Some big games make the slate on Weather Wagers this week. Top 10 matchups in the college sphere are the highlight, while several NFL matchups feature some hot teams too. Weather-wise it appears like a lovely October weekend for much of the country. There are some exceptions of course and we’ll try and highlight the weather where it will matter. Overall, though, the only thing fans will be worried about will be the play on the field, not the weather overhead. Let’s breakdown this week’s matchups:

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Penn State @ Michigan, Saturday at Noon, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI, Michigan -7, O/U 52

While Penn State has had a couple of decent road games thus far this season, Saturday will feature the toughest matchup yet for both Top 10 programs. Michigan has rolled over far inferior opponents, the way a very good team should. Penn State has been up and down with its last two games against lesser opponents making some fans nervous about the lack of offensive fire power. Michigan has gone with starting QB J.J. McCarthy, and he has already thrown for over 1,000 yards on the season with a completion percentage of 78.3%. Meanwhile, the veteran QB for Penn State is Sean Clifford. Clifford also has over 1,000 yards this season too, but his completion percentage sits at just over 62%. This game will likely come down to who can run the ball better. Harbaugh likes to run the ball as much as possible, but Manny Diaz’s defense has been stout so far this season. Penn State has shown signs of life in the running game with its dynamic duo of freshman in Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Will the offensive line be able to hold up against a Michigan defense that will likely be the best they have faced so far? These questions will try and be answered on a decent October day in Ann Arbor on Saturday. The forecast looks partly sunny with highs in the 50s and a bit of a breeze. A few light showers could be around during the game as well. Nobody wants Penn State to win more than me, but I’m going to have to see them show up against a solid team like Michigan on the road before I’ll feel confident. Michigan and Penn State games have typically been lopsided over the years, even when they probably shouldn’t have been. Michigan looks tough in every aspect and with a few showers in the forecast, it makes me nervous considering how Penn State typically plays in less than stellar weather. This line keeps moving toward the Wolverines, but I think this will be a 4 quarter-game. I’ve come around to Penn State keeping this close. The Lions may not win it outright, but it should be another nail-biter. I’ll take the points here with PSU. Penn State +7.

Minnesota @ Illinois, Saturday at Noon, Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL, Minnesota -6.5, O/U 39.5

This is certainly an interesting matchup in the Big Ten west, isn’t it? It should be a nearly perfect October afternoon too with highs in the mid-60s and plenty of sunshine. Bret Bielema has the Illini sitting at 5-1 with a number 24 ranking, their first time being ranked since 2011. Meanwhile, P.J. Fleck has Minnesota sitting at 4-1 with their only loss to Purdue. The winner of this game certainly takes control of the western division and could peek ahead at a trip to Indy by the season’s end. Both teams have impressed me so far. Illinois has a hungry defense and Bielema has turned his new program into Wisconsin south. Whatever fresh mentality he has brought to the Illini, it’s working like magic. They will need to run the ball and play keep away from Minnesota’s dynamic offense. Tanner Morgan is the veteran QB running Kirk Ciarrocca’s offense. He’s running it very effectively too. He has over 1100 yards so far this season and a completion percentage sitting at over 70%. The real star of the team, though, is likely running back Mohamed Ibrahim. He has been sidelined after suffering an ankle injury against Michigan State a few weeks ago. Fleck expects him to return this weekend and that could be an important difference-maker in at least keeping this game close. Minnesota will have its full arsenal of weaponry to try and fight off a confident and surging Illinois team. I don’t know who will win, although I think Illinois is certainly capable of pulling off the upset at home. Their style of football bodes well to try and slow Minnesota down a bit. The Golden Gophers may be more talented, but Illinois will give it their best shot. I’ll take the Illini and the points at home. Illinois +6.5.

