It's Wednesday and you know what that means... time to make some Week 6 college football picks!
Week 6! Where has the season gone?!
Overall it's been a great season so far for the picks, as we're sitting around a 60 percent win percentage (22-14-2 ATS). We were one miracle non cover (10 points, in the final 30 seconds of the first half of Michigan-Wisconsin) from another winning week last week, so overall we're really happy with where things are.
Now we head into Week 6, what I would argue is the best week of the season - Penn State-Iowa, Texas-Oklahoma,
A few reminders: Keep listening to the "College Football Betting Podcast" as numbers have gone up every week this year. Thank you for the incredible support.
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Now, to the picks!
No. 21 Texas vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (-3.5): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ABC
So doing these picks columns every week are interesting. Sometimes you come in with a preconceived idea of what play you're going to make. Then you do the homework, crunch the numbers, and come to a different conclusion all together.
This is one of those games.
Look, if you've read any of my work or follow me in any way, you know I've basically been out on Oklahoma since Day 1. I just don't think they're very good. And they still might not be. But in doing some homework for this game, three things stood out:
First, for all the flack Spencer Rattler has gotten, he's completing 76 percent of his passes this year. SEVENTY SIX PERCENT! If that's "bad," I'm not quite sure what is good.
Two, to its credit, Oklahoma was finally able to run the football last week - they had 131 yards against a good Kansas State run defense. They will need to run the ball to have success in this game, and the good news is, is that Texas' run defense is awful. It wasn't just bad against Arkansas, but also gave up 169 yards on the ground last week to TCU and ranks 97th nationally in that category.
Finally, the one thing Texas does insanely well is run the football. For all the hype about Steve Sarkisian and the pass attack, the Horns rank No. 5 nationally in rush offense. Mainly because Bijan Robinson might not be human.
Except here's the thing: Oklahoma actually defends the run really well, as they rank eighth in that category. For context, they held Nebraska to under 100 yards rushing a few weeks ago. Nebraska had 427 yards rushing last week against Northwestern and averaged eight yards per carry. EIGHT. PER. CARRY.
In the end, maybe I look stupid here. Maybe my premonition that Oklahoma stinks this year comes to fruition.
But ultimately, all of Texas's strengths seem to be going against Oklahoma's strengths. And all of Oklahoma's strengths seem to be going against Texas's weaknesses.
I'll say OU wins, final score, 34-28.
Maryland (+21) at No. 7 Ohio State: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX
A couple thoughts, and a couple thoughts only here:
First off, I'll admit, my pick of Maryland to cover against Iowa last week was statistically, my worst pick of the year. At the same time, my analysis wasn't necessarily wrong. I basically said, if the Terps took care of the football - and Tua's brother came in with a 10-1 TD-to-INT ratio coming in - they could compete.
Again, I said "if" they don't turn the ball over. Well, they turned it over seven times instead... so we'll never know if I was wrong.
Yes, that's a little bit of a spin zone. And yes, this is Maryland's last chance before I end up out on them completely for the rest of the season, and maybe forever. Still, my guess is coming off that embarrassing performance, with an extra day to prep for Ohio State, they come out and play a much cleaner game.
This is also about Ohio State though too.
I mean, wasn't it just two weeks ago we all agreed that they stunk? Then they crush Akron and a Rutgers team that can't move the football, and all of a sudden, they're back to being elite? I just don't buy it.
This defense still gave up over 500 yards to both Oregon and Tulsa, and I guess I'll believe they're fixed when I see it.
Maryland is an explosive offense, and this is a noon kick-off, the week before Ohio State heads into a bye.
Three touchdowns feels like too many points here.
UConn (-3.5) at UMass: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FloTV
If you follow these picks, you know that I have a strict "No betting road underdogs" policy. But, like your uncle who vows to quit smoking every New Years, only to end up taking down a pack of Marlboros on January 4th, I'm BACK BABY!
And if I'm going to come back, why not do it to support my alma mater, in a battle of arguably the two worst teams in FBS football! As I said on Fox Sports Radio last Saturday, whatever the opposite of "The Immaculate Force vs. The Immovable Object" is, this game is it!
In all seriousness though, as much as I tease about UConn, they have actually been much better in recent weeks. It was clear the team hated Randy Edsall, and once he left, they have started playing hard for interim head coach Lou Spanos (who sounds like a guy who changed the breaks in my car a few weeks ago, by the way). Two weeks ago they had a lead on Wyoming for most of the game, and last week - get this - they actually outgained Vanderbilt by close to 100 yards in a last second loss.
Meaning that their last two games, UConn has lost by a total of four points. And they've actually outscored their opponents over the last six halves of football overall dating back to the Army game.
In the end, if I've said it once, I've said 100 times: "IN LOU SPANOS, WE TRUST, BABY!"
Huskies pick up the W here.
No. 2 Georgia at No. 18 Auburn (UNDER 46.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
First off, how bout my Dawgs!!!!
(Insert barking noise here)
Georgia was my preseason pick to win the national championship. And while I'm not definitively sure they're better than Bama, they are no worse than a 1A right now on the national landscape. As I tweeted the other day, this is a team that doesn't come out to beat you - but steal your soul. Which is exactly what they did in a 37-0 win over Arkansas last Saturday.
Now they head to Auburn for their first big road test of the season (sorry Vandy fans, it's true), and this game screams UNDER to me.
First off, when Georgia has the ball, we know they want to run it right at you, and make you stop them. And I don't expect that to change at all this weekend. Not in a big road environment. And not with quarterback uncertainty. The latest reports out of practice are that JT Daniels is currently doing "Everything but throwing the ball" which doesn't scream 40 pass attempts for the Dawgs this weekend.
