College football Week 6 picks against the spread for every top-25 game
Week 6 of the college football season features three matchups between teams ranked in the AP Top 25, and that starts with the Red River Rivalry between No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 19 Texas at noon.
No. 5 LSU travels to The Swamp to face No. 22 Florida in the 3:30 p.m. slot, and No. 6 Notre Dame travels to No. 24 Virginia Tech in primetime of what should be another fun week of picks against the spread.
Here is a look at our record so far:
Straight up: 90-14, .865 (17-2 last week)
Against the spread: 54-36, .600 (10-9 last week)
And now, Sporting News’ picks against the spread for Week 6 (lines reflect Consensus picks according to VegasInsiders.com as of Monday):
No. 1 Alabama (-34.5) at Arkansas
Arkansas is being outscored 44-17 in the first quarter in games this season. Alabama is capable of scoring 30 points in the first quarter alone. It’s worth noting that the last two meetings in Fayetteville have been decided by an average of 10 points per game, but this is a different Alabama beast. The Tide win 49-13 and COVER the spread.
No. 7 Oklahoma (-7.5) vs. No. 19 Texas
The line has stuck at 7.5, and that makes this a tough call because the last four meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less. We’ll go with the team with the better red zone offense. Oklahoma scores on 89.5 percent of its trips to the red zone, compared to just 68.8 percent for Texas. But we think the Longhorns cover. Oklahoma wins 34-27 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Kansas at No. 9 West Virginia (-28.5)
The Mountaineers passed the road test against Texas Tech and now face a Kansas team that has shown improvement this season. The Jayhawks haven’t lost by more than 20 points this season, but they haven’t faced a team this good on the road either. West Virginia wins 54-21 and COVERS the spread.
Maryland at No. 15 Michigan (-17.5)
We’ve missed on Michigan and the unpredictable nature of their offense the last two weeks. The Wolverines are 2-3 against the spread, and the Terps had an extra week to prepare. Maryland scored 14 points in the first quarter against Texas and Minnesota. If they can start off fast here, they’ll get the cover. If not, the Wolverines’ defense will be the difference. Michigan wins 35-17 and COVERS the spread.
Northwestern at No. 20 Michigan State (-11.5)
It depends which Northwestern team shows up here. Is it the one that beat the Spartans last year? Or one that will be deflated after blowing a 17-point lead against Michigan? The Spartans know the Wolverines had six sacks last week. They’ll match that as Brian Lewerke plays his best game of the year — but the Wildcats get the back-door cover. Michigan State wins 34-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Boston College at No. 23 N.C. State (-4)
N.C. State is ranked and the only remaining unbeaten team in the ACC beside Clemson — but there’s no time to look ahead to the Oct. 20 showdown with the Tigers in Death Valley. The Wolfpack must take care of business here first. The Eagles have won their last two visits to Carter-Finley Stadium, too. This will be an entertaining shootout, but we’ll go with the home team. N.C. State wins 38-31 and COVERS the spread.
Iowa State at No. 25 Oklahoma State (-11)
If not for the loss to Texas Tech, the Cowboys would be in much better shape regarding their College Football Playoff hopes. The Cyclones haven’t lost by more than 13 points in a game this season, but they’ve had trouble scoring. That’s a problem when the Cowboys are clicking. Oklahoma State wins 37-20 and COVERS the spread.
No. 5 LSU (-2.5) at No. 22 Florida
The Tigers have won the last two meetings in the Swamp, but both games were decided by three points or fewer. This is Joe Burrow’s next big road test before the schedule really gets tough, and we expect the same tight contest. If Feleipe Franks doesn’t turn the ball over, then we have a feeling the Gators throw the next wrench in the SEC race. Florida wins 24-21 in an UPSET.
