College Football Staff Picks Against the Spread, Best Bets for Week 10 Games

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There are some very intriguing games on the slate in Week 10, including two clashes between ranked teams.

Below, our staff's writers and editors make their picks against the spread for Week 10, along with their best bet out of the games below.

Season-long standings:

Laken Litman: 61-44-3

Max Meyer: 52-53-3

Ross Dellenger: 51-54-3

Molly Geary: 49-56-3

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No. 8 Georgia vs. No. 6 Florida (+6.5)

Rivalry games are normally close, emotional affairs that are fought deep into the fourth quarter. But this one has been none of the such. The last five winners of the Cocktail Party have won by at least two touchdowns. Georgia beat Florida 23-20 in 2013, the last one-score result. Well, we're due for another tight game. And we're due for a win. We're 4-5 in our best bets and that's not winning anyone money. —Ross Dellenger

No. 7 Oregon (-5) at USC

There are plenty of interesting matchups in this one, from USC’s top-rated group of receivers against Oregon’s dangerous secondary, to the Trojans’ disruptive defensive line against the Ducks’ powerful O-line. Can USC’s defense get pressure on Oregon QB Justin Herbert, who has been sacked 13 times this season but only thrown one interception? Can the Trojans protect the football? The Ducks are ranked sixth nationally with 16 takeaways.

While we should keep our eyes on all these things, this game is most interesting for the potential College Football Playoff ramifications. Right now, Oregon is the Pac-12’s best hope at making it. And assuming the Ducks win out, they’d be 12-1 and have a stronger schedule, a better loss and likely more quality wins than, say, Utah if it also went 12-1.

Here’s why: If both of those teams win their remaining conference games, Oregon would be 10-0 in league play with wins over Washington, USC, Arizona State and likely Utah in the Pac-12 title game. Its only loss would be that nail-biting one vs. a ranked Auburn team on a neutral field in the season opener. (Oregon needs Auburn to look good down the stretch, which would mean beating Alabama or at least playing the Tide close.) Utah, meanwhile, would finish 9-1 in the Pac-12 with quality wins against Washington and Arizona State. The Utes lost to USC in September.

Even if the Ducks win out, they still need help. Oklahoma losing to Kansas State last week was big. Alabama still has to play LSU and Ohio State still has to face Penn State and Michigan. There’s still a lot to happen the next few weeks. But beating USC is a must because the Ducks aren’t getting in with two losses. —Laken Litman

Miami (+3) at Florida State

Seven of Miami’s eight games this season have been decided by one score or less, and with the Hurricanes as a three-point underdog in Tallahassee, it wouldn’t be a surprise if another close contest is in the cards.

Miami outlasted Pittsburgh this past weekend 16-12 despite rushing for 2.0 yards per carry and starting quarterback N’Kosi Perry throwing for 4.3 yards per attempt. Week 1 starter and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams came on in relief, and led the Hurricanes on a game-winning drive. He and wideout K.J. Osborn connected for a 32-yard score with 58 seconds remaining.

Williams is back as the start under center against Florida State, and that should help Miami’s offense. He has the advantage over Perry in yards per attempt (8.4 to 7.2), completion percentage (69.6 to 56.6) and quarterback rating (155.4 to 133.3).

The Hurricanes’ offense gets a couple more boosts with the returns of starting tailback DeeJay Dallas and wideout Jeff Thomas. Despite running behind a trainwreck of an offensive line, Dallas is tied for 32nd in the nation in yards per carry at 6.66 (Halloween themed!). He’s a home-run hitter who is only one of seven players in college football with at least three runs of 50 yards or more. Thomas, meanwhile, is coming off a two-game suspension, and he is also extremely explosive. Getting those two back can only improve an inconsistent Miami offense, which is facing an improving Florida State defense since Jim Leavitt has come aboard.

The defense also gets back a key player in senior linebacker Michael Pinckney, who is tied for second in sacks and is fourth in tackles. Miami’s front seven hasn’t been elite like last season, but the Hurricanes are still tied for 18th in tackles for loss per game and do an excellent job containing big runs, as they have only allowed five runs of 20 yards or more this season (tied for 13th). That’s important when going up against Florida State’s superstar running back Cam Akers.

While Year 1 under Manny Diaz hasn’t gone the way most had hoped in Coral Gables, I still think it’s a better situation at head coach than on the opposite sideline. Under Willie Taggert this season, Florida State ranks 29th in points scored in the first half per game (17.8) and 35th in points allowed in the first half per game (11.5). After halftime, it’s been a completely different story. The Seminoles are 97th in points scored (10.8) and 111th in points allowed in the second half per game. Whether that’s issues with conditioning or poor halftime adjustments, those metrics fall on Taggart for not having his team ready consistently for a 60-minute battle. Florida State is also in worse shape than Miami in penalties per game and turnover margin.

I just think Miami is the better team and that it’s better than its 4-4 record suggests. Getting a few key players back in time for this rivalry game helps as well. And if you want to bet the Canes on the moneyline, I wouldn’t fault you there, either. —Max Meyer

No. 14 Michigan (-21) at Maryland

The Wolverines have struggled away from the Big House, but Maryland could be the perfect antidote. The Terps have covered in just two of their last six games, one being against Rutgers in a line that had way overreacted to Maryland getting curb-stomped by Penn State the week before. There's no overreaction here; even if the Wolverines weren't coming off a big win over Notre Dame, I think this line would be fair.

Michigan has one of the best defenses in the country at stopping medium-sized and big plays, which is the easiest way to shut down the Terrapins' offense. Whether Tyrrell Pigrome (who left last week's game with a hyperextended knee but may play Saturday) or Josh Jackson end up with the bulk of the snaps, neither has shown a consistent ability to lead drives down the field this season behind a porous offensive line, and Jackson is still getting back up to speed after missing most of October with injury. Running back Javon Leake is the most dangerous weapon the Terps have, but if the Wolverines can contain Leake and fellow backs Anthony McFarland and Tayon Fleet-Davis, they should have no problem having their way on defense.

Meanwhile, Maryland's defense is giving up 29 points per game this season, and the secondary has particularly struggled, ranking 115th nationally in passing defense and 107th in passing plays of at least 10 yards given up (81). That's bad news going up against a Wolverines offense that seems to be finally coming together. Even if receiver Ronnie Bell can't go on Saturday, expect QB Shea Patterson to have ample opportunity to find his targets or draw Maryland into pass interference calls.

In the end, even if Maryland's skill players are able to break off a big play or two and at least avoid getting shut down, Michigan should be able to take advantage of a defense that's given up at least 34 points in its last three games and win by more than three touchdowns.—Molly Geary

Season record: 19-23