Is it worth betting on Oklahoma State this weekend against Baylor? Photo: USA Today Sports
You can check out our entire staff picks for this weekend but Josh has chosen to dig a little deeper for entertainment purposes.
After two straight weeks of hitting on so many picks it was almost unfair, last week we came crashing back down to earth. I split last week’s picks right down the middle, going 7-7 against the spread.
I was almost too embarrassed to make my picks this week after having the whole “South Carolina is going to murder Florida” thing blow up in my face, but like I said last week, you can only look forward. And that is what I will do. Let’s get to some picks shall we?
DUKE (-6) at Wake Forest
The Blue Devils are not a fluke. They hammered Miami last week in the biggest home game in school history. The game was neck-and-neck until the fourth quarter, too, which is the most impressive part about the entire thing. For as long as I’ve been alive, Duke has wilted late whenever it’s hung around against a team with as much skill as Miami. The Blue Devils have depth for basically the first time in program history.
Wake Forest is battered and bruised after three straight losses, including a 59-3 drubbing against Florida State last week. The Demon Deacons need to win out to reach a bowl game, but Duke controls its own destiny to reach the ACC Championship Game. The Blue Devils won’t mess around.
The pick: Duke 35, Wake Forest 17
MICHIGAN STATE (-7) at Northwestern
The Spartans are one of the best teams in America against the spread this season (6-3-1), and Northwestern is a disaster. Michigan State has won every game this season by double digits (excluding its lone loss of course), thanks to a dynamic defense that forces a league-leading 213 turnovers per game. The Wildcats have lost six straight games, and as much as I love Pat Fitzgerald, I just don’t think they’re in any shape to handle the physicality of the Spartans’ defense.
The pick: Michigan State 31, Northwestern 10
VIRGINIA (+20) at Miami (Fl)
Miami is a disaster. The Hurricanes were exposed against Florida State for the frauds they truly were and then lost all hope when Duke Johnson went down for the season. In its seven wins before Johnson went down, Miami averaged 5.3 yards per carry. During the three game losing streak, the ‘Canes have averaged 3.6 yards per carry.
Virginia is somehow even worse. The Wahoos have one win against an FBS team this season. Mike London has to be on his way out. They’re making infographics about how their quarterback WHO LEADS THE ACC IN INTERCEPTIONS is having one of the best seasons in school history. This program is a joke.
But Miami’s defense and running game is in shambles. That’s not a recipe for a three-touchdown win. Virginia actually has a history of playing well in Miami, winning two of the last three trips. Miami will win, but it’ll be close.
The pick: Miami 31, Virginia 20
VANDERBILT (+3) at Tennessee
Minor upset pick here. The Volunteers weren’t very good with Justin Worley under center, but without him it’s been even uglier. The Commodores are gaining momentum off back-to-back wins against Florida and Kentucky (and a win over Georgia two weeks prior to that). After a shaky start, James Franklin’s team has found its groove. Tennessee is still trying to find its identity again with a freshman quarterback in Joshua Dobbs at the helm.
The pick: Vanderbilt 34, Tennessee 27
Texas A&M at LSU OVER 72
This is an easy, easy pick here. LSU’s defense has been torched time and again by the better offenses it’s faced, and Johnny Football can score five touchdowns in his sleep. These are two pretty suspect defenses that have to stop two of the most explosive offenses in the country, let alone the SEC. This game will come down to the final possession in all likelihood, but one thing is for sure: it’s going to be a shootout, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
The pick: LSU 45, Texas A&M 42
UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK
Last week I closed my eyes and threw a dart at the wall and it landed on Kansas. Somehow I was right. I rationalized the pick pretty well, and that logic turned out to be dead on. Since I started this column last month, I have not missed an upset pick yet. That’s a good enough track record to make me think I should keep doing this.
IDAHO (+5000) at Florida State
OKLAHOMA STATE (+300) vs Baylor
Man, do I love Baylor. This team is for real. The Bears have as much speed and talent at the skill positions as anyone in the country. Period. But guess what? Oklahoma State can score too. While this isn’t the same explosive Cowboys’ offense we’ve see in recent years, they’re still averaging 40.4 points per game. That’s not bad for a “down year.”
Most importantly, Stillwater is an extremely tough place to play, especially at night. The Cowboys have won eight straight games at home. This is only Baylor’s third road game this season! The Bears have only played road games against Kansas and Kansas State. They have not been prepared for this environment.
In each of the last two weeks, Baylor has gotten off to a relatively slow start before taking off near halftime. That works fine at home or on a neutral field, but in a raucous environment like Stillwater, it’s not as easy to shake off the nerves if you fall behind early.
I don’t LOVE the Cowboys chances, but when you can get a fringe top-10 team at this kind of value at home you have to take it.
The pick: Oklahoma State 49, Baylor 42
(Record this season: 22-12-2)
MISSOURI (-3) at Ole Miss
KENTUCKY (+24.5) at Georgia
CAL (+32) at Stanford
UTAH (+1.5) at Washington State
OREGON (-21) at Arizona
USC (-22.5) at Colorado
Wisconsin at Minnesota OVER 50
EAST CAROLINA (-6) at NC State