NCAA Football Week 9 ATS Picks: Spooky Halloween Picks

Last week was a little sobering. My editor assures me .500 isn’t an embarrassment, though, and I picked Florida State correctly, which is all that matters to me.

Alabama isn’t playing football this weekend, which is a relief.

ATS Record (2017): 29-22

Friday, October 26

Stanford (-23) at Oregon State, 9:00 PM ET

Oregon State is trash, and this is the Year of the Aggressive Blowout. More specifically, Oregon State’s defense might be the worst unit in the nation, their coach gave up $12 million mid-season to get away from it, and Stanford’s Bryce Love is trying to win a Heisman. It’s possible that he runs a quarter mile in this game.

Try to imagine this Beaver defense stopping best power-running attack in recent memory. It doesn’t work.

My pick: Stanford (-23) to cover.

Saturday, October 27

Rutgers at Michigan (-24), Noon ET

I’m about to say something I’m not entirely comfortable with, so bear with me.

Rutgers isn’t that bad, y’all. Michigan whooped them 78-0 nothing last year, but that’s only because a steakhouse in Ann Arbor was offering a deal based on Michigan’s margin of victory, one they sort of welched on. Jim Harbaugh won’t be fooled again. The Scarlet Knights are 3-4 on the year and 2-2 in Big Ten play with wins over (admittedly terrible) Illinois and (not-that-terrible) Purdue.

Also: Michigan hasn’t recorded a 24-point win this year. The closest they came was 36-14 over Cincinnati back when Wilton Speight was still healthy. With John O’Korn under centre, they’ve been hapless on offense. Rutgers is surprisingly stout on defense, maybe one of the top 40 or so programs in the country, and while they won’t be able to score, Michigan won’t be able to run up a huge lead either. Don’t go chasing a straight-up upset, but this spread is a little silly.

My pick: Rutgers (+24) to cover.

Oklahoma State (-7.5) at West Virginia, Noon ET

As much as I love Will Grier, I’ll lay 7.5 points for Oklahoma State against West Virginia’s defense any day. This is a team that gave up 34 points to Kansas and snuck out of Waco last weekend with a 38-36 win over winless Baylor. Sure, Oklahoma State is coming off a scare against Texas (13-10 in OT), but I’d like to remind you that Texas’ defense is a nightmare we’re all trying to wake up from. I haven’t seen IT, but I’ve heard it’s about Malik Jefferson and something to do with balloons.

I’m still sold on Oklahoma State as one of the best teams in the country. As long as Mason Rudolph and James Washington are healthy, I’m comfortable picking them.

My pick: Oklahoma State (-7.5) to cover.

TCU (-6.5) at Iowa State, 3:30 PM ET

Are you scared of Iowa State? I’m scared of Iowa State. They dragged Oklahoma into it, did ugly things to Kansas, and almost got the better of Texas and Iowa. Spoooooky Iowa State.

I’m more scared of TCU, one of the very few truly complete teams in college football. They can run the ball, they can pass the ball, and they can stop just about anyone from doing either. They did something truly horrendous to Kansas State, resulting in the ugliest box score we’ve seen since Alabama/Vanderbilt. I’ll take a minute while you go review that graveyard. Respect for the dead, and all.

My pick: My underdog playoff pick TCU (-6.5) to cover.

Photo: Joel Dinda (CC License)

Michigan State (-1.5) at Northwestern, 3:30 PM ET

Michigan State gets no respect. The Big Ten East leader (Really! Look it up!) is only favored by 1.5 points on the road against a replacement-level journalism school. Their only loss is to sneaky playoff hopeful Notre Dame, a team I largely panned as trash at the beginning of the year but now look like the real deal. Northwestern lost to Duke, and badly. I get that it was a road game and everything, but so was Sparty’s win over Michigan.

Where do these lines come from?

My pick: Michigan State (-1.5) to cover.

Florida State (-3) at Boston College, 8:00 PM ET

This line started at eight points and shrunk to three overnight. Steve Addazio’s suddenly explosive offense put up 41 points on Virginia and 45 on Louisville and is ready to torch Florida State’s porous defense.

Weird to read, weirder to type.

Still, Boston College has looked fantastic recently, while Florida State is in full panic mode. This could be a big win for BC. If you blindfolded yourself to the name brands, you might have the Eagles as the pick here, as crazy as it seems.

My pick: I’ll embrace the crazy. Give me the points and Boston College (+3).

Geoff Johnson

MTS co-founder Geoff Johnson is a lifelong Mets fan, something he can't do anything about. He has a great track record when it comes to wagering on baseball – largely because he's more than willing to bet against the Mets. His career profits are impressive, but not quite as good as his handsome friend Frank Lorenzo. He wishes he hadn't let Frank write his profile.