It's also worth noting that Auburn is by far the best run defense Georgia will have seen all year.
Then there's Auburn, and while there's plenty of excitement following the win over LSU, we all know that it came in large part to some Bo Nix Magic. Well one, I'm guessing that Bo Nix magic won't look quite the same against the best defense in college football, and when you keep Bo Nix in check, he is still an average quarterback at best. And I don't mean that metaphorically, but literally, as on the season he's completing 58 percent of his passes, for an average of 5.7 yards per completion.
Ultimately I expect this game to play out a bit similar to Georgia's game last week against Arkansas, only with a few more stops by Auburn's defense.
As long as Bo Nix doesn't gift wrap Georgia too many extra points - and he might - this feels like a 31-6 type game.
No. 3 Penn State at No. 4 Iowa (-1.5): Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, FOX
First off, I saw a cool stat from "The Bear" Chris Fallica: This is the first Top 5 matchup of Big Ten schools that won't include either Michigan and Ohio State since 1962. That's 59 years! Also, shout out to our readers who remember that hard-hitting Wisconsin-Minnesota showdown that season.
So first off, it's cool that we're getting to see some new blood atop this conference. At least for right now.
As for the game itself, let's start with Iowa. As I mentioned above in the Maryland-Ohio State section, the Hawkeyes do one thing as well as anyone in college football does a specific thing: That is, they force turnovers at an insane clip. They've already forced 16 turnovers in just five games this season, and are an absurd +12 in turnover margin this season.
Obviously it goes without saying that Penn State needs to take care of the ball to win this game. And to their credit, they do, as they have just three turnovers - all Sean Clifford interceptions - this season.
Here's what worries me for the Nittany Lions though: They haven't been all that effective running the football, and currently rank just 99th in the country in rushing yards per game. Part of that is that they've faced two elite run defenses (Wisconsin and Auburn), but it doesn't change the fact that they weren't able to move the ball against them. Well, guess who has an elite run defense as well? Iowa, which ranks No. 11 in the country in that category.
Therefore, that's what would worry me if I was a Penn State fan: If they can't get the run game going, that means that Sean Clifford will have to drop back to pass. Which plays right into Iowa's hands.
Over the course of the week, all the money on this game has been coming in on Penn State (they opened as a three-point underdog, and now it's down to 1.5), so maybe I look stupid by Saturday night.
But I like the Hawkeyes to win something like a 24-14 game, thanks to at least a couple forced interceptions.
LSU at No. 16 Kentucky (UNDER 51): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
I'm just going to be brutally honest: At this point, all LSU games are basically auto under bets for me. The Tigers simply can't run the football (they rank 128th out of 130 teams in that category). The one thing you can't be is one-dimensional against SEC defenses. And that's exactly what the Tigers are right now.
So with that out of the way, let's talk about Kentucky, and man oh man what a win at Kroger Field the other day (by the way, if you're not following our team-specific Kentucky page @TorresOnUK, please be sure to do so. They're pumping out really important stuff - like this couch burning video below).
At the same time, as great as the win was, Kentucky really didn't move the ball. They scored on one long Wan'Dale Robinson run (what a stud!) and a field goal block, and that was basically it. In total, they had just 224 yards of total offense.
As a matter of fact, in their last three games, Kentucky's "new look" offense has scored 28, 16 and 20 points. And again, one of the scores last week came on special teams.
In the end, I expect this to be a close, low-scoring game, that has the feel of a 24-20 type affair.
I love the UNDER here.
No. 1 Alabama (-17.5) at Texas A&M: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, CBS
Listen, I could spend thousands of words breaking this game down, but you don't really need that. What you need to know here, is what you already know: Texas A&M's offense is abysmal. No disrespect to any one player, but Zach Calzada cannot stretch the field deep. Because of it, the Aggies can't run the football. You know how I said "LSU is one-dimensional" above? A&M is basically zero dimensional.
I just don't know how they move the ball on an Alabama defense that all of a sudden looks much better than it did a few weeks ago.
Then there is Bama's offense, and what I will say is this: Yes, A&M's defense is legit. Yes, they play hard. And yes, I thought they did a good job of slowing down Arkansas's potent run game a few weeks ago (that's why I'm not taking the first half line here).
In the end though, Alabama has now scored at least 31 points, in a staggering 31 straight games, the second longest streak in the history of college football.
I expect them to eventually hit at least 35, and if they do, that becomes an easy cover for the Crimson Tide.
No. 13 Arkansas at No. 17 Ole Miss (-5) - Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN: Arkansas feels like the right side in this game, but I have a rule for these picks columns: If I'm not betting the game itself, I'm not going to tell you the same. And I just don't feel confident enough to bet Arkansas here.
South Carolina at Tennessee (-10.5) - Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2: After Tennessee throttled Missouri - getting Mizzou's poor defensive line coach fired in the process - I nearly jumped on this one. But the number opened at 10.5 and hasn't budged all week. Is Tennessee really that much improved? Or is Missouri that bad? We'll start to find out this week.
No. 9 Michigan (-3.5) at Nebraska - Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC: You know how they say two negatives equal a positive? That's how I feel about this game. Michigan is playing incredible football - but we all know, that right when we start to believe in Jim Harbaugh he takes a bad loss. Nebraska is playing its best football under Scott Frost, but will Adrian Martinez take care of the ball against an opportunistic Michigan defense. The under intrigued me some. But not enough to bet it.
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