Spread picks for every game in 2018's college football Week 7


On Saturday, Georgia’s season begins. Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs, ranked second in the AP poll and third in S&P+, have cruised through the first half of 2018, handling a couple of semi-challenging road games (at South Carolina and at Missouri) with relative ease and winning their first six games by an average of 43-13. Their strength of schedule ranking so far, per S&P+: 75th.

That begins to change this weekend. The Dawgs’ next four opponents — LSU, Florida, Kentucky, and Auburn — are all ranked between 14th and 24th in S&P+, and only one (AU) comes to Athens. Georgia is a projected favorite in all four games, but S&P+ gives the Dawgs only a 29 percent chance of winning all four.

LSU and Georgia don’t play often, unfortunately, but when they do, it’s typically memorable. Of their 10 meetings in the last 20 years, three have come in the SEC title game, and five have been decided by a touchdown or less. S&P+ says UGA by nine, but the physical Tigers probably won’t go down without a tussle.

Below are FBS picks and projections using the S&P+ projections, listed in full for all 130 FBS teams here. See the bottom of the post for more detail about these.

The spread (listed in parentheses) is shown next to S&P+’s pick for each game. The team in bold is projected to beat the spread. (At most books, there is no listed spread for FCS games.) When S&P+ predicts a tie or a push (a tie with Vegas, basically), I list the pick on the side S&P+ would pick if teams could score in decimals.

This document breaks games (and S&P+’s season performance to date) out into their decimal glory. This year, I am including and monitoring total (over/under) picks as well.


NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Oklahoma State

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

  • No. 23 USF (-7) 34, Tulsa 21 (Oct. 12, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • Appalachian State (-11) 40, Arkansas State 22 — Appalachian State won, 35-9
  • Georgia Southern 37, Texas State (-18) 20 (Oct. 11, 7:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • San Diego State (-11) 31, Air Force 16 (Oct. 12, 9:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • TCU 32, Texas Tech (+7) 31 (Oct. 11, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN)
  • Utah 32, Arizona (+13.5) 21 (Oct. 12, 10:00 PM ET, ESPN)

Texas Tech is the key to chaos in the Big 12 race, but the Red Raiders will probably need to pull a slight upset on Thursday night to have a chance at something wild.


NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

  • No. 2 Georgia (-7.5) 34, No. 13 LSU 25 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
  • No. 7 Washington (-3) 34, No. 17 Oregon 27 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, ABC/ESPN2)
  • No. 12 Michigan (-8.5) 35, No. 15 Wisconsin 25 (Oct. 13, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)

What has Michigan learned since the season-opening defeat at Notre Dame? We’ll find out quite a bit on Saturday night.


NCAA Football: Northwestern at Michigan State

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

  • No. 1 Alabama 44, Missouri (+28.5) 25 (Oct. 13, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 3 Ohio State 39, Minnesota (+30) 16 (Oct. 13, 12:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • No. 5 Notre Dame (-21) 40, Pittsburgh 18 (Oct. 13, 2:30 PM ET, NBC)
  • No. 6 West Virginia (-6.5) 35, Iowa State 26 (Oct. 13, 7:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • No. 8 Penn State (-13.5) 36, Michigan State 21 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, BTN)
  • No. 9 Texas 37, Baylor (+14) 27 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 10 UCF (-4.5) 37, Memphis 31 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, ABC/ESPN2)
  • No. 14 Florida (-7) 34, Vanderbilt 20 (Oct. 13, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 16 Miami 30, Virginia (+6.5) 25 (Oct. 13, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • USC 31, No. 19 Colorado (+7) 27 (Oct. 13, 10:30 PM ET, FS1)
  • No. 21 Auburn 34, Tennessee (+15) 20 (Oct. 13, 12:00 PM ET, SECN)
  • No. 22 Texas A&M (-2.5) 30, South Carolina 24 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, SECN)

Michigan State has been entirely underwhelming this season … but it’s really hard to bet against the Spartans giving Penn State, Michigan, or Ohio State a game, isn’t it?


