Football

AP Top 25 against the spread: Will Kentucky finally earn believers in Las Vegas?

‘Big-time plays, and big-time games.’ Kentucky improves to 5-0.

University of Kentucky football celebrated Saturday's 24-10 win over South Carolina.
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University of Kentucky football celebrated Saturday's 24-10 win over South Carolina.

The Kentucky football team has risen to No. 13 in the nation with a 5-0 mark that includes wins over No. 22 Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

An undefeated record still hasn’t translated to much confidence in the Wildcats when it comes to Las Vegas. They are a six-point underdog for this Saturday’s 6 p.m. kickoff at Texas A&M (3-2, 1-1).

A week ago, Kentucky was just a 1-point favorite on its home field against South Carolina. The Wildcats had failed to cover their last eight games as a home favorite entering the game, but they handled the Gamecocks with a final score of 24-10.

Texas A&M has been a little hit and miss throughout the first five games, including a less than impressive 24-17 victory over Arkansas last week.

With junior running back Benny Snell Jr. leading the way, I see Kentucky again surpassing expectations.

My pick: Texas A&M doesn’t cover — Kentucky 31, Texas A&M 27.

11 a.m., Saturday — No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas (+34.5) — The Crimson Tide are dominating the competition, but they’re not making a habit of covering the spread. Nick Saban’s crew usually takes it easy on the opponent in the second half. My pick: Alabama doesn’t cover — Alabama 52, Arkansas 17.

11 a.m., Saturday — No. 19 Texas vs. No. 7 Oklahoma (-8.0) — The Sooners have gone from completely dominant to somewhat inconsistent. My pick: Sooners cover — Oklahoma 38, Texas 28.

11 a.m., Saturday — Kansas at No. 9 West Virginia (-28.0) — I feel good about the Mountaineers’ chances of covering on their home field. My pick: WVU covers — West Virginia 49, Kansas 17.

11 a.m., Saturday — Maryland at No. 15 Michigan (-17.5) — These two teams have had strange seasons so far. Maryland beat Texas and lost to Temple. Michigan throttled SMU and Nebraska, but struggled to win 20-17 at Northwestern last week. My pick: Wolverines cover — Michigan 38, Maryland 17.

11 a.m., Saturday — Northwestern at No 20 Michigan State (-11.5) — The Spartans have made a habit of winning in unimpressive fashion. My pick: Spartans don’t cover — Michigan State 24, Northwestern 20.

11:30 a.m., Saturday — Boston College at No. 23 North Carolina State (-4.5) — I’m feeling like this is a lock. My pick: Wolfpack cover — North Carolina State 31, Boston College 20.

2:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 4 Clemson at Wake Forest (+17.5) — It appears freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence will return on Saturday after leaving last week’s win over Syracuse with head and neck injuries. My pick: Tigers cover — Clemson 42, Wake Forest 17.

2:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 5 LSU at No. 22 Florida (+2.0) — Both Florida and LSU are trending in the right direction, making this possibly the most entertaining game of the weekend. My pick: LSU doesn’t cover — Florida 24, LSU 21.

2:30 p.m., Saturday — Florida State at No. 17 Miami (-12.5) — History says this game will be a tight one. My pick: Miami doesn’t cover — Miami 27, Florida State 21.

2:30 p.m., Saturday — Iowa State at No. 25 Oklahoma State (-10.5) — After catching a number of breaks last year, the ball isn’t bouncing Iowa State’s way this season. My pick: Cowboys cover — Oklahoma State 35, Iowa State 21.

3 p.m., Saturday — Arizona State at No. 21 Colorado (-2.5)My pick: Buffaloes cover — Colorado 28, Arizona State 20.

6 p.m., Saturday — SMU at No. 12 UCF (-24.0) — The Knights continue to surpass expectations each week. My pick: UCF covers — UCF 49, SMU 21.

6:30 p.m., Saturday — Vanderbilt at No. 2 Georgia (-27.0) — The Commodores had to fight like heck to beat Tennessee State last week. My pick: Georgia covers — Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 17.

6:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 8 Auburn at Mississippi State (+3.5) — Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has turned out to be a poor fit for Joe Moorhead’s scheme so far. A completion percentage of 49.1 won’t cut it. Mississippi State should be able to put a rush on Auburn QB Jarett Stidham, but that won’t matter much if the Bulldogs can’t get on the scoreboard. My pick: Auburn covers — Auburn 20, Mississippi State 13.

6:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 10 Washington at UCLA (+21.0) — This game is being played in primetime on FOX. Why? My pick: Huskies cover — Washington 45, UCLA 17.

6:30 p.m., Saturday — Nebraska at No. 16 Wisconsin (-20.5) — Again, Scott Frost doesn’t have the personnel necessary to win football games in the Big Ten. My pick: Badgers cover — Wisconsin 48, Nebraska 17.

7 p.m., Saturday — No. 6 Notre Dame at No. 24 Virginia Tech (+5.5) — Notre Dame appears to be for real while Virginia Tech may be smoke and mirrors. My pick: Irish cover — Notre Dame 31, Virginia Tech 24.

9:30 p.m., Saturday — Utah at No. 14 Stanford (-5.0) My pick: Cardinal cover — Stanford 30, Utah 13.

Other games

3 p.m., Saturday — Louisiana-Monroe at Ole Miss (-22.5) — ULM is talented enough to put a scare in the Rebels, but the Warhawks are trending quickly in the wrong direction. ULM stunned Southern Miss 21-20 in Hattiesburg and battled to a 35-27 loss to Troy. Last week, Georgia State thumped ULM 46-14. My pick: Ole Miss doesn’t cover — Ole Miss 38, ULM 24.

6 p.m., Saturday — UAB at Louisiana Tech (-9.0) — The Bulldogs (3-1) are suddenly the team to beat in the C-USA West after winning 29-27 at North Texas last week, but UAB can’t be taken for granted. My pick: Tech covers – La. Tech 31, UAB 21.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee.
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