College Football Betting Pace Report: Week 6 Over/Unders to Watch, Including Wisconsin vs. Northwestern

College Football Betting Pace Report: Week 6 Over/Unders to Watch, Including Wisconsin vs. Northwestern article feature image

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz.

After a fantastic Week 5 slate, this week is kind of a dud. But that doesn't mean that there isn't value out there, especially from a totals perspective.

Here are the pace numbers as we stand through Week 5.

If you're new to this piece, we'll take an in-depth look at the totals market using yards per play, Success Rate, Finishing Drives, plays per minute, seconds per play and more.

Using those metrics, along with a look at the weather and key injuries, the goal is to hopefully help bettors beat the market before Friday and Saturday morning.

Now, let's dive into the Week 6 slate.

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Houston vs. Memphis

Friday, Oct. 7
7:30 p.m. ET
Houston Odds
-110o / -110u
Memphis Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Houston's offense really struggled to move the ball against a really good Tulane secondary. The good news for the Cougars is Memphis' secondary isn't anywhere close to Tulane.

The Tigers are allowing 8.0 yards per attempt, rank 104th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 93rd in EPA/Pass Allowed.

They did play Mississippi State's Air Raid in their first game, but their last four games have been against Navy, Arkansas State, North Texas and Temple — not exactly murderer's row.

Clayton Tune didn't have a great start to the season, but he has started to heat up the last two games.

Image via PFF

He has one of the most dynamic wide receivers in college football to throw to in Nathaniel "Tank" Dell, who already has 454 receiving yards, five touchdowns and an 81.9 PFF receiving grade through five games.

Tune also has plenty of time to throw as well, as Houston has the 17th-best pass-blocking grade in college football, per PFF.

Plus, one of Memphis' starting cornerbacks, Julian Barnett, missed the last game against Temple and is questionable to play on Friday. So, there's no excuse why Tune shouldn't throw all over this Memphis secondary.

Houston has one of the best pass rushes in the country, putting up a 91.8 PFF pass-rushing grade through its first five games, but there are a lot of issues that still need to be sorted out.

Houston ranks 107th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 130th in Power Success Rate Allowed. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that it ranks 117th in terms of a tackling grade, per PFF. Memphis, meanwhile, ranks around the FBS average in EPA/Rush, Rushing Success Rate and rushing explosiveness.

The Cougars had two new starting cornerbacks at the beginning of the season, and so far, it has not gone very well because the Cougars are 55th in EPA/Pass Allowed and 72nd in Passing Success Rate Allowed after ranking in the top 20 last year.

After three incredible games to start the season, including averaging over 11 yards per attempt and putting up a PFF passing grade over 82, Seth Henigan came back down to earth and had two of the worst games of his career against North Texas and Temple.

He averaged under 5.0 yards per attempt and had five turnover-worthy plays, which is concerning — but he was missing his starting left tackle and left guard for the game against Temple. He's going to need both of them back against Houston's pass rush, so that's something to monitor throughout the week.

Both of these teams love to play fast, with Memphis running a play every 23.42 seconds (28th in FBS) and Houston running a play every 25.26 seconds (53rd).

I have 68.3 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 57 points.

Pick: Over 57

Michigan vs. Indiana

Saturday, Oct. 8
12 p.m. ET
Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
Indiana Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Michigan feels like a new offense with JJ McCarthy under center. The Wolverines have played an easy schedule to date, but gaining 6.9 yards per play while ranking fourth in Success Rate and 10th in EPA/Play is nothing to scoff at.

Even against Iowa, one of the best defenses in the country, Michigan still gained close to 5.0 yards per play and ran the ball for over 4.0 yards per carry, which is something few offenses have done over the past few years.

Indiana does have a good front seven that has been stout against the run this season, ranking inside the top 30 in EPA/Rush Allowed, Rushing Success Rate Allowed and rushing explosiveness allowed.

However, Indiana has been getting torched through the air. It has given up 8.0 yards per attempt (98th in FBS) and ranks 117th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 119th in EPA/Pass Allowed. Oh, and this will be the best passing attack it's seen this season.

McCarthy has Michigan ranked 11th in Passing Success Rate and 21st in EPA/Pass. So, the Wolverines should be able to throw all over this Indiana secondary.

Indiana plays at the fastest pace in the country by a pretty wide margin. The Hoosiers are averaging a play every 17.49 seconds, which is almost three seconds faster than the next closest team.

As for their offense, it hasn't been that effective, ranking outside the top 90 in both EPA/Rush and EPA/Pass. But Michigan allowed Iowa's offense to gain 5.1 yards per play and have a 51% Success Rate on standard downs.

Even if Indiana goes three-and-out every time, its lightning-fast pace will give Michigan more and more opportunities to run up the score.

I have 67.5 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 58.5.

Pick: Over 58.5

Wisconsin vs. Northwestern

Saturday, Oct. 8
3:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Wisconsin Odds
-110o / -110u
Northwestern Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

I know what you are thinking — this game screams "under." Not so fast, my friend.

Wisconsin has fired Paul Chryst, and defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard is now the interim head coach. Chryst served as the offensive play caller for Wisconsin and was extremely run-heavy and conservative. Wisconsin ran the ball on 64% of offensive plays in 2021 and 56.8% of plays this season.

Bobby Engram is in his first season as the offensive coordinator after spending a number of years in the NFL as a wide receivers and tight ends coach. So, naturally, he tends to favor the passing game, which is why Wisconsin has started to become less one-dimensional.

Despite what you may think, Graham Mertz has actually been a better passer this season than he was in 2021.

Through five games, Mertz has a PFF passing grade of 83.2, is averaging 8.7 yards per attempt and has 12 big-time throws compared to only three turnover-worthy plays.

Image via PFF

Mertz also has one of the best running backs in the country to take the pressure off of him in Braelon Allen, who is an absolute star in the making. He's not having as good of a season as he did in 2021, but he's still averaging 6.0 yards per carry behind an offensive line that ranks 18th in run blocking, per PFF.


Braelon Allen is different 👏

— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 4, 2022

Northwestern ranks outside the top 60 in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, EPA/Rush Allowed and Defensive Line Yards. On top of that, it secondary is 115th in terms of a coverage grade, per PFF.

Wisconsin's defense has had a lot of issues this season. The Badgers were one of the best in college football in 2021, but allowing 5.5 yards per play (63rd in FBS) and ranking 80th in Finishing Drives allowed is very concerning.

So, even if Northwestern's offense has been one of the worst in the Power Five, it may be able to move the ball on Wisconsin.

The Badgers are playing a touch faster this season at 27.89 seconds per play after playing as one of the nation's slowest teams at 29.82 seconds per play in 2021.

Northwestern, meanwhile, is playing at one of the fastest paces in the country, running a play every 22.24 seconds, which is 13th-fastest mark in college football.

I have 56.8 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 44.

Pick: Over 44

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