College football Week 11 picks against the spread for every top-25 game
Week 11 of the college football season is here — and the three biggest games on the schedule involve matchups between ranked teams.
No. 8 Ohio State travels to No. 24 Michigan State at noon. No. 1 Alabama faces No. 18 Mississippi State at 3:30 p.m., and No. 2 Clemson travels to No. 17 Boston College for an 8 p.m. showdown.
MORE: Week 11 bowl projections
Sporting News picks games involving the AP Top 25 each week, and we are coming off a winning Week 10.
Straight up: 151-42, .782 (15-6 last week)
Against the spread: 101-78, .564 (13-8 last week)
Upset picks: 8-10, .444 (1-2 last week)
And now, Sporting News’ picks against the spread for Week 11 (lines reflect Consensus picks according to VegasInsiders.com as of Monday):
Wake Forest at No. 22 N.C. State (-17)
Wake Forest lost to Boston College, Florida State and Syracuse by an average of 15 points per game. The line has jumped two points from where it opened, and the Wolfpack are 3-2 against the spread at home. The Demon Deacons need this one to keep their bowl hopes alive. N.C. State wins 38-28 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Louisville at No. 13 Syracuse (-21.5)
The Orange are huge favorites in the home finale against a broken Louisville defense that has allowed 59.3 points per games in its last four losses. Do the Cardinals have it in them to shore up that defense against the Orange, who are getting ready for Notre Dame? Syracuse wins 49-31 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 16 Fresno State (-3) at Boise State
These teams split two meetings last year, and it’s a task for the Bulldogs to go on the road and beat the perennial power in the conference. The Bulldogs have the defense to take that step, and this is the place to prove it. Fresno State wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.
TCU at No. 7 West Virginia (-13.5)
The line dropped a point from where it opened, a sign of some measure of faith in the Horned Frogs. West Virginia is riding the high of a huge victory against Texas, and they won the last meeting in Morgantown 34-10. We think the Mountaineers keep it rolling. West Virginia wins 45-28 and COVERS the spread.
No. 8 Ohio State (-3.5) at Michigan State
This is a spot for the Spartans to pull an upset — and they nearly did in a 17-16 loss at Spartan Stadium in 2016. The question is whether Michigan State can find enough offense to knock the Buckeyes out of the Big Ten East race. Ohio State’s running game turns out to be a difference maker around Mike Weber. Ohio State wins 27-17 and COVERS the spread.
Navy at No. 11 UCF (-25.5)
Navy has played spoiler in this spot before, but the Midshipmen are coming off a 42-0 loss to Cincinnati. That is UCF’s next opponent. The Knights continue their undefeated march, but Navy hangs around for a half with their running game. UCF wins 45-21 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
MORE: Week 11 Playoff picture
South Carolina at No. 19 Florida (-7)
The Gators were underwhelming in a hangover loss to Missouri, but they return to face a South Carolina team whose last four games (three wins, one loss) have been decided by four points or fewer. This will be another ugly SEC East slugfest. Florida wins 24-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Wisconsin at No. 21 Penn State (-8)
Two teams that were supposed to compete for the Big Ten championship will play a consolation game of sorts, though the Badgers have a little more to play for. If Wisconsin can get something going in the passing game, then they have a chance. Go with the team that has more to play for. Wisconsin wins 26-23 in an UPSET.
No. 18 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama (-26)
Nick Fitzgerald is coming off a four-touchdown performance for Mississippi State, and one could see this as a letdown spot for the Crimson Tide. Mississippi State also hung with Alabama in a 31-24 loss last year. But this team is different: Tua Tagovailoa is focused and it’s another chance to showcase that high-flying offense. Mississippi State does have a top-10 pass defense. The Tide cover, but it will be right on the line. Alabama wins 38-10 and COVERS the spread.
