After a perfect Thursday slate, we’re taking momentum into Saturday with some intriguing matchups, such as Oklahoma and Texas, Arkansas and Ole Miss, and of course some Big Ten matchups.
Here are Saturday’s college football picks.
Michigan State at Rutgers (Rutgers +5)
Rutgers has failed to cover the spread in each of its last six October games against ranked opponents, including last weekend against Ohio State. That said, Rutgers is 4-1 ATS this season and only lost by a touchdown to Michigan two weeks ago. The Scarlet Knights have dropped two straight and now have a ranked Michigan State team coming to their place.
Rutgers traveled to Michigan State last season as 9.5-point underdogs and won outright. The Spartans schedule hasn’t been impressive so far this year. They beat a ranked Northwestern team in their first game of the year, but Northwestern has been a gigantic disappointment to this point. How much does that say about Michigan State? I’m looking for the Scarlet Knights to bounce back at home this week.
Maryland at Ohio State (Ohio State -21)
Maryland flopped in a big way in a season-defining home matchup against Iowa last week, falling 51-14. That’s not great, folks. Now they travel to Columbus where a hungry Ohio State team that has not lost since falling to Oregon earlier in the year awaits them.
Ohio State has covered the spread against Maryland in three of their last four matchups. The Buckeyes, as I said above, whooped Rutgers last week. They’ve won three straight games overall, winning by double digits in all three and scoring over 50 points in their last two games. Maryland will not be able to keep up with Ohio State. It’s that simple. The Terps are 0-7 ATS in their last seven road games against ranked opponents. Yikes. Roll Buckeyes.
No. 6 Oklahoma at No. 21 Texas (Texas +3, Texas +140)
The Longhorns have been red hot since their loss to Arkansas, defeating TCU, Texas Tech, and Rice. More importantly, they have covered in each matchup. Texas is 4-1 ATS and Oklahoma is 1-4 ATS this season. Oklahoma hasn’t exactly dominated any team this season. They only beat Tulane, a team that’s now 1-5, by five points in their Week 1 matchup. I wrote about Tulane for my Thursday and Friday picks.
Oklahoma has won three straight in this matchup. Two of those three wins were by double digits. I think Texas keeps the momentum of the last three weeks going. The Longhorns are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games against ranked teams in October.
No. 13 Arkansas at No. 17 Ole Miss (Arkansas +5.5, Under 67)
Like Rutgers, Arkansas comes off a tough loss. They got beat up by Georgia last week, but let me emphasize that it was a loss to No. 2 Georgia. The Razorbacks have wins over Texas and Texas A&M, powered by their defense allowing 20 points or fewer. I think that defense gets going again this week and helps the Hogs keep up with a high-powered Ole Miss team.
The Razorbacks have covered the spread in their last seven games against Ole Miss. Three of the last five games in this matchup have gone under. Quarterback KJ Jefferson seems to be healthy now after a questionable status last week. He’s been the spark for the Razorback offense all season.
No. 19 Wake Forest at Syracuse (Under 59, Syracuse +6)
Syracuse is 4-1 ATS this season and even has a victory over a very good Liberty team. The Orange now host undefeated Wake Forest at home after a tough road loss at Florida State. Syracuse has covered the spread in eight of its last nine October games against ranked opponents. I think Syracuse at least hangs around. They only have one loss of 10 points or more, which was to Rutgers in the second week of the year.
Two years ago, Syracuse hosted Wake Forest as 6.5-point underdogs and not only covered but won outright. This will not be an easy one for the Demon Deacons. As far as the under, the total in 2020 closed at 60 points and settled under by eight points. Not much has changed for these teams. Wake Forest games this season have gone under in four of five contests.
Middle Tennessee State at Liberty (Liberty -19.5)
As I said last week, Liberty is one of the best at covering the spread. Last week, I called Liberty to get back on track, and they did, winning 36-12 as 2.5-point underdogs. Now they’re back home in Virginia where they love to cover the spread.
The Flames are 12-1 ATS in their last 13 games. Liberty is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games in Virginia. They’re 4-1 ATS in 2021. They should take care of a bad Middle Tennessee team.
UTSA at Western Kentucky (UTSA +3.5, UTSA +145)
Undefeated UTSA has a tall task heading to Western Kentucky, a team it hasn’t played since 2014. Western Kentucky won that matchup 45-7, but UTSA is on a special run this year. The Roadrunners are 5-0 overall and 4-1 ATS while the Hilltoppers are 1-3 overall.
Western Kentucky is 3-1 ATS and competed well against Indiana and Army, which may be why the Hilltoppers are home favorites, but UTSA has played well against Big Ten schools, too, defeating Illinois in Champaign in its first game of the season. The Roadrunners have covered the spread in six of their last seven games.
Memphis at Tulsa (Memphis +3)
Memphis is coming to Tulsa desperate for a win after two straight losses by three points. Those losses are a tough pill to swallow after a close victory over Mississippi State. This could be the get-right game the Tigers are looking for as they travel to a team that’s 1-4 and coming off a 35-point loss at home. Tulsa, as I said last week, played tough against Ohio State and Oklahoma State, but I believe those teams’ issues at that time were more on them than Tulsa playing well.
Memphis has won four of the last five games against Tulsa. The underdog is 10-1 ATS in the last 11 games at Chapman Stadium.
That’ll do it for this week’s picks. Good luck to everyone who follows and as always make sure to follow @OnTapBets on Twitter for more plays. You can also follow me at @CodyOnTap for more plays throughout the Saturday slate.