College Football Odds & Market Report: Week 6 Early Bets, Including Arkansas vs. Mississippi State & Washington vs. Arizona State
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Arizona State tight end Messiah Swinson.
Week 6 of the college football season is here, and it's time to put in work.
We all know the college football market moves a lot over the course of the week. Money pours in all over the place from the time lines open on Sunday afternoon to kickoff on Saturday. This week is no exception.
Like any other sport, it's paramount to get the best price possible when betting on college football.
For example, a -6.5 favorite could move to -7.5 on Saturday morning and then you run the risk of that team winning by one of the most likely outcomes — a seven-point victory — and you just lost your bet. It could have all been avoided if the bet was locked in at -6.5 Monday morning.
I'm here to help you navigate the market by providing a few lines I'm buying right now with my specific thresholds or other lines that I'm waiting to buy for later in the week.
The hope for this piece is to beat the market, get the best price possible, and in the long run, save you some money with closing line value. To do that, we'll utilize our TAN projections, ESPN's SP+ and my own projections to create a consensus.
You hear all the time, "process over results." The best way to know if the process is working is by closing line value (CLV), meaning how many points did you beat the closing line by?
I'll be keeping track throughout the year of exactly how many points we've beaten the market by:
- 3.5 Points: UConn +27.5 → +24 closing line
- Pittsburgh -7.5 → -7.5 closing line
- Cincinnati +6.5 → +6.5 closing line
- Rice +34.5 → +32.5 closing line
- Boise State +3 → +2.5 closing line
- Louisville +6.5 → +5.5 closing line
- Iowa -3.5 → -3.5 closing line
- Virginia +5 → +4 closing line
- Western Kentucky +6.5 → +6.5 closing line
- Houston -9.5 → -8.5 closing line
- Memphis -13 → -14.5 closing line
- Virginia Tech +3 → +1.5 closing line
- Old Dominion -3.5 → -5.5 closing line
- Hawaii +3 → +4.5 closing line
- Texas State +21.5 → +21.5 closing line
- Michigan State +7.5 → +7.5 closing line
- Louisiana +7 → +8.5 closing line
Now, let's dive into Week 6 slate.
Arkansas vs. Mississippi State
-110o / -110u
|Mississippi State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Arkansas is coming off an absolute pounding by Alabama with a backup quarterback for a chunk of the game.
Now, Arkansas has to prepare for Mike Leach's Air Raid passing attack that threw for 417 yards and 8.7 yards per attempt on its secondary in 2021.
The one advantage Arkansas will have in this game is its rushing attack. The Razorbacks run the ball on 66% of their offensive plays, average 4.5 yards per carry and rank 26th in Rushing Success Rate. Mississippi State, meanwhile, sits outside the top 80 in Defensive Line Yards, Stuff Rate and Rushing Success Rate Allowed.
However, Arkansas can't seem to break off a lot of big runs because it's outside the top 100 in rushing explosiveness.
On top of that, KJ Jefferson is questionable to play on Saturday after sustaining a head injury that knocked him out of the Alabama game.
After posting a 90.0 PFF passing grade with 36 touchdowns in 2021, Will Rogers has sustained that level of play in 2022. Through six games, he has an 84.4 PFF passing grade with an 81.2% completion percentage, which is extremely vital in Leach's short passing game.
Will Rogers can fill it up through the air 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/EW64UsgTQl
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 1, 2022
The last two teams to attempt over 30 passes against Arkansas were South Carolina and Missouri State. Each of those teams averaged over 8.5 yards per attempt, and the Razorbacks have lost starting safety Jalen Catalon.
Arkansas also ranks 126th in explosive passing allowed and 123rd in terms of tackling grade, per PFF — not what you want to see when facing a Mississippi State offense that throws the ball on 65.7% of offensive plays.
All three projection models have Mississippi State projected as a favorite of over a touchdown. This sat at -5 as of writing, so I would grab it as soon as possible before it moves.
Pick: Mississippi State -5
Middle Tennessee vs. UAB
|Middle Tennessee Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
UAB was incredibly unfortunate to not escape Rice with a victory.
