Last Week: My picks went 3-4 last week, although if you got Texas at game time as a 2-point underdog then you would have went 4-3. Nevertheless, my college football season from hell continued with another losing week. I am now 20-26 on the year, a cool 43% against the spread. Now that I’m on full tilt, I’m playing the f*%$ing board on Saturday. That’s not a great approach but I’m hell-bent on finishing the season with a winning ATS record, especially considering my NFL picks have been money this year. Fade away!
123 Ole Miss at 124 Texas A&M, 11:00 a.m. CT
Texas A&M has lost back-to-back games, so it’s tempting to fade the Aggies against an Ole Miss team that scores at will. That said, A&M is coming off a brutal stretch that included three straight road games against SEC opponents. The Rebels own one of the worst defenses in the nation and I see the Aggies letting out their frustrations now that they’ve returned to College Station.
Prediction: Texas A&M -13
219 Ohio State at 220 Michigan State, 11:00 p.m. CT
The talk this week is what’s wrong with Ohio State. What’s wrong? The Buckeyes don’t play defense. They’re 84th in passing yards allowed, 57th in rushing yards allowed, 69th in total yards allowed and 45th in scoring, surrendering 23.8 points per game. Good thing this is one of the punch-less Michigan State teams that we’ve seen under Mark Dantonio. I don’t see OSU regrouping and making the college football playoffs. Still, Sparty can’t score and I like Buckey to circle the wagons today.
Prediction: Ohio State -3 (buy the hook down to 3)
137 TCU at 138 West Virginia, 11:00 a.m. CT
There’s not much to like about TCU this season. The Horned Frogs continue to beat themselves with turnovers, they have issues at quarterback and Gary Patterson’s defense hasn’t been as stout as we’ve seen in year’s past. That said, this is a natural letdown spot for a WVU team coming off a dramatic, last-second win over Texas last week. With trips to Stillwater and a date with Oklahoma coming up the next two weeks, I’m grabbing the points with the Frogs.
Prediction: TCU +11
179 Wisconsin at 180 Penn State, 11:00 p.m. CT
Any time I look at a line and it doesn’t make sense, I’ll often fade my instincts. In this case, why would Wisconsin be catching 8 points against a Penn State team coming off an ugly 42-7 loss to Michigan last week? That said, let’s not forget that this same Badger team traveled to Ann Arbor in mid-October and lost 38-13 to the Wolverines as a 10-point dog. Wisconsin is banged-up, with quarterback Alex Hornibrook (concussion) questionable and several defenders either out or questionable as well. Like Ohio State, I see PSU circling the wagons today.
Prediction: Penn State -8
147 SMU at 148 Connecticut, 11:00 p.m. CT
I don’t fade bad teams enough. The reason is that you have to pay a premium with the favorite, laying massive points and sweating out back-door covers. However, did anyone watch the Louisville-Syracuse game on Friday night? Louisville quit weeks ago and while you had to lay three touchdowns to back the Orange, they rolled to a 54-23 win in a game that wasn’t even that close. The Huskies are atrocious. They’re 1-4 against the spread in their last five conference games, are 15-41-2 ATS in their last 58 games overall and are 16-33-2 at the betting window in their last 51 home games. SMU, meanwhile, is better than its 4-5 record. The Mustangs routed Houston as a 14-point home dog last week, covered as a 9.5-point dog two weeks ago versus Cincinnati, and beat Tulane on the road as a 7-point underdog. I’m laying the points.
Prediction: SMU -19
151 Oklahoma State at 152 Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m. CT
I’m double-dipping here, backing the dog and also taking the over. If you watched the OU-Texas Tech game last week (or the Sooners at any point this season), you’d know Lincoln Riley’s team does two things well: They score and they get scored on. Oklahoma State took it on the chin last week versus Baylor but why are the Cowboys catching 21.5 points in a big rivalry game against an opponent allowing 27.9 points per game (75th in the nation)? OK State won’t stop Kyler Murray and Co. but I also see the Cowboys keeping pace, which should lead to a cover and a cash on the over.
Prediction: Oklahoma State +21.5 and Over 80
189 Purdue at 190 Minnesota, 2:30 p.m. CT
Man, how P.J. Fleck’s star has fallen. Remember when he was one of the hotter names in college football? Yeah, his Gophers just got destroyed by Illinois 55-31 as a 9.5-point road favorite. They also got crushed by Nebraska 53-28 as a 4.5-point road dog. Nobody is rowing that boat right now under Fleck. Purdue rebounded from its loss to Michigan State last week with a come-from-behind win over Iowa and if Jeff Brohm can get his offense firing on all cylinders I don’t see Fleck’s squad keeping pace.
