Hello again! Last week was an incredible week for my ATS picks, with four of my picks hitting out of five. Many of my correct picks were close calls, with Arkansas losing but barely covering against Ole Miss, Oklahoma replacing their starting QB Spencer Rattler down 21 and coming back for the win to cover and Iowa state barely beating Penn State while covering. My only loss came in the UConn-UMass pillow fight, where the Huskies were terrible, not covering the spread for the first time in four weeks. Overall, it was my best week so far, a performance I’ll hope to replicate this time around with a slate including fewer top-25 matchups.
Stratton’s Record: 12-8 (.667); 4-1 last week
No. 12 Oklahoma State at No. 25 Texas (-5.5) (Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on FOX):
This is one of two ranked matchups we have this week and it is the more interesting one. Oklahoma State is coming off two straight home ranked victories, winning each one by double digits. RB Jaylen Warren has been great for the Cowboys so far, scoring six times with 512 yards. The Cowboys have yet to lose a game and have a very impressive defense in a high-scoring Big 12. Texas on the other hand blew a 21 point lead to Oklahoma last week and is looking for answers. Their offense has been phenomenal this season, making it an interesting matchup with a great offense playing a strong defense. At the end of the day, though, the Cowboys are going to corral the Longhorns with their experience winning close games.
The pick: Oklahoma State
Auburn at No. 17 Arkansas (-3.5)
(Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on CBS):
Auburn is a sneaky good team. Their two losses have come on the road at current seventh ranked Penn State and at home versus first ranked Georgia. Neither loss was embarrassing, but they’ll need to turn it up in this game if they want to get a win. Their offense has a balanced rush and pass game that hasn’t been able to score well against real competition, but is enough to win games. Arkansas features KJ Jefferson in their electric pass game, but the team has been inconsistent, with their offense being shut down frequently. I like the Razorbacks to break out of their slump here.
The pick: Arkansas
No. 11 Kentucky at No. 1 Georgia (-23.5)
(Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS):
It’s rare that you could see a top 11 caliber matchup this late in the season and have the spread be so far apart, but it’s warranted. Georgia has shut down their opponents for the entire season and last week’s contest against Auburn was no exception. I’m struggling to make a pick here just because Kentucky has not lost this season, although they’ve kept it close against poor competition a few too many times. Georgia is proven with the help of star QB JT Daniels, and I just don’t feel great in the same way about Kentucky. I could be wrong here, but I’m going with my instinct.
The pick: Georgia
No. 19 BYU at Baylor (-6)
(Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN):
This is actually a really interesting matchup. BYU started off the season looking really promising with wins over multiple top 25 competition but laid a complete egg last week against an underwhelming but dangerous Boise State team. Baylor is very much a fringe-top 25 team, beating unranked teams easily, while having trouble against the teams in the 15-25 range. QB Gerry Bohannon has been great this season, throwing for 11 touchdowns, while RB Abraham Smith has seven touchdowns on just 78 carries. The Bears might win this one, but that six-point spread just seems a bit too big.
The pick: BYU
Yale (-5.5) at UConn
(Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on CBSSN):
*In my best Gru from Despicable Me voice:* In terms of a spread, we have no spread. The linemakers have determined that they are too good for this inner-Connecticut rivalry renewed. Instead of a conventional spread, I’ll use a computer line that I found using Jeff Sagarin’s Computer Rankings that list Yale as 5.5 point favorites. This seems fair. UConn was horrible last week but should have coach Lou Spanos back on the sidelines this time around in what seems like a must-win game for the sole purpose of avoiding embarrassment. The game will be close, but I don’t know if I trust Krajewski and co. to prevent Yale from pulling away late. As embarrassing as it is, I’m going with the Bulldogs.
The pick: Yale