College Football Picks - Free Weekly ATS Predictions
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Nebraska at 5-7 is the poster child for why there are just too many postseason bowl games. The Bruins had some disappointing losses this season, but they still earned their way into this game. Look for UCLA to make a statement with a SU win that easily covers the current 6.5-point spread.
Both of these teams know how to score points and they also know how to give them up in bunches. By the time this one is over it could look more like a basketball score between the two so I am going with the OVER 67.5 as my "best bet" pick.
I would have to go with the Aztecs SU as the better overall team in this matchup which makes the point and a half on the current spread a gift. San Diego State's defense should be able to keep the Bearcats' aerial attack grounded and the Aztecs should be able to put some points on the board when they have the ball.
This matchup should be one of the more entertaining bowl games in the early part of the schedule. Both teams have quarterbacks that know how to move the ball down field through the air and that should translate to quite a few points on the scoreboard. Picking a side will be tight, so I am going with the OVER 62.5 as my "best bet" play in this game.
This matchup boils down to the Eagles' ability to move the ball on the ground against the Falcons' ability to once again take to the air to put points on the board. This game could easily turn into a wild shootout on the scoreboard, but in the end I am going with Bowling Green to win and cover the seven-point spread.
This should be a good battle between two teams that are somewhat familiar with one another. I like a play on the UNDER 50.5 in this game, but my "best bet" pick is to lay the point and a half and go with the Owls as the better overall team.
South Florida will have the home field advantage in this matchup given where the game is being played, but I have to go with the Hilltoppers both SU and ATS as my "best bet" play. The Bulls are a good team on both sides of the ball, but I cannot see them keeping pace on the scoreboard against Western Kentucky.
These are two teams that remain extremely familiar with one another, but the edge in this matchup goes to BYU in my book. It comes in with the hotter hand with a nice run down the stretch and I have to wonder just how motivated Utah will be given the high expectation level it had for this season following that 6-0 start. Take the three points and the Cougars in this one.
The Spartans really proved something to me in their game against the Buckeyes gutting out the 17-14 win on the road with a back-up QB, handing the Buckeyes their first loss in 23 games. They got it done on the ground amassing 203 rushing yards with Ohio State knowing that with back-up QB Tyler O'Connor that this would be a run first offense. The Hawkeyes run defense looked incredible in the early season holding all but North Texas (who faced backups in the 2nd half) to 86 or fewer yards in their first seven games. They've fallen quite a bit since then allowing 160.2 rushing yards per game in their next five. Michigan State's Run D if anything came on. Iowa allowed an average of 97.9 rushing yards per game overall but 123 yards versus the Big Ten while facing only three of top five Big Ten rushing teams. Michigan State 118.2 rushing yards per game overall and 117.9 against the conference facing three of the top five including holding the number one rushing offense of Ohio State to 186 yards BELOW their Big Ten average. Through the air Spartans' QB Connor Cook has been far superior to the Hawkeyes CJ Beathard in Big Ten play, so for Iowa to win this game they'll have to be the superior running team and on paper they're not.
Clemson has gotten the best of this matchup in recent years, but in the past North Carolina was not as nearly as good as it is this season. This should set the stage for a fantastic showdown in this year's ACC title game and while I still like the Tigers coming out on top SU, I am going to take the Tar Heels and the 5.5 points as my "best bet" pick in this one.
Alabama is probably playing its best ball of the season, while the Gators' offense was completely exposed in that loss to Florida State. Laying 17 points in any conference title game comes with some risk, but I think the Tide will try and make a strong statement that they belong in this season's College Football Playoff with a convincing victory this Saturday that covers the large spread.
