Saturday offers up a full slate of college football games to pick from, but it looks like a tough slate. After scouring the board and our cheat sheets for free picks worth recommending, here's what we came up with.
Ohio State -13.5 vs. Minnesota
The Buckeyes, fresh off their big victory over Michigan State last week, stay on the Big Ten road, this week visiting Minneapolis to take on the 7-2 Gophers. Ohio State leads the Big Ten's East Division by a game and a tiebreaker over Michigan State, following the Buckeyes 49-37 victory in East Lansing last week. OSU trailed late into the second quarter, before scoring twice on long pass plays just before halftime, then pulled away in the second half.
Minnesota, meanwhile, just drubbed Iowa 51-14, winning outright as a two-point home dog. The Gophers outgained the Hawkeyes 429-205, racked up 291 yards on the ground and held the ball for almost 37 minutes. So UM is tied for the lead in the Big Ten's West Division with Wisconsin and Nebraska.
Coming off the big, emotional win over the Spartans we wonder if Ohio State might experience a bit of a letdown. And Coach Kill should have his Minnesota troops juiced up for this one. So we like the points with the home dog in this spot.
Free College Football Pick: Gophers +13.5 at Pinnacle
Arkansas -1.5 vs. LSU
One of these days the Razorbacks are going to win another SEC game. They've lost 17 in a row, the last 13 under Coach Bielema. Perhaps they can finally break through when they host LSU Saturday in Fayetteville.
Arkansas is 0-5 SU but 3-2 ATS in SEC play this season. It played Auburn to a first-half tie, before fading; took Texas A&M to overtime; lost by one point to Alabama; and, last time out, lost at top-ranked Mississippi State 17-10, but covered as a 10-point dog.
LSU, meanwhile, just lost a heartbreaker to Alabama 20-13. The Tigers kicked a field goal to take a 13-10 lead with under a minute to go, but allowed the Tide to drive for a game-tying kick, then lost in overtime.
Louisiana State beat Arkansas last year 31-27, but needed a touchdown with a minute to go to do it. The Razorbacks covered easily as 28-point underdogs.
The Hogs are averaging almost 250 yards per game on the ground this season, and they've been playing some decent defense. We like their chances of snapping that SEC losing streak this week.
Free College Football Pick: Arkansas at a pick 'em at BetOnline
Memphis -9.5 at Tulane
First place meets sixth place in the AAC when the Tigers visit the Green Wave.
Memphis has won three games in a row after beating Temple last week 16-13. The Tigers spotted the Owls the first 10 points of the game, then held them to a field goal from there, winning on a field goal of their own at the buzzer. Also, in an effort that caught our attention earlier this season Memphis went out to UCLA and gave the Bruins all they could handle, before falling 42-35. But they easily covered that spread as three-touchdown underdogs.
The Wave, meanwhile, had lost back-to-back games, but jumped up and upset Houston last week 31-24 as 17-point dogs. Still, Tulsa got outgained 426-361. Fortunately, the Cougars committed five turnovers.
In expectation of a letdown following last week's victory we'll fade the Wave, and take the Tigers.
Free College Football Pick: Memphis -9 at BetOnline
ASU built a 34-3 lead last week against the Irish, thanks in large part to five turnovers by Golden Domers QB Everett Golson. The Devils then almost blew that entire lead, allowing Notre Dame to rally to within 34-31 midway through the fourth quarter, before putting the game away. Arizona State leads the Pac-12 South, and still has an outside chance at making the CFB championship playoff.
Oregon State, on the other hand, has lost four games in a row both SU and ATS, after falling to Washington State last week 39-32. The Beavers may be the most disappointing team in the conference this season. And yet we still think they might have a bite or two left in them.
The Sun Devils probably won't get gifts like they received last week from Golson and the Irish. So in a “reversal of fortune” play we like the home dogs.
Free College Football Pick: Beavers +7.5 at The Greek