Folks, I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you.
The good news? My college football picks are ON FIRE! Like, “call the fire department and get out the extinguishers” because I am on a roll, baby kind of fire!! Last week’s picks finished at 5-1-1 overall, and my lock of the week (Clemson/UNC UNDER) hit with so much ease that I was counting my cash by the middle of the third quarter. Overall, I’ve had five of six winning weeks the entire season dating back to Week 0.
Can’t lie, it feels good to be this much of a bad ass. Is this what Bill Belichick feels like when he wakes up every day?
So that’s the good news. The bad news? I hate this week’s slate of games. I mean really, truly hate them. Remember, in this picks column I don’t choose all the big games, just the ones I feel really good about. And I’ll be honest, I just don’t feel great about most of the big ones. For example, I have absolutely no idea what to make of Iowa-Michigan. Georgia-Tennessee could have a final score of anywhere from 24-10 to 50-3 and nothing would surprise me – so that is a definite stay away. Alabama and Clemson (two of my favorites bets this season) are both on byes. And some lines are so out of whack (cough… Penn State giving 28.5 points against Purdue) I have no choice but to stay away.
Therefore, this will be a bit of an abbreviated picks column. Usually, I like to give you 7-8 picks, but I just don’t see it this week. So instead, I’ll give you five good picks that I really believe in, and we’ll have to rally next week and hope the lines are better. Also, just know that I’m staying away from the big games because I see no value and don’t want to sweat out a close loss or a tough win. So there will be no Michigan State-Ohio State analysis or Iowa-Michigan.
And with all that said… let’s get to the picks!
As always, the picks are provided by my friends at MyBookie – remember, MyBookie is the official sponsor of these picks each and every week. So if you’re gambling this weekend, go to MyBookie and use the promo code “TORRES” at checkout, and you’ll receive a 100 percent sign-up bonus.
Now, here is who I like this weekend:
Central Florida (-4.5) at Cincinnati: Friday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
I can’t lie, this one makes me a tad bit nervous. Understand, it’s going to be a wild, alcohol-infused night on the University of Cincinnati campus, where not only is this game being played, but after the game, the Cincinnati basketball team will host its Midnight Madness event.
At midnight. Yes, midnight. Just like the good old days, a major college basketball program is kicking off their season once the clocks hits 12:00 p.m.
(For our under 30 readers here, the opening night college basketball practice used to ALWAYS be held at midnight, and it was one of the best traditions in sports. Now, like everything that was once awesome it has now been ruined, with different teams, tipping off on different days and at different times. Why can’t we have anything fun as sports fans?)
Anyway, to get back to the point I was trying to make, it’s going to be a wild night on campus.
But even with all that said… I don’t see the Bearcats winning or covering here. The bottom-line is that we all know how good Central
Florida is (last week they were up 56-0 on my poor UConn Huskies before calling off the dogs) and on the flip side, I’m just not sold on how good Cincy is. Yes, they won 11 games last year, but that was last year. And this year in their two biggest games, they barely squeaked by a bad UCLA team and got absolutely blown out by Ohio State.
Also, here is the other thing: The natural thought going into this game would be that this would be an offensive/defensive battle against an explosive UCF offense and a stout Cincinnati defense. Yet in a weird twist, UCF’s defense is actually giving up fewer points per game this season that Cincy’s is.
Anyway, this is a long-winded way of me saying that while the campus vibe is crazy, I simply think that Central Florida is the better team, with more explosive athletes. This one may be close for a while, but Knights make a few too many big plays and win going away here.
Utah State at LSU (UNDER 72.5, now 74): Saturday, 12:00 p.m., SEC Network
Here’s a wild stat for you: Every LSU game this season has gone OVER. That’s right, we live in the bizarro world, where up is down, black is white and the Tigers – who used to love to win every game 13-6 in the Les Miles era are now putting up 50 points with regularity.
We really do live in strange times.
So naturally, the play here is to go OVER right? Especially with Utah State coming to town, a team that many believe has a future NFL quarterback under center in Jordan Love?
Actually, I think it’s the exact opposite.
