Sports Betting

AP Top 25 against the spread: Ohio State-Penn State, Stanford-Irish lead a loaded slate

‘The guy is a model’ Franklin says of McSorley

Penn State football coach James Franklin talks about his man crush on quarterback Trace McSorley after the win over Kent State.
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Penn State football coach James Franklin talks about his man crush on quarterback Trace McSorley after the win over Kent State.

This Saturday’s slate of games has to rate as one of the best of the season with five games featuring a pair of Top 25 squads.

Aside from those contests, Florida-Mississippi State, South Carolina-Kentucky, Texas-Kansas State and Syracuse-Clemson also stand out as quality match-ups.

On a weekend full of gut checks, No. 1 Alabama (4-0) and No. 2 Georgia (4-0) should have it easy. The Crimson Tide host Louisiana-Lafayette and a struggling Tennessee squad travels to Athens.

The team best positioned for a letdown this week is No. 17 Kentucky, which stunned Mississippi State 28-7 on Saturday in Lexington. The Wildcats (4-0) play host to South Carolina (2-1) at 6:30 p.m.

I’m betting the Gamecocks kill Kentucky’s buzz for at least one Saturday.

Here’s how I see the this week’s games playing out:

7 p.m., Thursday — North Carolina at No. 16 Miami (-18.0) — A week full of great games starts out with what will probably be a dud. My pick: Miami covers — Miami 41, North Carolina 20.

11 a.m., Saturday — Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 1 Alabama (-49.5) — The Cajuns (1-2) are having a tough time of it under first-year coach Billy Napier. My pick: Bama covers — Alabama 56, ULL 3.

11 a.m., Saturday — Syracuse at No. 3 Clemson (-23.0) — The Orange are 4-0 against a relatively weak schedule. My pick: Clemson covers — Clemson 42, Syracuse 17.

11 a.m., Saturday — No. 12 West Virginia at No. 25 Texas Tech (+4.0) — It’s been a weird season for the Red Raiders, giving up 47 to Ole Miss in a loss and 49 to Houston in a win. On Saturday, they beat Oklahoma State 41-17. I don’t see the Tech defense keeping it up. My pick: WVU covers — West Virginia 49, Texas Tech 27.

11 a.m., Saturday — Central Michigan at No. 21 Michigan State (-28.5) — Neither team has been that impressive to start the season. My pick: Central Michigan covers — Michigan State 42, Central Michigan 14.

2:30 p.m., Saturday — Tennessee at No. 2 Georgia (-32.0) — The Volunteers (2-2) are headed in the wrong direction in a hurry after last week’s 47-21 drubbing by Florida. My pick: Bulldogs cover — Georgia 48, Tennessee 13.

2:30 p.m., Saturday — Baylor at No. 6 Oklahoma (-24.0) — The Sooners (4-0) looked like world beaters the first two weeks, but have suddenly come back down to earth in tight/competitive contests against Iowa State and Army. My pick: Sooners cover — Oklahoma 42, Baylor 17.

2:30 p.m., Saturday — Pittsburgh at No. 13 UCF (-15.0) My pick: UCF covers — UCF 45, Pittsburgh 28.

2:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 18 Texas at Kansas State (-9.0) — Kansas State (2-2) is apparently a mediocre football team at best. My pick: Longhorns cover — Texas 31, Kansas State 17.

3 p.m., Saturday — Southern Miss at No. 10 Auburn (-28.0) — The Auburn offense hasn’t been quite as potent as expected, but it’s hard to see Southern Miss (2-1) giving the Tigers a serious challenge on the road. The ULM defensive line won the battle up front in a 21-20 win at USM on Sept. 8 and the Tigers are much better in their front seven. My pick: USM covers — Auburn 45, Southern Miss 21.

The Southern Miss football team scored 40 points against Rice on Saturday, Here are some of the big plays and touchdowns.

3:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 14 Michigan at Northwestern (-13.5) — Shea Patterson has settled in nicely as the Michigan QB, completing 70.1 percent of his passes. My pick: Michigan covers Michigan 42, Northwestern 20.

5 p.m., Saturday — Florida at No. 23 Mississippi State (-7.0) — It’s hard to get a good feel on this game after Florida took a step forward last week while Mississippi State took a significant step back at Kentucky. My pick: Bulldogs cover — Mississippi State 31, Florida 24.

6 p.m., Saturday — Virginia Tech at No. 22 Duke (-5.5) — I picked Virginia Tech to beat Old Dominion 56-10 last week. The Hokies lost 49-35. My pick: Blue Devils cover — Duke 35, Virginia Tech 28.

6:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 4 Ohio State at No. 9 Penn State (+3.5) — The season has been relatively drama free for the Buckeyes (4-0) so far. My pick: Ohio State covers — Ohio State 42, Penn State 31.

6:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 7 Stanford at No. 8 Notre Dame (-4.5) — Stanford (4-0) keeps finding a way, but Notre Dame (4-0) seemed to find their stride on offense last week against Wake Forest. My pick: Irish cover — Notre Dame 31, Stanford 24.

6:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 20 BYU at No. 11 Washington (-17.5) — BYU (3-1) is off to an impressive start, but this will be a tough trip for the Cougars. My pick: Huskies cover — Washington 41, BYU 20.

6:30 p.m., Saturday — South Carolina at No. 17 Kentucky (-1.0) — Kentucky (4-0) has failed to cover their last eight games as a home favorite. My pick: Gamecocks cover — South Carolina 28, Kentucky 20.

8 p.m., Saturday — Ole Miss at No. 5 LSU (-12.5) — Ole Miss (3-1) has hit a lull after playing well in the season opener against Texas Tech. My pick: LSU covers — LSU 42, Ole Miss 17.

9:30 p.m., Saturday — No. 19 Oregon at No. 24 California (+3.0) — Oregon (3-1) choked big time against Stanford last week. The Ducks led 24-7 at the half before falling 38-31. My pick: Ducks cover — Oregon 35, California 30.

Other games:

2:30 p.m., Saturday — South Alabama at Appalachian State (-26) — South Alabama hung with Memphis for a while last week, but Appalachian State should keep rolling. My pick: Mountaineers cover — Appalachian State 49, South Alabama 20.

6:30 p.m., Saturday — Louisiana Tech at North Texas (-7.5) — This game will likely decide the Conference USA West. La. Tech put up a nice fight at LSU last week, but the Mean Green (4-0) may very well be the favorite in each of its remaining regular season games. My pick: North Texas covers — North Texas 35, Louisiana Tech 24.

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