2021 Kentucky Derby & Undercard Selections

With the Kentucky Derby returning to its normal spot at the First Saturday in May, so do fans underneath the twin spires. Louisville will be the center of the sports world once again as 19 three-year old colts line up with the chance of a lifetime on the line. The favorite, the juvenile champion Essential Quality for Godolphin and quickly rising young trainer Brad Cox. Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November, Essential Quality has extended his undefeated streak to five with wins in the Southwest and the Blue Grass. His top foe could come right to his outside in Rock Your World, who rocked Santa Anita with his win last out in his first career start on dirt. Elsewhere, perhaps it is Irad Ortiz Jr getting his first Derby win with Pletcher & Known Agenda, or maybe Medina Spirit giving Baffert win number 7, or the Asmussen family connection with Super Stock.


Race 6 – Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2)
1:14pm ET | $500,000 | 4YO and Up F&M | 1 mi Turf
Although Chad Brown has been the big name in turf stakes races the last many years, it has been Brad Cox that has dominated this race as of late – winning last two with Beau Recall. But there is no Cox here and two Brown runners – She’s Got You and Blowout. I prefer the latter, (6) Blowout, who has been an unlucky cookie in her last two, getting nailed at the wire by Viadera in the Noble Damsel and Matriarch; but now she gets away from her rival, gets time off, and looks to find her way wire to wire in this mile affair. Her figures are the best in this field and her style should let her get away early and not look back. Additionally, look for the longshot (7) Abscond to improve in her second start off the layoff. The form cycle she is currently in puts her well in the top company and gets Joel Rosario who has been hot as of late. (4) Zofelle is hard to leave off any tickets even after last out, where she lost to Got Stormy after being wide throughout – this may be a better trip for her to put her into contention.

Race 7 – Derby City Distaff (G2)
1:56pm ET | $500,000 | 4YO and Up F&M | 7 Furlongs Dirt
The last thing I want to bet against is (4) Gamine as lone speed going around one turn. The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint champion makes her seasonal debut in a race that she should win by five lengths or more. I’ll take (3) Bell’s the One right behind, as she has been one of the closest to Gamine in the past and loves Churchill Downs, and (5) Hibiscus Punch who looks to be in form right now.

Race 8 – Pat Day Mile (G2)
2:48pm ET | $500,000 | Three Year Olds | 1 mi Dirt
This is a wide open edition of the old Derby Trial – with no true standout, this is the race to find an excellent price. I start with (5) Prevalence, who ran well to start the Wood Memorial but ultimately couldn’t go that long. He now heads back to one-turn and this well bred Godolphin looks to jumpstart big things with a win here. His early speed and draw should help and his recent workouts have been lights out. I then pull in the outside pair to complete my top three. (12) Joe Frazier had a great tune up last out and is peaking at the right now for Brad Cox and Florent Geroux; he keeps finding more as the races get tougher. (11) Noble Reflection should improve on the cut back down in distance and fits well in this spot.

Race 9 – American Turf (G2)
3:40pm ET | $500,000 | Three Year Olds | 1 1/16 mi Turf
The son of Sky Mesa, (13) Scarlett Sky, is a must use in one of the toughest races to handicap this weekend. While nothing here is a sure thing – this race is wide open – Scarlett Sky’s win in the Transylvania last out was one of the most visually impressive turf wins of the year thus far, showing a huge turn of foot to just get up late after being wide and showing nothing for the most part elsewhere. In a race where there is a ton of speed signed up, it looks to set up for him as long as he is on his game. I’ll also be taking (1) Excellent Timing, who will be making a big step up after two straight wins by six or more lengths against NY-bred company; perhaps its too easy to pick a Chad Brown on turf who is crushing foes, but he seems to fit. Lastly, Brad Cox has an interesting runner in (6) Royal Prince who is exiting the Bayou City at Sam Houston. His last two races have shown he is on the improve and may finally fit in this class. His tactical speed and turn of foot makes him a solid choice and at a price.