NCAA Football: Washington at UCLA

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

  • Boston College (-13.5) 36, Louisville 21 (Oct. 13, 12:30 PM ET, ACCN)
  • California (-7) 29, UCLA 18 (Oct. 13, 7:00 PM ET, Pac-12)
  • Duke (+3) 32, Georgia Tech 31 (Oct. 13, 12:20 PM ET, ACCN)
  • Iowa 27, Indiana (+5.5) 22 (Oct. 13, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Maryland 34, Rutgers (+25.5) 17 (Oct. 13, 12:00 PM ET, BTN)
  • Northwestern (-4.5) 30, Nebraska 24 (Oct. 13, 12:00 PM ET, ABC)
  • Oklahoma State (-7) 40, Kansas State 23 (Oct. 13, 12:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Ole Miss 37, Arkansas (+7) 31 (Oct. 13, 7:30 PM ET, SECN)
  • Purdue 37, Illinois (+10.5) 28 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, FS1)
  • Virginia Tech (-6) 34, North Carolina 24 (Oct. 13, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU)

Was last Saturday’s solid showing against Washington the start of some UCLA momentum? Just a one-off?


NCAA Football: Navy at Air Force

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

  • Army 38, San Jose State (+15) 24 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Ball State (+3) 23, Central Michigan 22 (Oct. 13, 3:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Boise State 35, Nevada (+17) 23 (Oct. 13, 10:30 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Buffalo (-12) 35, Akron 16 (Oct. 13, 12:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • BYU 32, Hawaii (+11.5) 29 (Oct. 13, 10:15 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Coastal Carolina (-6.5) 42, UL-Monroe 31 (Oct. 13, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Eastern Michigan (+1.5) 34, Toledo 33 (Oct. 13, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Florida International (-2.5) 33, Middle Tennessee 29 (Oct. 13, 7:30 PM ET, beIN)
  • Fresno State (-18) 35, Wyoming 14 (Oct. 13, 10:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Houston (-16) 39, East Carolina 19 (Oct. 13, 7:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Louisiana Tech 32, UTSA (+11.5) 20 (Oct. 13, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN+) — Actual projected score: Louisiana Tech 31.7, UTSA 20.4
  • Marshall (-3.5) 33, Old Dominion 25 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, Stadium)
  • Miami (Ohio) (-11) 38, Kent State 23 (Oct. 13, 2:30 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • New Mexico (pick ‘em) 37, Colorado State 30 (Oct. 13, 4:00 PM ET, MWC Video)
  • North Texas 29, Southern Miss (+9) 20 (Oct. 13, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN3) — Actual projected score: UNT 29.0, USM 20.1
  • Northern Illinois (-4) 32, Ohio 27 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Temple (-7) 34, Navy 25 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Troy (-9.5) 41, Liberty 30 (Oct. 13, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • UAB (-16.5) 40, Rice 16 (Oct. 13, 1:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • UL-Lafayette (-8.5) 37, New Mexico State 28 (Oct. 13, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Utah State 43, UNLV (+27.5) 19 (Oct. 13, 4:00 PM ET, Facebook)
  • Western Kentucky (-7.5) 29, Charlotte 20 (Oct. 13, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Western Michigan (-15) 46, Bowling Green 27 (Oct. 13, 3:00 PM ET, ESPN+)

Navy’s season is teetering after losses to SMU and Air Force. S&P+ projects the 2-3 Midshipmen as a favorite in just one more game this year and gives them just a 12 percent chance of reaching bowl eligibility. They need to beat Temple at home if those odds are to shift upward.

  • South Alabama 31, Alabama State 2 (Oct. 13, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN3)

S&P+ gives the 1-5 Jags a 5 percent chance of catching fire and surging to bowl eligibility. Let’s just say those odds shrink to zero if they lose this one.


Each year, I post weekly S&P+ picks as a way of affirming the ratings’ validity. I use my S&P+ system as a complement to most of my analysis, and the picks are a way of showing it generally knows what it’s talking about.

S&P+ tends to hit between 50 (meh) and 54 percent (great) against the spread from year to year. It isn’t always the single best performer, but it holds its own.

And beyond picks, it goes deeper than any other set of college football analytics on the market. You can go into granular detail regarding team strengths and weaknesses in a way that no other set of ratings allows. (See the annual team statistical profiles as proof.)



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