Finding Value in Today's Spreads: College Football Picks of the Day

David Lawrence

Saturday, September 19, 2015 12:14 PM GMT

The college football season moves into its third weekend, and the importance of games becomes even greater for each team involved. Some teams are playing important conference games on the West Coast, while other teams are still in non-conference play, trying to work out the kinks before they do step into their own leagues for the rest of the season. Here are three games from Saturday’s card you might be interested in as betting opportunities:

Stanford Cardinal vs. USC Trojans
Betting Odds:
USC -9.5

This is a game in which the Trojans are likely to win, mostly because they have more pure speed on the outside than the Cardinal. Stanford has not shown a willingness to take risks with its passing game. The Cardinal appear to have a very limited offense, one that won’t take chances because of a need to play a style of game based on defense and good field position. Yet, that same approach which makes it hard for Stanford to win a game outright is the style which makes it easier to take the Cardinal against the spread if they are giving a large number of points. With college football odds listing a  9.5-point spread, many might find this number to be a bit too large. Even though USC might have the better athletes, this is the first truly severe test of the Trojans this season. It might take USC a half to adjust to Stanford’s toughness and muscle. USC might be able to adjust in the second half and do what it takes to win the game. However, will Stanford keep this game close with its defense? That seems more likely than not. Take Stanford plus the points, but USC will win this game straight up.

College Football Pick: Stanford +9.5 at Pinnacle

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Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Betting Odds:
Iowa -5.5

The key point to make here is that Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi used to be the defensive coordinator for the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten. Narduzzi is very familiar with the Iowa Hawkeyes and the kinds of offensive concepts they like to use. That should be a big source of help to Pittsburgh in its attempt to win this game on the road. Iowa might win the game, but Pittsburgh should certainly be able to limit Iowa’s scoring output to nothing more than 20 to 24 points in this game. As long as Pittsburgh can score 17 to 20, we are willing to back a Panthers' cover with our college football picks, even if Iowa winds up winning the game outright.

College Football Pick: Pittsburgh +6 at Bodog

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Wyoming Cowboys vs. Washington State Cougars
Betting Odds:
Washington State -24.5

It’s true that Washington State has lost to Portland State at home this season, and barely scraped by Rutgers this past weekend. However, it’s hard to be worse at the FBS level of competition than Wyoming has been so far this season. The Cowboys have lost twice at home, first to North Dakota of the FCS, and then to Eastern Michigan, which has long been one of the worst teams in the FBS. The loss to Eastern Michigan came by 19 points, 48-29. If Eastern Michigan can score 48 on Wyoming, Washington State can score 60. Take the Cougars at home against Wyoming.

College Football Pick: Washington State -24 at The Greek

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