As college football teams continue to churn their way through the meat of their conference schedules, the lines keep getting sharper and it gets tougher and tougher to uncover the value in the point spreads given how familiar these teams are with one another. That does not mean there are not a couple of the ‘bad lines’ out there just waiting to be pounced on.
Last week we scored big on Clemson’s 59-38 rout over North Carolina as a 10.5-point home favorite. Never being one to rest on our laurels, we have once again crunched the numbers in an effort to ‘Bang the Book’ with a few free ‘NCAA football picks of the week’.
Boston College Eagles vs. Maryland Terrapins (-7)
This has been a miserable season so far for Boston College as it has only posted one win against six losses. It has been almost as bad against the spread with an overall record of 2-5. The Eagles’ offense is 108th in the nation in scoring with an average of just 18.7 points a game, while their defense is giving-up an average of 26.3 points a game.
Maryland has not been much better with an overall record of 2-5 both SU and ATS, but it has been able to run the ball fairly well with an average of 168.3 yards a game. They Terrapins are also scoring more than BC with an average of 25 points a game.
The Eagles are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall, while the Terps are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 conference games. The home team in this series is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
The Pick: Maryland 23 Boston College 13
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. No. 19 Penn State Nittany Lions (-5)
Illinois started the season with six straight wins, but has lost its last two to fall to 6-2 SU (3-5 ATS) overall and 2-2 SU in the conference. This team is built for a successful trip to State College in late Fall with a rushing attack that is averaging 199.3 yards a game and a defense that is giving-up just 18.1 points a game.
Penn State’s only setback of the year was a 27-11 loss to Alabama in Week 2 as a 10-point home underdog. It is 7-1 SU (2-6 ATS) and 4-0 SU in the Big Ten. With Nebraska, Ohio State, and Wisconsin left on the schedule, the Lions could get caught looking past this game.
The Fighting Illini are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games as an underdog, while Penn State is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games as a favorite. Illinois is also 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings overall and 4-0 ATS in its last four trips to Happy Valley. The road team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings.
The Pick: Illinois 17 Penn State 16
No. 25 West Virginia Mountaineers (-7) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
West Virginia is coming off a stinging 49-23 loss to Syracuse as a 14-point road favorite and cannot afford anymore losses at 5-2 SU (3-4 ATS) if it wants to stay in the national rankings. While the Mountaineers’ defense has been suspect at times this season, the offense keeps churning along with an average of 38.3 points a game.
Rutgers is off to a solid 5-2 start as well both SU and ATS. As a team that was picked to finish near the bottom of the conference, the Scarlet Knights have already recorded upset wins over Syracuse and Pitt. The question is can their offense, which is only averaging 28 points a game, keep up with the high-powered Mountaineers, which right now is still the class of the Big East.
West Virginia has beaten Rutgers 16 straight times SU, which is the longest winning streak for one team over another in Big East history. To make matters even worse for the Scarlet Knights, the road team is 5-0-1 ATS in the last six meetings and the Mountaineers are 4-1 in their last five trips to Piscataway.
The Pick: West Virginia 28 Rutgers 20
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.