Biggest Lines Offer Biggest Value for College Football Picks

Matthew Jordan

Friday, September 5, 2014 3:40 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 5, 2014 3:40 PM UTC

Welcome to Week 2 of High/Low, a look at the highest and lowest spreads and totals on every NCAA football game Saturday. Last week we put up a 3-1 record on our projections. A .750 mark just isn't good enough. Expect perfection in Week 3.

Alabama (-40) vs. Florida Atlantic
If games against FCS opponents were listed at BetOnline then Alabama wouldn't be the week's biggest favorites. Florida State surely would be against The Citadel, a team the Noles should be embarrassed for playing. In some ways this could be a huge letdown game for Alabama after the Crimson Tide were pushed pretty hard last week in Atlanta by a so-so West Virginia team. Surprisingly, Blake Sims not only got the start over heralded transfer Jacob Coker at quarterback but Coker didn't play but a few garbage snaps at the end. Sims was OK, going 24 of 33 for 250 yards with a pick. He will start again but presumably Nick Saban will get Coker some meaningful snaps in this one. Alabama did lose two starters to injury last week: senior defensive back Jarick Williams and senior wide receiver DeAndrew White will both miss this game. Florida Atlantic cashed a $1 million check for going to Nebraska and losing 55-7 last week. The Huskers had 784 yards and they don't have the offensive talent Alabama does. FAU will get another $1 million this week.

College Football Pick: Most every other team I would see this as a letdown, sluggish effort. But I have a feeling Saban was all over his guys for not playing great next week. And it's not like the Tide have a big game next week -- Southern Miss -- that might distract them. Bama covers.

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Arizona State vs New Mexico (total 67.5)
New Mexico is one of the worst programs in the FBS. Last season the Lobos were an awful defensive team, allowing 49 points to Pitt, 56 to UNLV(?!?!), 66 to Colorado State, 69 to Fresno State and 45 to Boise State, to name a few. Last week UNM was beaten 31-24 at home by UTEP. The Lobos ran for 410 yards against UTEP, but they won't get half that many against ASU. New Mexico passed for only 67 yards last week. Starting QB Cole Gautsche will miss this game. He led UNM with 184 yards rushing and two scores against the Miners. Arizona State beat Weber State 45-14 in Week 1. It could have been much worse but excellent Sun Devils QB Taylor Kelly sat out the second half with ASU up 31-0 at intermission. ASU still had 570 yards.

College Football Pick: This total is all about ASU, but I lean 'under' as the Lobos are one-dimensional and it's hard to see them scoring more than 10. Will ASU score around 60? Doubtful. The Devils will call off the dogs.

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BYU (-1) at Texas
To be fair, New Mexico State at Georgia State also has a 1-point spread in college football odds, but here's guessing this BYU-Texas game will draw just a bit more interest. It has been interesting to see the action on this game because it opened with Texas as much as a 4-point favorite at some sportsbooks. It started moving when it was announced that Horns starting quarterback David Ash had suffered yet another concussion -- that injury ruined his 2013 season -- and will miss at least this game. He was hurt in last week's 38-7 win over North Texas. Ash finished 19 of 34 for 190 yards and a touchdown. He will be replaced by sophomore Tyrone Swoopes. He got a bit of garbage time last year, going 5-for-13 for 26 yards. He can run, however, so expect to see plenty of that. BYU won 35-10 at UConn in Week 1. Cougars QB Taysom Hill is one of the best dual threats in the nation and he was dominant against the Huskies, passing for 308 yards and rushing for 97 while accounting for five total touchdowns. UT fans will remember him well. Last season in Provo, Texas was routed 40-21 in a defeat that really changed the course of the program. Hill rushed for 259 yards and three scores as BYU had 550 yards rushing. Former Texas coach Mack Brown fired his defensive coordinator the next day. Ash was 19 of 34 for 251 yards and two scores but sustained the hit that started his concussion problems and eventually resulted in him missing essentially the rest of the season.

College Football Pick: You get Texas at home and now don't have to give more than a field goal but get a point? This is a revenge game. For your college football picks take the Horns.

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SMU vs North Texas (total 44.5)
This is interesting as SMU was part of last week's highest total, which was 74 in the Mustangs' 45-0 loss at Baylor. I called the 'under' there but thought it would at least be in the 60s. SMU's three quarterbacks were sacked eight times and the Mustangs were held to just 67 total yards, their fewest under head coach June Jones. Those QBs were a combined 21 of 40 for 91 yards with a pick. North Texas had 94 total yards in last week's 38-7 loss at Texas, when the Mean Green's only TD came on an interception return. UNT's two quarterbacks were a combined 3-for-17 for 15 yards and four interceptions. I could do better than that throwing left-handed. You can see why the total is so low here. That said, last week's opposing defenses were vastly better.

College Football Pick: This is a slight overreaction on the total. Go 'over.'

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