Updated: Sep 18, 2019
It’s Wednesday and you know what that means: It’s time to make some college football picks!
If you’ve been following the picks so far this season, you know that I am red hot early on, as the picks currently sit at 10-5-1 against the spread this season (and really should be 11-4-1 – did you guys see that Nebraska-Colorado game last week? We had the UNDER, and it was looking good through three quarters. The score was 17-7 going into the fourth, before the two teams combined for 38 points in the fourth quarter for the OVER to hit. THIRTY EIGHT! When they had a combined 24 through three quarters! Not that I’m still bitter or anything).
Regardless it’s time to shake that one off and get to this week’s picks, and before I do, a quick reminder: When I make my weekly picks, I pick the games that I believe have the best value on the board. Not necessarily the biggest games. So if you're mad I didn't share thoughts on Clemson-Syracuse, Florida-Kentucky or any other game, I apologize, but I just don't see the value there. If you want a boring, picks straight up column, I'm not your guy. Go to another boring site. We're trying to make money here!
As always the picks are provided by our friends at MyBookie.AG – and if you are gambling this weekend, make sure to use MyBookie, promo code “TORRES” and you get a 100 percent sign-up bonus. Seriously, go do it right now!
Also, make sure you’re following the Aaron Torres Pod Instagram page where the picks go up every Wednesday and as always, I’ll be doing my early morning Saturday Periscope so you should tune along there. Here is last week’s show.
Alright, enough small talk. Let’s get to the picks!
No. 2 Alabama (-26) at South Carolina: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS
Nothing jumped out to me in the early games, so let’s just jump to 3:30 where I love, love, LOVE this game.
Yes, this is a road game in the SEC for Bama, and let’s be real… it just MEANS more in the SEC!!!!
Well, except when you’re Bama. They don’t care who you are, they’re going to pummel your brains in. Here were the final scores of their SEC road games last year with Tua at quarterback: 62-7 over Ole Miss, 65-31 over Arkansas (for the record, the Hogs scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to make the score look somewhat respectable), 58-21 at Tennessee and 29-0 at LSU.
So yeah, Bama would have covered a 26-point spread in every road SEC game they played last year, including at LSU. And let me tell you right now, South Carolina ain’t LSU. I’m not even sure South Carolina is Louisiana-Monroe right now. Remember, this is a team which put up just 240 yards of total offense against their only FBS opponent this season (North Carolina) and are playing a true freshman at quarterback after an injury to Jake Bentley. Can you imagine what Nick Saban’s defense is going to do to a true freshman QB? It’s like throwing raw meat into a lion’s cage. It won’t end well for anyone.
Well, I take that back. It will end well for Bama. South Carolina? They’re screwed. Take Bama and the points here.
Arizona State at No. 18 Michigan State (-14): Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Early in the season I’ve taken so many UNDERS in these picks, that one of my buddies has started calling me “UNDER Torres.” And I can’t lie, I wanted to take the UNDER here. Both teams play air-tight defense, and I could see this being a low-scoring defensive struggle.
But rather than taking an UNDER I didn’t feel comfortable with, I’ll take Michigan State giving 14 points. The bottom-line is that Arizona State has been absolutely abysmal offensively, and that was in two home games – what are they going to do in a hostile road environment, against what is by far the best defense they’ve played all season? Also keep in mind that the Sun Devils are starting a true freshman at quarterback, and that Michigan State wants big-time revenge in this game after losing in Tempe last year.
Personally, I think this game is close for about two or two and a half quarters. Look for the score to be something like 14-7 at halftime. But in the end, Michigan State will wear down Arizona State and that freshman QB, and run away with this game late.
No. 19 Iowa at Iowa State (UNDER 44 ½): Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, FS1
Oh, you thought you want UNDERS? Under Torres has you covered!
Here’s what you need to know about this game: Iowa State is at home, and wants to play, slow, methodical, defensive-minded football that totally bleeds the clock and keeps the other team off the field. In a wild stat, of the Cyclones 13 games last year, seven would have gone under this number of 44 ½ points. That might not sound crazy until you remember that they… PLAY IN THE BIG 12!!! Most Big 12 games have 44 ½ points on the scoreboard before the ball is even kicked off, and there is Iowa State eeking out 17-10 wins like nobody’s business. Their first game also would have gone well under this number had it not gone to triple-overtime. The Cyclones beat Northern Iowa 29-26, but the game was 13-13 going into overtime.
Add in the fact that the Cyclones are coming off a bye week (yes, in Week 2) and it gives me more confidence that their defense will be good to go here. By the way, did I mention that Iowa itself has one of the Top 10 defenses in college football right now as well? Now admittedly, they’ve only played Miami of Ohio and Rutgers, but when you give up 14 points combined in two games, you’re doing something right.
