College Football Week 7 Picks, Odds: 5 Best Bets for Saturday’s Early Kickoffs
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Emory Jones (5) of the Florida Gators.
- College football's Week 7 kicks off with intriguing matchups during the Noon window, including Oklahoma State vs. Texas.
- Michigan State looks to remain undefeated vs. Indiana while Auburn faces Arkansas and LSU takes on Florida in two SEC duels.
- Our staff of experts offer up five of their best bets for this early slate of games.
Welcome to Week 7!
The 2021 college football season is not only flying by, but everything is becoming more and more intriguing with Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State showing vulnerabilities.
But for the sake of this article, our focus is not on the big picture of the College Football Playoff. Instead, it’s on making some cash off the early Saturday slate, no matter who is playing.
Our experts are diving into undefeated Michigan State vs. Indiana, Oklahoma State traveling to Texas, two SEC duels between Auburn and Arkansas and Florida and LSU, and Tulsa facing off against USF.
All five best bets can be found below, and as usual, use the table below to navigate to any pick you please.
Saturday College Football Best Bets for Week 7
Our Top Picks for Saturday’s Noon Kickoffs
The set of college football team logos below reflects each of our college football staff’s best bets for games kicking off at noon 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:
No. 10 Michigan State vs. Indiana
Michigan State has been one of the more pleasantly surprising stories of the college football season to date. Mel Tucker’s group is finding all sorts of different ways to win football games, and the matchup with Michigan on Halloween weekend gets bigger with every passing week.
Quarterback Payton Thorne has been a huge upgrade for the Spartans under center and has taken this offense from an atrocious one in 2020 to a very respectable unit this year.
Tucker has always been a phenomenal defensive coach, and the Spartan defense is taking after him in Year 2.
On the Indiana side, you have to feel a bit for the Hoosiers. In its first five games of the year, Tom Allen’s team went to Iowa and Penn State and hosted Cincinnati. The Hoosiers lost all three of those games and also lost several key players to injury in the process.
After a historic 2020 season, fighting for bowl eligibility is the new reality for Indiana. Allen is not the type of coach who will have this team feeling sorry for itself.
Indiana still boasts a top-25 defense nationally and will be the most formidable unit that Thorne and the MSU offense has faced thus far.
Offensively, the Hoosiers will be turning to veteran quarterback Jack Tuttle as a result of Michael Penix’s shoulder injury. Penix has not been anywhere near himself this season, so I actually expect Tuttle to give this offense a significant boost.
Michigan State fans are counting down the days until what they believe will be a 7-0 Spartan team hosting a 7-0 Michigan in East Lansing on Oct. 30.
While that would certainly be an exciting battle, the Spartans better not overlook what is ahead of them this week.
I project this game to be very tight, so I will gladly take the points and back the Hoosiers in this contest. Indiana is coming off of a bye, and this is an opportunity to get its season back on track.
Pick: Indiana +4.5
No. 12 Oklahoma State vs. No. 25 Texas
By Doug Ziefel
The Longhorns are coming off a crushing defeat to Oklahoma in the Red River Showdown. In what was perhaps its biggest game of the year, Texas blew a big lead, as it was outscored, 35-10, in the second half before ultimately losing on a last-second touchdown.
While the credit for the comeback goes to Oklahoma, the reason why the Longhorns lost is because they could not stop the run at all. Oklahoma ran the ball for 339 yards at 8.3 yards per rush.
This week, the Longhorn defense will not be getting a break from seeing the run as it hosts the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Cowboys have a rush rate of 63%, and that number has ticked up recently due to the lack of progression from quarterback Spencer Sanders. In their win against Baylor last week, Oklahoma State ran the ball 59 times.
Also, don’t be fooled by the high-scoring output and recent shootouts that Texas has been in. At its root, it’s a power-run team behind star running back Bijan Robinson.
This offense, similar to Oklahoma State, runs the ball at a 63% rate and has had tremendous success doing so this season.
Though, the difference in this matchup is that the Longhorns are going to finally face a defense that is very stout, primarily against the run. The Oklahoma State defense has held opponents to an average of 91 yards per game on the ground, good for 11th in the nation.