Alabama @ Tennessee, Saturday at 3:30pm, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN, Alabama -7.5, O/U 65

Will Bryce Young play, or won’t he? That is the question most Crimson Tide fans are wondering this week as the Tide hit the road to play a back from the dead Tennessee team thanks to Hendon Hooker at QB and head coach Josh Heupel. If Young plays, can Tennessee’s defense stand up for 4 quarters and withstand the relentless attack from the former Heisman winner? This is the most vulnerable Alabama team I have seen in quite some time. Whether or not Young plays, this trend of close games for Alabama is quietly becoming the modus operandi. Even last week as Texas A&M came into Bryant-Denny as more than 3 touchdown underdogs, the game came down to the final play. It happened against Texas earlier this year as well and several times last season. Neyland Stadium will be electric on Saturday as the Volunteers should be the most competitive they’ve been against the Tide in over a decade. Alabama’s secondary scares me and Tennessee has some dudes in the receiving corps (like Bru McCoy) that should scare them. Much like the Penn State at Michigan game, I think Tennessee can pull this off, but I’ll need to actually witness it first before I’m able to buy in. Given Alabama’s road struggles and close games recently, I’ll take Tennessee and the points at home. Go Rocky Top! Tennessee +7.5.

Ravens @ Giants, Sunday at 1:00pm, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, Ravens -5, O/U 45

I called the Giants keeping things close with the Packers in London, but they not only kept it close, they won. Brian Daboll has the Giants rolling and Saquon is doing Saquon things to keep this team alive in the competitive NFC East. Their only loss came to the Cowboys thus far, but the Ravens are likely the best team they have faced other than Dallas. While Baltimore has already dropped 2 games, they continue to have the better QB play. I think their defense has been sketchy at times, ranking near last place in total defense in the league. I think the game could be close at first, but the Ravens usually pull these types of games out, likely on the leg of Justin Tucker. Ravens win and cover on the road. Ravens -5.

Cowboys @ Eagles, Sunday at 8:20pm, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA, Eagles -5, O/U 42

This is everything this rivalry should be: two teams vying for first place in the NFC East, two teams that are performing very well, likely over expectations, and two hated rivals getting the featured Sunday Night Football show with all of America watching. Yes, please! One or two showers could be around during the game ahead of a cold front, but for the most part, the weather looks okay. Ahead of the front, the breeze could be an issue, but no college kickers in this one! All should be smooth sailing on the weather front, but maybe not on the injury front. Dallas continues to deal with Dak Prescott’s thumb and it’s other star, Micah Parsons has a groin injury apparently. Parsons will likely play, but Prescott may not be back. Cooper Rush hasn’t lost, by the way, so ultimately it may not matter. The Eagles, meanwhile, continue to perform well, although several offensive linemen went down last week with injuries of their own. Jason Kelce and Landon Dickerson returned for parts of the second half, but Dickerson then left for good in the 4th quarter. The Eagles gutted out a win in Arizona last week and may need to do the same this week if these offensive line injuries aren’t healed. I’ve said all season though that I like what this team brings to the table. With Hurts leading the way on offense and the Eagles defense ranking near the top of the league in total defense, my faith will continue to be with the Birds, especially at home. Eagles -5.

Jets @ Packers, Sunday at 1:00pm, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI, Green Bay -7, O/U 46

Can the Packers fix what ails them? I think they can, but they will need to do it against a bit of a resurgent Jets team that is now 3-2 under head coach Robert Saleh. In order to get back on track, Aaron Rodgers will need to fix the chemistry between himself and his receiving corps. I like Allen Lazard, but I’m wondering if Randall Cobb is getting too old for this…stuff. He has 17 catches for 249 yards so far on the season, but I’ve said it all year, something seems off with this team. The Jets meanwhile are trying to fly under QB Zach Wilson and a barrage of youthful players that hope to remake the franchise. If the Jets can go to Lambeau and keep it close, that should be considered a victory for this young squad. There are no moral victories, however, and I think the Packers can use this as a “get right” game before some tougher opponents on their schedule lie ahead. Some showers and a bit of a breeze are in the forecast for Sunday’s game. I’m not confident here, but I’ll lay the points in Lambeau with the Packers. Green Bay -7.

Stanford @ Notre Dame, Saturday at 7:30pm, Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN, Notre Dame -17, O/U 53

Notre Dame has bounced back nicely from a disastrous start. These two teams seem to match up well on paper, but let’s be honest, Stanford is a shell of its former self. David Shaw is a great coach and a great person from all accounts, but he has lost this team as of late. They just aren’t very good. Period. I think Notre Dame can get the job done at home against a Stanford team that is just 1-4 so far this season. I like Notre Dame’s defense to step up and QB Drew Pyne to have a banner day against a Stanford defense giving up over 32 points per game. Notre Dame is also rushing the ball better than Stanford, which doesn’t compute with what Stanford teams normally bring. I think Notre Dame will look to answer early season critics in this primetime statement game at home. I’ll lay the 17 on ol’ Notre Dame. Irish -17.

