Cbs picks against the spread

CBS Sports experts pick top games against the spread

While upsets can always happen, picking a heavy favorite to win in college football is usually a safe bet.

Predicting teams to win with point spreads involved is a bit trickier, though. It’s how Las Vegas sportsbooks stay profitable.

The CBS Sports college football team of experts — Dennis Dodd, Jerry Palm, Tom Fornelli, Chip Patterson, Barton Simmons, Barrett Sallee and Ben Kercheval — has taken on the task of predicting which teams will cover the spread for some of the biggest games on the Week 2 schedule. There are several marquee games on the slate coming off a Week 1 that included multiple victories by underdogs.

Among the high-profile games is a meeting between the No. 6 LSU Tigers and No. 9 Texas Longhorns. LSU has not played inside the Longhorns’ stadium since 1954, and there has been a copious amount of trash talk between the opponents this week. It is a difficult game to predict against the spread since both teams faced an overmatched opponent in blowout wins during Week 1. LSU romped Georgia Southern, while the Longhorns won easily against Louisiana Tech.

It will be surprising if LSU and Texas are involved in another blowout on Saturday night. Scroll up to see the predictions against the spread from the CBS Sports college football crew.

Point spreads used are from SportsLine.

Nebraska (-3.5) at Colorado

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

Dennis Dodd: Colorado

Jerry Palm: Colorado

Tom Fornelli: Colorado

Chip Patterson: Nebraska

Barton Simmons: Colorado

Barrett Sallee: Colorado

Ben Kercheval: Colorado

Just one CBS Sports expert likes Nebraska to cover the spread on the road. The Huskers struggled to execute on offense in a 35-21 win over South Alabama in Week 1. Nebraska was outgained 314-276 in total yardage. Colorado beat Colorado State 52-31 in the debut for new head coach Mel Tucker, so Nebraska may have to fix its offensive woes quickly to win away from home.

No. 23 Stanford (-2.5) at USC

(Photo: Albert Thomas/TheBootleg.com, 247Sports)

Dennis Dodd: Stanford

Jerry Palm: Stanford

Tom Fornelli: Stanford

Chip Patterson: USC

Barton Simmons: Stanford

Barrett Sallee: USC

Ben Kercheval: USC

The battle of the backup quarterbacks. USC lost JT Daniels to a season-ending injury in Week 1, while Stanford will be without KJ Costello following a hit to the head against Northwestern. Trojans true freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis and Cardinal junior Davis Mills did enough to lead their teams to victory in Week 1. Mills has the experience edge and Slovis is making his first start, which makes this game difficult to predict. USC does have home-field advantage, though.

Western Michigan at No. 19 Michigan State (-16.5)

(Photo: Mike Carter, USA TODAY Sports)

Dennis Dodd: Western Michigan

Jerry Palm: Michigan State

Tom Fornelli: Western Michigan

Chip Patterson: Michigan State

Barton Simmons: Western Michigan

Barrett Sallee: Michigan State

Ben Kercheval: Western Michigan

The predictions are split 4-3 here, as the experts are not in agreement on what will transpire for the Spartans in Week 2. Michigan State failed to cover a 23 1/2-point spread against Tulsa in Week 1, and the Spartans only scored one offensive touchdown in the 28-7 victory. The Spartans could fail to cover again if the offense does not start clicking on Saturday.

Nevada at No. 16 Oregon (-23.5)

(Photo: Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports)

Dennis Dodd: Nevada

Jerry Palm: Oregon

Tom Fornelli: Nevada

Chip Patterson: Nevada

Barton Simmons: Oregon

Barrett Sallee: Oregon

Ben Kercheval: Nevada

Oregon will have to avoid the hangover from a heartbreaking loss to the Auburn Tigers in Week 1. It will certainly be easier for the Ducks to score without the stout Auburn defense in the way. Oregon did not score for the final 24:23 of the Week 1 loss. The Ducks may not cover with another scoring drought like that against Nevada.