Here's where I'm at on this game. The TCU offensive line is banged up missing their starting center Joey Hunt and starting LG Jamelle Naff and they'll be facing a Baylor defense that has been stepping it up in the pass rush with nine sacks in their last two games. If TCU QB is available for this game, it would very unlikely that he'd be anywhere near 100% on that ankle making him one dimensional. If Boykin doesn't go Bram Kohlhausen is likely to get the start and while he rallied the troops to get within one, but I believe it was Sooners falling asleep at the wheel after taking a 30-13 lead in the third quarter. The Bears have their own issues on offense with their first and second string QBs out. Third stringer Chris Johnson will get the start at QB and while he did okay in relief last week going 5 of 10 for two TD's and one INT I expect Baylor to heavily weighted to the run this week. With the status of Boykin up in the air I'm going to pass on a spread play and lay down on the total.
In a showdown between two bitter rivals that have been known for explosive offenses over the years, this season's clash is going to come down to which defense plays closest to its ability. I think both units will get the job done on Saturday in a game that stays UNDER the current 43.5-point total line.
Texas has gotten the best of it in this rivalry over the past few years, but the Red Raiders are in perfect position to reverse their losing trend in this series. This game could turn into a wild one with a possible play on the OVER depending on how high it is set, but as far as picking a side, stick with the Red Raiders this time round with a SU win.
The Wolverines exploded for 97 points in their last two games, but when you consider the competition's defense it doesn't impress and remember that 14 of the 48 points against Indiana came in double overtime. Michigan QB Jake Rudduck passed for 777 yards in the two matches, but he was facing the 128th ranked pass defense of the Hoosiers and the 119th of the Scarlett Knights. This week they'll face the No. 2 ranked pass defense of the Nittany Lions so expect Ruddock to find the coverage a lot tighter in this match. The Run defense is Penn State's weakness allowing large yardage to Army 261, Ohio State 315, Maryland 241 and Northwestern 227, but the Wolverines haven't proved that they can consistently run the ball ranking 67th with 168.8 yards per game.
The Penn St. offense averages a poor 25.2 points per game, but it is on the improve scoring 31 against Maryland at home and 39 against Illinois and 21 on the road against a very tough Northwestern team at home. Michigan's defense in most statistical categories ranks higher that Penn State's, but has really dropped off from their early season dominance. After five game span of holding opponents to an average of 150.2 total yards per game the Wolverines' defense has allowed an average of 399.7 in their last four games. The Nittany Lions have yet to lose at home this season and I believe that streak will continue this week. That said, I'll take the 3.5 points in what should be a close match.
The Buckeyes are 10-0 and the Spartans are 9-1 with the loss being by just one point. There doesn't appear to be much separating the two clubs at first glance so with a point spread of nearly two touchdowns the public is betting the underdog with two fists. I'll be going the other way here laying the big number and here's why. Michigan State just hasn't played well on the road this season. Sure they're 3-1 as a visitor, but an opening week victory over a MAC team, a last minute win over Rutgers, a fluke win on 38 yard fumble return for a TD over Michigan as time expired and a 1-point loss to Nebraska is far from impressive. The Buckeyes are 6-0 at home this season winning by an average of 22 points will all but one by 14 or more points.
I went big on North Carolina last Saturday as one of my "best bet" picks and I am riding the Tar Heels again in this matchup. They have their sights set on Clemson in that ACC title game, but they will not get caught looking past the Hokies this Saturday in Blacksburg.
This is a game that will probably be won by the team that makes the fewest mistakes. East Carolina is clearly the better half of this matchup and it should win this game SU, but I do not trust the Pirates to cover a 15-point spread on the road.
I mentioned last week how poor the Duke defense is when facing a team with a balanced attack and that rung true as they found themselves on the wrong side of a 66-31 spanking. They meet another team with a balanced offense this week and while I don't think we'll see the same type of margin I do believe that the Panthers can win this game. The points are a bonus.
The Trojans have been going deep into the depth chart trying to find someone who can play center having lost their first string C Max Tuerk for the season in the Washington game and a very solid Toa Lobendahn who was moved from a starting guard to center to replace Tuerk in The Utah game. Their offense just hasn't looked the same in their two matches since and they certainly weren't facing top level defenses with California ranking 80th and Arizona 103rd in scoring defense winning by 8 and 6 points. This isn't a team that should be favored by 16.5 points on the road. The weather also might be a problem for USC with temperatures in the low 30's expected at kickoff.