Clemson @ Florida State, Saturday at 7:30pm, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL, Clemson -3.5, O/U 51

Clemson is undefeated and looks like the Clemson we are all used to under Dabo Swinney. Florida State, meanwhile, had a hot start, but has dropped its last two games, to Wake Forest and N.C. State. Granted those are two decent teams, but Florida State is in desperate need of a bounce back game at home under the lights. Unfortunately, just when they need it, the number 4 team rolls into town looking like they are playing their best football in a long time. Dabo was a believer in D.J. Uiagalelei and he has been spectacular so far throwing for almost 1500 yards and 14 touchdowns. Jordan Travis from FSU, meanwhile, isn’t far behind. How about over 1400 yards and 9 touchdowns for the junior? The two defenses are actually neck and neck in certain statistical categories and everything points to this being a close game, including the boys in the desert. I like picking a close home favorite and this game smells fishy to me. Clemson should roll given that FSU seems to be spiraling, but again, their two losses were close to two of the better teams in the ACC. At home, under the lights, I like FSU to keep Clemson on its toes this week. I’ll take the home dog here. Florida State +3.5.

Bills @ Chiefs, Sunday at 4:25pm, GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO, Bills -3, O/U 54

What a matchup for the AFC this weekend as the Buffalo Bills travel west to take on Kansas City. This could be a preview of the AFC Championship Game. Two dynamic quarterbacks and two teams that are 4-1 on the season so far. It’s just a terrific matchup and the weather looks perfect for an October Sunday too. The Bills dominate in many of the statistical categories, including points allowed per game and yards allowed per game. Their defense just seems better than the Chiefs. I still think Patrick Mahomes will be very tough to beat in Arrowhead Stadium, however. He’s got the weapons in Travis Kelce and Clyde Edwards-Helaire to simply attack the Bills in every possible way. I’m sour against the Bills for losing me a few picks on this podcast and haven’t gotten over it. I don’t think they can just march into Arrowhead and come away with a victory. They did put up 38 points last week on a middling Steelers team, however, and could be a threat. These two QBs and offenses love to find the endzone. While I think the home dog can win outright here, I’ll take the over knowing this should be a highly entertaining and offense-filled game. Over 54.

Here’s a summary of my picks for the week.

Games of the Week

Penn State -7

Illinois +6.5

Tennessee +7.5

Ravens -5

Eagles -5

Under the Radar Game

Green Bay -7

Brett’s Best Bets

Notre Dame -17

Florida State +3.5

Bills @ Chiefs OVER 54.5

What a weekend slate. Penn State @ Michigan, Alabama @ Tennessee, Cowboys @ Eagles, Bills @ Chiefs, and the Phillies in the NLDS against the Braves. If you aren’t a sports fan, this weekend certainly gives you reason to become one. The weather should be terrific for most games and with an October chill descending, get your mulled cider and BBQ ready and chow down on a terrific weekend of sports. Enjoy everybody! -Brett Thackara

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This is a dream sports weekend! The Phillies are winning games in the playoffs, the Eagles are undefeated, and the college slate of games is the best yet of the season. Here are my takes on what I am looking at for these match-ups:

Penn State @ Michigan, Saturday at Noon, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI, Michigan -7, O/U 52

There is still a prove it feeling to both of these teams. Early to mid-season top-10 matchups tend to be hard to gauge given the competition the teams have faced. Michigan in many ways has played a lighter schedule than Penn State. Harbaugh took his time deciding the quarterback battle due to the easy start to their schedule. I continue to go back to a different defense that Manny Diaz has created. It is more aggressive than previous Penn State teams. On top of that, Indiana gave Michigan a tough game last week for 3 quarters while the Nittany Lions sat idle. I have a hard time calling for an outright win for Penn State given their history in these sorts of high intensity road games, but I think they at least cover: Penn State +7.

Minnesota @ Illinois, Saturday at Noon, Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL, Minnesota -6.5, O/U 39.5

Who saw this start by Illinois coming? Or who thought this would be a tough environment to play in as the Fighting Illini are gathering more and more support from a desperate fan base. Bret Bielema has reestablished himself in the Big Ten West and somehow PJ Fleck has to find answers to slow down this momentum. This game will likely come down to the talent of Tanner Morgan and Mohamed Ibrahim. Ibrahim should be back to play this game. They are a different team without him and I am always dubious about college football injury reports as coaches rarely say exactly what is going on. Until I see Minnesota back at full strength, I have to give the advantage to Illinois given their gelling as a physical unit. Should be a fun one, give me Illinois ML.

