I finished around .500 last week against the spread. I had trouble in the early games, but the late games bailed me out. There were some unexpected outcomes that I thought came out of nowhere. I thought Penn State and Florida would both cover the spread easy, but Iowa and Kentucky held on tight. I did call the NC State upset over Florida State, so I scored some jellybeans from the moneyline.
A few things I took away from last week was that Georgia is better than I thought, Oklahoma State isn’t bulletproof and USC QB Sam Darnold is still in the middle of a sophomore slump.
Now that it is in the fifth week of college football. Everyone is deep in their conference schedule. A lot more empirical data to use due to more head-to-head history,
Will USC QB Sam Darnold snap out of his slump against Washington State?
We at ‘America’s White Boy’ pick 25 college football games against the spread in Week 5 of the NCAA Football season (September 30th, 2017). We also focus on small conference games…our bread and butter!
Georgia at Tennessee (+7) – My pick is Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia made a statement last week when they beat Mississippi State 31-3. Their defense turned MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald into a turnover machine. Their offense didn’t have to work very hard to win the game. Freshman QB Jake Fromm threw for an efficient 9 for 12 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He handed the ball off to RBs Nick Chubb and D’Andre Swift for most of the game. The Vols came off a tough loss to Florida in the last seconds of the game and then barely squeaked by UMass last week. No one on the team had a notable game. They allowed 100+ yards on the ground against the Minutemen, which is alarming. I have to take the Dawgs to cover on the road.
North Carolina at Georgia Tech (-9.5) – My pick is Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
I know I’ve said this over and over again, but it’s hard for a team to replicate GT’s triple-option rushing attack. There are teams that just struggle year after year against it and then there are head coaches that just know where to put their players on defense. UNC head coach Larry Fedora has won the last three games against the Yellow Jackets. He’s faced some pretty good teams during this stretch. The Tar Heels come into this game 1-2 with a win over Old Dominion and two close losses to Louisville and Duke. I worry about North Carolina’s growing injury report. They will be without over a dozen guys this weekend. I have to take the Yellow Jackets to cover at home.
Indiana at Penn State (-17.5) – My pick is Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State had a brutal game against Iowa last week. It was back and forth and Penn State needed some luck in the final minutes to escape with the win. They are back in Happy Valley, but Indiana isn’t a powder puff team. I’m not calling for an upset, but this game will be close to the point spread. Penn State is one of the best college football teams in the country and Indiana is 102nd against the run (out of 129 FBS teams). I have a feeling PSU RB Saquon Barkley will have a big game. I’m taking Penn State to cover at home.
Colorado at UCLA (-7) – My pick is UCLA Bruins
UCLA went toe-to-toe with Stanford for most of the game last week. Things opened up for Stanford late. QB Josh Rosen had a solid game, but would like him to limit his interceptions. UCLA has lost back-to-back games and Rosen has thrown two interceptions in each of those games. Colorado isn’t the same team as last year. The NFL Draft wiped out their depth. They are still 3-1, but last week’s 37-10 loss to Washington was an eye opener. They turn the ball over way too much. I don’t think they have a dependable quarterback on the roster, cause QB Steven Montez is not the answer. If UCLA can move the ball, Colorado won’t be able to match the Bruins offense. I’m taking UCLA to cover.
USC at Washington State (+3.5) – My pick is USC Trojans
This is a battle of two future NFL quarterbacks. USC’s Sam Darnold and WSU’s Luke Falk will both be playing on Sundays fairly soon. Darnold came into the season as a Heisman favorite, but he has been underwhelming. His TD/INT ratio is only 9/7 with 1,225 yards. He’s being outplayed by other QBs in his own conference. The Trojans are still undefeated on the season, but only 1-3 against the spread. Falk’s Cougars are also undefeated and he’s putting up his usual ridiculous numbers. Falk has thrown for 14 TDs so far and only one interception. The Cougars haven’t played any top teams, so those numbers are a bit inflated. The Trojans can’t afford to get into a shootout with Washington State. USC will need to count on their defense, which has some playmakers in their secondary. Vegas can swing WSU games by a few points cause the public knows their offense is talented. Unfortunately, they are not a very good home team against the spread (2-4 last six home games). I’m taking the Trojans to cover.
