Week 6 College Football Odds & Picks: Collin Wilson’s Betting Card, Including Texas vs. Oklahoma & USC vs. Utah (Saturday, Oct. 9)
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Ralen Goforth.
- Week 6 of the college football season is here, and Collin Wilson is ready.
- He's betting three of Saturday's biggest games, including Texas vs. Oklahoma, Auburn vs. Georgia, and USC vs. Utah.
- Check out his betting picks and analysis for all three Saturday college football matchups below.
Like Week 5, Week 6 of the season represents another solid opportunity for college football investors, and it happens to have plenty of big games with a lot of storylines surrounding them.
Along with Iowa vs. Penn State, which is one of the most important games of the weekend from a futures and College Football Playoff perspective, we’ll see plenty of in-conference rivalries.
That action starts with the Red River Showdown, where Texas will attempt to take Spencer Rattler out of the game in favor of backup Caleb Williams.
At 3:30 p.m. ET, Georgia will look to avoid a letdown after dominating a ranked Arkansas when it takes on an Auburn squad that seems to be finding its stride behind quarterback Bo Nix, who was benched just two weeks ago.
Finally, USC will hope interim head coach Donte Williams can lead it to victory in what should be a tight game against Utah, which has already seen a circus at the quarterback position similar to the Trojans.
Check out all three games I’m betting below, and don’t forget to follow me in the Action Network app ahead of game day.
My Week 6 College Football Betting Card
Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific game on my Week 6 college football betting card.
Specific bet recommendations come via 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.
No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 21 Texas
The Oklahoma and Texas programs are changing as fast as the name of this rivalry.
The Red River Showdown, formerly known as the Red River Shootout or Classic or Rivalry, will take place at the State Fair of Texas just outside of the Cotton Bowl.
The designation of home team alternates yearly for the battle of the 10-Gallon Golden Hat. While the Longhorns lead the series, 62-49-5 all-time, the Sooners have taken a victory back to Norman in nine of the past 12 games.
Texas and Oklahoma are two of the three teams still undefeated in the Big 12 standings, with undefeated Oklahoma State set to meet the Longhorns in Week 7.
With Iowa State already falling to Baylor, Red River will go a long way in determining who is in the penthouse for a trip to the College Football Playoff.
We Want Caleb (Williams)
The Sooners’ fanbase has let it be known that the Spencer Rattler era might quickly be coming to an end.
Oklahoma has won by a single possession in three consecutive games, but the home victory over West Virginia in Week 4 had fans in a frenzy asking for backup quarterback Caleb Williams.
The lack of explosiveness and downfield passing has Sooner Nation unhappy with on-field results.
“We want Caleb” chants have begun in Norman after a Spencer Rattler INT…..yikes pic.twitter.com/8OCIv4B6BU
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 26, 2021
Issues persisted in a Week 5 victory over Kansas State, as Rattler posted two touchdowns and an interception.
The most unsettling sign from the victory was the lack of downfield passing, as Rattler attempted just two throws of more than 20 yards. Of his 27 pass attempts, there was just one drop on the day, with an average depth of target at 7.6 yards.
There are plenty of questions on the deep ball, ranging from the idea of a potential Rattler injury or if head coach Lincoln Riley leaving a portion of the playbook at home on Saturdays.
Rattler attempted 57 passes beyond 20 yards in a shortened 2020 season, with 26 big-time throws and just four turnover-worthy plays. There have been 12 similar attempts this season, with no big-time throws and four turnover-worthy plays.
There’s a distinct possibility a two-possession Longhorn lead in the Cotton Bowl would be enough to put Williams on the field. In a limited sample against Western Carolina and Kansas State, the prodigy produced 6-of-11 passing, with a big-time throw and a drop.
His dual-threat ability creates a large delta over the abilities of Rattler on the ground.
The Nik Bonitto Show
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has turned a defensive field full of statues into one of the most successful and aggressive groups in a matter of three years.
The Sooners are fifth in the nation in Finishing Drives, a measurement of how many points the opponent puts up on the board when crossing the 40-yard line.
Only 10-of-18 opponent drives into the red zone have resulted in a touchdown. PFF grades Oklahoma as having the best defensive pass rush in the nation, boosted by Nik Bonitto‘s 14 quarterback hurries.
The biggest change through the Grinch campaign is stopping the chains. Oklahoma ranks 10th in the nation in standard downs Success Rate.