The Blazers outgained the Owls by over 150 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per play compared to just 3.9 for Rice. They also had seven drives end inside the opponent's 40-yard line compared to just four for Rice.
UAB lost that game by scoring only 24 points scored on those seven opportunities and committing 12 penalties for 116 yards.
However, hosting an overachieving Middle Tennessee team is just what the doctor ordered for Bryant Vincent's team.
The Blazers are one of the most rush-heavy offenses that doesn't run a triple option. UAB runs the ball on 65.8% of its offensive plays, but it's incredibly effective and averages 5.1 yards per rush.
This team has one of the best Group of Five running backs in the country in DeWayne McBride, who had a 90.5 PFF rushing grade and led college football with 4.72 yards after contact per attempt last season.
Through three games, he already has almost 500 yards rushing while averaging 5.01 yards after contact per attempt. He also has 15 rushes of over 10 yards.
DeWayne McBride, RB, @UAB_FB in 2 games:
🐉 48 carries
🐉 400 yards
🐉 5 TDspic.twitter.com/y4WXe7K7CB
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) September 29, 2022
Middle Tennessee has been pretty decent at stopping the run, allowing only 2.8 yards per carry and ranking 28th in Defensive Line Yards.
But the secondary is a major problem.
The Blue Raiders are 84th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 100th in explosive passing allowed, as UTSA's Frank Harris just threw for 10.5 yards per attempt last Friday. So, if Dylan Hopkins can throw for 9.0 yards per attempt like he did against Rice this past weekend, UAB should be able to move the ball.
Middle Tennessee is also due for some major turnover regression after racking up 12 takeaways in its first five games.
The Blue Raiders offense has put up a lot of points, but the underlying stats are very concerning. They're averaging 5.1 yards per play (86th in FBS) while ranking 116th in Success Rate and 107th in Finishing Drives. It's basically just boom or bust, as they're ninth in explosiveness.
MTSU's offensive line is abysmal, as it literally owns the worst PFF run-blocking grade in college football at 39.1 and ranks 130th in Offensive Line Yards. Its pass blocking grade isn't much better at 43.9, which ranks 122nd in college football.
UAB has an incredible defense that sits top-10 in both run defense and coverage grade, per PFF. The Blazers are allowing just 4.9 yards per play and rank 11th in Defensive Finishing Drives.
All three projection models have UAB projected above -14, so I like the value on the Blazers at -9.5. That's currently available at BetMGM with a few books already moving UAB to -10.
Pick: UAB -9.5
Washington vs. Arizona State
-110o / -110u
|Arizona State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Washington suffered its first loss of the season at UCLA last Friday night, and its defense got severely exposed.
The Bruins gained almost 500 yards, had a whopping nine drives end inside the Washington 40-yard line, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for 9.3 yards per attempt.
The Huskies rank 87th in EPA/Play allowed, 105th in explosiveness allowed and 82nd in Defensive Finishing Drives.
Washington had already forced six turnovers in its three games against FBS opponents before the UCLA game and didn't force a turnover against the Bruins on Friday night.
One of the main reasons why Washington is struggling defensively is because it returned only five starters and lost two first-team All-Pac 12 cornerbacks from 2021.
Washington has allowed 8.6 yards per attempt (114th in FBS), ranks 91st in EPA/Pass and 109th in passing explosiveness allowed.
Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones moved the ball just fine through the air against USC, averaging 7.4 yards per attempt with a 77.5% adjusted completion percentage, per PFF.
While Michael Penix has been throwing the ball great, the Washington run game has struggled to date. It gained just 2.8 yards per rush against UCLA and ranks 46th in Rushing Success Rate and 65th in EPA/Rush while averaging only 4.0 yards per carry.
The offensive line has been getting a good push up front, ranking 58th in Offensive Line Yards and 12th in run-blocking grade, per PFF. The Huskies just don't have much talent in the running back room.
This line opened at Washington -14.5 and has been bet all over the place, settling at -13 at most books.
Image via Action App
All three projection models are giving the Sun Devils at least 2.5 points of value. There's currently one +13.5 left out there on Arizona State at FanDuel, so I would grab that now before it moves.
Pick: Arizona State +13.5