In last week’s column, we highlighted the fact that particular sportsbooks were already offering odds for Georgia and Alabama vs. “the field” to win the national championship. After Jimbo Fisher became the first former Nick Saban assistant to beat him head-to-head, we could be in line for one of the most unusual College Football Playoff fields ever in the new four-team system. Iowa controls their own destiny to crash the party for the first time, and Cincinnati owes a big thank you to Notre Dame for their comeback win against Virginia Tech, as it makes the Bearcats’ resume look stronger.
Though there are just two ranked vs. ranked matchups on this week’s schedule, there are still several key conference matchups. So which ones make our weekly picks column?
Here are my top plays for Week 7 in college football.
Best Bets for Week 7: College Football
(Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
Last Season: 35-22 (+9.5 units)
YTD: 15-9 (+4.5 units)
Michigan State (-3) at Indiana
The Michigan State Spartans have not been known for an explosive offense in recent years, but this year’s team has scored 31 or more points in five of their first six games and rank third in the Big Ten in total offense and points per game. Any doubt that Michigan State did not have explosive weapons in the passing game to complement running back Kenneth Walker was put to bed in last week’s game against Rutgers. Wide receiver Jalen Nailor caught touchdown passes of 63, 63, and 65 yards. The Spartans become the fifth team in FBS history with a 300-yard passer, 200-yard rusher, and 200-yard receiver in the same game.
Though Michigan State is facing an Indiana team that is coming off a bye, they will be without quarterback Michael Penix Jr. who separated his throwing shoulder in their loss to Penn State, and he is listed as week-to-week. Penix Jr. is replaced by Jack Tuttle, who played the final two games last season in relief after Penix Jr. tore his ACL. Tuttle was just 6-for-12 for 77 yards against Penn State, and Indiana’s offense has a much lower ceiling with Tuttle rather than Penix Jr. starting. The Hoosiers will also be thin at running back, as backup Tim Baldwin became the second Hoosiers running back this season to enter the transfer portal.
Michigan State is 12-5 ATS in the last 17 meetings with Indiana, and the Spartans are 6-0 ATS in their previous six games as a road favorite. Thus, we advise jumping on this -3 early before it likely escalates throughout the week.
PICK: Michigan State –3
Oklahoma State at Texas (-5)
This week, the No. 25 ranked Texas Longhorns are in a tough scheduling spot as they welcome a No. 12 ranked Oklahoma State team off a bye week. The schedule does not get any easier for Texas next week with a trip to Waco to face Baylor. In addition, the Longhorns must pick themselves up off a devastating loss to rival Oklahoma, as they squandered the biggest lead (21 points) in the history of the Red River Showdown.
In last week’s loss in freshman Xavier Worthy, Texas found a playmaking wide receiver who had nine receptions for 261 yards and two touchdowns. While his presence will likely draw some of the defense’s attention away from running back Bijan Robinson, the Cowboys have a stingy defense that ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring (18.6 PPG allowed) and second in total defense allowing just 305.2 YPG. Those defensive numbers are even more impressive considering they have back-to-back wins over ranked teams entering this matchup. In this game, the key for Oklahoma State will be the play of quarterback Spencer Sanders, who has been inconsistent his last two games. Sanders threw three interceptions in a win against Baylor but lit up Kansas State for 344 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cowboys are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as a road underdog and are 6-1 ATS in their previous seven road games at Texas. With the way the schedule has fallen for Texas and the fact they are coming off a deflating loss, we look for another Oklahoma State cover.
PICK: Oklahoma State +5
BYU at Baylor (-6.5)
The unranked Baylor Bears are -4.5 point home favorites against the No. 19 BYU Cougars. Waco has proven to be a tough place to play this year, as Baylor has won their three home games by a combined score of 142-56. That includes wins over a ranked Iowa State team and a 25-point thrashing of West Virginia in their last game. However, this line feels too reactionary to BYU’s home loss to Boise State, and the Cougars should get up for a game against a team that will soon be a conference opponent once realignment happens.
BYU was undone by four turnovers (three fumbles lost, one interception) in their loss to Boise State. However, this Cougars offense will continue to get better as the season goes on, as quarterback Jaren Hall continues to work his way back from injury. Hall threw for 302 yards and a touchdown against Boise State but needs to do better than a 59.5% completion percentage this week.
BYU is 4-0 ATS in their last four games as an underdog and is 5-0 ATS in their previous five games against teams from the Big 12. Baylor is just 1-4-1 ATS in their last six October games and may be looking past this non-conference opponent with a huge home date against rival Texas looming next week.
PICK: BYU +6.5
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