Let’s get back on the right track.
There were a few bad beats, but I can’t describe my picks as anything other than terrible last week. It was my first losing week of the season. Despite that, I gave myself a great cushion over the first four weeks and am still six games over .500 and am hitting at 58%.
Let’s get back to winning money with these plays for Week 6.
Last week: 2-6
(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)
No. 8 Tennessee at No. 25 LSU
Time: Noon | TV: ESPN | Line: UT -3 | Total: 64.5
This is a good spot for Tennessee. Coming off a bye, the Vols and their high-powered offense should relish the chance to go into Tiger Stadium and come out with a win. Hendon Hooker has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and he’ll put a ton of pressure on this LSU defense with his arm and legs.
LSU was lucky to escape Auburn with a win last weekend. LSU QB Jayden Daniels hurt his knee in that game but is expected to play in this one. LSU’s offensive line has really struggled and a major part of LSU’s success has been Daniels ability to escape the pocket and scramble for big gains. If his running ability is hampered at all, that’s bad news for LSU.
If this was a night game I’d be much more hesitant to back the short road favorite in Baton Rouge, but I’m taking the team with the better — and healthier — quarterback.
Pick: Tennessee -3
No. 11 Utah at No. 18 UCLA
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: Fox | Line: Utah -4.5 | Total: 64.5
I think Utah is a bit overrated. Since that Week 1 loss at Florida, the Utes have cruised in four straight wins. But the Utes have not been as dominant as usual in the trenches on either side of the ball. The running backs in particular haven’t been great. Additionally, Utah hasn’t had much of a downfield passing attack and star tight end Brant Kuithe is out for the season.
I think this sets up well for UCLA, even after such a big win last week over Washington. Zach Charbonnet is the best running back the Utes have seen all year and Dorian Thompson-Robinson can give the Utah defense a lot of issues in the running game just like Florida’s Anthony Richardson did earlier in the year. I’ll take the Bruins getting points at home.
Pick: UCLA +4.5
Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: ACCN | Line: Pitt -14.5 | Total: 41.5
Virginia Tech is up there with Colorado and Iowa among the worst offenses in the Power Five. The Hokies are so bad they only scored 10 points against North Carolina, a team that gave up 45 points and nearly 600 yards to Notre Dame the previous week. The Hokies are going to struggle against a solid Pitt defense.
Pitt’s offense is going to struggle, too. Virginia Tech has a solid defense and the Panthers just lost to Georgia Tech as a 21.5-point favorite. There’s no way I can trust Pitt to cover more than two touchdowns, so I’m going to take the under. I know it’s low.
Pitt’s offense is in a rut. Kedon Slovis has struggled behind an overrated offensive line and with a group of receivers that just doesn’t seem to get open. There’s also the injury to Israel Abanikanda, Pitt’s best running back. Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry is the former defensive coordinator at Penn State, so he’s got experience playing against Pitt.
Pick: Under 41.5
No. 9 Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
Time: 4 p.m. | TV: SECN | Line: Ole Miss -17.5 | Total: 62
Coming off that big home win over Kentucky, it might be a little difficult for Ole Miss to come out with that same level of intensity on the road against Vanderbilt.
The back half of the schedule for the Rebels is brutal and that Kentucky game was really physical. I think Lane Kiffin is going to lean heavily on the running game and his defense here. Couple that with Vanderbilt playing at a slow pace offensively and I think this game goes under the total.
The under is 4-1 in Ole Miss’ last five games as a double-digit favorite. The Rebels are going to jump out to a lead and keep that clock moving in the second half.
Pick: Under 62
North Carolina at Miami
Time: 4 p.m. | TV: ESPN2 | Line: Miami -3.5 | Total: 66
North Carolina’s offense is legit. Even as a freshman, Drake Maye is already one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC. The Tar Heels can put up big points against a defense that got embarrassed by Middle Tennessee a few weeks ago.
At the same time, UNC’s defense is brutal. Just because the Heels limited Virginia Tech last week doesn’t mean their issues are all of a sudden fixed. Miami had a bye to get healthier and regroup after that horrific MTSU loss. Tyler Van Dyke is back in the starting lineup and has a great chance for a get-right performance after getting benched in his last outing. He torched UNC last year and should be able to have some success again.
Pick: Over 66
Washington State at No. 6 USC
Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: Fox | Line: USC -13 | Total: 66
USC looked like it was already in cruise control mode last week in the win over Arizona State. The Sun Devils already fired their head coach and are one of the worst teams in the Pac-12, yet they moved the ball without much issue against the Trojans, particularly in the first half. Caleb Williams was also a bit loose with the football at times and even threw his first interception of the season.
Washington State is a much better team than ASU. Cam Ward is a dynamic playmaker at quarterback and this defense gets in the backfield on a pretty frequent basis. This number just feels too big — especially with a big trip to Utah looming for USC. I’ll take the underdog.
Pick: Washington State +13
South Carolina at No. 13 Kentucky
Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: SECN | Line: UK -10 | Total: 49
Kentucky needs to bounce back after a heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss last week and has a favorable matchup with South Carolina visiting Lexington. I don’t trust this UK offense enough to lay double digits, but I do think this ends up being a pretty low-scoring game.
Kentucky’s offensive line has struggled in pass protection, but the Gamecocks are last in the SEC in sacks and rank near the bottom in tackles for loss. UK should be able to lean on the run game in this one with Chris Rodriguez back in the lineup. South Carolina, meanwhile, has struggled to throw even in recent games against lackluster competition. The run game isn’t much better either.
Six of the last seven in this series have gone under the total. Let’s do it again.
Pick: Under 49
Oregon State at Stanford
Time: 11 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Line: OSU -7 | Total: 56
Oregon State moved the ball well but was doomed by four turnovers (all interceptions) in its loss at Utah last week. The Beavers are back on the road this week but should face much less resistance against Stanford, a team that has lost 10 consecutive games against FBS teams, can’t stop the run and will be without its top cornerback, Kyu Kelly.
Stanford, back home after two tough road games, should have some offensive success too. The Cardinal have struggled keeping QB Tanner McKee upright, but Oregon State has only five sacks this year. Stanford needs to throw the ball to win, and I’m confident the Cardinal can put up enough points to make this a fairly high-scoring game.
There are some trends that support this pick, too. The over is 16-6 in Oregon State’s road games under coach Jonathan Smith. And in Stanford’s last 30 games as an underdog, the over is 20-8-2.
Pick: Over 56