Following a rough Week 4, I rebounded with a pretty good Week 5. In total, I went 4-2. The wins: Penn State (-6) at Maryland, Notre Dame (-12.5) vs. Virginia, Auburn (-10) vs. Mississippi State, and North Carolina (+27) vs. Clemson. None of these wins were even that close, Notre Dame was really the only one in doubt beyond halftime. I totally nailed the North Carolina one, Sam Howell played great against a tremendous defense and Trevor Lawrence didn’t play well against that Tar Heel defense. Penn State killed them from the very start, same with Auburn. Notre Dame struggled with Virginia for a half before flexing their defensive muscle and riding out a 15-point win. The losses: Kansas (+16) at TCU and Purdue to beat Minnesota. The Purdue one was tough because my condition was that if Elijah Sindelar played for Purdue, then I would take it but if he was still injured, then I would not. Long story short, Sindelar played but didn’t last long as he got hurt again along with Rondale Moore, the heart and soul of that Purdue team. Because Sindelar did play however, the pick still counts as a loss for me. The Kansas pick was just way off so nothing really to sweat there either. After a good week last week, I seem to really like a lot of picks this week so this could either be really good again or go really poorly. Now let’s get to it and go win us all some money!
Spread: Auburn (-3) at Florida
This one seems way too easy to me which is always dangerous. I’ve been riding Auburn pretty much all year for my personal picks, I was high on them coming into the season and they’ve been even better than I anticipated through five weeks. Florida in my opinion is way over-rated, I don’t think they’re a top-10 team or even a top-15 team. They’re just way too inconsistent to be relied on and while they do play good defense, Auburn has punished everybody it has played with its mauling offensive line – which I fully expect to continue this week in Gainesville. Like I mentioned last week, Auburn’s defense is perhaps the best in the country with speed and strength littered all over the front seven and secondary. Florida has some offensive weapons and Dan Mullen is a creative coach, but I just don’t see them being able to move the ball consistently on this great Auburn defense. Give me the Tigers by 7-10 points on the road.
The Pick: Auburn (-3)
Spread: Over/Under 48 Auburn and Florida
Yes, I’m doubling up on this game. I like this pick because of a lot of the reasons I listed above: Auburn likes to run the ball which means a moving clock most of the time and this Auburn defense is fantastic. Further, this Florida offensive line is one of the worst in the SEC while Auburn’s defensive line is the best in the country, in my humble opinion. That matchup in the trenches is a severe mismatch which will allow the Tigers to control the line of scrimmage and hold Florida under 20 points. I also think this Auburn offense is too predicated on the ground game as currently constructed and Florida is giving up less than 100 yards rushing per game – which will be able to limit Auburn’s scoring to some degree. With almost all of the pressure on each team’s starting quarterback, I don’t expect them to get into a shootout of any kind – making a defensive slugfest very likely.
The Pick: Under 48
Spread: Washington (-14.5) at Stanford
This one is pretty simple: Washington is probably the best team in the Pac-12, while Stanford is one of the worst. Oregon State played the Cardinals really tough last week, which is really all you need to know about this Stanford team. Additionally, Washington plays great defense and Jacob Eason has been growing week by week. I expect that his good play will continue against this fairly bad Stanford defense, which is surrendering – on average – just under 30 points per game. This is another pick that seems almost too easy to me. Ultimately, I think Washington wins this game by about 20 points or frankly however many points they want to win by.
The Pick: Washington (-14.5)
Spread: Over/Under 58 Wisconsin and Kent St.
Another one in which I really like, this Badger defense is fantastic and is currently playing at a really high level – all while facing off against a Kent State team that really struggles to score against quality defenses. Against Auburn and Arizona State this year, they’ve only averaged 11.5 points per game. I don’t see them surpassing 10 in this contest and I think Wisconsin will coast to a nice 40-10 (or less) win before they go and play a tough Michigan State team next week. This one is a little risky because it’s very possible Wisconsin wants to flex its muscle after not looking great against Northwestern last week, but I still like it enough to pick the under 58.
The Pick: Under 58
Spread: Over/Under 44.5 Iowa State and TCU
The way I see this game playing out is a hard-fought, defensive struggle between two good defenses and two struggling offenses (so far). I have more confidence in Iowa State’s offense and sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy, but he hasn’t looked overly sharp yet this season without the same weapons he had last year to help him out. Gary Patterson is a fantastic defensive coach and I’m confident he can come up with some looks to confuse Purdy and, as a result, suppress scoring in the game. The Cyclones haven’t scored more than 21 points against Power 5 teams and TCU has yet to score more than 14 against Power 5 defenses. I know the total is already pretty low, but give me the under.
The Pick: Under 44.5
Spread: Over/Under 54 Maryland and Rutgers
After both teams got shut out last week, this one is again one I feel really good about. I’ll take the over! Maryland has an explosive offensive when matched up against lesser opponents (e.g. Syracuse and Howard) and is capable of putting up 50 in this matchup just on their own against this over-matched Rutgers defense – which is currently ranked 91st overall in total defense. Rutgers is really, really bad obviously, but does have a couple players on offense that, with open space, can be effective. The problem has been that they have rarely gotten that open space. However, that could change as this Maryland defense isn’t exactly a juggernaut – which could allow Rutgers to get loose for a big play or two and score in the double digits. My expected outcome of this game is somewhere around 52-10, which is comfortably over that number of 54 so, again, I will take the over.
The Pick: Over 54
Spread: Ohio State (-20) vs. Michigan State
To start off, I just want to mention that I think this Ohio State Buckeyes team is the best team in the entire country. They’re the 2nd most talented team in the country in terms of star talent (behind only Alabama), whereas Michigan State is ranked 31st in overall talent. I know Michigan State’s defense is outstanding and very fundamentally sound, but they haven’t played anybody at the same level of talent as this Ohio State team in quite possibly a number of years. Mark Dantonio usually thrives in this sort of spot as a big underdog and it’s possible he’ll prove me wrong, but I’m taking the Buckeyes and their litany of elite talent to go out and beat MSU handily. I would take this spread all the way up to about 26.5 and, with the spread currently at -20, I think it’s almost a lock that OSU covers this spread. Ohio State is elite on both sides of the ball and with the speed advantage they possess at literally every single position, both on offense and defense, I think they blow out yet another opponent on their schedule as they march through the Big Ten with ease.
The Pick: Ohio State (-20)
- Auburn (-3) at Florida
- Under 48 Auburn and Florida
- Washington (-14.5) at Stanford
- Under 44.5 Iowa State and TCU
- Under 58 Wisconsin and Kent St.
- Over 54 Maryland and Rutgers
- OSU (-20) vs. MSU