So when you take two defensive-minded teams, one that is basically incapable of scoring big points, and throw them together in a heated rivalry game, what do you get?
Not all that much scoring, that’s what. The UNDER is the play here.
Colorado State (+9 ½) at Arkansas: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
I tried to tell you last week that Arkansas was flat-out terrible, and credit to the Hogs, who couldn’t have possibly made me look any smarter. As my buddy Tye Richardson, a radio host in Arkansas said during his postgame show last week, “not a single unit on the field showed any positive signs.”
Arkansas football, can you feel the excitement!
Now I will say that the team showed a little bit more life when Nick Starkel came in at quarterback, and Starkel has been named the starter this week, but this just feels like too many points for Arkansas to be giving, even if it is at home. Say what you want about Colorado State, but they’re a team that can move the ball – they’ve put up over 500 yards in each of their two games. That includes a loss to a solid Colorado team which beat Nebraska a week ago.
With SEC play opening next week, this might be Arkansas’s best chance to win for a while, so I do expect them to play better. I also expect Colorado State to score enough points to at the very least keep this close and cover the spread.
Florida State at No. 25 Virginia (OVER 57): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network
Who says UNDER Torres can’t take an OVER every once in a while! Your boy loves OVERS! Nobody loves a good OVER quite like OVER Torres does!
In all seriousness, there are two things we know about Florida State coming into this game: With new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles calling the shots, they will score points. They put up 31 against Boise State in Week 1, 45 against UL-Monroe in Week 2, and check out this stat: Dating back to last year, (when Briles was the offensive coordinator at Houston) Briles’ offenses have put up at least 30 points in 14 of 15 games. His Houston offense averaged just under 44 points per game last season, fourth most in college football. All this guy does is put points on the scoreboard.
Here’s the other thing you need to know about Florida State: Their defense is abjectly terrible. I’ll spare you the long-winded analysis and just say that they currently rank 121st nationally in points allowed and 124th in yards allowed. In case you weren’t aware, there are only 130 teams in college football. So yeah, they stink.
Now as it comes to this game specifically, Virginia is probably the best defense that Florida State will play this year not named Clemson. But if at the very least you assume that Florida State will be able to put up 24-28 points (which history says they will under Briles) then it means Virginia only needs to put up 30+ for the over to hit.
And well, have you seen the Florida State defense? Virginia might have 30 by halftime.
No. 12 Texas vs. Rice (UNDER 56 ½): Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
And just like that, we’re back to the UNDERS!
Look, I’m not going to spend a long time breaking down this game, but here is what you need to know: This game is probably the biggest football game Rice has played in half-a-decade. These teams once met annually, but Texas has played them just once in the last eight seasons and once in the past 13 seasons in Houston. It just isn’t all that often that the Longhorns are willing to play Rice period, let alone in Houston. The game is at the Houston Texans’ stadium, not on Rice’s campus – so it isn’t technically a “home game” for Rice. But you know their fans will be fired up.
As for Texas, I just can’t see them having the same motivation for this game that Rice does. Yes, they’ll want to clean up some things on defense, but mostly they’ll just want to bleed the clock and get out of this one with a win. Remember, Big 12 play starts next week. You think Tom Herman wants Sam Ehlinger running all over the field? Or to have him out by the end of the third quarter?
The obvious play here seems like the OVER, like most Texas and Big 12 games will be this year. But in my eyes, the smart move is to stick with the UNDER.
No. 5 Oklahoma (-23) at UCLA: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Full-disclosure, I just don’t understand this line. I know it opened at Oklahoma (-21.5) and has already been bet up a point in a half, but I still just don’t get it. Oklahoma has one of the most potent offenses in all of college football. UCLA – which I defended last week – is just awful, especially on offense.
Therefore, I just don’t get where this point spread is coming from. I guess Vegas thinks that because Oklahoma’s defense has struggled in the past UCLA can put up points, but I just don’t buy it. To their credit, the Sooners’ “D” does look improved, and I’m just not sure UCLA can move the ball on anyone. If UCLA gets anything more than 14 points I’d be shocked. Twenty would be a minor miracle.
So if we’re to assume that UCLA scores 20, it means that Oklahoma just needs to score in the mid-40’s to cover the spread here.
I think they potentially do that by the half.
Add in the fact that UCLA will have no home-field advantage here (and honestly might have a home-field disadvantage depending on how many Sooners’ fans travel here) and I think the Sooners cruise to an easy victory.
And remember, if you are going to wager on any of these games, make sure and use MyBookie, and hit promo code "Torres" to earn a 100 percent sign-up bonus!