Originally found on Fox Sports:
Nov. 3, 2023 1:17 a.m. ET
“Bear Bets” are real wagers that Chris “The Bear” Fallica is actually making.
Week 10 of the college football season is here, and I like several ‘dogs to bark this weekend.
As for betting on college football every week, I will share my best bets with you throughout the season in this space. So, if you are looking to throw a few bucks down on the big games this week, I’ve got you covered.
On a side note, a new episode of my digital gambling show and podcast will be posted every Thursday. The college football-focused episodes — presented by Big Noon Kickoff — will be released on Thursdays, with the NFL-themed episodes dropping on Fridays.
Let’s have some fun and, hopefully, make some money.
Here are my favorite wagers for Week 10.
Last week: 3-6 (28-37-1 season)
(All times ET Saturday)
The Huskies have been begging to get beaten for a couple of weeks now.
Maybe they peaked too soon? Maybe it’s just a bad stretch, but UW doesn’t rush the passer at all and that is a huge problem against Caleb Williams and USC.
Yes, the USC defense has been a year-long punch line — and deservedly so — but the comeback against Cal was promising last week. It showed the Trojans hadn’t given up on the season, and why should they? With games ahead against UW, Oregon and UCLA, the Trojans control their destiny to return to the Pac-12 title game.
There’s an above-average chance I will hate myself come the second quarter for doing this, but I’ll take the points with USC.
PICK: USC (+3) to lose by fewer than 3 points (or win outright)
The good news for Illinois is it had its best-rushing output of the season against the Badgers, and that bodes well for Bret Bielema’s teams, which typically pride itself on its ability to run the ball.
It will be ugly to watch, but what Big Ten West game isn’t? But I do like the Illini and the points here.
PICK: Illinois (+2.5) to lose by fewer than 2.5 points (or win outright)
The Utes were throttled by one of the best teams in the country last week, while ASU finally broke through against Wazzu after a string of close calls.
ASU is clearly better than its record indicates and has improved throughout the year, but going to Salt Lake is a different animal, especially with the Utes coming off such an ugly performance.
I trust Kyle Whittingham and Morgan Scalley to get the defense on track here.
PICK: Utes (-11) to win by more than 11 points
You could have gotten a big number earlier this season, and if so, I’d be backing the Hokies in this spot. But maybe, just maybe, things are looking up for VT, which has won three of four. And in the one loss to Florida State, the Hokies actually found themselves in the game in the third quarter.
Louisville has found itself in a lot of games this year with lesser opposition — beat Georgia Tech by five, Indiana by seven, NC State by three — and QB Jack Plummer hasn’t been great since the BC game — three TDs, four INTs, under 150 pass yards twice in four games.
Seems like it might be too many points here.
PICK: Virginia Tech (+9.5) to lose by fewer than 9.5 points (or win outright)
This line is super short, and it tells me the oddsmakers think LSU is the right side.
I have concerns with the Alabama secondary against the LSU offense, given what we saw Texas do earlier this season. Jayden Daniels was a big problem on the ground last year for the Tide — 95 rush yards — and that could be the deal again.
I give LSU a great chance to win outright, and it’s possible that by the end of the night, we have a new Heisman frontrunner.
PICK: LSU (+3) to lose by fewer than 3 points (or win outright)
UNDERDOGS TO PLAY ON ML
Now it’s time to have some fun with my “Bear Bytes.”
These little “bytes,” as I call them, are just nuggets that give you some entertaining talking points to pull from as you watch the football festivities with friends and family or banter with your co-workers at the water cooler.
Here are the biggest nuggets that stuck out to me while doing my research:
LSU @ Alabama
LSU is the only team that has two upset wins at Alabama in the Nick Saban era. The Tigers beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa in both 2011 and 2019 as 5-point ‘dogs.
The last time Alabama was favored by four points or fewer at home was 2010 when the Tide lost to eventual national champion Auburn 28-27 as 4-point favorites. One has to go back to Nick Saban’s first season (2007) to find the last time Alabama was favored by fewer than four points in Tuscaloosa. And that was when the Tide lost 26-23 to Georgia as 3.5-point favorites.
Underdogs have covered 18 of the last 21 service academy games. Navy failed to cover the 10.5 against Air Force earlier this year when it went for two in the final seconds of a game it trailed and lost 17-6.
In its last seven regular season games against ranked opponents, Georgia has allowed 7.9 PPG and never more than 13 points in any game.
Kansas State @ Texas
Dating back to 2008, Texas is 6-16-1 ATS as a favorite against ranked teams. Texas has also lost 11 of its last 17 games outright as a favorite against a ranked opponent.
Notre Dame @ Clemson
Since the start of 2011, only once in 86 home games has Clemson been an underdog of at least three points. That came in 2013 when the Tigers lost 51-14 to eventual national champion Florida State as 4-point ‘dogs.
Nebraska @ Michigan State
Nebraska is 2-6 ATS in its last eight game as a road favorite. The Huskers lost half of those outright. A win gives Nebraska its first four-game win streak since 2016.
Washington @ USC
Since 2014, USC has been an underdog 26 times. The Trojans have pulled just three upsets, two coming over Utah and the other at undefeated Washington in 2016.
Has the positive regression begun for Matt Campbell? After going 5-20 in his first 25 games in Ames in games lined between -3.5 and +3.5, the Cyclones have won their last two, beating Oklahoma State and Baylor. The Cyclones are currently a 2.5- or 3-point favorites over Kansas.
Going back to the start of last season, there have been 15 unranked home teams favored over ranked opponents. Twelve of the 15 won outright. However, one of the three losers was Iowa State last year vs. Baylor as a 2.5-point favorite.
Chris “The Bear” Fallica has covered sports for nearly three decades. While college football has been his focus, he also enjoys the NFL, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, MLB, NHL and Horse Racing, with an “occasional” wager on such events. Chris recently won the inaugural Circa Football Invitational and finished in the Top 10 of the Golden Nugget Football Contest. He’s a multiple-time qualifier for the NHC Handicapping Championship. Remember, “The less you bet, the more you lose when you win!” Follow him on Twitter @chrisfallica.
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