We have hit our first adversity of the college football season and it has come with some bad beats. Luckett’s Locks was absolutely on the wrong side in Iowa-Penn State and Eastern Michigan-Jacksonville State. However, BYU outgained Kansas as the latter needed a defensive touchdown to get the cover. In App State-Wyoming, I’m still not sure how the road team lost that game.
Last week was a tough one as we finished 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in our traditional college football picks to fall to 11-13 on the year. We did cash some other tickets with Oregon first quarter and Mississippi State team total over easily getting to the window. Now we need to find some more winners.
In a special edition of Luckett’s Locks, we are officially being brought to you by FanDuel, and all odds have been provided by them. There are winners on the card. Let’s find them.
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Texas A&M vs. Arkansas Over 53.5
Texas A&M got a big home win over Auburn in Week 4, but it did not come without a price. The Aggies lost starting quarterback Conner Weigman for the season and now must turn to former LSU transfer Max Johnson. There shouldn’t be that big of a dropoff.
Arkansas went on the road after a tough home loss to BYU and lost a heartbreaker to LSU in Death Valley. However, KJ Jefferson looked like a star throwing for 289 yards and three touchdowns while also chipping in on the ground. Meanwhile, this defense had a woeful performance against a strong LSU offense and doesn’t really have a strength.
Both defenses in this matchup will be the weakest units on the field. Arkansas and Texas A&M each have offenses with good efficiency and explosiveness. Neither unit plays at a snail’s pace. We should see some points in this neutral site game at Jerry World.
Let’s jump on a noon over.
Kansas at Texas (-16.5)
Kansas is off to a 4-0 start for the second year in a row under Lance Leipold. Once again, the offense is leading the way. With star quarterback Jalon Daniels behind center, the Jayhawks rank No. 19 in points per drive with a good blend of efficiency and explosiveness.
Texas is also 4-0 with two impressive double-digit road wins over Alabama and Baylor. The Longhorns look like a legitimate national title contender. Surprisingly, the defense has been playing better football in Austin ranking No. 3 in success rate and No. 9 in points per drive. That makes this a tough matchup for the road team.
Texas is the best defense that Kansas has seen to this point and should be able to shred another bad Kansas defense. There is a significant talent discrepancy in this matchup. That plays out at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Lay the points.
Georgia at Auburn Under 45.5
Georgia is undefeated and looks like the best team in the SEC, but the Dawgs may have taken a step back in 2023. The offense is still very efficient, and the defense looks top-five good again, but something seems to be busy. Kirby Smart‘s team is starting games slowly and has yet to cover a spread.
Auburn got served a slice of humble pie in Week 4 as they were handled by Texas A&M on the road. The passing game is a big problem on the Plains. Payton Thorne has been underwhelming, and the Tigers need more talent on the perimeter.
Both defenses in this matchup are playing at a top-20 level. The pace of play will be big here, but Hugh Freeze will likely want to limit possessions. That should lead to an under. Look for Georgia to get a lead on the road and then sit on the football.
Baylor (+12.5) at UCF
Things are not looking good for Dave Aranda. His fourth team in Waco is off to a brutal 1-3 start, and the former LSU defensive coordinator owns a 9-17 overall record when you remove Baylor’s Big 12 title team in 2021. After a blowout home loss to Texas, there is a chance that the Bears could get quarterback Blake Shapen back for Week 5 as he recovers from an MCL injury.
Speaking of quarterback injuries, UCF will be without John Rhys Plumlee for the program’s Big 12 opener on Saturday afternoon in Orlando. Backup Timmy McClain has played good football in his absence. The Knights have some defensive issues against the run (No. 94 in success rate, No. 97 in yards per rush allowed).
Under Gus Malzahn, UCF went 1-4 ATS as a double-digit favorite in conference games. Now there is increased competition in the Big 12. Baylor will have a legitimate shot to win this game if Shapen plays. The Bears will hang around even if he doesn’t. In another bounce-back spot, we’re jumping on Aranda’s squad.
Take the points.
Michigan State at Iowa Under 36.5
The coaching search process has already begun in East Lansing. This is going to be a long college football season for Michigan State. Against two Power Five opponents, the Spartans have scored just 16 total points and rank No. 101 in EPA/play.
Speaking of bad offense, what Iowa just put on the field in a blowout loss to Penn State was gross. The Hawkeyes collected only 76 yards in 10 possessions and are now No. 127 in college football in yards per play.
In a prime-time spot on NBC, we are going to see a lot of punts at Kinnick Stadium. The Spartans are strong against the run on defense, and Iowa will always produce stops. Take advantage of some ugly Big Ten football.
Jump on the under.
West Virginia (+13.5) at TCU
Give some props to Neal Brown. Behind some stellar defense and commitment to the running game, the Mountaineers have ripped off three consecutive wins highlighted by last week’s home victory over Texas Tech. CJ Donaldson Jr. is one of the best tailbacks in the Big 12, and this defense is playing lights out.
Down in Fort Worth, TCU has ripped off three consecutive wins after the season-opening loss to Colorado. The Frogs have scored at least 34 points in each outing with double-digit victories over Houston and SMU. Sonny Dykes has another explosive college football offense, but the defense has holes.
Since Brown arrived, West Virginia always plays TCU tough. The Mountaineers are 3-1 ATS against the Frogs with only non-cover occurring last year in Morgantown in a game that was decided in the fourth quarter. WVU will shrink the game, slow down a good TCU rush attack, and hang around for all four quarters.
Take the points.
College football prop plays
— J.J. McCarthy Passing Yards (Over 232.5 at -114): Michigan will get their first real test of the season on Saturday at Nebraska, but Matt Rhule‘s first defense has allowed 290-plus passing yards in two of the first four games. McCarthy is averaging over 10 yards per attempt and has easily cleared the 232.5 number each time he’s thrown the ball 25 times. That should happen again on Saturday afternoon in Lincoln.
— LSU-Ole Miss 1st Quarter (Under 14 at -118): LSU and Ole Miss each got off to slow starts last week. A shootout will eventually arrive at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, but there will be a feeling-out process early. Let’s fade the early shootout. Just one stop by either side likely gets us in at under 14 as long as the pace of play doesn’t get out of control.
— Audric Estime Rushing Yards (Over 92.5 at -114): Duke’s biggest strength is pass defense. Notre Dame has a balanced offense that will take what the defense gives them. We should see a run-first approach from the Irish on Saturday night in Durham. Only Ohio State held Estime to under 100 yards this season. He gets back over the century mark at Wallace-Wade Stadium as Notre Dame attempts to play bully ball against Duke.
— Spencer Rattler Passing Yards (Over 268.5 at -114): Only Georgia has held Rattler under 280 passing yards this season. The former Oklahoma quarterback lit this Tennessee pass defense up for 438 yards and six touchdowns last season. The Vols have been untested through the air to this point. South Carolina has to throw the rock to win this game. Rattler goes over 300 yards.