Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.
-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)
The last two weeks of college football have not been kind to me — either as a fan or as a points spread prognosticator. For the second straight week, I "lost" money and finished below .500 despite hitting on my top pick. The market did, in fact, over-correct on Washington and Purdue. The Huskies covered easily and so did Michigan.
And the most exciting streak in sports, Stanford's unbeaten streak against the spread, continued with a most improbable cover. In the third overtime, the Cardinal had to go for two, and it resulted in a 0.5-point cover.
Andrew Luck and company will keep that streak alive for at least one more week...
Season Record ATS: 55-34-3 (5-6 last week)
Week 10's Top Picks:
Stanford (-21) at Oregon State (8-0)
The talent difference between these two is mind-blowing. Stanford has dominated every opponent it has faced for over a year, and that will not change this weekend against a struggling Beavers team that lost to Utah 27-8 last week. Stanford, the only team left unbeaten against the spread in 2011, could easily match last year's 38-0 final score. My Pick: Stanford -21
Missouri (+3) at Baylor
The Bears have lost three of their last four games and have allowed 114 points in their last two (Texas A&M and Oklahoma State). Mizzou is leading the Big 12 in rushing and is coming off a huge road win over Texas A&M (a team that just beat Baylor 55-28). James Franklin has been masterful running the offense, accounting for 11 touchdowns (6 pass, 5 rush) over the last three games. The Tigers should win outright, so take the points and run. My Pick: Mizzou +3
South Carolina (+5) at Arkansas
Apparently, I have not learned my lesson. The Hogs came out flat two weeks in a row against Ole Miss and Vandy, failing to cover both times. But those games, and the flat first half against Texas A&M, kicked-off at noon eastern. This game starts 7:15 ET, and the Hogs will be ready this time for an undermanned Gamecock team. Arkansas beat Carolina 41-20 in Columbia last season, and there is no Marcus Lattimore or Stephen Garcia in the lineup. If you fail to cover for the third consecutive game, you will be dead to me, Arky! You hear me? My Pick: Arkansas -5
Houston (-27.5) at UAB
The poor, poor Blazers. UAB allowed 59 points, including five passing touchdowns, to freshman quarterback AJ Graham and Marshall last week. Just imagine what Case Keenum and his arsenal of weapons will do to the 115th-ranked defense in college football. The Cougars are one of 16 teams in the nation who are 6-2 or better against the spread this fall. My Pick: Houston -27.5
Texas A&M (+13.5) at Oklahoma
Sooners fans, players and coaches remember very well the 33-19 loss to Texas A&M a year ago. That doesn't bode well for the Aggies this weekend. The mentally flimsy football team from College Station has choked in three second halves, and Oklahoma still has its eyes set on a national championship. Look for Landry Jones and company to attack the NCAA's worst pass defense (318.3 ypg, 120th). My Pick: Oklahoma -13.5
Oregon (-16) at Washington
The Huskies are very close to competing for Pac-12 North titles — it just isn't going to happen in 2011. Washington will be able to score, but now that Chip Kelly has his full complement of offensive toys, so too will Oregon. LaMichael James and Darron Thomas combined for five rushing scores and six overall touchdowns in last season's 53-16 win. Look for Oregon to be clicking on all cylinders in what should be a high-scoring game. My Pick: Oregon -16
North Carolina (-3.5) at NC State
This one has gotten chippy this week — which makes it fun for fans, but not the coaches. NC State has taken control over this rivarly, but Russell Wilson, who threw eight touchdowns in three Wolfpack wins over UNC, is no longer under center for Tom O'Brien. NC State is coming off a 34-0 blowout loss to Florida State and will not be able to stop an offense that just dropped 49 on a quality Wake Forest team and 38 on Clemson. North Carolina is just the superior football team. My Pick: North Carolina -3.5
Michigan (-3.5) at Iowa
Rivalry games are always tricky, but the Wolverines are a new, more mentally tough bunch under the new regime. Michigan is 6-2 against the spread this year, and Iowa is coming off its worse loss in years (22-21 to Minnesota). The Maize and Blue made easy work of a pesky Purdue team and are getting more balanced on offense. Look for Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint to excel against what has been an uncharacteristically weak Iowa defense: 76th in total defense, 81st in pass defense and 69th in rushing defense.My Pick: Michigan -3.5
If you're feeling lucky
Purdue (+25) at Wisconsin
The Badgers are angry and back in the friendly confines of Camp Randall. My Pick: Wisconsin -25
Louisville (+13.5) at West Virginia
WVU can score in bunches and has topped the 40-point mark in three of its last four. Louisville has won two straight games it should not have, but is on the road and has not even scored more than 27 all season. My Pick: WVU -13.5
TCU (-19) at Wyoming
The Frogs have won three straight by a total of 92 points and are playing as well as they have since 2010. The Cowboys' 105th-rated defense should be no challenge. My Pick: TCU -19
FIU (-3) at Western Kentucky
Four straight tough wins for WKU have the Hilltoppers thinking bowl game for the first time in their FBS existence. After a hot start, FIU has struggled over the last month, going 2-3 with losses to UL-Lafayette, Arkansas State and Duke. WKU will be fired up at home. My Pick: WKU +3
Kansas State (+20.5) at Oklahoma State
Something has to give. Kansas State is 6-2 on the year against the spread and Oklahoma State is 7-1. The Pokes are chugging along on offense, as Brandon Weeden is playing the most efficient football of his life. KSU is coming off a 58-17 home dismantling at the hands of Oklahoma last week. The Pokes know what is at stake and won't let the Wildcats sneak up on them — although, this has market over-correction written all over it too. My Pick: Oklahoma State -20.5
Special "Game of the Century" Pick ATS
LSU (+4.5) at Alabama
The Crimson Tide is 7-1 on the season against the spread, and across the board, looks like the slightly better football team. It will come down to, shockingly, turnovers, penalties, third-down conversions and special teams. Look for the Tide to Roll on Saturday. My Pick: Alabama -4.5
8-0 Against the Spread: Stanford
7-1 Against the Spread: Alabama, Arkansas State, Oklahoma State
6-2 Against the Spread: Houston, Kansas State, LSU, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, New Mexico State, Southern Miss, Temple, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Washington, Western Kentucky
7-2 Against the Spread: Clemson
2-7 Against the Spread: Colorado, Penn State
2-6 Against the Spread: UConn, Kent State, New Mexico, Texas A&M
2-7 Against the Spread: Colorado State, Tulane, Virginia Tech
1-8 Against the Spread: Central Michigan
Other Week 10 Content:
Mitch Light's Top Ten Games of Week 10
Four Ways Alabama Will Win the 'Game of the Century'
Four Ways LSU Will Win the 'Game of the Century'
Nick Saban: The Game's Best Coach
Les Miles: Love Him or Hate Him?