Top College Football Picks: Three ATS Leans for Week 7

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 4:57 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015 4:57 PM UTC

And you are very welcome! I hit on all three top value picks last week and here are my three Week 7 top college football picks on Pinnacle NCAA odds.

No. 8 Florida At No. 6 LSU (-7)
That LSU line against South Carolina actually  jumped from 13.5 to as high as 20 last week when the game was moved from flood-ravaged Columbia to Baton Rouge, but the Tigers covered regardless. And this week, amazingly, LSU will be facing a fourth straight backup quarterback. On Sept. 26 in a 34-24 win at Syracuse, it was former Orange fifth stringer Zack Mahoney making his first career FBS start. On Oct. 3 in a 44-22 win over Eastern Michigan, it was Brogan Roback. Last week in a 45-24 win over those Gamecocks, Perry Orth got the start for an injured Lorenzo Nunez.

This week it will be Florida sophomore dual-threat Treon Harris taking over for impressive redshirt freshman Will Grier as Grier was suspended one calendar year for testing positive for PEDs -- this line has jumped a few points at some books (high as 9.5) with that news. That means Grier can't play until UF's seventh game of next season barring a successful appeal. Harris did start Week 1 but Grier had seized control of the job since then. Grier had thrown for 10 touchdowns, three interceptions and 1,204 yards. He became the first Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow in 2009 to pass for more than 200 yards in three consecutive games and Grier's 65.8 completion percentage was first in the SEC. Harris is more of a running threat than Grier but nowhere near as accurate as a passer. And if Harris were to get hurt, UF is really up a creek. Harris didn't play in last year's 30-27 home loss to LSU. Neither did current LSU starting QB Brandon Harris. Tigers star Leonard Fournette, the Heisman Trophy favorite this season and the nation's leading rusher, had 27 carries for 140 yards and two scores in that 2014 meeting. This year's Florida team ranks 12th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 99.2 yards per game.

Free College Football Pick: Take LSU -- before it gets to 10 points at several betting platforms. The favorite is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings.

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USC At No. 14 Notre Dame (-6.5)
This College Football Odds have jumped  as many as 4.5 points at some books. It has been a crazy week for Southern Cal as athletic director Pat Haden first forced Coach Steve Sarkisian to take a leave of absence on Sunday amid reports that Sarkisian had another alcohol-related incident. Then on Monday, Haden fired Sarkisian. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton takes over on an interim basis so there should be a semblance of continuity as he was the offensive play-caller. But those kids' heads have to be swimming right now. How focused will they be for this game? in addition, USC has lost one of the nation's best centers, All-Pac-12 Max Tuerk, for the rest of the season after tearing a knee ligament in last Thursday's 17-12 upset loss to Washington. Maybe the fact this game is on the road will help. USC's two losses are at home and the best game the Trojans have played was a 42-14 victory at Arizona State in their only road game thus far. So while I'm not sure how motivated USC will be going out of conference and with this coaching change, the Irish will be supremely so. That's because they know another loss likely kills their chances at the College Football Playoff. Plus there's the payback factor as Notre Dame was crushed 49-14 in Los Angeles last year, which would be the final game Everett Golson started at the school.

Free College Football Pick: Notre Dame at Pinnacle-- lock this before it gets to 7 or higher. USC is just 3-9 ATS in its past 12 road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The Irish are 4-0 ATS in their past four at home. The favorite is 10-4 ATS in the past 14 meetings.

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No. 7 Michigan State At No. 12 Michigan (-7.5)
ESPN College GameDay will be here. Lee Corso is -4800 on 5Dimes to pick Michigan to win and +1800 for Michigan State. Before the season started, seeing Michigan as a 7.5-point favorite over Sparty would have been a laughable idea. But the Wolverines look like a vastly different team from even Week 1 as they have won five straight and shut out their past three opponents. Two of those wins were over teams ranked at the time in BYU and Northwestern. Michigan is No. 1 in third down defense (18.8%), No. 2 in total defense (181.3 yards per game allowed), No. 2 in pass efficiency defense (76.6) and passing yards allowed (115.5 ypg), No. 3 in rush defense (65.8 ypg), and No. 5 in first downs allowed (75). And I sort of understand why people are skeptical of Sparty as its win over Oregon now doesn't look all that good now and MSU has struggled in victories over Purdue and Rutgers the past two weeks. But I also believe that the Spartans were somewhat bored and looking ahead to this game. And if two teams are fairly evenly matched, go with the better quarterback. That's easily MSU's Connor Cook over UM's Jake Rudock.

Free College Football Pick: Take the points. Sparty has covered 16 of its past 22 road games. MSU has covered seven straight in this series.

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