No. 4 Michigan (-39) at Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights will pull out all the stops, and there’s a slight risk of letdown for the Wolverines. Michigan humiliated Rutgers 78-0 in this game two years ago, and this Wolverines’ defense is better. Still, that’s a lot of points to give up. The Wolverines are 5-1 against the spread in Big Ten Play, but we’re going to go against that one more time. Michigan wins 44-13 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Oklahoma State at No. 6 Oklahoma (-17.5)
The Sooners are home and it’s Bedlam. Oklahoma won the last meeting in Norman by 18 points, and the Sooners have the superior offense against an inconsistent Cowboys’ team. It’s still too many points to be laying in a rivalry game with two explosive offenses. Oklahoma wins 48-34 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 10 Washington State (-5) at Colorado
The Cougars are 8-0 against the spread this season, and Gardner Minshew continues to work into the fringe of the Heisman Trophy conversation. Mike Leach has this team embracing an emotional ride, and the Buffaloes are stuck in a four-game skid. This looks too easy. Washington State wins 38-30 and COVERS the spread.
MORE: SN’s Week 11 Power Rankings
No. 12 Kentucky (-4) at Tennessee
It’s up to Kentucky to establish itself after missing its shot against Georgia last week. The Volunteers have two more opportunities to win their first SEC home game under Jeremy Pruitt, and this is the spot to do it. We’ll call a mild upset and make the Wildcats prove it. Tennessee wins 24-21 in an UPSET.
Baylor at No. 23 Iowa State (-14.5)
The line bumped up a half-point, and the Bears do have 30-plus point losses at Oklahoma and West Virginia. The talent gap between these teams is a lot closer, however, and this will be a typical back-and-forth Big 12 shootout. Iowa State wins 34-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
San Jose State at No 14 Utah State (-31)
It’s another giant spread for the Aggies against a 1-7 team, and that makes this seem like an easy line. Maybe too easy. The Spartans have played at Washington State, Oregon, San Diego State and Wyoming, and the largest loss is 31 points. Still, Utah State has to run it up to get New Year’s Day Six attention. Utah State wins 45-10 and COVERS the spread.
Auburn at No. 5 Georgia (-14.5)
A classic SEC rivalry is revisited, and Georgia lost the last regular-season meeting, 40-17, before picking up a 28-7 win in the SEC championship game. Auburn hasn’t lost by more than 14 points this season, and this won’t be an exception. Georgia wins 33-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
South Florida at No. 25 Cincinnati (-12)
The Bearcats still have a chance at the AAC championship under second-year coach Luke Fickell, and they are catching a slumping South Florida team coming off back-to-back blowout losses. The Bearcats are 3-1 against the spread at home. Cincinnati wins 34-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Florida State at No. 3 Notre Dame (-18)
Notre Dame is marching toward a College Football Playoff berth, and these teams meet on the 25th anniversary of their legendary No. 1-vs.-No. 2 showdown. The Seminoles are resigned to a spoiler role here — one they embrace for a half. The Irish are 5-3 against the spread this season. Notre Dame wins 34-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
MORE: Prepare for these November Playoff debates
No. 9 LSU (-13) at Arkansas
LSU is coming off a disappointing loss to Alabama, but the Tigers can still make a New Year’s Day Six Bowl. The line has dropped a point, but we still think LSU is the better team that will shake off that loss before the second half. Stick with the better defense and the team takes care of the football. LSU wins 33-14 and COVERS the spread.
No. 15 Texas (-1) at Texas Tech
The Red Raiders opened as a one-point favorite, but the line swung back to the Longhorns in what will be a toss-up game in Lubbock. Texas Tech beat Texas 27-23 last season, and the Longhorns need this one to avoid a three-game losing skid. It will be close. Texas wins 35-31 and COVERS the spread.
No. 2 Clemson (-18) at Boston College
This is a giant spread for a game that will determine who represents the ACC Atlantic in Charlotte, and Boston College is a different team with All-American running back AJ Dillon in the lineup. Clemson had a 17-13 scare in Chestnut Hill in 2014. This Tigers’ team, however, has kicked into a different gear, and will pull away for the cover in the second half. Clemson wins 38-17 and COVERS the spread.
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