Betting Against the Spread: Week 7 Picks
Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.
By: Braden Gall | 10/14/11, 7:45 AM EDT
-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)
Week 7 officially marks the half-way mark of the 2011 college football season. For those counting at home, only Rutgers and Stanford remain unbeaten against the spread (5-0). I will be going back to the Cardinal well, but I am staying far away from the Scarlet Knights' bout with option kings Navy. The BCS schools of Oklahoma (8-2), Washington (8-2) and Georgia (8-2-2) have been very kind to point-spread aficionados everywhere and I will be revisiting those states once again in Week 7.
In a strange turn of events, I am taking 11 road favorites to cover this weekend — and one home favorite. Two teams to keep an eye on are Wisconsin at home against Indiana and Oklahoma at Kansas. Both are favored by more than 35 points, and normally anything over 28 instantly scares me away, however, both could top 60 points and cover easily (if that makes any sense). Take the overs as well.
Onto Week 7's picks...
Season Record ATS: 37-20-2 (9-3 last week)
Week 7's Top Picks:
1. Oklahoma State (-7.5) at Texas
Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden was sitting on the bench before halftime in last week's 70-28 win over Kansas. Weeden operates the nation's No. 1 scoring offense (51.4 ppg) and No. 2 total offense (577.4 ypg) and carries his unbeaten Pokes into Austin for the second consecutive season. The 33-16 win over the Horns last season marked the first time in school history Oklahoma State had won in Austin so Weeden and company know what it takes to win on the 40 Acres. The Longhorns allowed 367 yards and three scores to Landry Jones of Oklahoma last weekend in the awful 55-17 showing in the Red River Shootout. Take the Pokes to win big and push their ATS record to 5-1 this season. My Pick: Oklahoma State -7.5
2. Georgia Tech (-7) at Virginia
Tech's offense is a well-oiled option machine - and is 4-1-1 against the spread on the year. The only team of comparable talent UVa has faced was North Carolina. The Cavaliers allowed 222 yards rushing in the 28-17 road loss. The Yellow Jackets' offense is rolling up 360.5 yards per game on the ground and is No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency. Paul Johnson has a legit ACC title contender, so winning on the road within the division is imperative. His team will be ready for a Virginia team who needed overtime to beat Idaho 21-20 its last time on the field. My Pick: Georgia Tech -7
3. South Florida (-7.5) at UConn
The Bulls had been rolling along (4-0) until getting buzz-sawed by Ray Graham and the Pitt Panthers two weeks ago. Skip Holtz's guys have had two weeks to prepare for arguably the worst offense in the Big East. The Huskies have lost four of their last five games and has allowed 81 points in its last two games. The 101st-ranked total offense — and the complete lack of quarterback play — will cost UConn any chance of pulling the upset. South Florida's balanced offensive attack (223.2 rushing, 280.4 passing per game) will be too much for the Huskies to keep pace with. My Pick: USF -7.5
4. Stanford (-21) at Washington State
I just can't stay away from Andrew Luck. The Cardinal are one of two teams left in football that is unbeaten against the spread (5-0). Stanford has been absolutely crushing opponents by an average margin of victory of 35.6 points per game. The Cougars played them tough last season (38-28), so Luck will certainly have his team on high alert. Additionally, the return of starting Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel might actually disrupt the Cougars offense - which has been relatively consistent under Marshall Lobbestael. Wazzu has allowed 32.3 points per game over its last three, including losses to San Diego State and UCLA. Don't fail me now Cardinal! My Pick: Stanford -21
5. Clemson (-7.5) at Maryland