Cal at No. 14 Washington (-14.5)

(Photo: Alika Jenner, Getty)

Dennis Dodd: Washington

Jerry Palm: Washington

Tom Fornelli: Cal

Chip Patterson: Washington

Barton Simmons: Washington

Barrett Sallee: Washington

Ben Kercheval: Cal

The 5-2 split on picks in favor of Washington comes after a strong debut for Georgia Bulldogs transfer quarterback Jacob Eason. The Huskies scored 47 points in a Week 1 win over Eastern Washington. However, Cal held Washington to just 12 points in a 12-10 victory by the Huskies last season.

Army at No. 7 Michigan (-23.5)

Dennis Dodd: Army

Jerry Palm: Michigan

Tom Fornelli: Michigan

Chip Patterson: Michigan

Barton Simmons: Michigan

Barrett Sallee: Army

Ben Kercheval: Army

There is some belief that Army can cover the spread in Ann Arbor. It will likely have to be a low-scoring affair for the Black Knights to do so. Army was limited to 14 points in a win over Rice last week, while the Wolverines put up 40 points under new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.

No. 6 LSU (-6.5) at No. 9 Texas

(Photo: Scott Wachter, USA TODAY Sports)

Dennis Dodd: Texas

Jerry Palm: Texas

Tom Fornelli: Texas

Chip Patterson: Texas

Barton Simmons: LSU

Barrett Sallee: Texas

Ben Kercheval: Texas

LSU may be the favorite on paper, but don’t tell the CBS Sports team that. All but one expert likes the Longhorns to cover the 6 1/2-point spread. There is clearly a strong belief that Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger will be able to have success at home against an aggressive LSU defense.

Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State (-16.5)

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

Dennis Dodd: Ohio State

Jerry Palm: Cincinnati

Tom Fornelli: Ohio State

Chip Patterson: Ohio State

Barton Simmons: Cincinnati

Barrett Sallee: Ohio State

Ben Kercheval: Ohio State

Ohio State sophomore quarterback Justin Fields accounted for five touchdowns in his debut last week. That was a Buckeyes record for a debut, but will it be as easy against Cincinnati? The majority of the CBS Sports predictions don’t think it will be too difficult, although Florida Atlantic did limit Ohio State to just 17 points over three quarters following a 28-point outburst by the Buckeyes in the first quarter.

New Mexico State at No. 2 Alabama (-55.5)

(Photo: Stuart McNair, 247Sports)

Dennis Dodd: New Mexico State

Jerry Palm: Alabama

Tom Fornelli: New Mexico State

Chip Patterson: Alabama

Barton Simmons: Alabama

Barrett Sallee: New Mexico State

Ben Kercheval: New Mexico State

New Mexico State over Alabama. It’s not as crazy as it seems once you factor in the gargantuan point spread. During the Nick Saban era, Alabama has failed to cover the spread all four times it has been favored by at least 50 points.

No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson (-17.5)

(Photo: Ezra Shaw, Getty)

Dennis Dodd: Texas A&M

Jerry Palm: Texas A&M

Tom Fornelli: Clemson

Chip Patterson: Clemson

Barton Simmons: Texas A&M

Barrett Sallee: Texas A&M

Ben Kercheval: Texas A&M

When Clemson traveled to face Texas A&M in College Station last season, the Tigers were a 12 1/2-point favorite. Texas A&M came within a few plays of the upset, losing 28-26. Vegas may not have much faith in the Aggies again, but there are five CBS Sports crew members who believe in them to at least cover. While Clemson defeated Georgia Tech 52-14 in Week 1, the Tigers took advantage of a Georgia Tech turnover in the red zone for their first score. Three of Clemson’s next four touchdowns then came on plays of 90, 62 and 48 yards. If Texas A&M can limit the back-breaking plays by Clemson, then this one could come down to the wire again.

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