Free College Football Picks for Saturday with Handicapping and Analysis
by CarbonSports - 11/14/2014
Pick #1: Mississippi State +8.5
Mississippi State is one of two remaining undefeated teams in College Football and currently hold the #1 ranking in the country. They've passed every brutal test playing in the SEC West has offered them so far, but there game @ #4 Alabama this week will be the toughest of them all. You simply have to look at the spread as the #4 team is favored by 8.5 points over an undefeated, #1 team.
Yet, while home field advantage in a game like this does mean something and Alabama is a top tier team, this spread is too inflated in my opinion. Books know that both teams will attract attention given their ranking and status, but Alabama will always take the cake in that regard. Odds makers knew they couldn't put this line below the key number of "7" without a flood of Crimson Tide money coming in as even after they opened it up at -7, the number shot up to 8.5 in a hurry.
I'll admit, Alabama has been much better at home than on the road this year as the last time they played here they rolled over Texas A&M 59-0. They've also won beat Florida (42-21), Southern Miss (52-12) and Florida Atlantic (41-0) on their own field this season, so books had to open up this spread around the touchdown mark.
Yet, Mississippi State has to be insulted by a spread like this and the fact that pundits across all the major media outlets this week will be writing them off in this game. The Bulldogs have gone through this entire season surprising everyone as they climbed the rankings and the upperclassmen on this team have to be sick and tired of losing to Alabama year after year. Mississippi State hasn't beaten Alabama since 2007 when they were small home underdogs and since then they have scored a grand total of 41 points in six games against Alabama. The Bulldogs recognize that this is there year to make something special happen and with a 2-0 ATS mark (2-0 SU too) as underdogs this year, winning outright in Tuscaloosa isn't out of the question.
Alabama is 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games overall and 0-5-1 ATS after allowing less than 170 yards through the air last time out. Combine that with Mississippi State's 8-2 ATS mark in their last 10 against a winning team and a 4-1 ATS run on the road and this is just too many points to pass up here.
Sure, Alabama may get the outright win and flip-flop in the rankings with the Bulldogs, but it won't be nearly as easy as this spread suggests with this game coming down to the wire.
Pick #2: Wisconsin -6
While Alabama might be a lower ranked favorite that I'm going against this week, that's not the case with Wisconsin as they host a Nebraska team they are fighting with for 1st in the Big 10 West division. Those two programs are fighting it out with Minnesota for the right to play in the Big 10 Championship as the loser of this one is all but eliminated.
Wisconsin and Nebraska love to run the ball, but Nebraska's big weapon Ameer Abdullah is nursing a sprained MCL in his knee right now and may not even suit up. Even if he does play, he'll be far from 100% and that's a huge concern for the Cornhuskers.
The last time these two teams played was back in the 2012 Big 10 Championship game and that game was ugly for Nebraska from the outset. Wisconsin won that game 70-31 as everything was working offensively for the Badgers and while I doubt we see that kind of scoring in this meeting, Wisconsin does have a decided edge offensively.
Wisconsin is 10-4-1 ATS when coming off a win and 4-0 ATS in their lat four at home against a team with a winning record on the road. The Badgers are also 228-1 ATS after covering the spread the week before, and with Wisconsin's defense keyed up to stop a banged up Abdullah and Nebraska's running attack, the Cornhuskers are going to have to play very well in an out-of-character fashion to even keep this one close.
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