Prediction: Purdue -10 (bet down to 10)
153 Northwestern at 154 Iowa, 2:30 p.m. CT
Even though this is a conference matchup and Northwestern is the underdog, this is a letdown spot for the Wildcats. They threw everything they had last week at home against Notre Dame as a 10-point underdog but eventually fell 31-21 as the Irish scored a late touchdown to pull away for good. Now the Wildcats have to hit the road to play a pissed off Iowa team that often plays better at home than on the road. I don’t love laying double digits here but I see the Hawkeyes letting out some frustrations on a conference foe, a la Texas A&M and Ole Miss earlier in the day.
Prediction: Iowa -10
163 Washington State at 164 Colorado, 2:30 p.m. CT
For the first time this season Washington State failed to cover the spread, beating Cal 19-13 last week but failing to cover as a 7.5-point favorite. The Cougars have flown under the radar this season and remain the Pac-12’s only hope to have a conference representative in the college football playoff. Meanwhile, Colorado is heading in the opposite direction, losing four straight games without standout receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. He’s questionable today with a toe injury but if he plays, I like the Buffs to hang. CU started to become an overrated team after a hot start but I see this as a good buyback opportunity for bettors. I like the home dog.
Prediction: Colorado +6.5
161 Oregon at 162 Utah, 4:30 p.m. CT
It was surprising to see the Utes get beat by 18 last week in Tempe by the Arizona State but every team has its slip-ups during a season. (Plus, ASU has been better than advertised under Herm Edwards.) Utah still owns the No. 1 red zone defense in the nation and Oregon has been out-gained in its last four games while also allowing a season-high or second-high in yards on four separate occasions this year. After their win over Washington, the Ducks have been exposed, losing two of their last three games. I love only laying 4 in this spot with an underrated Utah team.
Prediction: Utah -4
177 Auburn at 178 Georgia, 6:00 p.m. CT
The Dawgs have course-corrected the past two weeks, routing Florida and Kentucky following its loss to LSU. Still, this is a lot of points to lay with a UGA squad that has had issues in the trenches this year. Auburn is 13th in the nation in points allowed at 17.3 and while Jarrett Stidham and Co. have struggled offensively this season, the Tigers have some momentum following back-to-back wins over Ole Miss and A&M (which wound up being a come-from-behind victory). While the Dawgs have scored at least 34 points in all of their victories, I see UGA struggling a bit offensively today and this game being closer than oddsmakers expect.
Prediction: Auburn +13.5
197 Texas at 198 Texas Tech, 6:30 p.m. CT
The Red Raiders are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games coming off a loss, are 4-1 against the number in their last five home games and covered the spread in six of their previous eight games. I like backing Kliff Kingsbury as a dog and I don’t see Tom Herman’s squad rebounding off that last-second loss to WVU quick enough to avoid losing its fourth game of the season. My only concern is that sophomore quarterback Jett Duffey isn’t the passer that Alex Bowman is and the Tech offense ground to a halt versus Oklahoma last week once Bowman left the game. Still, with a week to prepare, Kingsbury should have Duffey up to speed.
Prediction: Texas Tech +2
199 LSU at 200 Arkansas, 6:30 p.m. CT
There’s nothing to like about Arkansas. I’m not going to make a compelling X’s and O’s case to back the Razorbacks, who allowed 45 points two weeks ago to Vanderbilt, which doesn’t have an offense. That said, the Hogs are coming off their bye and the Tigers were shut out a week ago in their game of the year. This is a pure fade of a LSU team that had its college football playoff and SEC title dreams crushed a week ago by ‘Bama.
Prediction: Arkansas +12.5
121 Syracuse at 122 Boston College, 7:00 p.m. ET
A cold Saturday night in Chestnut Hill with “Gameday” on campus? Sign me up for the home dog playing its biggest game of the year catching nearly three touchdowns. Clemson has rolled through a weak conference slate this year but the Tigers will be challenged tonight. The Eagles have elite players in their secondary, a solid offensive line and the ability to run the football with AJ Dillon and Anthony Brown. It won’t be easy facing Clemson’s NFL-level defensive line, but if the Eagles can control clock with their running game, then I love getting all those points with the home dog playing at night.
Prediction: Boston College +19
Season Records Against the Spread
College Football: 20-26 (43%)
MLB: 54-31-2 (63%)