First off, this is a noon kickoff, and LSU fans famously hate noon kickoffs. No one believes it’s their birthright to play night games, under the lights, quite like LSU fans. Because of that, I’m just not sure how fired up the crowd will be. I’d also add that Utah State actually has a pretty solid defense. They rank 21st nationally in yards per play allowed. Not too shabby.
At the same time, while the Tigers offense might come out flat, I think their defense comes out with something to prove. That’s because for all the talk about LSU’s new high-powered offense, questions are starting to creep up about the defense. Is this unit slipping? Or is the offense so darn good that the defense is just forced to spend more time on the field? I’m sure the Tigers defense spent the off week hearing that noise and wanting to silence the doubters.
Speaking of the “playoff chase” that’s the X-factor here. After this game, here is LSU’s schedule: Florida, at Mississippi State, Auburn, bye… Alabama. Point being, the next three weeks will define LSU’s season and determine whether they are a playoff team or not heading into the Bama game. Because of it, I expect the Tigers to get out to a comfortable lead here and pull the starters with plenty of time to get rested for a mega-showdown next week with Florida.
The Tigers win something in the neighborhood of 42-10, 45-14 or something like that. But this number will come nothing close to 72.5. Take the UNDER here.
Auburn at Florida (UNDER 48, now 48.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Honestly, of all the big games, this is the only one I feel good about.
And the reason is obvious: Both these teams play really good defense. Neither team wants to expose their quarterback - in Auburn’s case because they’re playing a freshman on the road, in Florida’s case because they have a back-up facing the toughest defense he’s seen yet.
Look, I could go on and on and throw a million facts out about this game, but I just can’t see either team scoring more than 24 points in this game. And if neither team scores 24 points, that means the UNDER cashes here with ease.
Northwestern at Nebraska (-7.5, now -7): Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET
Look, I know everyone is down on Nebraska right now. I get it. They got the brakes beat off of them by Ohio State. Trust me, I watched the game like you did. And I hope you put your kids to bed early, because if not I’m guessing they’ve had nightmares since.
But in Nebraska’s defense, Ohio State legitimately might be the best team in the country. And the Cornhuskers caught them on the wrong night, where the Buckeyes came out guns blazing, feeling like they had something to prove. No one was beating Ohio State last Saturday night. Except maybe the New England Patriots.
More importantly, if you actually watched the game, Nebraska wasn’t quite as terrible as you might think. What killed them – and what has killed them all year – was turnovers. Adrian Martinez threw three interceptions, and overall the Cornhuskers have 14 on the season, which is second worst in college football. Again, they’re not quite as bad as you might think.
But you know who is bad? Northwestern. I mean they’re truly, truly putrid. The Wildcats enter this game putting up just 292 yards per game, which is worst in the Big Ten and they rank 129th nationally in yards per play on offense. For those keeping score at home, there are only 130 teams nationally.
Take a Nebraska team with something to prove. And put a Northwestern squad in front of them that isn’t all that good, and this one to me turns into a blowout. Buy the half point if it makes you feel better (the number is now down to seven at MyBookie). But the Huskers do cruise.
Washington at Stanford (UNDER 52): Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Trust me, I already know what you’re thinking: Another UNDER here? Really Torres, you’re better than this!
Look, I know betting unders isn’t the sexiest play in gambling, but when they cash they cash. And this one will cash. The reason why is pretty simple. Washington’s defense is really, really, REALLY good. The Huskies have played three teams that have been ranked at some point this year (Cal, BYU and USC) and have yet to give up more than 20 points. On the flip side, Stanford’s offense is absolutely putrid.
They rank just 117th nationally. Remember when David Shaw was a supposed offensive genius? Me neither.
Therefore, I really just can’t see Stanford scoring all that many points, and I also can’t see Washington even attempting to score many points either. On the road, this feels like one where they’ll try to get a lead, control the clock and get out with a win.
Look, you might have to stay up late to catch this one. But believe me, it’ll be worth it. The UNDER here is the best bet of the weekend.
And remember, if you are going to place bets this weekend, make sure to do it at MyBookie.AG - use promo code "TORRES" and get a 100 percent free sign-up bonus!