The next few weeks in college football will be fantastic.
This is the time of the season when exciting in-conference rivalries take center stage and teams make or break their chances of securing a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Here are our picks against the spread for Week 10. All odds via OddShark.
Thursday, Nov. 5
No. 6 Baylor (-17) at Kansas State, 7:30 p.m.: While most of the Big 12’s top teams have tough matchups this week, Baylor has another easy opponent on Saturday. There’s no way K-State is slowing down a Baylor offense that’s averaging 61.1 points per game.
No. 22 Mississippi State (-8) at Missouri, 9 p.m.: Missouri has lost four of its last five games and its last matchup against a ranked team was a 21-3 defeat to Florida. Mississippi State will roll in this SEC contest.
Pick: Mississippi State
Friday, Nov. 6
No. 22 Temple (-13.5) at SMU, 8 p.m.: Temple should’ve upset No. 5 Notre Dame last week but lost 24-20. The Owls will be highly motivated for a bounce-back performance against a greatly inferior SMU squad with a 1-7 record.
Saturday, Nov. 7
Penn State at Northwestern (-2.5), 12 p.m.: The Wildcats will benefit from playing at home and using their superior rushing attack to control the clock and earn a narrow three-point win.
Vanderbilt at No. 10 Florida (-19), Noon: Vanderbilt’s defense is giving up just 18.5 points per game. The Commodores are having trouble scoring, though, with a 15.3 points per game average, but they won’t lose by 20 or more points in two straight weeks.
No. 5 Notre Dame (-7.5) at Pittsburgh, Noon: Pittsburgh couldn’t stop North Carolina last week, and it won’t be able to slow down a Notre Dame offense averaging 36.5 points per game. The Fighting Irish received a wakeup call at Temple last weekend and will open up an early lead on the Panthers.
Pick: Notre Dame
No. 11 Stanford (-16) at Colorado, 1 p.m.: Colorado lost a close game 35-31 against No. 24 UCLA last week, and with a better passing attack (just under 250 yards per game) than Stanford, the Buffaloes will cover this spread even though they will lose their sixth game of the campaign.
No. 16 Florida State at No. 1 Clemson (-12), 3:30 p.m.: This is a lot of points for a matchup between rivals, but Clemson has a pretty good chance to cover with a high-powered offense that scores in a hurry and averages more than 40 points per game. Florida State also isn’t very good, and is 6-1 only because it hasn’t played a ranked team yet. The Tigers will expose the Seminoles as an average squad on Saturday.
Arkansas at No. 18 Ole Miss (-12), 3:30 p.m.: Mississippi is hard to gauge because it’s so inconsistent. The Rebels beat Alabama and Texas A&M with relative ease, but also got destroyed by Florida and a then-unranked Memphis team. Ole Miss has four conference wins and none of them were by 12 points.
No. 9 Iowa (-8) at Indiana, 3:30 p.m.: Iowa should’t have much trouble against a terrible Indiana defense allowing more than 37 points per game.
Rutgers at No. 17 Michigan (-21.5), 3:30 p.m.: Michigan is a good straight-up bet, but this spread is way too high for a Wolverines team that barely beat unranked Minnesota last week.
No. 8 TCU (-5) at No. 14 Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m.: This is one of my locks of the week. TCU has an average margin of victory of 24.8 points and it has gained more yards per game through the air and on the ground than Oklahoma State. The Cowboys should have lost to Texas Tech last week, and the Horned Frogs are a much more experienced opponent with a better defense than the Red Raiders.
Cincinnati at No. 25 Houston (-9), 3:30 p.m.: Houston is fun to watch because it has a well-balanced offense averaging 45.88 points per game. That said, Cincinnati can score, too, and it has put up 34 or more points in six games. The Bearcats probably will lose, but they also should cover.
No. 23 UCLA (15.5) at Oregon State, 4:30 p.m.: UCLA’s average margin of victory is just 7.88 points, but Oregon State has lost five straight games and four of them were by 15 or more points. The improving Bruins should cover in this matchup.
Navy at No. 13 Memphis (-8.5), 7 p.m.: Memphis wins by an average of 21.26 points and its explosive passing attack (350 yards per game) will slow down Navy’s dominant ground game and force the Midshipmen to throw early and often.
Iowa State at No. 15 Oklahoma (-26), 7 p.m.: The Sooners have scored less than 40 points in just two of eight games and their last three contests were won by a combined score of 180-34. Expect an easy cover by Oklahoma.
No. 7 Michigan State (-4.5) at Nebraska, 7 p.m.: The Cornhuskers have lost back-to-back games, including a disappointing 55-45 defeat to unranked Purdue last week. The unbeaten Spartans have won by an average of 11.66 points and are coming off their best offensive performance of the year, a 52-26 victory over Indiana last weekend.
Pick: Michigan State
No. 12 Utah (even) at Washington, 7:30 p.m.: The excitement surrounding Utah has waned considerably after a bad loss at USC and a so-so win over unranked Oregon State in the last two weeks. That said, the Utes still are better than a Washington team that’s lost two of its last three games and is 1-2 versus ranked opponents.
Auburn at No. 19 Texas A&M (-8.5), 7:30 p.m.: Auburn isn’t very good, but Texas A&M is far from a powerhouse itself. The Aggies have lost two of their last three games, and their win over a bad South Carolina team last week was by just seven points.
No. 2 LSU at No. 4 Alabama (-7), 8 p.m.: Alabama is at home and playing really well entering this game. The Crimson Tide allow only 78 yards per game on the ground, and LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who’s also the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, hasn’t faced a run defense this strong all season.
That said, seven points is way too many for a rivalry game featuring elite teams. Three of the Crimson Tide’s last four regular-season wins over the Tigers were by seven or fewer points, and they’re 1-5 against the spread this year.
Minnesota at No. 3 Ohio State (-23), 8 p.m.: Cardale Jones, the worse of the two Ohio State quarterbacks, will start this week with J.T. Barrett serving a one-game suspension. The Buckeyes shouldn’t be afraid of an upset, but this spread is a little too high, especially after the Golden Gophers almost beat a quality Michigan team last week. Ohio State also hasn’t been that impressive this season, which is one reason why it’s ranked No. 3 despite being undefeated and the defending champions.
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