Should We Trust these Home Teams with our Week 6 College Football Picks?

Doug Upstone

Monday, October 5, 2015 2:26 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 2:26 PM UTC

We looked at the sportsbooks early betting odds, there was not as much that made me wonder. Rather, when perusing the numbers, the first thought was - Can you really trust these teams?

When realizing how a half dozen favorites this week have played as they approach the halfway point of the season for them, they have not made those generating college football picks feel very secure about their play.

With this in mind, let's look into these shaky six squads and examine their early college football odds at places like Heritage Sports and try and understand what should make us leery before placing sports picks.


Ohio State -32 Point Home Favorite Against Maryland
Mike Patrick of ESPN said during the Ohio State at Indiana game, "The Buckeyes are going to get everyone's best shot as defending champions and ranked No.1." While this is often true, when you look at Ohio State's last four non-covering wins, the Buckeyes second team would figure to give any of these clubs a good game. Even that opening victory over Virginia Tech doesn't appear impressive anymore with the Hokies losing to Pittsburgh and East Carolina.

As a football handicapper, cannot possibly say the line is not accurate against moribund Maryland outfit, but can the Buckeyes be trusted at this time handing out this many points?

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Minnesota -1.5 Point Road Favorite vs. Purdue
The Golden Gophers offense is playing like they are stuck in a hole, averaging 15.4 points a game. While I am generally impressed with their defense in allowing 20.2 PPG, can any football bettor really feel comfortable backing a conference road favorite against at least a pretty solid Purdue offense?

When looking in the matchup a little further, I also find the home team is a solid 8-3-1 ATS in the last 11 contests. Not arguing the line is wrong, as Minnesota has better overall talent, but this week backing the Gophers and having Maalox nearby, seems like the right mix.

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Northern Illinois -10.5 Point Home Favorite Against Ball State
This is not a recent vintage Northern Illinois team, with the offense not as explosive and the lack of outstanding offensive line play not a reality this year compared to the last decade. Losing three in a row on the road was not a complete shocker, especially with defeats at Ohio State and Boston College and the Central Michigan contest a tough scheduling situation.

Nonetheless, one can tell purely by watching this is not the same Huskies we are used to watching and taking on a Ball State crew which is 33-14-1 ATS as away underdogs, makes this initial spread one to go slow when viewing the Huskies.

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Notre Dame -14.5 Point Home Favorite Against Navy
Notre Dame almost always has issues with the Navy, not liking to defend their always tricky option offense. This time the Midshipmen are in a sandwich game for the Fighting Irish, just after narrow loss to Clemson and having USC in South Bend next week, knowing their margin for error to even reach the Final Four playoffs have been cut to razor thin proportions.

Other than Army and Air Force, this has always been the biggest game on the Navy schedule, which over time will change being in the AAC. However, they are just getting started in that league and the Notre Dame defense is surrendering 187.6 yards per game on the ground in their last three. Back the Irish, grab a rosary.

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Michigan State -17 Point Road Favorite vs. Rutgers
This is unbelievable at team could be 5-0 and have yet to cover a spread. On the surface, it makes all the sense in the world Michigan State should handle a mediocre Rutgers bunch with ease, but that was what we thought the last two weeks against Central Michigan and Purdue.

In digging into the numbers, the Spartans are overrated by a rather significant margin, out-gaining their supposed inferior opponents by just 2.2 yards a game. Does doling out this many points sound like fun to you?

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Arizona State -15 Point Home Favorite Against Colorado
Let's review the Arizona State season. Came into the year as true contenders in the Pac-12 South and was beat up by Texas A&M, failed to cover against Cal-Poly and New Mexico in Tempe and was trounced by the Trojans at home. After setting a pattern of ordinary at best football, they traveled to L.A. and lay out unbeaten UCLA 38-23 as 13-point underdogs.

At this point, all the Sun Devils need to do is dress up for Halloween and the rest of us have to guess who this team really is. Should Arizona State cover against Colorado, yes, but with games against Utah and Oregon up next, what will this team be thinking?

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