Why to bet the under in Kansas vs. No. 17 Coastal Carolina, plus seven(!) other picks for the weekend

Hello and welcome to your gigantic Friday version of the CBS Sports HQ PM newsletter. Seriously, I’m going to get in trouble with this one, but I don’t care. It’s the first weekend of the NFL season, we’ve got more college football and soccer leagues are returning from the international break. There’s just so much going on in the world of sports over the next few days, and I couldn’t risk not sending you into the weekend without all the information possible.

So, yeah, today’s newsletter is a lot bigger than it’s supposed to be, but don’t you worry about it. I will take all the slings and arrows to protect you, my cherished readers. I live to fill your pockets with money, and that’s what I’m going to do.

All I ask of you is to read these other stories before getting to the rest of today’s novel. Uh, I mean newsletter.

Now let’s go get this money.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

🏈 Kansas at No. 17 Coastal Carolina, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
The Pick: Under 52 (-110)
: It’s not the prettiest Friday night slate in college football, but at least we’ve got some value to exploit. While Kansas football fans are numb to embarrassment by now, it is still strange to see the Jayhawks as 26-point underdogs to a team from the Sun Belt Conference. Strange or not, I have no interest in betting the spread here because I find there to be far more value on the total.

Coastal Carolina jumped onto the national scene last year thanks to an 11-1 record that featured a win over BYU. But while the Chanticleers are a fun team to watch, they aren’t much different from a modern option offense when it comes to pace. The Chants (that’s what the cool kids call them) ran the ball 62.6% of the time last season, which was the eight-highest rate in the country. This keeps the clock running and limits overall possessions in any game.

And then there’s Kansas’ offense, which is horrific. The Jayhawks scored 15.8 points per game last season and managed only 17 points and 245 yards (3.66 yards per play) against South Dakota last week. So we’ve got low expectations for that unit tonight. Coastal might cover this spread, it might not. Whatever happens there, I don’t expect there to be a whole lot of points scored.

Key Trend: The under is 6-2 in Coastal’s last eight games against teams with a winning record and Kansas has a winning record right now so it counts!

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: If you’d prefer a play on the spread, SportsLine expert Allan Bell thinks there’s one side of the line that’s clearly the right play.

💰 The Picks


Seahawks at Colts, Sunday, 1 p.m. | TV: FOX
The Pick: Seahawks -3 (-110) — 
Early in the season, when we don’t know as much as we’d hope to, I like to lean on some trusty plays of yore, and I love betting on Russell Wilson. It’s a little scary to take the Seahawks as a road favorite in the first game of the season, particularly against a team with a defense like Indianapolis that’s expected to be solid. That said, I’m comforted by the fact that Carson Wentz will be starting for the Colts in Week 1 after dealing with an injury and not playing during the preseason.

I don’t have much trust in Wentz as it is, so I won’t be shocked to see him struggle in his return to action. Also, while this is Wentz’s first career start with the Colts, the Eagles never performed well as underdogs when Wentz started. He’s always struck me as a guy who wins the games he’s supposed to win but struggles to elevate his teams to another level. Wilson can and will, so give me the Seahawks.

Key Trend: The Colts are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.

Vikings at Bengals, Sunday, 1 p.m. | TV: FOX
The Pick: Dalvin Cook Over 95.5 rushing yards (-115) — 
You can often find more value in betting props when it comes to the NFL, and one I love this weekend includes Dalvin Cook going against the Bengals rush defense. We all know that the Vikings offense is built around Cook. Since the 2018 season, only Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott have had more carries than Cook, who has averaged 17.8 carries per game in that span.

On Sunday, Cook will face a Cincinnati defense that ranked 20th in the NFL in defensive rush EPA (Expected Points Added) and was 31st in the league in yards allowed per carry at 5.11. Some of that was because the Bengals weren’t as talented up front as other teams, and it’s also because they missed so many tackles (78). Minnesota will come out and establish Cook early and will continue to ride him as I expect them to be nursing a lead late.

Key Trend: Dalvin Cook averaged 111.2 yards rushing per game last season.

Dolphins at Patriots, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. | TV: CBS
The Pick: Dolphins +3 (+100) — 
Do you know what I don’t make a habit of? Betting on rookie quarterbacks in their first career start, particularly as a favorite. And that’s precisely where we find Mac Jones and the Patriots to start the season. Now, I don’t mean this as a knock on Jones. I’m sure he did outplay Cam Newton in camp, but it’s important to remember Newton went 13-18 in the last three seasons as a starter with an adjusted yardage per attempt of only 6.7. He’s been a shell of his former MVP self, so Jones beating him out doesn’t necessarily mean the rookie has been great.