Race 10 – Churchill Downs (G1)
4:31pm ET | $500,000 | 4YO and Up | 7 Furlongs Dirt
Some very familiar foes line up in the Churchill Downs Stakes, being held for only the second time as a G1 as it was skipped during 2020. The ageless Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Whitmore returns, although Churchill Downs has not been kind to him in his five career starts here under the Twin Spires, having only won once and finished dead last in his try at the Kentucky Derby. With both an unfavorable course and distance, Whitmore regretfully has to be a toss for me, as much as I’ll be rooting for the old man. Instead, I go to a youngster in (5) Tap It to Win, who had seen some success last year when trying to make it to top quality three-year old races, like the shortened Belmont Stakes and the H. Allen Jerkens. He got time off after the Pat Day Mile last September and came back with a tune up in the NYRABets Sprint at Tampa Bay Downs in state-bred company. While not a tough field, he drove home and pulled away down the stretch after having a very troubled trip. With Mark Casse runners, that is the type of return you want to see. He is coming in sharp and should love the one-turn seven furlong distance. Underneath, I’ll use (4) Flagstaff, who just finished behind Whitmore two back before winning last out impressively in the Commonwealth at Keeneland. His figures aren’t where I’d like them to be, but his form is sharp and should continue to improve – especially at his preferred distance. Finally, I’ll take the other seven furlong specialist in (11) Hog Creek Hustle who, although slightly outclassed here, is eligible to improve with the return to Churchill Downs.

Race 11 – Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1)
5:27pm ET | $1,000,000 | 4YO and Up | 1 1/8 mi Turf
The Pegasus World Cup Turf winner (3) Colonel Liam has been one of the top turf horses in the world thus far, showing impressive turn of foot in that race and then easily coasting home in the Muniz Memorial Classic to get to this spot. He is a stand out here. He is my top pick as he towers over this field, but watch out for (1) Masteroffoxhounds, who is really coming into top form. Last out in the San Luis Rey was just too long for him – he gets a cut back in distance to a much more favorable nine furlongs. And I’ll be throwing in the South American import (4) Ivar who makes his return to racing after having last been seen finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The slightly longer distance should do him well; will be in the mix if he returns off the layoff well.


Race 12 – Kentucky Derby (G1)
6:57pm ET | $3,000,000 | Three Year Olds | 1 1/4 mi Dirt

