Week 6 College Football Picks Against the Spread

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IOctober 3, 2011

Week 6 College Football Picks Against the Spread

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    Sports bettors are entering the exciting portion of the college football season and the first installment of the BCS rankings is less than a week away. 

    Road underdogs are leading the way with a 160-150-4 against-the-spread record, while the "over" is currently 164-152 for the year.

    Let's take a look at some of this week's top games from a betting perspective.

California Golden Bears at Oregon Ducks

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    Let's just say that the line is certainly inflated due to the Oregon Ducks playing at home in a prime-time event Thursday.

    It's important to note that the California Golden Bears have alternated wins and losses against the number in all four games this season, coming off a 31-23 loss to the Washington Huskies as one-point road underdogs.

    Value is certainly on the traveling team that has compiled a 20-6-1 ATS mark as an underdog of 10.5 or more points.

    I'm sold.

    Recommendation:  California Golden Bears (+24)

Oklahoma Sooners at Texas Longhorns

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    I wasn't very surprised with the oddsmakers sending out the Oklahoma Sooners as nine-point neutral-site favorites, as I made my handicapper line just a point below.

    What does surprise me is over 70 percent of the initial bets have come in on the favored side in this Red River Rivalry.

    Texas has already gained revenge from two losses a season ago, picking up impressive spread victories over UCLA (49-20) and Iowa State (37-14).

    Tough to call, as Oklahoma has nobody of concern on its schedule after this game until hosting Texas A&M on Nov. 5.

    Recommendation:  Oklahoma Sooners (-9)

Vanderbilt Commodores at Alabama Crimson Tide

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    It's time to take a breather if you're Alabama, coming off impressive wins over Arkansas (38-14) and Florida (38-10) in consecutive weeks.

    In my opinion, the oddsmakers got a little lazy when developing this line, placing it slightly above the four-touchdown threshold. 

    Vanderbilt entered its bye week off a 21-3 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks, finishing the game with just 77 total yards of offense.

    Starting quarterback Larry Smith was taken out of the game due to a minor neck injury, but is probable for this matchup.

    The Commodores held the Gamecocks to 367 yards despite the offense's inability to muster any drives. 

    I expect them to sneak under this line on Saturday.

    Recommendation:  Vanderbilt Commodores (+29)

Maryland Terrapins at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been blistering the spread due to possessing the nation's top-scoring offense, but their 4-0-1 ATS record will get a test Saturday.

    Maryland is 10-6 ATS versus ACC opponents the last two-plus years and already handed the Miami Hurricanes a 32-24 loss as four-point home favorites.

    Did I forget to mention that the underdog in this series is 4-0 ATS the last four meetings?

    Recommendation:  Maryland Terrapins (+14.5)

Kentucky Wildcats at South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Sometimes you have to really analyze what an oddsmaker is trying to do when sending out a line. 

    The obvious play due to last week's meltdown in Columbia is to take the double-digit underdog, as South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia was absolutely terrible in a 16-13 home loss to Auburn.

    Enter Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Lattimore, who carried the ball just 17 times for 66 yards in defeat, but will now be going against a Kentucky defense that allows nearly 200 rushing yards a game.

    The Wildcats' 1-6 ATS record in their last seven games as a road underdog fits nicely with the Gamecocks covering five out of six following a straight-up loss.

    Blowout in every sense of the word.

    Blowout of the Week:  South Carolina Gamecocks (-20.5)

Arizona State Sun Devils at Utah Utes

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    A significant movement in the line has been shaped in this contest, as the Utah Utes are getting 3.5 to four points at home, after dropping a 31-14 contest to the Washington Huskies as 10-point favorites.

    Much of it surrounds the loss of Jordan Wynn, who is suffering from a dislocation of his throwing shoulder, but backup Jon Hays filled in and connected on 10-of-16 passes for 156 yards.

    Arizona State will be leaving home for just the second time this year, as the first road contest resulted in a 17-14 loss to the Illinois Fighting Illini as two-point road underdogs.

    I'm focusing in on that particular contest going under the number by 34.5 points, which is significant when knowing that Utah's defense will need to pick up the slack to avoid a second straight loss.

    Did I mention that the Sun Devils may be looking ahead to a home game against Oregon the following week?

    Recommendation:  Under 49.5

Missouri Tigers at Kansas State Wildcats

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    I'm pretty sure that the oddsmaker is aware that the Kansas State Wildcats pulled off a 36-35 upset of the Baylor Bears as 3.5-point home underdogs last week.

    In fact, it was the second consecutive straight-up underdog win for the program, handing the Miami Hurricanes a 28-24 home loss as 12.5-point underdogs.

    Missouri was one of the more banged-up teams nationally, but is now coming off a much-needed bye week after dropping a 38-28 contest to the Oklahoma Sooners.

    The Tigers aren't afraid of playing in Manhattan, covering their last two trips in comfortable fashion as road favorites.

    I'm not getting trapped with the road team covering the last four meetings.

    Recommendation:  Missouri Tigers (-3)

Florida Gators at LSU Tigers

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    Florida Gators quarterback John Brantley has been declared out for this contest, something that I already considered in developing a similar line to what the oddsmakers just sent out.

    Throw out last week's performance and look at this matchup from a betting perspective.

    True freshman Jeff Driskel will get a full week of snaps and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has the same amount of time to prepare a game plan.

    This game is also taking place during the day, which has never been a strong point for Les Miles in the Bayou.

    LSU hasn't covered at home in this series in the last six meetings.

    I'd also be concerned about the pressure that Jarrett Lee is now facing with Jordan Jefferson now back on the sidelines.

    Recommendation:  Florida Gators (+12.5)

Ohio State Buckeyes at Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    I get it—this isn't Jim Tressel's Ohio State Buckeyes anymore following a 10-7 loss to Michigan State as three-point home favorites.

    But, Nebraska doesn't exactly have Tommy Frazier under center either.

    Early betting on this contest sent the Buckeyes immediately down a full point from the opening number of 10, only to reach as high as 11 earlier today.

    It looks like a trap, it smells like a trap, but so did Auburn a week ago.

    Proud programs, no matter how far they are about to fall, always seem to respond in these situations.

    Recommendation:  Ohio State Buckeyes (+11)

Auburn Tigers at Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Boy, oh boy, the linesmakers are really throwing out some interesting betting odds this week.

    Auburn was a favorite bet amongst professionals last week, picking up a 16-13 upset win over the South Carolina Gamecocks as 10.5-point road underdogs.

    The Tigers really benefited from a terrible performance by Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia.

    On the other side, Arkansas couldn't stop a sixth grader from running the football in the first half inside Cowboys Stadium, only to be saved by quarterback Tyler Wilson's 510 passing yards.

    Normally, I'd be squarely on the dog in this situation, but something doesn't smell right.

    That's when I decide to go the other way.

    Recommendation:  Arkansas Razorbacks (-10)