Updated: Dec 4, 2019
It’s Thursday and you know what that means: It’s time to make some college football picks!
That’s right, with Thanksgiving week here, I’m giving you all something to be thankful for: The college football picks a day ahead of schedule. And with the “Iron Bowl,” “The Game” and so much more this week, man oh man, what a slate do we have.
Look, it’s the last week of the regular season (where did the time go by the way?) so you don’t need me to tell you the drill.
But in case you’re new around these parts (to which I ask, “Where have you been?!”) or want to make some extra cash going into the holiday season, just know this: These picks are presented by our good friends at MyBookie.AG.
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Alright enough small talk, let’s get to the picks!
Texas Tech (+10) at Texas: Friday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Listen, I could give you a deep dive, breaking down a bunch of different analytics, stats and numbers, but here is what you need to know: Texas is in an absolute free fall right now. They’re 6-5 overall, 2-4 in their last six games and check this out: They haven’t won a game by more than 10 points since all the way back on October 5th.
That was the week before the Oklahoma game!
And since kick of that Oklahoma game, Texas is just 2-4, with their wins coming against Kansas by two points and Kansas State by three. Now, we’re just expecting them to go out and smack around a decent Texas Tech team by double-figures? Especially in a noon kickoff the day after Thanksgiving?
That’s especially true when you consider that Texas Tech is almost the exact opposite of Texas. They haven’t won a ton lately, but have played hard and lost a lot of close games. At 4-7, Texas Tech isn’t going to a bowl game. So this is kind of their de-facto bowl game, their chance to end their season with a win.
Whether they get the win remains to be seen. But 10 points is just waaaaaay too many for Texas to be giving here.
No. 1 Ohio State at No. 13 Michigan (+9.5): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Let’s go straight to “The Game” on Saturday, Ohio State vs. Michigan, where I truly believe Michigan is being undervalued here.
There are a few reasons why.
One, I’m just not sure how healthy Justin Fields is for Ohio State. He took a bad fall last week running the ball, and while he finished the game strong, there are rumors coming out of Columbus that he might not be quite as healthy as many believe. So that’s one thing.
Here’s the other though: I know that it’s easy to tear down Jim Harbaugh, but… and I know you’re going to hate me saying this, but… Michigan is actually playing really down the stretch.
We all remember the Wolverines losing to Penn State, a game where they dropped the game-tying touchdown with two minutes to go that would have forced overtime. But since then, here are Michigan’s results: They beat Notre Dame 45-14, Maryland 38-7, Michigan State 44-10 and Indiana 39-14.
I bring this up because after an off-season where Harbaugh promised a new look on offense, it seems like that offense is finally delivering. And it’s not like Michigan hasn’t played good defenses. Notre Dame, Michigan State and Indiana are all ranked in the Top 30 nationally.
And on the flip side, do you see how good Michigan’s defense is playing itself? They haven’t given up more than 14 points since that Penn State game, and even against the Nittany Lions, a few broken plays led to some easy points early. The Wolverines have basically played a month-and-a-half of really good football on both sides of the ball.
Now look, I’m not saying we get the outright upset Saturday. But I would argue that Michigan is the more complete team Ohio State has faced all year, and the “Big House” will be the toughest environment too.
Maybe it will burn me, but I am taking the points and taking Michigan, in a close, one possession game.
Louisville at Kentucky (UNDER 53, now 52 ½): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
One thing that’s really tough about betting college football is that you simply never know what you’ll get from certain teams week-to-week.
That’s also why I have loved betting Kentucky this season. To quote “Seinfeld,” they are the “Even Steven” of college football. You know exactly what you’re going to get every single week. Ironically, losing their top three quarterbacks and turning to Lynn Bowden (a converted wide receiver) at QB has given this team its identity. They control the line of scrimmage on offense, play good defense, and try to beat you in as sloppy and low-scoring of a game as they can.
Seriously, just for fun I’ve looked it up. If you took last week’s game against an FCS opponent, a Kentucky game hasn’t gone over 53 points since they played Florida… in SEPTEMBER! The Wildcats know who they are and how they want to win.