This matchup has all the makings of an under — two teams who rely heavily on the run, one great defense who can stop the run, and a potentially flat Texas team thats’s going to have trouble getting up for this game after having its title aspirations crushed.
Lastly, the weather may also factor into this one, as winds around 13.5 MPH are in the forecast for Saturday.
Our Action Network Windy Unders Pro System shows that games with winds of at least 13 MPH go under the total at a 56% rate. These teams don’t pass much to begin with, so we should see even fewer attempts by these offenses.
Pick: Under 60
Auburn vs. No. 17 Arkansas
I don’t love the board in Week 7, so I’ll dive into the player prop market and fade Bo Nix when Auburn travels to take on Arkansas.
Nix’s struggles away from home are well-documented. He’s only posted multiple touchdown passes in one of his 11 true road starts.
After compiling five total out of the gates against Akron and Alabama State, Nix has been held under the total in four straight against Power Five foes entering Saturday.
Although Arkansas has played Texas, Georgia and Ole Miss, the defense has surrendered just three scores through the air total in 2021.
Pick: Bo Nix under 1.5 passing touchdowns
No. 20 Florida vs. LSU
It has been a rough year down in the bayou, from off-field distractions to on-field disappointment. LSU is just 3-3 on the season and has lost two straight games to Auburn and Kentucky.
The losses are also piling up in the locker room, as its best offensive weapon in Kayshon Boutte is out for the season. The Tigers have also lost their two best defenders with Derek Stingley and Eli Ricks — the best cornerback duo in the country — both out of commission.
Florida’s offense ranks second in the SEC with 504 yards per game, but it’s doing it a little differently than last year. Instead of throwing the ball all over the yard with Trask and Pitts, it’s relying on what has been a dominant run game.
Quarterbacks Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson are both lethal with their legs, and each averages over 75 yards per game on the ground. The running back rotation of Malik Davis, Dameon Pierce and Nay’Quan Wright are all averaging over 5.0 yards per carry as well.
The Gators rank seventh in the country in Rush Success and 10th in Line Yards. They are going to bully an LSU front that sits 91st in Rush Success on defense, and 72nd in Line Yards.
LSU has completely given up trying to run the ball and now has to throw the ball without its best wide receiver.
Florida’s defense has done a much better job defending the pass this season, ranking 29th in Pass Success Rate. The Gators aren’t giving up big plays the way they did last year.
This line is too low for this Tigers team, and it’s still getting the benefit of the doubt based on the talent on the roster instead of the play we’ve seen on the field.
Also, it’s hard to handicap the extra motivation factor for Florida after losing the game against LSU last year on a thrown shoe, but it certainly doesn’t hurt in this spot.
Give me the Gators up to 13.
Pick: Florida -11
Tulsa vs. USF
By Shawn Burns
Tulsa at USF isn’t a game that most of the country will be watching this weekend, but I expect an entertaining game in Tampa.
Both defenses are in the bottom-third in the country in points allowed, total yards and yards per play.
Offensively, Tulsa averages 444 yards per game and well over six yards per play. Quarterback Davis Brin has been inconsistent but has the ability and the weapons on the outside to create explosive plays.
On the other side, the Bulls allow close to 500 yards of total offense and 217 yards on the ground. Tulsa running back Shamari Brooks should have a field day.
USF has struggled on offense, but it has finally settled on talented freshman quarterback Timmy McClain as the starter. McClain has made mistakes, but the offense has shown some life over the past two games in losses to BYU and SMU. He is a dual-threat quarterback and fits perfectly into head coach Jeff Scott’s offensive system.
USF is coming off a bye and has had two weeks to prepare and get McClain and his playmakers much-needed practice reps.
The Bulls have had a brutal schedule with games against NC State, Florida, BYU and SMU, and the schedule eases up starting Saturday.
Tulsa has not played well defensively and gave up over 600 yards to Memphis last week. Both offenses have key advantages, and this will be a low-key, fun game Saturday afternoon.