College football picks: Lots of love for Wisconsin and Alabama, but not so much for Penn State
Alabama has beaten Texas A&M six consecutive times, Penn State's D-line has a tasty matchup, and there's an interesting over/under in Baylor-Texas A&M.
Here are our staff picks for this week’s top college football games, which are listed in standard Vegas rotational order.
Last week’s and year-to-date standings are at the bottom.
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MIAMI (-1.5) Virginia (o/u: 45.5), 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Miami’s offensive line has given up 25 sacks, the most among the 130 FCS schools. Somewhere, former two-time All-American tackle and Woodbury High grad Bryant McKinnie is fuming. The Hurricanes had 55 pass attempts in last week’s loss to Virginia Tech. That won’t fly against UVa’s terrific D-line.
The Hurricanes are 2-3 against the spread and are trying to avoid an 0-3 start in conference play for the first time in school history. Virginia is 2-2-1 ATS, but hasn’t covered since Week 2, according to VegasInsider.com.
OREGON (-20.5) Colorado (57.5), 10 p.m. (FS1)
Oregon’s defense hasn’t allowed more than seven points since losing by 27-21 to Auburn on Aug. 31. The Ducks will play at Washington next week, so beware the look-ahead syndrome. Oregon is 2-3 against the spread. Colorado, which awaits whether star receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (core muscle strain) will be cleared to play, is 3-2 ATS.
Oklahoma (-11) Texas (75.5), 12 p.m. (Fox)
The underdog has covered four of the last five times there’s been a double-digit spread. Love Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who is second in the nation with 45 receptions. “The anger that he runs with when he has the ball in his hands and his physicality is just so impressive,” Longhorns coach Tom Herman said of his 5-foot-11, 211-pound senior.
The total is the highest on the board this week. Texas beat OU, 48-45, in the regular season last year. Oklahoma got revenge in the conference championship game, 39-27. Both teams are 3-2 against the spread this season.
Memphis (-6) TEMPLE (50.5), 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
The first of back-to-back games against ranked teams for Temple. And it might be three in a row by the time Central Florida visits the Linc on Oct. 26. Memphis has covered three in a row and four of five this season. The Owls are 3-2 against the spread, covering all three home games.
» READ MORE: Temple employing two quarterbacks
BAYLOR (-10) Texas Tech (58.5), 4 p.m. (FS1)
This game had been played at neutral sites for the last 10 years, but will be in Waco this year. Matt Ruhle’s Bears are a surprising 5-0 and coming off an impressive win at K-State. Junior defensive lineman James Lynch had three sacks and was named the Chuck Bednarik player of the week as the nation’s top defensive player. Baylor is 3-2 ATS with its last three coming in under. Texas Tech is 2-2-1 against the number.
WISCONSIN (10) Michigan St. (39.5), 3:30 p.m. (BTN)
Michigan State is playing consecutive road games against AP Top 10 teams for the first time in 28 years. The Spartans took some lumps in last week’s loss at Ohio State, get red-hot (no pun intended) No. 8 Wisky on Saturday and then will have a week off before hosting Penn State. Poor Sparty. Michigan State is 2-4 ATS; the Badgers are 4-1.
LSU (-13.5) Florida (54.5), 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Game of the week featuring with No. 7 Florida (6-0) at No. 5 LSU (5-0). The last five meetings have been decided by one possession, including the Gators’ 27-19 win at the Swamp last year. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is 5-1 to win the Heisman. Only Tua Tagovailoa (3-2) and Jalen Hurts have shorter odds. Florida is 3-2-1 against the spread, but have covered the last three. LSU is 4-1 ATS.
Alabama (-17) TEXAS A&M (60.5), 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
This is the Tide’s first game since they bumped Clemson from the No. 1 ranking on Sept. 29. The first set of CF playoff standings will come out on Nov. 5. Finally, a reason to root for election day. Alabama has won six in a row in this series, scoring 42 per game. ATS records: Alabama 2-3, A&M 3-2.
NOTRE DAME (-11.5) Usc (57.5), 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
The Irish laid 11 last year with a spot in the college playoff on the line, and failed to cover in the 24-17 win. But that game was at USC. Trojans freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis is back after suffering an apparent concussion on Sept. 20. Notre Dame has covered its last four games. USC is 2-3 against the number.
Penn St. (-4.5) IOWA (40.5), 7:30 p.m. (ABC)
The Hawkeyes are a trendy pick here, but if they don’t protect Nate Stanley better than they did last week when Michigan sacked him eight times, they wouldn’t even beat the Miami Dolphins. Penn State leads the nation in sacks per game at 5.0. Penn State is 2-2-1 against the spread. Iowa is 3-2.
» READ MORE: Penn State players and the challenge of playing at Iowa
“We know these guys are a great defense, tops in the nation in a lot of statistical categories," Stanley said. "We know that there’s no time to feel sorry for us, that we have to get back on the horse and prepare and get ready to play.”
Year to date
Note: Luke Reasoner did not pick in Week 1.