Race Notes:
1- Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz, Jr./Todd Pletcher): beat a huge field last out in the Florida Derby; didn’t show much last out early – got break of not getting caught in traffic; moved up on the backside; small compared to the field; fought valiantly but was a big green in victory last out; needs to grow up a bit; did not take to the TB surface; prefers a more tepid pace; didn’t take to wet ground; may be a horse for course at Gulfstream; blinks on was something he needed
2- Like the King (Drayden Van Dyke/Wesley Ward): slow breaker; short stride; been a horse for course at Turfway; got lucky late with a bunched up field last out; came on strong in last few strides; still pretty green; gets going after a bunch of pushes; needs a lot of help and urging; once gotten going though, he has dangerous speed; could be a live longshot; improving on figures.
3- Brooklyn Strong (Umberto Rispoli/Daniel Velazquez): sharp breaker; little thin; makes solid moves down backstretch against slow pace; performs much better on off track; may do better at longer; ran his race in Wood but not pace of lead pack; no late run last out; working well; may improve second off layoff; right now – no chance
4- Keepmeinmind (David Cohen/Robertino Diodoro): does not break well; tends to lag behind the field; real late mover; passes tired horses; never pace of the winners; no chance
5- Sainthood (Corey Lanerie/Todd Pletcher): breaks well; great pedigree; really game closing kick; probably should’ve own last out; been working well; live longshot
6- O Besos (Marcelino Pedroza/Gregory Foley): strong pedigree; not pace of winner last out but still tried; snuck along live pace in Louisiana Derby to make up ground; definitely a cut below
7- Mandaloun (Florent Geroux/Brad Cox): championship pedigree; quick early speed; sharpened up first after getting blinkers in Risen Star; just empty last out – odd; perhaps not comfortable with fast pace; doesn’t fit on dosage index; toss
8- Medina Spirit (John Velazquez/Bob Baffert): unique pedigree for this – lots of sprinting speed; just seems to get faster and faster each furlong; visibly impressive in each race; misses the turn often; need the lead; doesn’t have a late closing kick if challenge
9- Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat/Doug O’Neill): bred out of dam of Mitole and shows lots of speed in pedigree; starts well but needs more practice breaking – comes out a bit bobbled each time; runs a lot better from front end; starting to grow each time and turning into form; very strong runner; blossoming; hot right now and tough; very live
10- Midnight Bourbon (Mike Smith/Steven Asmussen): Godolphin Arabian descendant hasn’t won this race since War Admiral; very professional and mature; strong breaker; always puts in good effort; should improve late under Mike Smith; may be peaking at the right time; one to watch
11- Dynamic One (Jose Ortiz/Todd Pletcher): was all out last time; ran valiantly in Wood; been working sharp and wouldn’t be a shocker; lightly raced at the class; needs to move forward a bit to contend
12- Helium (Julien Leparoux/Mark Casse): snuck by in the Tampa Bay Derby; just had a blessed trip last out; eligible to improve second time off layoff; likely a cut below
13- Hidden Stash (Rafael Bejarano/Victoria Oliver): strong pedigree; shoots out of the gate like a rocket; settles nicely; very calm; fights each time; too much to do last out to catch leaders; needs to improve, but has exotics chance
14- Essential Quality (Luis Saez/Brad Cox): regally bred; 2yo champion; calm breaker; cruises easily through race; running style fits the bill; tactical speed; runs on any surface; may do better as a presser; can set pace well; prefers outside; has a bit of an issue changing leads; may not love the distance; sharp worker; the one to beat
15- Rock Your World (Joel Rosario/John Sadler): lots of stamina in the pedigree; gets Joel Rosario; second start on dirt; unraced as a 2yo; very muscular; sets a very strong early pace; does not let go once he finds the lead; has a bit of trouble paying attention late if not challenged; speed figures put him along the best of them
16- King Fury (SCRATCH)
17- Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano/Chad Brown): regally bred with dam of Practical Joke; not the greatest at breaking from the gate; does not like being in traffic; seems to lack the late kick you want to see; figures are deceiving
18- Super Stock (Ricardo Santana, Jr./Steven Asmussen): mature and racing a long time; improved when being ridden as a midpack/stalker; long strider; prefers to escape traffic; although passing tired horses last out, did so while driving and was very impressive; if he can stay out of traffic, should have a huge shot to upset
19- Soup and Sandwich (Tyler Gaffalione/Mark Casse): Into Mischief crossed with Tapit; lightly raced; impressive on debut and in win at Tampa against lesser; just races so easily as stalker; probably would’ve been passed earlier in the stretch last out if had not blocked; needs a target; no strong chance
20- Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche/Todd Pletcher): well bred; good breaker from gate; does not need fast pace; caught great run last out; longer stretch at CD should help; huge stride; major shot to hit the board or maybe even upset if pace is fast enough

Race Selections:
For me, (14) Essential Quality has been the best horse in every start, and while he hasn’t peaked yet this year, he has done everything he needed and some to win his last two as a three-year old. Really hard to get past what looks to be one of the best favorites in some  time. After him, (10) Midnight Bourbon is a hard trier whose best is yet to come – I love his majority each start and should be getting better with the added distance; plus getting Mike Smith aboard is an instant boost. Finally, the other Asmussen may be the biggest shocker as (18) Super Stock is peaking at the right time and his Arkansas Derby win sets him up well; the most experienced horse in the field (in what is the least experienced field for a Derby on record) may be the one to wear the garland of roses.
The way the pace is setting up makes Super Stock seem like the top contender, and should be a must use on all tickets behind Essential Quality and Midnight Bourbon. Hot Rod Charlie is hot right now, though I have doubts that he can get the distance at this pace. Going to be using Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie, Dynamic One, Hidden Stash, Rock Your World, Bourbonic, Like the King, and Sainthood in a variety of trifectas and superfectas in the 3rd and 4th spot.
Personally, a part of me really hopes that Midnight Bourbon wins – a win in the Kentucky Derby would make history as the first Godolphin Arabian descendant to win the race since War Admiral; the dying sire line’s last hopes rest in the progeny of Tiznow and this may be his best if he can win. A Derby win would put him as a potential top sire going forward.

