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Jonny Knows Picks: College Edition Week 5

It’s been a season for road teams and UNDERs so far in college football this season. 

Road teams are hitting at 57 percent against the spread (133-102-7) and UNDERs are coming through at almost the exact same (132-105-5). These usually balance out to closer to 50-50 during the course of a season so that’s something to keep an eye on as we move forward. 

I went 2-2 with my column picks last week and I’m now 16-7 against the spread on the season. Reminder that I cover some of the biggest TV games in my column here and I go over my personal plays for the week along with several more games on my weekly Periscope show (9:30 a.m. ET Saturday mornings)


USC-Washington State +3.5, 65 (10:30 pm ET, ESPN Pac-12 After Dark) 

USC has the nation’s second-longest unbeaten streak behind Clemson. I never love betting against winning streaks like that but I’m going with Wazzou. Cal threw the game away with six turnovers last week and still gave USC a solid run. This USC O-line just isn’t what it was last year either, with Sam Darnold sacked seven times already – more than last season. He also has seven picks, just two fewer than last year. Wazzou has the speed on defense and the talent on offense and better numbers to go with it, though I realize a softer schedule so far.  

Pick: Washington State 


Northwestern-Wisconsin -15, 51 (Noon ET, ABC) 

Early kickoff at 11 a.m. local time. Two teams coming off a bye and I think Northwestern is a team that can meet the physical challenge of Wisconsin. Wisconsin has a balanced attack that includes the nation’s sixth-best rushing attack and the Badgers rank first in time of possession. If the Wildcats can slow up the run just a little, I think that means tick, tick, tick and we’ll see this one slide UNDER. Easier said than done. Northwestern likes to use the run to set up the pass too, so UNDER first half might be worth a look too. Four of the last five meetings have gone UNDER, btw. 

Pick: UNDER     

Georgia-Tennessee +8, 47 (3:30 pm ET, CBS) 

For all the criticism for Tennessee this season it’s easy to forget the Vols have won their last five home games. Then again, they are 2-3 against the spread in those. But nothing to worry about, folks. Georgia only is the best in the nation along with Clemson, allowing  3.71 yards per play to ranked teams. Tennessee also ranks 107th in the nation in red zone offense so call this a contrarian play of some type. 

Pick: Tennessee    

Oklahoma State-Texas Tech +10, 85  (8 pm ET, FOX) 

I feel like I just blinked and this total went from 81 to 85. That puts it as the seventh-highest total we have on record. (The OVER is 7-3 in the 10 highest totals ever, btw.) No. 3 and No. 6 passing offenses here that combine to score over 90 points per game. Last year Oregon-Cal was the highest on record at 90. 101 points scored in a Cal 52-49 win in double OT. 17 points scored in OT. Texas Tech QB Nic Shimonek has enough gun power to keep up with the Cowboys and this OK State defense isn’t so good at the tackling. 

Pick: Texas Tech 

Clemson-Va. Tech +7.5, 51.5  (8 pm ET, ABC) 

This one opened at 5.5 and I’m pretty high on Clemson myself this season. But not so high I’d lay more than a TD at night in Blacksburg against a solid Virginia Tech team. We’re looking at a balanced offense here for the Hokies that ranks 31st in passing and rushing in the nation to go along with the No. 8 scoring defense. The one worry is redshirt freshman Josh Jackson and how he’ll handle what is possibly the best defensive front in the land. But with more than a TD to work with, I’m on the Hokies. 

Pick: Virginia Tech

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