Spread Options: College football picks against the spread for Week 6

·6 min read

I suffered multiple bad beats in Week 4. In Week 5, my picks were just bad. 

I picked both Maryland and Wisconsin to cover the spread last week and they failed to do so by a combined 56 points. Oops. I usually do better picking totals anyway, so let's get back to that in Week 6. 

I'm confident I can get this back to .500 as we enter the second half of the regular season. 

Last week: 2-4

Overall: 16-18-1

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Stanford at No. 22 Arizona State

Time: 10:30 p.m. (Friday) | Line: ASU -12.5 | Total: 51.5

Arizona State’s offense played great last week, posting 42 points and 463 yards in an impressive 19-point win over UCLA. On the other side, Stanford upset No. 3 Oregon and limited the Ducks to just 24 points.

I think that was more of a product of Oregon’s limitations in the passing game than some great performance from Stanford. I think ASU will be able to move the ball pretty well in this one, especially at home.

Stanford will be able to score, too. ASU ranks 12th in the country in total defense, but the Sun Devils’ defensive metrics are skewed by the fact that they’ve faced an FCS team and two of the worst offenses in the country — UNLV (No. 125 in total offense) and Colorado (No. 130). I like the over.

Pick: Over 51.5

No. 11 Michigan State at Rutgers

Time: Noon | Line: MSU -5.5 | Total: 50

My initial instinct here was to lay the 5.5 points with Michigan State. There’s no doubt the Spartans are a good team, but I’m beginning to wonder if they might be a bit overrated. The Miami win was closer than the final score makes it appear and they were nearly doubled in yardage by Nebraska in what ended up being an overtime victory. MSU also allowed 560 yards in last week’s win over Western Kentucky.

Perhaps that explains why this point spread is less than a touchdown. Rutgers is coming off an ugly loss to Ohio State, but previously played Michigan really tough. I’m not picking Rutgers, but I think the Scarlet Knights will be able to put some points on the board at home. 

Pick: Over 50

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker, right, congratulates Kenneth Walker III following an NCAA college football game against Western Kentucky, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State won 48-31. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Michigan State coach Mel Tucker, right, congratulates Kenneth Walker III following a win against Western Kentucky on Oct. 2, 2021, in East Lansing, Michigan. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 21 Texas

Time: Noon | Line: OU -3.5 | Total: 63.5

Oklahoma may not have the high-flying offense it has had for much of Lincoln Riley’s tenure, but this group is moving the ball and finding ways to win games.

The OU offensive line didn’t protect very well against West Virginia two weeks ago, so Riley relied on the running game and got the ball out of Spencer Rattler’s hands quickly last week vs. Kansas State. It was a very effective recipe for the Sooners in another win, and I think it can work against Texas.

The Texas defense has struggled on third down and allowed more runs of 20-plus yards (11) than any team in the Big 12. In fact, only nine teams in the country have given up more 20-yard runs than the Longhorns.

Oklahoma, by comparison, has allowed only one run of 20-plus yards. Texas RB Bijan Robinson will likely have a heavy workload again, but if the Sooners can get an early lead I don’t trust Texas QB Casey Thompson against this Sooners defense. Texas has mainly feasted on bad defenses and just lost veteran tackle Denzel Okafor to a season-ending injury.

Pick: Oklahoma -3.5

Boise State at No. 10 BYU

Time: 3:30 p.m. | Line: BYU -5.5 | Total: 57

This isn’t your usual Boise State team. The Broncos are 2-3 and have struggled in the trenches. Boise State ranks No. 108 in run defense, No. 127 in rush offense and No. 93 in sacks allowed. That’s not a very good recipe going to Provo to face an undefeated BYU team.

BYU has wins over three Pac-12 teams, plus South Florida and Utah State. However, starting QB Jaren Hall has been out the past two weeks. And backup Baylor Romney got hurt against Utah State, leaving third-stringer Jacob Conover to play much of the second half.

Hall is reportedly dealing with a rib injury. He played pretty well when he was in there, but is averaging only 6.6 yards per attempt. Even if Hall does return, I think BYU will be content to feed RB Tyler Allgeier and play at a slower pace. If the Cougars are down to their third-string QB, that lends itself even more to a low-scoring game.

Pick: Under 57

BYU's Tyler Allgeier (25) carries the ball before scoring against Utah State in the first half during an NCAA college football game Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
BYU's Tyler Allgeier (25) carries the ball before scoring against Utah State in the first half on Oct. 1, 2021, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Oregon State at Washington State

Time: 4 p.m. | Line: OSU -3.5 | Total: 59

After wins over USC and Washington, Oregon State is in first place in the Pac-12 North and now has a chance to beat Washington State, a team it has lost to seven straight times. I like OSU’s chances.

Oregon State relied almost solely on its running game to beat Washington. The WSU defense ranks 96th against the pass, so the Beavers should be able to move the ball through the air. But that’s only if they need to do so. Oregon State has one of the most underrated backs in the country in B.J. Baylor with Deshaun Fenwick also seeing an uptick in carries in recent weeks.

I know Washington State beat Cal last week, but I watched that game back and saw Cal shoot itself in the foot over and over. WSU averaged only 4.37 yards per play in a 21-6 win. Oregon State is 12-4 against the spread as a road team under Jonathan Smith. I like OSU to win and cover.

Pick: Oregon State -3.5

LSU at No. 16 Kentucky

Time: 7:30 p.m. | Line: UK -3.5 | Total: 51

LSU has some serious issues up front. The Tigers rank 128th out of 130 FBS schools in rushing offense, putting way too much on the shoulders of QB Max Johnson. LSU also struggles to defend the run, which is the strength of Kentucky’s offense.

UK switched things up by bringing in a new offensive coordinator, but Will Levis has quickly proven he is nowhere near efficient enough a passer to run things how Liam Coen would like. In three SEC games, Levis has thrown for 368 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions while completing just 56% of his throws. In last week’s big upset over Florida, Levis was 7-of-17 for 87 yards as the Wildcats amassed just 224 yards of offense.

Couple two underwhelming offenses with a potential hangover effect for Kentucky, and I am all over this under.

Pick: Under 51

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