2021 Kentucky Oaks & Undercard Selections

Kentucky Derby Weekend officially begins with the fillies in the Kentucky Oaks. The run for the lillies caps of a six stakes day that gives us some amazing fillies & mares as well as some nice older horses and turf racing. All of it is an excellent prelude to the Kentucky Derby stakes slate – and some great opportunities to pad the bankroll.

Race 6 – Alysheba Stakes (G2)
1:26pm ET | $400,000 | 4YO and Up | 1 1/16 mi Dirt
(5) Roadster is the speed of the speed here – have blitzed out to an early lead last out in the New Orleans Classic. His drifting out cost him the win there, but I factor that to the time off. He should return to normal form now in his second start off the layoff. (3) Attachment Rate tried sprinting last out but gets back to a route and shows a lot of prowess competing with this class – running style fits well here. (4) Chess Chief offers some value after beating Roadster last out and being not too far from Maxfield two back; Luis Saez chooses him over Attachment Rate.

Race 7 – Edgewood Stakes (G2)
2:09pm ET | $300,000 | 3YO Fillies | 1 1/16 mi Turf
Going to play against the returning Breeders’ Cup winner Aunt Pearl with a horse making her second career North American start in (2) Gift List. Her second in the very tough Appalachian at Keeneland was the ideal prep for me – she should toughness, fought throughout, and just came up short while not letting anyone really pass her. She is eligible to improve in this start. Then comes (6) Aunt Pearl who is the clear class of the field. (5) Line Dancing stands as my longshot – the Sanibel Island looked to be a tough race for its class and one that could prove fruitful for her.

Race 8 – La Troienne Stakes (G1)
3:03pm ET | $500,000 | 4YO and Up Fillies & Mares | 1 1/16 mi Dirt
HAMMER TIME – through the whole world onto (2) Shedaresthedevil. Perfect prep in the Azeri and the second place finisher Letruska came back to upset Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver in the Apple Blossom Handicap. Shedaresthedevil has a chance to be an elite mare this year and winning here will put here right in that spot. (3) Dunbar Road is always a hard trier that seems to always get a piece of the money while (5) Paris Lights is hot right now and should improve returning to a route.

Race 9 – Eight Belles Stakes (G2)
4:04pm ET | $300,000 | 3YO Fillies | 7 Furlongs Dirt
There is a ton of speed here – which makes me think its time to go to someone who can rate, like (6) Slumber Party. Stepped up well last out in the Beaumont and chased a strong leader. Now gets a chance to rate a fast pace and should be one of the few fresh horses left late. (11) Abrogate will benefit from the quick pace and hot leaders while I’m very interested to see what Bill Mott has in (12) Caramel Swirl after that ten length romp last out.

Race 10 – Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes (G2)
4:55pm ET | $250,000 | 3YO and Up | 5.5 Furlongs Turf
Last year’s winner (9) Diamond Oops returns and gets a very similar spot with what looks to be an honest pace and what should be a ground saving trip; definitely the class of the field, although current form is the question. Love betting speed here and (11) Carotari is the speed of the pack – going gate to wire will be tough but without a lot of other front end speed, should be in the mix for a lone lead. (8) Fast Boat offers an interesting challenge if he can get back to older graded stakes form.

Race 11 – Kentucky Oaks (G1)
5:51pm ET | $1,250,000 | 3YO Fillies | 1 1/8 mi Dirt
The scratch of Ava’s Grace opens up this race for (6) Travel Column. Sitting as the only speed, the Fair Grounds Oaks winner should easily take them wire-to-wire here. This daughter of Tapit was ultra tough to beat last out and continues to be a high performing filly. As long as she gets the lead and can save ground on the turns, she should have no issue finishing up this start. As for (10) Malathaat, she enters 4 for 4 with a near miss in the Ashland, where she just got up. If she can stay a bit closer to the pace than she was there, she is a dangerous stalker that could pose issues for Travel Column. John Velazquez does get his mount back – having won on her last December in the Demoiselle at Aqueduct. Finally, looking for a price comes in the form of (4) Crazy Beautiful. A closing winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks, she has been working out real well at Churchill Downs entering this race and has been one of the ones to watch in most of her starts. Her figures are trending in the right direction and if she shows her late burst that she did have last out, she is going to be very tough to beat.