There may not be a hotter team in the nation than the Clemson Tigers. They have covered four straight (including three upsets) and are 5-1 against the spread this season. The balanced Tigers offense posted 500 yards last week in the 36-14 win over Boston College while the Terps played valiantly agianst Georgia Tech in a 21-16 loss (scoring 13 fourth-quarter points). With major issues at quarterback — starter Danny O'Brien was pulled for C.J. Brown who proceeded to complete four of his 17 pass attempts — Clemson should have no problem stacking the box to slow the Terps' ground game. Clemson rolled 31-7 last season over Maryland and has won two out of three in College Park. My Pick: Clemson -7.5
6. East Carolina (-14) at Memphis
I took Houston to crush ECU last week and it paid off with 56-3 uber-cover. The Pirates have played a brutal schedule (losses to South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Houston and North Carolina), so facing the worst team in the FBS ranks should come as a welcome sight. Memphis got housed 28-6 by Rice last week and is allowing 36.7 points per game to go with 495 yards per game. Dom Davis will get back on track against the lowly Tigers. My Pick: ECU -14
7. Alabama (-25.5) at Ole Miss
The Crimson Tide is 5-1 against the spread this season and has crushed everyone it has faced. The nation's top scoring defense is allowing only seven points per game while the offense is leading the SEC in rushing at 217 yards per contest. Ole Miss is allowing 193 yards per game on the ground (95th nationally). If that wasn't enough, Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron added a new element to the offense last week by completing 23-of-30 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns in the 34-0 win over Vanderbilt. If Alabama adds an explosive passing attack to go with this nasty defense and power rushing attack, no one will beat the Tide in 2011. Bama has outscored Ole Miss 45-13 over the last two meetings. My Pick: Alabama -25.5
8. Toledo (-7.5) at Bowling Green
The Rockets played tough against Boise State, should have beaten Syracuse, easily handled a very good Temple team 36-13 and destroyed Eastern Michigan 54-16 last weekend. Bowling Green has been outscored 100-31 in two blowout losses to Western Michigan and West Virginia and lost to Toledo last fall 33-14. Depite being a rivalry game, the tale of the tape shows two teams headed in opposite directions. My Pick: Toledo -7.5
If you are feeling lucky:
9. Miami, Ohio (-3.5) at Kent State
Kent has been outscored 57-20 over the last two by Northern Illinois and Ohio and ranks as arguably the worst offense in the nation. The Redhawks got into the win column last week by beating Army 35-28 and have been able to throw it well all season. Vegas is way off on this one. My Pick: Miami, Ohio -3.5
10. Florida State (-13.5) at Duke
The Noles are angry after losing three straight brutal games. Duke just doesn't have the talent to keep up. EJ Manuel is back and will torch the 87th-rated pass efficiency defense and Mark Stoops' defense will control the line of scrimmage against the 112th-ranked rushing attack. My Pick: Florida State
11. Colorado (+15) at Washington
The Huskies, behind stellar quarterback play, are 4-1 against the spread and on the field. They are poised to challenge Stanford and Oregon in the Pac-12 North if they can stay the course. After a bye week to rest, and facing a defense allowing 33.3 points per game and 250 yards through the air, Washington should roll. My Pick: Washington -15
12. Michigan (+2) at Michigan State
Sparty has won three straight games in this rivalry and the loser here is probably out of the race for the top spot in the Big Ten's Legends division. Michigan State boasts the nation's No. 1 defense and Denard Robinson has played wildly inconsistent football despite the 6-0 record. My Pick: Michigan State -2
5-0 Against the Spread: Rutgers, Stanford
5-1 Against the Spread: Alabama, Arkansas St., Clemson, Marshall, Michigan, Western Michigan
4-1 Against the Spread: Baylor, Cincinnati, Georgia (4-1-1), Georgia Tech (4-1-1), Kansas St., Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Temple, Texas Tech, UTEP, Utah St., Wake Forest, Washington, Washington St., Wisconsin
1-4 Against the Spread: Air Force, Colorado St., Florida St., NC St. (1-4-1), Texas A&M, Troy, Utah, Virginia,
1-5 Against the Spread: Boston College, Central Michigan, UConn, Kent St., Mississippi St., Nebraska, Penn St, UCLA, Virginia Tech,
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