In a quick recap of last week’s free picks for GamingToday, we got a fast start out of the gate with the right call on Utah State’s 40-24 romp over BYU on Friday night.
In the first of two Saturday picks, Wisconsin failed to cover as a 14-point favorite in its tight 33-24 victory against Northwestern. We also went the wrong way in Georgia’s impressive 41-0 rout of Tennessee as a 7-point favorite to even our record on the year to 7-7-1 through the first five weeks of the season.
Here are this week’s selections:
Take 332 Northwestern (+14) over Penn State
We were so impressed with Northwestern’s play against a very strong Wisconsin team last Saturday on the road, we decided to take the two touchdowns this week at home against another strong Big Ten team. The Wildcats are 2-2 this season both straight-up and against the spread, and they have gotten strong effort from Clayton Thorson at quarterback. Against the Badgers’ famed defense, he completed 29-of-45 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns.
Penn State is off to a perfect 5-0 SU with a 3-1-1 record ATS following Saturday’s 45-14 romp at home against Indiana as an 18.5-point favorite. This followed a much closer than expected 21-19 win on the road against Iowa as a 12.5-point favorite. The Nittany Lions are just 7-15-1 ATS in their last 23 games on the road. This is still one of the best teams in the Big Ten this season, but we have the Lions looking past the Wildcats this week with Michigan right around the corner.
Take 381 Oregon State (+34) over USC
It has been a rough start for the Beavers this season at 1-4 SU with a 0-5 record ATS, but the large betting spread for this week’s game is just too good to pass up. This is a much better team than its record portrays and Oregon State still has some solid balance between passing the ball and running it on offense. Quarterback Jake Luton was lost for the season so it will be Darell Garretson under center with Ryan Nall helping to fill the void as the team’s leading rusher.
Southern Cal is coming off a bad 30-27 loss to Washington State as a five-point road favorite that exposed some of the weaknesses with its defense. The Trojans are 4-1 SU, but they have now failed to cover in four of their first five games. They struggled to get past California the week before in a 30-20 win as 17-point road favorites, so covering close to five touchdowns in any conference game is going to be a tall task for this team.
Take 365 San Diego State (-9) over UNLV
It has been a perfect 5-0 SU run for the Aztecs, but they will be looking for a much better effort this week following Saturday’s tight 34-28 victory against Northern Illinois as 9-point favorites at home. Their biggest win of the season came at home against Stanford as 8.5-point underdogs as the class of the Mountain West this season. San Diego State’s powerful ground game is led by Rashaad Penny, who has already rushed for 823 yards and seven touchdowns in his first five games.
UNLV started the season on a highly dubious note in a SU loss to Howard as a 45.5-point home favorite. The Rebels have balanced out their record at 2-2 SU with a 3-1 mark ATS, but they are in over their heads this week behind a defense that is allowing an average of 31.5 points a game. UNLV has lost six of its last seven games against the Aztecs SU and it is just 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.
Last week: 1-2