Breeders’ Cup 2020 Friday Analysis

It is the Super Bowl of horse racing this weekend. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships kick off Friday at beautiful Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky with so many championship races and many of the best horses in the world. The action begins with Future Stars Friday, where the next best horses will square off in five championship races. Check out my full Friday analysis below and enjoy the races!

College Football – Week Seven Top Bets

Alabama. Georgia. 2 v 3. A rivalry renewed. A trip to Tuscaloosa for the first time since 2007. A possible changing of the tides in the SEC. What will be the outcome of the season’s first huge game? This battle of goliaths will go far in deciding who will go into the playoffs, or at the very least who will make it to the SEC Championship Game. Other than this monster matchup, there will be plenty to watch this weekend, including games involving all 15 ACC teams. Meanwhile, the defenseless Big 12 will only get one game – West Virginia v Kansas. What will happen in this last game before the Big Ten takes the field? We shall find out.

Season Stats: 11-14 (6 Outright)

Auburn at South Carolina (+3.0)
This hasn’t been the greatest year for the Will Muschamp led Gamecocks, but they get a rattled and shaky Auburn team at home to begin their fourth game. Auburn, after a first game win over Kentucky, got exposed against Georgia, and then “won” in a game that Arkansas got cheated by the refs to conclude. Their offensive line has been exposed badly throughout this season and Bo Nix has not developed since last year. Meanwhile, South Carolina played toe-to-toe with Tennessee and Florida before coming on top in dominating fashion over Vanderbilt. I look for Muschamp to right the ship and put South Carolina in a good spot on Saturday.

Kansas at West Virginia (-21.5)
It is time to ride or die with betting against Kansas. They have been awful this season (and really the past decade). Without Les Miles making the trip, this looks even worse for the Jayhawks. All West Virginia.

Louisville (+16.5) at Notre Dame
We opened the season last year with this matchup (in which Ian Book hit a cheerleader with a football), which was Scott Satterfield’s first time at the helm of the Cardinals. While it is unlikely that Louisville wins this, this line seems pretty big, especially after Notre Dame let Florida State score up plenty a week ago. Louisville needs to show more on defense to keep this close, but they have an offense that should push them within 16.

Georgia (+5.0) at Alabama
First… I’m picking Alabama to win outright here. As good as Georgia has been, they’ve been beating up on very weak offensive lines. Now they get one of the strongest teams upfront and a QB in Mac Jones that will be very difficult to stop. But, history is on Georgia’s side; per ESPN’s Chris Fallica, “Under Nick Saban, Alabama has been less than a seven-point favorite at home five times. The Tide have lost four of the games outright (’19 LSU, ’11 LSU, ’10 AUB, ’07 UGA) and pushed the other (’08 ARK)”. Give me those five points.

Boston College (+13.0) at Virginia Tech
Perhaps one of the most underrated squads in the FBS this season, Boston College nearly got UNC, had it not been for a botched 2-pt conversion which would’ve tied the game at the end. They then took down what was a strong Pittsburgh team. Now they take on Virginia Tech one week removed from their loss against North Carolina. Boston College has shown a lot of strengths on defense this season – I look for them to win.

College Football – Week Six Top Bets

Week Six may be one of the most exciting weeks on the season, with tough matchups such as Florida @ Texas A&M, Virginia Tech @ North Carolina, Oklahoma-Texas, Tennessee @ Georgia, and Miami @ Clemson, among many other quality games. Lots of teams will have their season decided on Saturday – and many will have their fate sealed with a loss. Let’s see what bets to make this week.

Season Stats: 10-10 (6 Outright)

Virginia Tech (+3) at North Carolina
The Tar Heels may be one of the favorites to upset Clemson in the ACC, but getting past the Hokies is their first test. This matchup the last two years has been decided by a total of 5 points, with Virginia Tech currently on a four game win streak. From how these schools have played, UNC looks very overrated for their quality of play while VT is still improving and looks to be near the top of the ACC. These squads should have a very tight content throughout.