I think the Patriots will want to rely on the run game to ease the load on Jones in his first start and to mask the fact there aren’t many great options for New England in the passing game. That should only help keep things close, and I think the Dolphins are the team with the better overall skill talent. So I like Miami to cover here at a minimum.

Key Trend: The Dolphins are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games as an underdog.

🏈 College Football

No. 12 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio State, Saturday, 12 p.m. | TV: FOX
The Pick: Under 63.5 (-110) — 
I expect Oregon to take a similar approach to this game that Minnesota did when facing Ohio State last week. The Gophers ran the ball 50 times to burn clock and keep the Ohio State offense off the field. It was effective, as Minnesota dominated time of possession, but like many teams have learned, Ohio State doesn’t need a lot of time to score.

Still, the approach makes sense for Oregon as it’ll be on the road in a hostile environment and is better built to control the ball with Anthony Brown at quarterback. While there’s some doubt about Kayvon Thibodeaux’s availability with a sprained ankle, I expect him to play, and I think Oregon has a better defense than Minnesota. A defense that will do a better job of keeping guys like Chris Olave from running free through the defense after the catch. I think Ohio State will win rather comfortably, but Oregon will make it more difficult for the Buckeyes, and it’ll keep this game from blowing a fuse in the scoreboard.

Key Trend: The under is 7-2 in Oregon’s last nine nonconference games.

No. 10 Iowa at No. 9 Iowa State, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. | TV: ABC
The Pick: Iowa +4.5 (-110) — 
Matt Campbell has achieved so much in a short time at Iowa State. Last year he led the Cyclones to a top 10 spot in the final AP Poll, the first time it’s ever happened in the program’s history. He’s also posted four straight winning seasons at Iowa State, which hadn’t been achieved since five straight winning seasons from 1923 to 1927. But you know what Campbell hasn’t done at Iowa State? He hasn’t beaten Iowa.

I’m not convinced this will be the season it happens, either. Iowa was ignored for the most part last season but was a solid team and was playing better than anybody else in the Big Ten West at the end of the season. Last week the Hawkeyes pasted an Indiana team that was ranked in the top 20. Meanwhile, Iowa State struggled with Northern Iowa, and while I think some of that was due to Charlie Kolar missing the game and a vanilla gameplan (they didn’t want to put anything worthwhile on tape), it’s still a concern. I’m picking the Iowa upset here, but I expect it to be a close game no matter who wins, so the points are valuable.

Key Trend: The under is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings.

Air Force at Navy, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. | TV: CBS
The Pick: Under 40.5 (-105) — 
This total opened at 45.5, and I jumped on it then. It’s fallen four points since, but it’s fallen for a reason. Long-time readers of The Six Pack already knew this would be the Lock of the Week. Why? Well, because since 2005, when Service Academies play, the under has gone 38-9-1. Yes, you read that right.

The explanation is simple. The academies run option offenses, which are very run-heavy. That means the clock rarely stops, and there’s a limited number of possessions overall. A lot of times, we see teams getting only one possession per quarter. It’s hard to score a lot of points in those situations without being perfect on offense.

Key Trend: The under is 38-9-1 in games between service academies since 2005.

Looking for more college football plays this weekend? You can find all my favorite picks in my weekly column, The Six Pack.

⚽ Soccer

Napoli vs. Juventus, Saturday, 12 p.m. | TV: Paramount+
The Pick: Over 2.5 (-110) — 
The one thing about Serie A that most outsiders don’t get is how high-scoring of a league it is. There’s a narrative that Italian soccer is slow and defensive, but that hasn’t been the case in Italy’s top league for a while. There were more goals scored per match in Serie A last season than Europe’s other top leagues. Entering this weekend, there’s been an average of 3.3 goals scored per match in the league, again more than any of Europe’s other top five leagues (Germany’s Bundesliga is second at 3.19).

Yet it remains easy to find totals for Serie A matches that are lower than they should be, and this is one of those times. There was concern that Napoli would be without striker Victor Osimhen after he received a two-match ban following a red card, but it was reduced to a one-match ban upon appeal. That means he’s available to play, which is a significant boost to Napoli’s attack. And while Juventus looks to be without Federico Chiesa, Napoli’s defense has looked leaky to start the season, and first-choice goalkeeper Alex Meret is injured. This could quickly become a shootout.

Key Trend: Serie A is the highest-scoring league on average among Europe’s top five leagues.

If you’re looking for more soccer action, I’ve got two more picks you can read about in my Corner Picks column.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Legendary NFL handicapper Hank Goldberg is on a 50-35 run with his best bets. You can read his top three plays for Week 1 at SportsLine.

 💰 The Football Variety Hour Parlay

One parlay, five legs, three different kinds of football! This bonanza pays out at +140.

  • Notre Dame (-900)
  • Miami (-330)
  • USC (-900)
  • LA Rams (-380)
  • Manchester United (-550)

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