Pick Six: Expecting points in Happy Valley, and luck to be on the side of the Irish
Trust the Process as Tom Fornelli leads you toward his best bets for Week 8 of the season
Last weekend was nuts. It was a week that saw seven ranked teams lose, including four teams that were ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll. It was just carnage every direction you looked, and Pick Six couldn't escape unscathed.
I only went 3-3 last week, though considering how strange things got across the country, I suppose I should be thrilled to break even.
But I'm not, and I plan to rectify the situation right now.
Games of the Week
No. 18 Michigan at No. 2 Penn State (Over 44.5): Let me start right off by saying I hate the point spread in this game, which is why I'm avoiding it entirely. My gut told me to lay the points with Penn State, but my brain is reminding me Michigan won this game by 39 points last season, so a 49-point swing in one season is a bit drastic.
And that's why I'm going with the total instead. To be blunt, while there isn't a lot about this game I love from a gambling perspective, that number just seems a little too low and a possible overreaction to Michigan's offensive struggles. It only scored 10 points against Michigan State in a monsoon when it turned the ball over five times, but in its other five games, its averaging 30.6 points. So I believe this game will be higher scoring than many want to believe, and history suggests I'm right, as four of the last five meetings between these two have gone over. Furthermore, the last four times they played in Happy Valley the game went over. So let's go over again! Penn State 30, Michigan 21
No. 13 Notre Dame (-3.5) vs. No. 11 USC: How good is Notre Dame? It's a question I've wrestled with quite a bit this year. Sure, it hung with Georgia, and it beat Michigan State by 20, but I don't think the Spartans are anything special. As for Notre Dame's other wins, they've come against Temple, Boston College, Miami (Ohio) and North Carolina. Hey, good for the Irish.
Of course, I have the same kind of doubts about the Trojans, so at least this game will give me a better idea of how good either one is.
As for picking the game, I believe Notre Dame's downfall this season will be that its so one-dimensional on offense, but I don't think it will happen this week because USC's rush defense hasn't been excellent. Like Stanford before it, I believe the Irish will be able to run on the Trojans, and I don't trust turnover-prone Sam Darnold against an opportunistic Irish defense.
Furthermore, if it's trends you want, USC is 0-5 ATS in its last five games and 1-4 ATS in its last five games against a team above .500. It's also 3-9 ATS in its last 12 road games. Then there's Notre Dame, which has covered in four straight and is 4-1 ATS in its last five games against teams above .500. Notre Dame 31, USC 24
Lock of the Week
No. 20 UCF (-7.5) at Navy: I've reached the point where I'm just going to ride the UCF train until it gives me a reason not to. The Knights have been covering machines this season. Not only are they undefeated against the number this season, but they're covering by an average of 20 points per game. So even if Navy is a good team, and it's a pain in the butt to prepare for, the Knights haven't given me a reason to believe they won't win this easily. UCF 45, Navy 27
Underdog of the Week
Texas (+7) vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State: The Longhorns covered against Oklahoma last week, and I think they're going to cover again this week. Sure, I worry about a possible letdown after a rivalry game, but sometimes you just have to rely on the trends. I mean, when Tom Herman teams have covered 12 straight as an underdog since 2012, it's hard to ignore that. Herman's teams play up to their competition, and I think we'll see it again on Saturday. Oklahoma State 34, Texas 31
Over of the Week
Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama (Over 50.5): Listen, I know I'm relying on Alabama here more than anything. I need the Crimson Death Machine to reach the end zone and reach it often because I don't think Tennessee's going to score much, if at all. Of course, I don't believe this Tennessee defense is going to be able to slow down Alabama at all, either, and the Tide is averaging 48.3 points per game against SEC teams. So a field goal from Tennessee would help, but I don't think it'll be necessary. Alabama 52, Tennessee 7
Under of the Week
Purdue at Rutgers (Under 47.5): Rutgers and Purdue have played three Big Ten games apiece. They are scoring 17.3 and 16.7 points per game respectively in those contests. That includes Rutgers scoring 35 points against Illinois last week, and Purdue putting up 31 against Minnesota. Purdue has the better offense in this game, but both teams have defenses that are good enough to slow the other down, and I don't foresee many fireworks in this one. Purdue 24, Rutgers 13
| ||Last Week||2017 Overall|
|Games of the week||1-1||9-5|
|Lock of the week||0-1||3-4|
|Underdog of the week||1-0||4-3|
|Over of the week||0-1||3-4|
|Under of the week||1-0||5-2|
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