NC State @ Virginia (-7)
The Wolfpack shocked many in a close victory over the previously undefeated Pittsburgh Panthers. But now they need to finish up this road trip against UVA – a squad playing angry after their trouncing last week by Clemson. Virginia is one of the best schools in the ACC and can really cause some chaos for other schools. This is a revenge game for last week’s embarrassment – Virginia up big.

UTSA (+34.5) at BYU
The BYU Cougars currently sit atop the standings of both total offense and total defense, but they now get a very tough UTSA squad that has been improving. Sure last game was a loss against UAB, but outside of what was a defensive matchup, they’ve been putting up the points. While I still believe BYU is the victor, I wouldn’t be surprised if this stays close.

Texas Tech (+11.5) at Iowa State
This Big 12 matchup has been a relatively close scoring series of late, even with Iowa State winning the last four. Texas Tech has been playing well since their scare against Houston Baptist while Iowa State is currently sitting on a high. But how will Iowa State backup their play after an upset victory against OU last week, and with Oklahoma State on the horizon? 11.5 points just seems like too much to pass up.

Mississippi State (+3) at Kentucky
Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense was sputtered last weekend, but a trip to Kentucky may be just what they need. The Wildcats don’t have the best defense against the pass and their offense has only been subpar. Even though we have no idea which Bulldogs team will show up, if they can move the ball through the air, this should be an easy game.

Odds provided by Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.

College Football – Week Five Top Bets

As the leaves change colors and the temperatures drop, it is finally feeling like College Football season. After last week’s debut for the SEC and two huge Top 25 upsets, the season is starting to be in full swing. Sadly, last week was a brutal beating in the bets, but looking for Week Five to turn that around.

Season Stats: 6-9 (2 Outright)

Baylor at West Virginia (+2)
Morgantown has not been kind to Baylor – having lost to the Mountaineers all four trips to Milan Puskar Stadium. Baylor beat up on a very weak Kansas squad last week while West Virginia contended with one of the top Big 12 teams in Oklahoma State. Now heading back home, the Mountaineers have a lot on their side in this one.

Memphis at SMU (+1)
One of the top games last year was this matchup, when Memphis and SMU fought at the Liberty Bowl in front of College Gameday. That 54-48 game went the way of the Tigers. But now the series switches to Dallas as the Mustangs look to dethrone the Tigers. Memphis is coming off a long month of rest since their opening week win over Arkansas State while SMU has been rolling to three straight, albeit against much weaker. The Pony Express looks to be back and will be a threat in the American this year.

Central Arkansas at North Dakota State (-24.5)
The defending FCS champions continue their domination in their one Fall football game against Central Arkansas. They CRUSHED opponents last year, with an average margin of victory in the regular season of nearly 28 points. Trey Lance has just one opportunity this fall to make an impression on NFL Scouts – this should be the Trey Show and we are ready. The Bison win big!

Ole Miss (+6) at Kentucky
Alright… maybe this is a mistake… but the Lane Kiffin’s of Mississippi looked good last week in defeat. Their defense was stout during the first half (until the doors busted open) and their offense was finding its rhythm. But that was their first game together. Now they get a Kentucky team that just didn’t look right last week. I expect a close one.

Navy at Air Force (+7)
The Air Force Falcons make their first appearance of the season in a battle for the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy against the Midshipman. Navy was thoroughly rocked in its first game against BYU but rebounded to a nice come from behind victory against an average Tulane team. But a trip out west isn’t easy for Navy; they haven’t won at Falcon Stadium since their OT win in 2012 (and before that have to go back to 2008 for a regulation time win. This is a tough challenge for Navy to come away with a win.

Odds provided by Draftkings Sportsbook.

College Football – Week Four Top Bets

This past week has definitely been one of the best in college football history – with the Pac-12, Mountain West, and MAC all announcing their return to play, we have college football from every conference once again! Now, as we approach the end of September, the SEC joins the mix to make our Saturdays even better, and to give us more games to bet on. So let’s see what we will be betting Week Four.

