College Football Odds, Picks: 5 Afternoon Best Bets, Including Duke vs. Georgia Tech
Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
- Five games. Five best bets. We have you covered for the college football Week 6 afternoon slate.
- Our experts start with Wisconsin vs. Northwestern, but we also have two ACC tilts being covered.
- Dive in below to formulate your college football betting card.
Sure, the noon Week 6 college football slate is loaded, but bettors are searching for value, not necessarily the best game(s).
That's what this 3:30 p.m. ET afternoon window is all about this week: Value.
Wisconsin vs. Northwestern, Kent State vs. Miami (OH), Virginia Tech vs. Pitt, Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State and Duke vs. Georgia Tech. Not one those matchups are sexy in any way, but our staff has best bets for each showdown, indicating their pursuit of winning plays.
Week 6 Afternoon College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Wisconsin vs. Northwestern
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 its offensive plays in 2021 and 56.8% of its 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.
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.
Northwestern ranks outside the top 60 in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, EPA/Rush Allowed and Defensive Line Yards. On top of that, its 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 in 2022 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 (Play to 49)
Kent State vs. Miami (OH)
Last week, as an 11-point home favorite, Kent State outgained Ohio 736-450.
Shockingly, not only did the Golden Flashes fail to cover, but they had to hold on in overtime. The reason? Six fumbles, two of which they lost to the Bobcats. That kind of bizarre fumble luck has artificially kept this spread below the key number of seven.
Andrew Sowder’s offense is absolutely humming with Collin Schlee and Marquez Cooper giving the Flashes 300-yard potential on the ground. Also, this may be the Golden Flashes’ best receiving corps since the late 90s.
If they tighten up on ball security, it seems likely that they’ll be able to score north of 31 points, so the main question is can the RedHawks hang?
Given their quarterback situation, that may be a tall task. Miami (OH) simply can’t pass with Aveon Smith at the helm.
He’s a dynamic runner, capable of putting up 100-plus on the ground, and he just shredded the Buffalo defense last week. But Smith has a QBR of 36.8 and is completing just 50% of his attempts.
That won’t cut it, even against a vulnerable Kent secondary.
Kent State has an outside chance of being favored in every game in MAC play, and a blowout victory here would likely be the last time you could play it at a favorable price.
I would play Kent up to the key number of seven, or on the alternate line up to -9.5 at +135.
Pick: Kent State -6 (Play to -7)
Virginia Tech vs. Pitt
Nothing says battle of boring offenses quite like Virginia Tech traveling to Acrisure Stadium to take on Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt Panthers.
It’s been a rough go so far in Year 1 for Brent Pry and offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen. The Hokies have scored just 10 points in each of their last two games against ACC opponents, including the disaster last week at North Carolina.
Until Virginia Tech made the trip to Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels’ defense had been about as tough as a wet paper bag, allowing 495 yards and 39.5 points per game. The Hokies managed just 273 yards and those 10 points.
Marshall transfer Grant Wells hasn’t improved with a change of scenery, as the quarterback has completed just 60% of his passes and has more interceptions than passing touchdowns. The Hokies rank just 118th and 111th, respectively, in scoring and total offense.
Pitt’s defense, meanwhile, is better than each of the last two that Virginia Tech has played. As is tradition with Narduzzi defenses, the Panthers bully teams at the line of scrimmage, ranking fourth and eighth in Havoc and Line Yards.
Additionally, no one likes to abandon the pass and run the ball down a trailing opponent’s throat more than Narduzzi. In Pitt’s three wins this season, it has run the ball more than twice as often as it has passed (131 to 63), helping to wind down the clock and keep the ball away from the opposing offense.
If the Hokies managed to make North Carolina look like world beaters, there’s no telling how much they could struggle here.
Expect another long day for the Tech offense.
Pick: Virginia Tech TT Under 13.5
Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State
Donovan Smith’s arm has single-handedly carried Texas Tech to its 3-2 record this season.
The Las Vegas native has completed 67% of his passes while averaging 6.9 yards per attempt. In his four matchups against FBS opponents, Smith has averaged 50 pass attempts per game.
Donovan Smith will match up against an Oklahoma State Cowboys defense that ranks 91st in Coverage, per Pro Football Focus. The Cowboys' defense has been stout against the run, but its weakness comes in the secondary.
Oklahoma State allowed two run-first offenses — Central Michigan and Baylor — to pass for a combined 769 yards. This will be the first matchup Oklahoma State has had against a true aerial attack.
The Red Raiders’ pass-heavy offense ranks 122nd in rush rate, so we will see plenty of Smith pass attempts in this game, which features two of the fastest offenses in FBS. Texas Tech ranks ninth in seconds per play while Oklahoma State is sixth.
Furthermore, the Red Raiders are nine-point underdogs, so they will likely be playing from behind in this matchup — though, I anticipate this one being closer than that.
I expect an offensive shootout that comes down to who has the ball last — thanks to Smith leading the offense up-and-down the field at will.
Pick: Donovan Smith Over 304.5 Passing Yards (Play to 314.5)
Duke vs. Georgia Tech
Duke is quietly putting together a good season after being projected to finish last in the preseason ACC media poll. New Blue Devils head coach Mike Elko has harnessed the potential of the offense, which is currently ranked 38th in the nation in scoring offense by averaging 35.0 points per game.
After a disruptive couple of weeks, Georgia Tech dismissed its head coach and athletic director. On short notice, interim head coach Brent Key took the Yellow Jackets on the road and earned the program’s first FBS win of the season vs. No. 24 Pittsburgh.
While the Georgia Tech win against Pittsburgh was impressive, there are some caveats that need to be addressed that I believe are inflating the value of the Yellow Jackets in the eyes of the books.
Georgia Tech got the outright win as 21.5-point dogs in terrible weather with a strong rushing attack. Due to heavy rains from Hurricane Ian, Georgia Tech was able to capitalize on the rushing game.
The ground game carried the way for Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets were also beneficiaries of Pittsburgh turnovers, finishing the game +3 in turnover margin.
Duke has a defense that ranks 28th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 18 points per game. This defense has seen a run-first attack before against Kansas — in a game the Blue Devils lost and failed to cover by a point — and it will be ready to contain the Yellow Jackets.
On offense, Duke won’t make nearly as many mistakes as Pittsburgh did last weekend. On the season, Duke has been one of the most disciplined teams in the nation with the ball, ranking fifth in FBS with a turnover margin of +1.60 per game.
Weather won’t be an issue in this game like last week, with the forecast calling for sunny skies and 72 degrees at kickoff. Look for head coach Elko to open up the playbook in ways that Pittsburgh couldn’t last weekend.
I expect Duke to win by a touchdown against a Georgia Tech team that ranks 92nd in the nation in scoring defense. The Blue Devils’ offense will be too much for the one-dimensional Yellow Jackets' offense.
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