California at Oregon (-13.5) – My pick is Oregon Ducks
At this point last season, Cal had one of the worst secondaries in college football. Teams were throwing all over them. New head coach Justin Wilcox has turned their defense around in a matter of months. They stayed with the Trojans for most of the game and won against the spread. Oregon is improved as well. New head coach Willie Taggart has motivated his players and they look like they are having fun again. Oregon had a tough loss against Arizona State last week, so Taggart will need to build them back up this week. This game opened up at -16 and I’m glad I caught it here. I don’t trust Cal QB Ross Bowers to keep them in the game. He has thrown six interceptions the last two weeks. He can’t continue to throw picks and stay competitive. Oregon will force more turnovers and cover at home.
Ole Miss at Alabama (-28) – My pick is Ole Miss Rebels
We know how ridiculously talented Alabama is, so I’ll pass that section. Ole Miss is too good of a team to be 28-point underdogs against an in-conference team. The Crimson Tide did whip Vanderbilt’s ass last week, but Vandy has been on the side of a beatdown many times…it wasn’t a huge surprise. Ole Miss is 0-3 ATS coming into this game, so that probably added another touchdown onto this spread cause they haven’t came through with bettors. Alabama will win this game, but will fall shy of this large point spread.
Miami (OH) at Notre Dame (-21) – My pick is Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame has beaten the teams they were expected to beat and murdered teams they were supposed to murder. They are 3-1 ATS and outright for that reason. Irish QB Brandon Wimbush has been managing the games and making a big play when needed. His job is to feed RB Josh Adams. If the Irish defense can play up the level they did against Michigan State, this point spread shouldn’t be a difficult cover, so give me Notre Dame.
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (+9.5) – My pick is Texas Tech Red Raiders
OSU looked like they were right up there with the best of the best in the Big 12 until they ran into TCU. The Horned Frogs won 44-31 in Stillwater. Senior QB Mason Rudolph threw two untimely picks trying to come back from a first-half deficit. Texas Tech always gets short-changed by Vegas against other Big 12 teams. This line should be closer to +7, but it opened up at +14.5. The Red Raiders defense is better than in year’s past and you can’t sleep on them. I was be very happy if this line were +10, but I’ll still take the points.
Eastern Michigan at Kentucky (-14.5) – My pick is Eastern Michigan Eagles
This is when we pick a game with smaller conference teams. Oh man, this game is right down my alley. I watch every Kentucky game and I’ve been following Eastern Michigan close. The Wildcats lost a nail-biter to the Gators last week. It would have been their first win against Florida in over 30 years. Do they come into this game a bit deflated? A little bit, but Eastern Michigan isn’t a bad team either. The Wildcats will probably win the game, but I will take the points.
BYU at Utah State (+3) – My pick is Utah State
Troy at LSU (-21) – My pick is Troy
Mississippi State at Auburn (-9) – My pick is Mississippi State
Colorado State at Hawaii (+7.5) – My pick is Colorado State
Ohio at UMass (+8.5) – My pick is Ohio
Baylor at Kansas State (-17) – My pick is Kansas State
Iowa at Michigan State (-3.5) – My pick is Iowa
Clemson at Virginia Tech (+7) – My pick is Virginia Tech
Miami (FL) at Duke (+6.5) – My pick is Duke
Houston at Temple (+14) – My pick is Houston
South Florida at East Carolina (+23) – My pick is South Florida
Maryland at Minnesota (-13) – My pick is Minnesota
Syracuse at NC State (-14) – My pick is NC State
Navy at Tulsa (+6.5) – My pick is Navy
Florida State at Wake Forest (+7.5) – My pick is Florida State
Sweetbob’s college football picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.