There are some traditional rivalry games like Florida State/Miami, LSU/Florida and Michigan State/Michigan games that could be tricky. Records can be deceiving when rivals face each other. It’s nice to go back and look at historical data, but only if some impact players have played in those seasons.
We are approaching the time when you can start comparing teams with common foes. If ‘X’ beat ‘Y’ and ‘Y’ beat ‘Z’, ‘X’ should be favored against ‘Z’. It’s not always the case, but it can held you maintain your own rankings.
Can Washington State cover at Oregon?
We at ‘America’s White Boy’ pick 25 college football games against the spread in Week 6 of the NCAA Football season (October 7th, 2017). We also focus on small conference games…our bread and butter!
Notre Dame at North Carolina (+14.5) – My pick is North Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame is having a sneaky good season against the spread. The Irish are 4-1 ATS, which hasn’t happened in a long time. They are a public team, so they get bet up and there’s rarely any discount. Ever since the loss to Georgia, the offense has looked great and the defense has stepped up against inferior teams. The Tar Heels are poor against the run. Georgia Tech and Louisville ran all over them. I predict a big day for Notre Dame RB Josh Adams. I would love this line if it were +13.5, but I will come in scared of that half-point…so give me the Irish.
Louisville at NC State (+3.5) – My pick is Louisville Cardinals
Both teams have been brutal against the spread this season. They come into this game 1-4 ATS, with Louisville losing three-straight spreads. I picked NC State over Florida State two weeks ago, but it wasn’t really due to the strength of the Wolfpack, it was due to Florida State losing their starting quarterback. NC State is a bowl-level team in the ACC, but Louisville is a level above. The Cardinals haven’t been dominant against power conference teams, but they got their footing back in blowouts over Kent State and Murray State. QB Lamar Jackson doesn’t have the gaudy numbers he put up last year, but 18 total touchdowns isn’t too shabby. I have to take Louisville to cover on the road.
California at Washington (-27.5) – My pick is California Golden Bears
Last November, Washington beat California 66-27 on the road. Cal’s defense was God awful and Washington’s defense had the best secondary in all of college football. Many of those guys are now playing on Sundays in the NFL. The Huskies still have a very good defense, so that will give some pause. Washington QB Jake Browning carved up the Golden Bears last season and he will most likely do so again, but I don’t see Cal losing the game by four touchdowns. Most will just look at last year’s game and think we are in for a repeat…not me, give me the points.
Alabama at Texas A&M (+26.5) – My pick is Alabama Crimson Tide
It’s so hard to bet on Texas A&M after Alabama beat Ole Miss and Vanderbilt by a combined 125-3. We are witnessing a special team. The Tide’s defense is just ridiculous. A&M’s freshman QB Kellen Mond would need a ‘Johnny Football’ game for the Aggies to compete with Alabama. Mond could make a name for himself if he does that, but those odds are mighty long. I have to take Alabama to cover at College Station.
SMU at Houston (-6.5) – My pick is Houston Cougars
SMU come into this game 4-1 outright and a perfect 5-0 against the spread. It’s a shame their record is inflated by wins over cupcake opponents and FSC teams. They are a good story, but I don’t see them hanging with a team like Houston. The Cougars aren’t perfect, but I don’t trust SMU’s numbers. They couldn’t run the ball against TCU and TCU QB Kenny Hill threw all over them. Houston’s defense and quarterback are not as good as TCU, but I see SMU as being a fraud. I’m taking Houston to cover. The line has been bet down from -8. I have to hit it while it’s under a touchdown.
LSU at Florida (-3) – My pick is Florida Gators
This would be a marquee game in nearly any other year, but both teams have their issues. LSU was just upset at home by Troy and they were also blown out by Mississippi State 37-7 in September. Florida have won three-straight, but neither of those wins have been very pretty. They needed a hail mary to beat Tennessee, a last minute drive to beat Kentucky and Vanderbilt played the Gators tight until the fourth quarter. The Gators were using a two-quarterback approach with QBs Feleipe Franks and Luke Del Rio subbing in and out. It appears that experiment is no over with Franks winning the starting job. LSU QB Danny Etling isn’t as good as either of those guys. If he doesn’t have a running game, he struggles to win games with his arm. I have to take the Gators at home.
Oregon State at USC (-34) – My pick is Oregon State Beavers
I realize the Beavers are having a rough year, but this line is ridiculous. The Trojans haven’t beaten anyone by more than 18 points this season, QB Sam Darnold isn’t living up to the lofty expectations everyone put upon the sophomore. He’s still a good quarterback, but he might be the fourth-best QB in his own conference. Oregon State is coming off a 42-7 loss to Washington. USC’s defense isn’t as good as Washington’s and Darnold is not as good as UW QB Jake Browning. I’m sure USC will easily win this game, but I just don’t see them hitting this number. I’m taking the points.
Michigan State at Michigan (-10) – My pick is Michigan Wolverines
Michigan hasn’t been strong against the spread this season. They are 2-2, but needed a strong fourth quarter to cover at Purdue. They needed a break and was off last week. Michigan State is 3-1 ATS, but their 38-18 loss at home to Notre Dame is telling. Michigan has some problems on offense, but their defense is still dominant. Michigan State doesn’t have much of an offense, so they will live and die by QB Brian Lewerke. Michigan did an adequate job against him last year. This spread could be close, but I’m taking Michigan to cover at home.
Duke at Virginia (-2.5) – My pick is Virginia Cavaliers
This game opened at +3, but has been bet up/down to -2.5 since it opened. People are really putting a lot of stock in Duke’s 31-6 loss to Miami (FL). That game did show all of Duke’s flaws. It doesn’t help that Virginia’s run defense is pretty damn good. I don’t see Duke staying in this game if they have to rely solely on QB Daniel Jones. UVA QB Kurt Benkert is having a great senior season. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns and 1,249 yards with only one interception. He should have another good showing on Saturday, so give the Cavaliers to cover at home.
Eastern Michigan at Toledo (-13.5) – My pick is Eastern Michigan Eagles
This is when we pick a game with smaller conference teams. Eastern Michigan is 2-2 on the season, but are 3-1 against the spread. The one loss was in an overtime loss to Ohio. Eastern Michigan has a very good pass defense. They haven’t faced anyone as talented as Toledo QB Logan Woodside, but I see them as a competitive adversary. Eastern Michigan has a good offense, but I wouldn’t consider them to be one of the top offenses in the MAC. Toledo’s secondary is sketchy at best, so EMU could have some open receivers on Saturday. I predict this game to be close throughout the game. I have to take the points here.
Boise State at BYU (+8.5) – My pick is Boise State
Penn State at Northwestern (+15) – My pick is Penn State
Virginia Tech at Boston College (+16.5) – My pick is Virginia Tech
Illinois at Iowa (-18.5) – My pick is Illinois
Central Michigan at Ohio (-12) – My pick is Ohio
Wake Forest at Clemson (-21.5) – My pick is Wake Forest
Georgia at Vanderbilt (+17.5) – My pick is Georgia
Air Force at Navy (-7.5) – My pick is Navy
Louisiana Tech at UAB (+12) – My pick is UAB
Marshall at Charlotte (+15) – My pick is Marshall
New Mexico State at Appalachian State (+10.5) – My pick is New Mexico State
Missouri at Kentycky (-10) – My pick is Kentucky
Washington State at Oregon (+2.5) – My pick is Washington State
Stanford at Utah (+5.5) – My pick is Stanford
Army at Rice (+13.5) – My pick is Army
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.