And even against one of the better offenses they’ve faced in months (Louisville) I think they stick to their game-plan, run the clock and keep this as low scoring as possible.
In the end, this game just has the feel of a 20-14, 24-20 or 17-14 type game.
And the UNDER is the bet to make here.
Indiana (-6 ½) at Purdue: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
When you watch as much football as I do over the course of multiple Saturday’s, you start to pick up on things. And one thing I’ve picked up on is that Indiana – and don’t laugh here – is actually a decent team.
I know it’s easy to mock Hoosiers football, but I’ve actually been pretty impressed the last few weeks as they battled Penn State to the very end, before playing Michigan tough for about a quarter-and-a-half before simply running out gas. As for Purdue, they, like Indiana, play hard. But with so many injuries throughout the season, simply don’t have the guys to keep up.
Yes, this is a rivalry game. And yes, it will be hotly contested for a while here.
But Indiana simply has too much talent, and I fully expect them to pull away late.
No. 3 Clemson (-27.5) at South Carolina: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
This is another game where we don’t need a ton of analysis. These two teams are two ships passing in the night.
That’s because, since its near-loss to North Carolina, Clemson has basically been an unstoppable juggernaut. Over their last six games, Clemson has beaten all of its opponents by at least 31 points. And before you tell me “Clemson hasn’t played anyone” that streak includes a 35-point win over a seven-win Louisville team and a 49-point win over an eight-win Wake Forest team. I’m not claiming that Clemson is playing the 49ers and Patriots every week, but this streak has been impressive.
Then there’s South Carolina, and since that win over Georgia, the Gamecocks have lost 4 of 5, including a loss to Appalachian State. Meanwhile, there is a weird, public back and forth about Will Muschamp and whether he’ll even be in Columbia beyond this season. He probably will be, but it’s been a distraction none the less.
In the end, Clemson is just the significantly better team, is coming off a bye and I truly believe they also want to make a statement to the committee.
They do it with a resounding win over their cross-state rivals.
No. 5 Alabama at No. 15 Auburn (+4) (UNDER 50): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
With the exception of a couple guys named “Finebaum” and “Danielson” there hasn’t been a single person in the media who has been more complimentary of Alabama over the years than I have been. I continually am amazed by what Nick Saban has done and am enjoying the hell out of having him in college football. I promise you once he leaves, we’ll never see a run like he’s had the last decade or so at Alabama.
But with that said, the praise that we’re heaping on Alabama at this point is a little freaking ridiculous. I keep seeing all these metrics and half-baked theories on why and how they will end up in the College Football Playoff, and I’ll be honest: I just don’t get it. Is anyone watching the same team I am? No disrespect to the Crimson Tide, but this is the worst defense they’ve had in years, arguably the worst running game and they’re playing a back-up quarterback. You just can’t tell me that they are one of the four best teams in college football.
I don’t buy it.
And I think we’ll see it this weekend.
The bottom-line is that while Alabama has cruised through a relatively easy schedule, the one thing you can’t argue about Auburn is that they’re battle-tested. They played Oregon in the out conference (while Alabama played Duke) and Auburn also played Florida and Georgia in SEC cross-over games, while Bama played Tennessee (before they got good) and South Carolina. Sometimes, the argument that Alabama’s schedule isn’t hard doesn’t hold weight. But this year it’s absolutely accurate.
And in addition to being more battle-tested than Alabama, let’s all give credit to Auburn’s defense. Despite playing four teams ranked in the Top 15 nationally (Oregon, Florida, LSU, Georgia), Auburn hasn’t given up more than 24 points all season. They also held LSU to 23 points, by far their lowest point total this season.
So while there are all sorts of questions about Alabama, the one thing I know is this: Auburn’s defense will come to play.
I believe it will be enough for this number to go under 50 (my favorite bet of the weekend) and for Auburn to potentially cover this spread.
Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tigers pulled the outright upset.
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