Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
Week 11 Upset Alerts
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Well, it can't get any worse then last week's selections and there is really isn't anything remotely close to say in terms of defending the plays after the initial autopsy was performed. Massachusetts got walloped by a suspect Liberty team, UAB failed to step up against a whimpering “big boy” like Tennessee, and Washington blew a halftime lead for the second straight week.
You do this for long enough and ugly weeks like that will happen without question. That's where money management and not falling victim to chasing losses becomes the most important tool in your handicapping toll box. After that, it's all about digging into the numbers again and figuring out what you may have missed, what you may have put too much faith in, and how to adjust going forward.
I'm not about to let poor performances by specific teams hinder my view on them in coming weeks if the situation makes sense to back them – as I do kind of like UAB +4.5 this week for example – but we've got three other selections that make the list this week as I'm obviously looking for much better results. And while there are some huge games between unbeaten teams that would have the likes of Minnesota (+6.5) and LSU (+6.5) as potential plays, I'll let others break down those contests in much more detail.
So let's get right to this week's selections and whether your following or fading, I hope you still find some value in these approaches.
Upset Alert #1: Underdogs in the +1 to +9 range
YTD: 2-8 SU; 6-3-1 ATS
Troy (+2.5) vs Georgia Southern
Probably not the first game most would come to as a small underdog this week, but hard not to like the spot for Troy at home catching points against a Georgia Southern team that's coming off a huge high.
Georgia Southern were able to knock off Appalachian State as two-touchdown underdogs last week, and give the Mountaineers their first loss of the year. That was the biggest of big games for Southern this year as the victory puts them back in the hunt for the Sun Belt East title, but as they say in tennis, it's all about “consolidating the break” for the Eagles now, and I don't believe they will be able too.
A few extra days of extra rest is always nice, but in this case it means a few extra days of reading about how great that win against App State and starting to fall for their own hype. This Southern team is already 0-3 ATS as a favorite of 10 points or less, and we saw how they really tightened up with the lead in the 4th quarter against App State. Had the Mountaineers kicker not missed a relatively short FG try late in the 3d quarter, we might not even be talking about Georgia Southern coming off an upset win in the first place.
Furthermore, the Eagles were playing with fire in their last two games as a -10 or less favorite, beating both Coastal Carolina and South Alabama in overtime. Outside of blowing out a bad New Mexico State team, Georgia Southern fits the profile of a squad that plays up and down to their level of competition. There were those two OT wins when they were expected to win by at least a TD, and then on the other side of the coin there was the App State win, and also losing to a now 8-0 SU Minnesota team by three points early in the year.
Troy may not look the greatest at 3-5 SU, but it also doesn't tell the whole story. The Trojans laid an egg at Georgia State two weeks ago at basically a pick'em, and came up one-point short last week at Coastal Carolina when they closed at -2. Four losses in their last five games have their perceived stock value much lower then it should be, and shutting down the option-based attack Southern brings to the party is nothing new for the Trojans.
Troy's won this game by double digits in each of the past two seasons, and I believe they win this game by at least a TD in a spot where Georgia Southern falls flat in more ways then one.
Upset Alert #2: Underdogs in the +10 to +19 range
YTD: 1-9 SU; 2-8 ATS
Georgia Tech (+16) vs Virginia
Contrary to the last play being more about fading a team like Georgia Southern in a likely flat spot, this is more about playing on a Georgia Tech team that's improving each week. There were always going to be some growing pains for this program that has spent this season transitioning away from the triple option, and while the results may not be there yet, the play on the field suggests they aren't far off.
The Yellow Jackets have been able to look alright in conference play since the start of October, as they hung tough for three quarters with North Carolina, didn't quit and nearly back-doored Duke (closed at +17.5 and lost by 18), went on to shock Miami in OT with an outright win as 18-point dogs, and hung tough for four quarters last week against Pitt in another ATS loss by the hook. Georgia Tech's 1-7 ATS record this year is not reflective at all of how much this team is improving on both sides of the ball, and with the point spreads still having to account for such a bad ATS mark – because that still holds value to most – this Yellow Jackets team is probably a 'play on' team the rest of this season.
At the same time, Virginia is a team that isn't great in the heavy favorite role, at least when it's FBS competition sharing the field with them. Without forcing turnovers, they don't have the weapons, nor the style of play to blow anyone out. And after four straight weeks of highly intense games in conference play where the spreads were always +/4.5 or less, and facing Notre Dame prior to that stretch, going against this Cavaliers team that's 1-4 ATS in their last five games against a losing team makes a lot of sense.
Upset Alert #3: Underdogs in the +20 and above range
YTD: 2-8 ATS
NC State (+32) vs Clemson
Now that the first CFP Playoff rankings have been released and Clemson finds themselves sitting 5th and on the outside looking in, you can understand the perspective that the Tigers are going to look to make a statement this week and win big at NC State. After all, NC State has gotten blown out in three of their last four games overall, looked absolutely awful the past two weeks, and were lucky to get by a bad Syracuse team the last time they played at home. NC State's 1-6 ATS record since the start of September would suggest to some that laying the points is the only way to go here as well.
However, as slighted as Clemson (and their fans) may feel about being left out, do they really have much to worry about? It's not like they've got the strongest resume as it is relative to those teams right now either.
But more importantly, things will take care of themselves regarding the teams ahead of them as LSU and Alabama play this week, and Ohio State's still got to face Penn State (and Michigan) before November is through. Somebody's got to lose those games and as long as Clemson keeps winning games outright, they'll be first in line to take over one of those top four spots. So the argument that Clemson needs to put beatings on people the rest of the way doesn't really carry a lot of weight, they just can't get caught like they almost did against North Carolina a few weeks back.
Clemson won't get caught here, but NC State is going to show that they are much better then what they've put on film the past two weeks. Remember, both of those games were road games for this Wolfpack team, and even though they did sneak by Syracuse the last time they played at home, NC State still owns a perfect 4-0 SU record on their own field this year.
That perfect home record will take it's first blemish, but it's not like NC State is a stranger to putting serious scares in very good Clemson teams in year's past. Furthermore, it probably helps their cause in terms of the number and situation that they come into this game looking awful of late, and Clemson could take them rather lightly, coming off a light, scrimmage-type game against Wofford themselves.