College Football Odds & Market Report: Week 7 Early Bets, Including Kent State vs. Toledo & Louisiana Tech vs. North Texas
Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The North Texas Mean Green.
Week 7 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 of exactly how many points we’ve beaten the market by in recent weeks:
- 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
- Mississippi State -5 → -9 closing line
- UAB -9.5 → -10 closing line
- Arizona State +13.5 → +13.5 closing line
Now, let’s dive into the Week 7 slate.
Kent State vs. Toledo
|Kent State Odds|
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
This line is far too short for the best team in the MAC.
Toledo had a tough stretch, giving up 77 points to Ohio State and then heading out to San Diego State and losing by three points. However, it has two resounding wins in conference play, beating Central Michigan and Northern Illinois while putting up 90 points in the process.
The Rockets’ defensive numbers and rankings are a little inflated because of the massive amount of yards Ohio State put up. In the other four games against FBS opponents, Toledo has allowed only 4.2 yards per play.
They’re also graded as the 19th-best run defense, 35th-best coverage unit, and most importantly, the 10th-best tackling team, per PFF.
That will be handy because this Kent State offense is pretty good. The Golden Flashes rank 40th in EPA/Play through a pretty difficult schedule that has included Washington, Oklahoma and Georgia.
Quarterback Collin Schlee has been really good, averaging 9.1 yards per attempt with an 84.5 PFF passing grade. He has Kent State ranking 20th in EPA/Pass.
However, Kent’s main issue is that it can’t convert when it crosses the opponent’s 40-yard line. It’s averaging 3.62 points per opportunity, which is good for 91st in the country.
On the other side, this Kent State defense is terrible. The Golden Flashes rank 117th in Success Rate Allowed, 110th in EPA/Play and are allowing 6.5 yards per play (118th in FBS).
The main issues have come in the secondary, where Kent State has been one of the worst units in all of college football. The Golden Flashes allowed 9.3 yards per attempt to Ohio (63rd in EPA/Pass) and Miami (Ohio), which is playing with a backup quarterback (104th in EPA/Pass).
Kent State ranks 126th in Passing Success Rate Allowed, 110th in EPA/Pass Allowed and owns a 46.1 coverage grade, which is the seventh-worst mark in college football.
Toledo quarterback Dequan Finn is having a pretty average season as a passer, averaging 7.6 yards per attempt with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. However, he does have Toledo ranked 39th in EPA/Pass. Plus, he has fantastic dual-threat ability, averaging 7.9 yards per carry and 4.06 yards after contact per carry with 17 runs of over 10 yards.
The Dequan Finn experience is exhilarating 😈 pic.twitter.com/NrizX2FRnf
— The Transfer Portal CFB (@TPortalCFB) September 18, 2022
Kent State sits 77th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 108th in rushing explosiveness allowed, so Finn should have a field day.
All three projections models have Toledo projected over -12, so I’d grab it as soon as possible.
Pick: Toledo -7.5
Louisiana Tech vs. North Texas
|Louisiana Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
|North Texas Odds|
-110o / -110u
This is a good spot here for North Texas coming off a bye and a good sell-high spot for Louisiana Tech after its first win over an FBS opponent this past weekend.
Louisiana Tech’s offense is solely reliant on explosive plays in the passing game. The Bulldogs rank 97th in Passing Success Rate and 77th in EPA/Pass but ninth in passing explosiveness.
Starting quarterback Parker McNeil is averaging 8.5 yards per attempt but owns a PFF passing grade of just 70.7. He’s also tossed 10 big-time throws compared to seven turnover-worthy plays.
The secondary marks the strength of this North Texas defense, and it has responded nicely after the complete catastrophe that took place against UNLV earlier this season. The Mean Green rank 60th in EPA/Pass, and they’ve held both Memphis and Florida Atlantic under 6.0 yards per attempt in their last two games.
Louisiana Tech has no run game to speak of, as it’s averaging just 1.9 yards per attempt (130th in FBS) while ranking 130th in Offensive Line Yards and 116th in EPA/Rush.
Austin Aune throwing the ball downfield is going to be the key for North Texas in this game. The Mean Green rank 19th in passing explosiveness, and Aune has a 91.4 PFF passing grade with 12 big-time throws on passes over 20 yards.
Dropped in a bucket! 🪣
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) October 1, 2022
Louisiana Tech ranks 107th in explosive passing allowed, so Aune should be able to connect on some deep balls.
The Bulldogs are also having all sorts of trouble stopping the run. They’re allowing 5.9 yards per attempt while ranking 119th in EPA/Rush Allowed and 125th in Defensive Line Yards.
However, the most telling stat of how bad the Louisiana Tech defense has been might be the fact that its PFF tackling grade sits at 33.6, which is the second-worst mark in college football.
All three projection models have North Texas projected over a touchdown, so I would grab it at -5.5 before it moves.
Pick: North Texas -5.5