The fifth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the 15th-ranked Northwestern Wildcats in a huge nationally-televised matchup that could potentially have BCS bowl game implications for both teams.
This prime time showdown highlights this expert trifecta of free picks from the nation’s No.1 handicapper, but that’s not all you’re going to get.
In addition to a payday-striking pick on the aforementioned matchup, collegiate gridiron gamblers will also get another pair of free picks as unranked Notre Dame hosts No. 24 Arizona State and No. 18 Washington hosts No. 5 Stanford.
Let’s get started with the Fighting Irish in South Bend.
No. 24 Arizona State (-6) at Notre Dame
The Arizona State Sun Devils (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) will look to build on their big win from a week ago while handing the reeling Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-2 SU, 0-4-1 ATS) another dismal loss when they square off in this Week 6 matchup.
The Sun Devils looked absolutely phenomenal in spanking the USC Trojans 62-41 a week ago as junior quarterback Taylor Kelly continued his assault on the college football passing leader boards.
Kelly torched Southern Cal to the tune of 23 for 34 passing for 351 yards and three TD passes with just one interception. The strong-armed signal-caller is one of just three collegiate quarterbacks to throw for 300 yards in each of his team’s games this season.
"I think he is still learning and I think he is still getting better," Sun Devils’ head coach Todd Graham said of his young charge. "There were some things we did last week that we want to focus on. One of the big things was his ability to hurt people with his legs."
Clearly, the Sun Devils have some motivation as they try to become the first team in NCAA history to beat the Trojans and Fighting Irish in consecutive weeks. Stopping the Sun Devils and putting points on the board could be problematic for a Notre Dame team that has seen quarterback Tommy Rees struggle mightily in recent outings.
Rees completed just 9 of 24 passes fro 104 yards with three interceptions in Norte Dame’s blowout loss last week. Over his last two games overall, Rees is just 23 of 58 for 246 yards with three TD passes and three picks.
Analysis: After watching Notre Dame get manhandled in its 35-21 home loss against Oklahoma, I can’t bring myself to advise anyone to back the Fighting Irish in this contest.
Arizona State is 5-2 ATS in its L/7 games while Notre Dame has gone 0-3-1 ATS in its last four games against teams with a winning record and an even more disturbing 0-5-1 ATS in its last six games overall.
The Fighting Irish need another quarterback because Tommy Rees is not the answer!
The Pick: Arizona State -6 Points
No.3 Ohio State (-5.5) at No. 15 Northwestern
The Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) and Northwestern Wildcats (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) will both get their stiffest tests of the season when they square off in this Top 25 pairing.
Ohio State looked very good in handling Wisconsin 31-24 the last time out despite playing out as a Push against the point spread.
Northwestern also cruised in its 35-21 win over Maine, though they never came close to covering the spread as a huge 28-point favorite.
Ohio State has won 28 of the last 29 meetings in this series and is riding a national-best 17-game winning streak, but the Wildcats don’t sound perturbed.
"This is why you come to play Big Ten football and Division I football," defensive lineman Tyler Scott said. "This where we want our program to be at — to have this hype for this game."
Analysis: One of the main things bothering me about this matchup is that Northwestern has become a top 25 team – without having really beaten anyone good. The Wildcats’ win over Maine was very telling in my mind as a team of Maine’s caliber should never have been within shouting distance of a big program like Northwestern’s.
I’m also not very impressed with their Week 4 win over Western Michigan and I don’t think they’re going to be able to stop the powerful Buckeyes, a legitimate national title contender, or their multi-faceted quarterback Braxton Miller.
Even though the Wildcats have a whopping 10 interceptions through four games, they also rank just 119th against the pass (307.5 ypg)
The Favorite in this series is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings and the Buckeyes are a near-perfect 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight games following an SU win.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are better on both sides of the ball and will walk away victorious from this contest while covering the spread for college football gamblers everywhere.
The Pick: Ohio State -5.5 Points
No. 18 Washington at No. 5 Stanford (-7.5)
The Washington Huskies (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) and Stanford Cardinal (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) will both look to remain undefeated in this intriguing matchup of offense versus defense.
Washington is playing out of its collective mind on defense, allowing just 10.8 points per game while putting up an impressive 39.8 per contest themselves.
The Huskies shut down Arizona in its 31-13 home win in Week 5 to cover the spread as 8-point home favorites. Washington has held three of its five opponents this season to 13 points or less.
Stanford used its high-powered offense to lay a huge, 55-17 smackdown on Washington State the last time out while cashing in as a 9-point home favorite to even its ATS record at 2-2.The Cardinal have not scored fewer than 34 points in any of their last four games.
Analysis: I really like the Stanford Cardinal to hold down the fort here and get a huge home win that keeps them in national title contention for another week at the very least. Stanford is playing at home and that’s a huge fact in college football.
More importantly, the Cardinal are 4-1 SU and ATS in its last five games against Washington. I like Stanford to win this contest, but something tells me it’s going to be a classic field goal game for the winner.
Back the Washington Huskies as a road dog in this one!
The Pick: Washington +7.5 Points