stanley. That being said the Hawkeyes are currently #14 in the national polls and it’s extremely difficult to say that’s close to justified. Iowa has faced a rather pedestrian slate of opponents thus far and with the Iowa State performance at Baylor (down 20-0 in the 4th), their narrow victory in Ames loses quite a bit of luster. In that game against the Cyclones, as mentioned on Bet the Board podcast, the stat line and metrics told a very different tale than what the final scoreboard showed after 37 hours of rain delays. Beating Miami of Ohio, Rutgers, and Middle Tennessee is no proper preparation for this week’s road test at Michigan. Iowa’s defense has led the charge and is justifiably a very strong unit with a major concern in their untested secondary. The Hawkeyes could really use CB Ojemudia, CB Hankins, and S Merriweather back this week, as the Wolverines will be sure to attack Iowa through the air with a renewed sense of confidence. We’re not ready to anoint Iowa in its current form as a Top 15, fringe Top 10 unit, until they navigate through some of their Big 10 opponents with Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin all on deck in the next 5 weeks. Iowa is a team we power rate just inside the Top 30 until further notice.
Underrated: USC Trojans
One thing we’ve learned about this USC Trojan team thus far is they are GAME. They’ve played a Top 20 strength of schedule and yet they’re a net +0.7 yards per play. Realistically the men of Troy could easily be 4-1 if they held on in Provo against BYU. Even last week in losing 28-14 to Washington USC was driving down 20-7 about to score a momentum TD before an errant pass got away from Matt Fink ultimately leading to a long Huskies touchdown run. USC out-gained Washington 375-373 with a 3rd string QB and had 18 first downs compared to 16 for UW. Unfortunately USC lost the turnover battle (-2) which led to their demise. This team has so much talent at the WR position with Pittman and St. Brown that opposing secondaries should be shaking when Kedon Slovis returns after the bye. Despite a very difficult schedule still looming USC may be a team to “buy” before the rest of the nation and betting market finally catches up.
Best Bet:  Illinois +14
Illinois, fresh off a bye after a tough loss to Nebraska (where they gave up 14-0 and 35-21 leads), now travels to Minnesota to take on the Gophers who are off an upset win (+2) of their own against Purdue. Minnesota has started off 4-0 with wins over S. Dakota State, Fresno St, and Georgia Southern; covering the spread for the first time this season just last week. Minnesota has achieved only a net +0.6 yards per play against a bottom half strength of schedule and only 3 weeks ago we saw the Gophers -16.5 against Georgia Southern at home. Illinois smashed Minnesota last year and while most handicappers might look and say, “this is a massive revenge spot,” Illinois is fighting to save Love Smith’s job. IF anything the Illini should have the confidence from last year’s win knowing they are in the same weight class as Minnesota. This number has ticked down to 13.5 at some of the sharper books, but the consensus number is still a full 2 touchdowns. Take Illinois here as a double digit dog with serious bite.