Season Stats: 5-4 (1 Outright)

Kentucky (+6.5) at Auburn
SEC Football is Back! Kicking off at noon is a thrilling showdown between the Wildcats and the Tigers at Jordan Hare. The Kentucky defense has been one of the most ferocious in the SEC as of late and that won’t be any different this year. It won’t be easy to score against Kentucky, especially for an Auburn offense that can stutter at times. Lots of cobwebs to worry about here. Going to be a close one and possibly an upset.

Louisville (+2) at Pittsburgh
Last week the Cardinals got exposed against a very good Miami team, but the second half showed their spark. Scott Satterfield will have his boys all revved up for this game against the Panthers, who didn’t look too great in victory over Syracuse.

Florida International at Liberty (-8)
FIU makes their seasonal debut against a very tough Liberty squad. This is one of the hidden mismatches of the weekend – Liberty should roll in this one.

Army (+12.5) at Cincinnati
In two games, Army has impressed – blanking Middle Tennessee and coasting by Louisiana-Monroe. But both games have been against doormats of their conference. Now they take on American hopeful Cincinnati. Cincinnati has the offense to score when given the chance, but they were not great given their chance early against a weak Austin Peay. Army is my favorite to win here and shouldn’t need to many of the 12.5 points (if any) to win this bet.

Florida State at Miami (-12)
Sorry Seminoles fans, this will be another crazy week. The Hurricanes have looked fantastic these last few games – its been impressive to see how much they have grown under Manny Diaz in year two. Meanwhile Florida State is a complete mess and I don’t see that changing this week. Miami rolls in the rivalry.

NC State (+6.5) at Virginia Tech
Dave Doeren won’t have the easiest time against Virginia Tech, but they are tackling a team light on conditioning. After a close rivalry win over Wake Forest, they now get a challenge at Lane Stadium against Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack have a lot of weapons and can score in bunches – should be a shootout in Blacksburg.

Odds provided by Draftkings Sportsbook.

College Football – Week Three Top Bets

What a week it has been! Now that college football is in full swing, the Big Ten is joining back into the race for the playoffs (with the Pac-12 possibly closely behind). Going to be fantastic to see these conferences return at the end of October. But for now, we focus on week three, where we have a ton more games to look at and try to find some solid bets.

Season Stats: 2-3

Syracuse (+21.5) at Pittsburgh
A good old fashioned rivalry in the ACC pits the Orange and the Panthers together. Syracuse kept it close in the first half last week against a much better North Carolina, before the Tar Heels pulled away. Pittsburgh has a tough offense to deal with, but it is still no where close to what UNC has. Syracuse probably won’t win, but will keep this rivalry game close.

Louisiana (-15) at Georgia State
What a mismatch here. Coming off their upset victory (and shorthanded victory) over Iowa State, the Ragin’ Cajuns head to Atlanta to take on the Georgia State Panthers. Now retooled and nearly at full strength, this should be a Louisiana route. They’ve romped in the previous matchups of these two teams and I could see this being a three score game.

Liberty (+14) at Western Kentucky
We last saw the Hilltoppers playing Louisville tough for parts of last week’s game. Now they take on the Liberty Flames, a squad that won a bowl game last year and put up some good numbers against the bottom feeders of the FBS. But in year two of Hugh Freeze, they should improve and could be one of the surprise stories of the year. Don’t sleep on this offense and squad – they will do damage against a very week Western Kentucky defense.

FAU (+2.5) at Georgia Southern
It isn’t easy facing the option threat of Georgia Southern, but FAU has all the talent to do so. One of the top Group of Five schools last year, the Owls, with new head coach Willie Taggart, will look to continue that against a Georgia Southern team that looked mediocre against Campbell last week.

Louisiana Tech (+5) at Southern Miss
After the loss to South Alabama Week One, Southern Miss fired their coach to move in a new direction. Not sure how that will work going forward and will now get a tough Bulldogs team in their first game under the new regime. Going to be a close one.

All lines compliments of DraftKings Sportsbook.