Alabama @ Tennessee, Saturday at 3:30pm, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN, Alabama -7.5, O/U 65

I feel like I have been hearing that Tennessee has been back off-and-on for ten years. This year they seem to on a mission under Josh Heupel and with Hendon Hooker under center. However, they will still need to unseat the beast of the SEC. I do not see Nick Saban caving easily, despite a rough looking battle with Jimbo Fisher’s less than stellar Texas A&M squad. If Bryce Young is truly back to playing strength I see a statement win for Bama coming. Crimson Tide -7.5 all the way!

Ravens @ Giants, Sunday at 1:00pm, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, Ravens -5, O/U 45

I still believe there is a bit of a fluke going on with the run that both Dallas and the Giants are on with their one loss starts. I do not feel either team has a ton of talent. Regardless, both teams have played well enough on defense and scored just enough points to win so far this season more often then they have lost. The Ravens have had some meltdowns, but I think they are about to go on a run of their own. I think the Giants will have their hands full with the team speed of Baltimore, in particular Lamar Jackson. Ravens win and cover easily at -5.

Cowboys @ Eagles, Sunday at 8:20pm, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA, Eagles -5, O/U 42

Does Dallas have a QB question to answer? All Cooper Rush does is win! Ultimately Dak will return and regain his top spot, but will it be in time to take on the red hot Eagles? Even with Dak I don’t think Dallas has the firepower to keep up with Jalen Hurts and the best receiver corp the Birds have seen since T.O. was doing pushups in his driveway. I pick the Eagles at home to start this season 6-0 in front of a national crowd. Eagles -5!!

Jets @ Packers, Sunday at 1:00pm, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI, Green Bay -7, O/U 46

Times appear tough in Green Bay. Aaron Rodger’s offense seems to oddly stall, and he has yet to find much rhythm with his receiving corp. The defense too has been porous against lower talent opponents. Robert Saleh seems to be leaving a good mark on his team and they are playing much better so far this year at 3-2. This feels like a home game though to get right for the Packers. It is tough to win in Lambeau, but this game could come down to a field goal. 7 points is too generous for me, give me Green Bay but I won’t take the points.

Oklahoma State @ TCU, Saturday at 3:30pm, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX, TCU -3.5, O/U 69

Admittingly, I think this game is a coin flip. This should be one of the best games of the weekend with both teams on a collision course for each other, and unfortunately someone has to lose. Can this be the year Mike Gundy finally breaks through? He seems to have the quarterback in Spencer Sanders to make a run at the playoffs, but as usual there are questions surrounding the defense. Max Duggan on the home team side lead the Horned Frogs to victory on the road again Kansas. Ultimately I like the Cowboys to get through this big hurdle, but it promises to be a fun one- Oklahoma State +4

NC State @ Syracuse, Saturday at 3:30pm, JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse, NY, Syracuse -3.5, O/U 43.5

Clemson is once again at the top of the ACC, but there is solid depth behind them in the conference. NC State gave Clemson a decent battle two weeks ago. And Syracuse remains undefeated with a solid win under their belt again Purdue. However, that has been the toughest game on the Orange’s schedule thus far. NC is slightly more battle tested, and ultimately more talented. I’ll take NC State +3.5, but similar to the Oklahoma State-TCU game it could go either way.

USC @ Utah, Saturday at 8:00pm, Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT, Utah -3.5, O/U 65

Out of my Doppler Dandies I think this is the easiest of the three games. Caleb Williams and Lincoln Riley have something good cooking at USC. And Utah is turning into a playoff pretender again after losses to Florida and UCLA. While this is a good road test, I see USC passing and moving on to continue their undefeated season. A fun late game on this Saturday and I take USC at +3.5.

Games of the Week

Penn State +7

Illinois ML

Alabama -7.5

Ravens -5

Eagles -5

Under the Radar Game

Green Bay ML

Doppler Dandies

Oklahoma State +3.5

NC State +3.5

USC +3.5

Enjoy watching these great games!! -Dan Tomaso

**All odds from Caesars Sportsbook as of 10/12/22.**