Week 7 College Football Odds, Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Saturday Afternoon, Including North Carolina vs. Miami
Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Downs (11) and Jordan Tucker (74) of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
- It's been a fun day of college football so far, and it continues to roll on now.
- Our college football staff picked out a number of their best bets from Saturday's afternoon slate, including North Carolina vs. Miami.
- Check out all of our best bets and breakdowns for the Saturday afternoon kickoff window below.
No. 1 Georgia facing off against No. 11 Kentucky in a battle between undefeated SEC teams takes center stage during the afternoon window of college football.
However, bettors are searching for the spot with the best value, not necessarily the biggest game.
With that in mind, our experts are eyeing two MAC games — Ball State vs. Eastern Michigan and Kent State vs. Western Michigan — and two ACC affairs in Miami (FL) vs. North Carolina and Pitt vs. Virginia Tech.
Use the table below to navigate your way to the four best bets in order to earn some cash.
Saturday College Football Best Bets for Week 7
Our Top Picks for Saturday’s Afternoon Kickoffs
The set of college football team logos below reflects each of our college football staff’s best bets for games kicking off from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific pick discussed in this article.
Check Out All of Our Staff’s Best Bets for Week 7
Looking for more of our college football staff’s top picks for Week 7? Check out our best bets for each of Saturday’s three kickoff windows:
Ball State vs. Eastern Michigan
I really don’t think Eastern Michigan should be underdogs at home on Saturday.
The Eagles offense hasn’t been that effective this season, ranking 79th in Success Rate and gaining 5.3 yards per play.
However, Ball State’s defense has been horrendous this season, ranking outside the top 100 in both Passing and Rushing Success Rate Allowed. It’s also 97th in EPA/Play, with a lot of issues coming against the run. It sits 116th in EPA/Rush.
However, the main handicap of this game is the Ball State offense against the Eastern Michigan defense. Ball State hasn’t been able to move the ball effectively at all this season, as it ranks 103rd in EPA/Pass and 121st in EPA/Rush while gaining only 4.5 yards per play, which is 115th in the country.
The Cardinals haven’t had any big plays to speak of this season either, as they rank 103rd in explosive plays. On Saturday, they’ll be going up against the eighth-ranked defense in terms of preventing explosive plays.
Eastern Michigan also has an incredibly stout run defense that ranks 24th in EPA/Rush. So, I have a hard time seeing how Ball State is going to efficiently move the ball in this game on the road in Ypsilanti on Saturday.
I have Eastern Michigan projected as a -3.73 favorite in this game, so I think there’s some value on the Eagles at home at +1.5 and would play it down to a pick.
Pick: Eastern Michigan +1.5
Miami vs. North Carolina
I’m a huge North Carolina fan. Going into the season, this game was circled on my calendar.
Both were preseason favorites to win their division within the conference depending on what book you looked at, with this game most likely deciding who wins it. Now? I’m almost thankful I have a wedding to go to to distract myself from watching this.
It’s crazy how poorly both teams are playing after being projected dead-even to win their division. UNC is off to a 3-3 start, losing two as heavy favorites to Georgia Tech and Florida State.
Miami lost starting quarterback D’Eriq King for the season and sits at a record of 2-3. Both teams’ ACC Championship game dreams vanished already.
While the overall play has been horrific, that doesn’t mean we can’t find value betting on them.
UNC’s offense is still elite and led by potential first-round quarterback Sam Howell. Howell and wide receiver Josh Downs have been one of the most lethal duos in college football. I expect the offense to continue to put up points as Miami’s defense is a shell of its former self.
When it comes to taking an over, it’s ideal that both teams contribute.
While Miami’s offense is poor, UNC’s defense is even worse. While the Def. Pass and Rush Success are below average, the PFF tackling is even worse. This will present Miami opportunities to do its part in scoring to hit the over.
The capping is based on the idea that North Carolina will continue to be an offensive juggernaut and that its horrific defense will keep Miami in this game. I will be splitting a unit on the first-half over and full-game over while looking to make some live adds as well in case they start slow.
Pick: 1H over 31
Pitt vs. Virginia Tech
By Alex Hinton
Pitt has a realistic chance of winning the ACC this season. and its offense is a main reason why. The Panthers lead the FBS in scoring at 52.4 points and are No.7 averaging 7.2 yards per play.
Sure, Pitt has not played a difficult schedule so far, but the Panthers scored 93 points in their two games against Power Five competition (Tennessee and Georgia Tech).
Quarterback Kenny Pickett has been slinging it with 19 touchdowns and just one interception this season. The Panthers are No. 1 in the FBS in Finishing Drives and No. 2 in Passing Play Success Rate.
Pitt was dreadful running the ball last season, but it at least has the threat of a running game this season, as it’s averaging 165.2 rushing yards per game this season.
The threat of the running game helps set the play-action passing game, and the Panthers have talented weapons on the outside. led by Jordan Addison and Taysir Mack.
The Panthers will be going against a Virginia Tech defense that is not as good as you would typically expect from a Hokies defense. The Hokies rank 57th in Havoc and 52nd in yards per play allowed.
They’re also 110th in rushing play explosiveness allowed. The Panthers may even be able to up their rushing averages if they can pop a few big ones.
Last week, VT gave up 32 points and 401 total yards to a Notre Dame offense that had been struggling, particularly running the ball. Pitt might not get to its average, but 31 points is not a tough ask of this offense the way it’s rolling right now.
Pick: Pitt team total over 30.5
Kent State vs. Western Michigan
It’s been a wild season for the MAC so far this season, but after six weeks, it’s the Kent State Golden Flashes sitting on top of the East standings.
Kent State had a brutal nonconference schedule that included Texas A&M (which beat Alabama last week), the No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes, and a vastly improved Maryland program.
The offense averaged only 11 points against those three dominant defenses. But the Golden Flashes have been impressive since returning to conference play, defeating Bowling Green and Buffalo. The offense has returned to last season’s form, averaging 38 points over the last two games.
Kent State owns a veteran-led offense behind 2020 All-MAC quarterback Dustin Crum. He was dominant last week, throwing for over 400 yards and three touchdowns while rushing in another two.
The defense, meanwhile, owns the third-best turnover margin in the country and has amassed 12 interceptions, along with three fumble recoveries.
Now, Kent State takes on a Western Michigan team that has had a much easier strength of schedule at this point in the season. The Broncos own victories over Pitt and San Jose State, but last week, they were blown out by Ball State as two-touchdown favorites.
Western Michigan has owned a strong run defense this season, holding opponents to less than four yards per carry. But it’s proven to be vulnerable against the pass, which could be a recipe for disaster against Crum and the Kent State offense.
This should be a close matchup between two conference opponents that will come down to the final possession. Kent State is still a bit undervalued due to the tough early schedule and is a live dog in this game.