2011 College Football: Week 10 Picks Against the Spread
College football will take center stage in the sports world Saturday night when the No. 1 LSU Tigers (8-0) and No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) meet up in an Southeastern Conference showdown in Tuscaloosa.
Professional bettors have cleaned up the last two weeks in playing against BCS contenders in prime-time contests, but things will be a little different in Week 10.
Let's take a closer look at 11 games from a betting perspective.
USC Trojans at Colorado Buffaloes
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The USC Trojans are coming off primetime showdowns against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Stanford Cardinal, so Friday night's Pac-12 conference matchup against the Colorado Buffaloes will not provide much motivation.
Few casual bettors are going to lay wagers down on the Colorado Buffaloes—a team that is 1-8 on the season, with their only win coming against the Colorado State Rams.
The boys from Boulder have four games remaining on their schedule, hoping to tally their first win over a Pac-12 foe since coming over from the Big 12.
Doubt it happens this week, but taking the points is a no brainer.
Pick: Colorado Buffaloes (+23)
Kansas State Wildcats at Oklahoma State Cowboys
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The Oklahoma State Cowboys will reach the BCS national championship game if they win out, but their defense definitely leaves a lot to be desired.
Despite notching a dominating 59-24 win over the Baylor Bears as 14.5-point home favorites, the team still managed to get out-gained by 21 yards.
The Cowboys defense is allowing 455.6 yards per game.
Kansas State will enter off a 58-17 blowout loss to the Oklahoma Sooners, losing the statistical battle in five of the last six games.
Last year's meeting resulted in a Cowboys' 24-14 win as 3.5-point road favorites, outgaining the Wildcats by a sizable 224-yard margin.
I know this much—the line will be properly inflated due to Week 9's results on both sides.
Pick: Kansas State Wildcats (+21.5)
Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes
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The oddsmakers will definitely have to make the Michigan Wolverines a road favorite due to Iowa's 22-21 loss to the Minnesota Gophers.
Michigan bounced back after its first loss and having a week to prepare, coming away with a dominating 36-14 win over the Purdue Boilermakers as 14-point home favorites, winning the statistical war by 224 yards.
Taking a closer look at last year's box score is a must for all bettors, finding that the Wolverines out-gained them by 134 yards.
Quarterback Denard Robinson also left that contest with a shoulder injury—giving way to backup Tate Forcier who ended up throwing two costly interceptions.
Pick: Michigan Wolverines (-3.5)
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Texas Longhorns
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Casual bettors will definitely jump in on the Texas Longhorns due to their 43-0 win over the Kansas Jayhawks as 28-point home favorites, while Texas Tech laid an egg against the Iowa State Cyclones.
The Red Raiders were just a week removed from knocking off the Oklahoma Sooners, but they were thoroughly dominated in dropping a 41-7 contest as 15.5-point home favorites.
Statistically, the running game could be the difference in Week 10, as Texas is averaging 218.9 yards per game on the ground.
The Longhorns will be facing a stop unit that allowed the Cyclones to run rampant.
Last year's 24-14 win by Texas as three-point road favorites will cause the total to be sent out with a lower number than it should.
Pick: Over 60.5
Stanford Cardinal at Oregon State Beavers
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The Stanford Cardinal survived a scare in their first test of the 2011 season, coming away with a 56-48 triple-overtime win over the USC Trojans as 7.5-point road favorites.
Quarterback Andrew Luck will now lead a team that will play in the flattest spot imaginable in the Pac-12 conference, with a showdown against the Oregon Ducks at home on Nov. 12.
To complicate matters, the visitor in this series is 0-4 ATS, while Oregon State has alternated wins and losses over its last five games.
The Beavers will be entering off a 27-8 loss to the Utah Utes as 5.5-point road underdogs.
From a handicapping perspective, the under may be playable this week, as Oregon State held Wisconsin to just 397 total yards in a 35-0 loss as 20-point road underdogs in Week 2.
Pick: Under 60.5
Northwestern Wildcats at Nebraska Cornhuskers
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The Nebraska Cornhuskers have really turned things around in winning three consecutive games, including a 24-3 victory as 4.5-point home favorites against the Michigan State Spartans.
Two key road tests are ahead after this week's game versus an always dangerous Northwestern when playing as an underdog.
Northwestern has one of the worst defenses in college football, giving up 433.6 yards per game, including 488 to a terrible Indiana Hoosiers' squad.
Pick: Northwestern Wildcats (+19)
South Carolina Gamecocks at Arkansas Razorbacks
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The Arkansas Razorbacks may receive some line value due to their close wins on the road over the Mississippi Rebels and Vanderbilt Commodores over the last two weeks.
Professional bettors may focus in on the results of each team when playing Auburn, as Arkansas came away with a 38-14 win, while South Carolina's only loss came against last year's national champion.
The Gamecocks are a different team than the one that dropped a 16-13 contest on that day, but also one without the services of running back Marcus Lattimore.
Trends are often overstated in sports betting, but South Carolina has alternated wins and losses versus the number all season.
Arkansas has dropped two consecutive against the number when playing as a favorite.
Did you know that Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino is 5-0 ATS when winning as an SEC home favorite since coming on campus?
Pick: Arkansas Razorbacks (-4.5)
Arizona State Sun Devils at UCLA Bruins
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The emergence of Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Brock Osweiler really began in last year's 55-34 win over the UCLA Bruins as 13-point home favorites.
Both teams will be coming into this affair with plenty at stake, as the winner will likely represent the South Division in the first-ever Pac-12 conference football championship game.
UCLA has covered the last four meetings inside the Rose Bowl, but Arizona State has played better away from the desert this season.
Pick: Arizona State Sun Devils (-8.5)
Oregon Ducks at Washington Huskies
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The Oregon Ducks are flying under the radar, rattling off seven consecutive wins since a 40-27 season-opening loss to the LSU Tigers inside Cowboys Stadium.
They have absolutely owned this series of late, going 6-0-1 ATS in the last seven meetings, with the tie coming in last year's 53-16 win as 37-point home favorites.
Washington is definitely improved but has been manhandled by the two teams on its schedule that possess a vaunted rushing attack.
Few teams can run the football better than the Oregon Ducks.
My only concern is Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas being bothered by being taken out of Saturday's 43-28 win over Washington State.
He'll likely get over it due to the coaching staff wanting him healthy for the stretch run, as he missed the previous game with a knee injury.
Pick: Oregon Ducks (-14.5)
LSU Tigers at Alabama Crimson Tide
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Certainly, the betting public has found the LSU Tigers to be the more impressive team in driving down this line 2.5 points from its opening number of six.
Just a few weeks ago, Las Vegas oddsmakers were pretty confident that the Alabama Crimson Tide were nearly a touchdown better than this weekend's opponent, but the money has poured in on the underdog.
Due to developing an early handicapping line that favored Saturday's host by six points, I'm still leaning towards Alabama.
More on this game as the week progresses, but it will likely be decided in the trenches.
Early Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide (-4)