Florida State at No. 17 Miami (-12.5)
This used to be the game, but now it’s faded from the national picture. Miami has taken control of the series, and the Hurricanes looked downright nasty against North Carolina. Still, it’s a rivalry and the Seminoles have the talent to hang around. The big question is whether Florida State — which has turned the ball over every game this year, including two games with at least four — avoid those big mistakes. Miami wins 31-21 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 4 Clemson (-17) at Wake Forest
Trevor Lawrence’s status is in question, which makes it tough to pick this game. Chase Brice led a game-winning drive against Syracuse and should be better with a full week of practice if he’s pressed to go. Wake Forest gives up too many yards on the ground (189.6 per game), something Clemson will take advantage of before heading into a much-needed bye week. Clemson wins 35-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Arizona State at No. 21 Colorado (-2.5)
The Buffaloes are undefeated, but their opponents so far have combined for a 1-16 record this season. Arizona State has been tested, and the key will be seeing how they adjust in what should be a rowdy road environment. We think the Sun Devils get through it. Arizona State is 6-1 in the last seven meetings, by the way. Arizona State wins 33-30 in an UPSET.
Indiana at No. 5 Ohio State (-25)
We all know what happened to Ohio State the week after last year’s win against Penn State. Expect Urban Meyer to use that Iowa loss as a carrot for the Buckeyes, who are at home against an improved Indiana team. The Hoosiers haven’t won at Ohio Stadium since 1987, and that streak will continue Ohio State wins 49-21 and COVERS the spread.
SMU at No. 12 UCF (-24)
The Mustangs lost to North Texas, TCU and Michigan by an average of 26 points, so it’s fitting UCF will be held to that standard. The score matters here for the Knights, who have been perfect against the spread this season. We’ll stick with that trend. UCF wins 55-28 and COVERS the spread.
No. 8 Auburn (-3) at Mississippi State
The Tigers have won the last two meetings by an average of 31.5 points, and they face a Bulldogs team coming off back-to-back demoralizing losses. Auburn hasn’t played its best football by any means, but it’s defensive front will be the difference. The Tigers have turned the ball just once the last two weeks. If that trend continues, they’ll be fine in Starkville. Auburn wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.
No. 10 Washington (-21) at UCLA
UCLA is still looking for that first victory under Chip Kelly, and in time this could be an interesting Pac-12 rivalry. Chris Petersen has the best team in the Pac-12, however. The Bruins have a minus-1 turnover ratio and have protected the football reasonably well. The defense isn’t there yet, but we have a feeling Kelly will pull out enough stops to cover. Washington hasn’t won at UCLA since 1995. Washington wins 31-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 13 Kentucky at Texas A&M (-5.5)
Kentucky can keep playing the “no respect” card for another week, but the opportunity is obvious. Win here, and the Wildcats could easily be undefeated heading into November. Lose, and the feel-good story fades from the national consciousness. The fact A&M is favored leads us to believe they will win. Forget about last week’s score against Arkansas — it takes a week to recover from playing Bama. Texas A&M wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.
Vanderbilt at No. 2 Georgia (-26.5)
Georgia continues to win in methodical fashion, a trend that will continue against the Commodores. Georgia has won its last three games against Vanderbilt by an average of 25 points but has failed to cover the last two weeks. This time, they buck the trend. Georgia wins 42-14 and COVERS the spread.
Nebraska at No. 16 Wisconsin (-20)
Nebraska is coming off a 42-28 loss against Purdue, and the schedule gets even tougher with a trip to Wisconsin, which had a bye week to prepare. The Huskers simply give up too many yards and can’t get off the field on third down. This will be another lesson for first-year coach Scott Frost to build on as the Huskers drop to 0-5. Wisconsin wins 41-20 and COVERS the spread.
No. 6 Notre Dame (-5.5) at No. 24 Virginia Tech
This is the Irish’s biggest remaining spotlight of the season, and they’ll do it in unfamiliar territory against the Hokies, who bounced back from their loss to Old Dominion in a romp over then-ranked Duke. Notre Dame, however, presents too many challenges with Ian Book under center, and the Irish barrel into the second half of the season undefeated. Notre Dame wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.
Utah at No. 14 Stanford (-5)
The Cardinal are a potential hangover risk given back-to-back emotional games, and the status of Bryce Love will be a leading question all week. These teams have split the last two meetings with three-point wins, but the Utes simply can’t pull this one out. Stanford wins 21-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.