Well, it finally happened. After nearly two flawless months, we had a losing week.
It was a matter of time, and it came in Week 6. Our college football picks against the spread went 3-5-1, and we never really found our footing. (The internet let me know it too.)
Am I worried? Please. Perhaps a bit relieved.
With that out of the way, we can focus on winning wagers and not one heck of a streak.
For the year, we’re still a superb 36-21-3. And with a massive week on deck for the sport, we’re ready to take full advantage. Before I get to the picks, here’s what went right and wrong last Saturday.
The Good: Iowa State (+2) vs. Kansas State: It was tight and ugly and the kind of game I thought we were going to get. Although the Cyclones lost by one, they managed to cover the two-point spread. In a week when much went wrong, this went as planned.
The Bad: LSU (+3) vs. Tennessee: Bad. Very bad. There are no excuses. The point spread was certainly curious, although Tennessee’s play was not in the 40-13 victory. What a win for the Vols, and what a bad pick by me.
Here are the Week 7 picks.
All odds courtesy of DraftKings and accurate as of Wednesday.
USC at Utah (-3.5)
At home, Utah is a different beast. The Utes have lost two games outright and against the spread this season. Both defeats, including last week’s disappointing loss to UCLA, came on the road.
In that environment, the team is different. And against USC, that will be the case once more.
Yes, the Trojans are unbeaten and deserve the utmost credit for a rapid revival. But the offense hasn’t been as efficient over the past month, and this will be the first time USC hit the road since Sept. 24.
That road trip was a near loss to Oregon State, a team that has struggled since. This one will be a problem as well, and Utah will salvage a season that has not gone as planned.
Utah has shown promise in both losses. Returning to one of the greatest home-field advantages in all of CFB, that promise will shine once again. Down go the unbeaten Trojans.
Clemson at Florida State (+3.5)
The nation’s No. 4 team is only a small favorite over an unranked team coming off consecutive losses. If that sounds a little odd, well, that’s because it is.
At the very least, it’s not normal.
In these situations, of course, the ranked team will garner a great deal of public interest, and understandably so. I, however, am backing the home dog that the oddsmakers clearly see something in.
Now, this hasn’t always worked out this year with this specific team. I’ve lost when backing Florida State already, and I know what I am getting into.
But for this matchup, concerns linger about this Clemson offense. The Tigers managed just 10 first-half points against Boston College last week. The week before, it scored only 13 first-half points against NC State.
At some point, this unit will be an issue. And Florida State, which features enough intriguing offensive pieces, feels like a team capable of toppling Clemson on its side.
Florida State 24, Clemson 21.
Penn State at Michigan (Under 52)
Picking a side in this game has proved difficult. Both teams have plenty of talent on both sides, and obviously playing in Ann Arbor is an enormous factor.
Instead of backing either Michigan or Penn State, I’m backing the under. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Adam, betting the over is way more fun! You are correct. Betting an under is not something I do lightly. But the pace of this game could be brisk.
The running backs will get a workout. Blake Corum, Michigan’s star, has carried the ball at least 25 times in the last three games. This will likely happen again.
On the Penn State side, freshmen running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen have been fabulous. Both will likely be featured prominently Saturday.
What does this mean?
The clock will be moving. Each team will attempt to control the pace, which could mean quick quarters and a lower scoring game. And while there is always a possibility of explosive plays, this game feels very much like an under spot.
Oklahoma State at TCU (-3.5)
The TCU Horned Frogs didn’t deliver a Picasso-esque performance last week against Kansas. With Jalon Daniels out because of a shoulder injury, TCU struggled to slow the backup-QB-powered Jayhawks.
Still, it was a solid road win for one of the season’s biggest surprises. And that surprise run will continue another week against a Top 10 opponent.
Oklahoma State has been tremendous, although the Pokes have only played one true road game as we enter Week 7. That game was a win against Baylor, but the Bears are clearly not the same team as last year.
In so many ways, this feels like a perfect spot for TCU. The Horned Frogs have yet to lose a game against the spread, have the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense and have played only two home games.
Offensively, both teams should have success. But Sonny Dykes’ team might be on a different level, and it will show.
Memphis at East Carolina (-4.5)
After back-to-back weeks on the road, East Carolina heads home to take on a program likely still staggering from a loss.
How bad was Memphis’ defeat against Houston last week? The Cougars converted multiple late fourth downs and then scored two touchdowns in a span of 59 seconds to win 33-32. Yikes.
That game could absolutely have an impact on this week. While we often examine football hangovers after big wins, difficult losses can also factor into the next result.
At home this year, the Pirates are 3-1 against the spread. Memphis, meanwhile, hasn’t played a road game since the second week of the season.
ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers has largely played well, and I expect him to do the same once again. Although the Pirates are just 3-3, the oddsmakers are showing a great deal of confidence in them.
Well, and so am I.
Other Games on the Card
Baylor at West Virginia (+3.5)
This delightful Thursday night offering is very much on the radar, and 2-3 West Virginia has a good chance of a minor upset. Look for QB JT Daniels to have a decent game and the Bears to keep it tight.
North Carolina at Duke (+7)
For the second week in a row, I’m fading UNC. (It’s not personal, and it never is.) This week, Duke rallies after a tough loss to Georgia Tech to keep this game tight enough.
Nebraska at Purdue (Over 56)
The outcome might not be terribly close, but there will be points along the way. Neither defense is ranked among the top 40 point-preventing units, which should create plenty of touchdown opportunities.
Alabama at Tennessee (Under 66)
It just feels like too many points. Both offenses are plenty explosive, at least when healthy, as both are in the top five nationally at 44-plus points per game. But both defenses can also really play and allow under 18 points per contest. There will be points, just not this many.
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