No. 2 Alabama meets No. 3 Georgia this week in the biggest game of the college football season up to now.
Both teams are 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference, and the winner will have a leg up on its division race. The relationship between Alabama coach Nick Saban and Georgia coach Kirby Smart, a former Crimson Tide defensive coordinator, will come into focus before the prime-time matchup at 8 p.m. ET at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
That is the only matchup between ranked teams on the schedule. There are 12 games involving teams ranked in the AP Top 25 this week — the last week before Big Ten play starts.
Here’s a look at our track record this season:
Last week: 8-3 S/U, 6-5 ATS
Overall: 54-18 S/U, 30-35 ATS
T op 25: 44-13 S/U, 25-31 ATS
Now, a look at our picks against the spread for Week 7:
Week 7 Picks against the spread
Thursday, Oct. 15
The Ragin’ Cajuns have won games by a combined five points since the season-opening victory against Iowa State. They failed to cover as a favorite both times. Louisiana won this matchup 48-7 last season, but it won’t be as easy this time.
Pick: Louisiana wins 31-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Friday, Oct. 16
The Mustangs have won their past three games ATS, and they face a Tulane defense that allowed 49 points last week in a loss to Houston. The Green Wave can score too, but a shootout favors SMU. The Mustangs have won the past two road meetings by a combined total of seven points. Be careful.
Pick: SMU wins 40-31 and COVERS the spread.
A battle of Cougars. Houston won its opener 49-31, and their offense will test a BYU unit that was sloppy against UTSA. BYU, however, has committed just four turnovers in four games. Zach Wilson is the difference-maker in a shootout.
Pick: BYU wins 35-30 and COVERS the spread.
Saturday, Oct. 17
Clemson showed why it’s the class of the ACC against Miami, and there is a small risk for a letdown on the road at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have covered twice as an underdog this year, but they have lost the last two meetings to the Tigers by an average of 33 points per game.
Pick: Clemson wins 45-17 and COVERS the spread.
The Hurricanes must recalibrate after a reality check with Clemson, and that comes against a reeling Pitt team that has lost back-to-back games by one point apiece. Both teams will be playing with desperation, and that leads to a close game.
Pick: Miami wins 27-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
We never know what to make of Auburn, and that does not change after a nail-biter against Arkansas. Bo Nix does not commit a lot of turnovers, but he has not increased his passing numbers across the board. That’s a dangerous spot on the road against the Gamecocks, but Colin Hill has to match the big plays. We still like the Tigers.
Pick: Auburn wins 28-20 and COVERS the spread.
Tennessee isn’t quite on Georgia’s level, but now the challenge for Jeremy Pruitt is to maintain a spot as the bridge in the SEC East. Three of the past four meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer, and the Vols won two of those games.
Pick: Tennessee wins 28-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Notre Dame continues to build a College Football Playoff resume through the ACC schedule, but they are 0-2 ATS against conference opponents. Louisville presents an interesting challenge with its offense, and last year’s matchup was close for a half. Expect a similar result with a little more offense on both sides.
Pick: Notre Dame wins 38-23 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
The Bulldogs have been less than impressive in back-to-back losses to Arkansas and Kentucky. Mississippi State leads the SEC with 11 interceptions thrown. Texas A&M can take advantage of that on the renewed coming off a program-building victory against Florida.
Pick: Texas A&M wins 38-31 and COVERS the spread.
Florida State has shown signs of improvement with each week, but the Seminoles simply do not have enough consistency at the quarterback position. North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell – a one-time FSU commit – will serve as a painful reminder of the gap at that position.
Pick: North Carolina wins 37-27 and COVERS the spread.
The Eagles are competitive again under first-year coach Jeff Hafley, and they are 3-0 ATS as an underdog. Virginia Tech is the better team and can score in bunches, but BC has won the past two meetings. This one will come down to the wire.
Pick: Virginia Tech wins 28-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
The showcase showdown between SEC rivals is another chance for Smart to score that big victory against his former boss. Alabama’s defense is receiving a lot of heat this week, but how much can Georgia slow down a Crimson Tide offense that averages 51 points per game? That question might not be asked enough.
Pick: Alabama wins 34-27 and COVERS the spread.
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