The Sooners will be in the backfield of any offensive line that isn’t prepared, as they own a top-10 rank in tackles for loss.
The past 10 years of Red River have been defined by offense, but it’s the Sooners defense that’s the best unit on the field in the Cotton Bowl.
Successful & Explosive Casey Thompson
There are a number of factors in why the Arkansas nearly doubled the points put on the board by the Longhorns.
In Hudson Card’s second game as a starter, troubles persisted in explosive plays and passing downs. Through 21 offensive possessions against Louisiana and Arkansas, head coach Steve Sarkisian had produced zero explosive drives, defined as a drive averaging more than 10 yards per play.
Casey Thompson led a late touchdown drive in Fayetteville and became the starter against Rice. Respecting the dual-threat and zone read, the Longhorns have become an explosive offense.
Casey Thompson got WHITT it pic.twitter.com/DMmGfc1xTY
— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) October 2, 2021
The national average for available yards is 44%, defined by how many possible yards at the start of a drive against how many yards are actually gained.
The 2020 Alabama offense, led by Sarkisian, owned a number of 90%, more than double the national average.
In games against Texas Tech and Rice — games led by Thompson — Texas put up more than 90% of available yards in the box score.
After vanilla numbers from the first two games of the season, the Longhorns now rank top-35 in standard and passing downs splits from Success Rate and explosiveness.
Kwiatkowski Stability Search
Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski was known as one of the best in the nation during his time at Washington and Boise State. The 4-2-5 scheme gave defenses consistent issues, but that has not translated to success in Austin thus far.
The Longhorns are outside the top 100 in defending the explosive pass, Havoc, pass rush and Rushing Success Rate. All areas of the defense have failed to stop the opponent, none more striking than a rank of 123rd in standard downs Success Rate.
Texas has broken up just seven passes the entire season, producing a bottom-five rank with teams like Akron and Kansas.
Kwiatkowski has called blitz on just 16% of defensive snaps, a trend lower than his rate during his time at Washington.
TCU and quarterback Max Duggan found success in every split versus the national average, ending with an average third-down distance of 4.4 yards.
If it fails to put pressure on Rattler or provide resistance against the running game, the Longhorns defense is the biggest liability for any unit.
Oklahoma vs. Texas Betting Pick
Rattler is the starter for Oklahoma, but watching Duggan run dual-threat zone reads and convert downfield passing attempts might be the advantage Williams has over Texas.
Head coach Lincoln Riley is sure to give Rattler the lion’s share of snaps if he avoids of turnover-worthy plays.
There are plenty of ways to attack the Texas defense on the ground or through the air.
Eric Gray and Kennedy Brooks have improved each game in yards after contact, now combining for 36 missed tackles on the season. The Longhorns’ issues with tackling might assist Rattler in allowing him to continue the short passing game and letting the skill players make the explosive plays.
Eric Gray a gets a lot no 4th and 4. pic.twitter.com/ryKRdfTKe6
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) September 26, 2021
Texas has problems outside of every statistical category on the defensive side of the ball. The Sooners, meanwhile, are top-25 in defending rush explosiveness and rank 25th in standard downs Success Rate.
Oklahoma’s defense has enough personnel to not only cover Bijan Robinson in the run game but keep up on the sneaky wheel routes.
Special teams is a major concern for Texas, as Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation in SP+. Oklahoma has notable flaws in downfield passing, but that aspect is not a factor that will be tested against this Longhorns defense.
Pick: Oklahoma -3 or better
No. 2 Georgia vs. No. 18 Auburn
After a defensive clinic against Arkansas, the Georgia Bulldogs must get up for another SEC heavyweight with a trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Kirby Smart relied on trench play on both sides of the ball to produce enough yards on offense and stops on defense to put up a lopsided final score.
JT Daniels did not play in the game due to a lat injury, but an experienced backup in Stetson Bennett filled in admirably.
The Bulldogs produced an average of 6.5 yards in standard downs on offense, a National Championship number when combined with a defense that stuffed half of the Razorbacks’ rushing attempts.
Auburn got healthy in a trip to Baton Rouge as a field-goal underdog.
The knock on quarterback Bo Nix was the failure of producing in a big game and on the road. The former Mr. Football from the State of Alabama had his best game of the season, generating three big-time throws and just a single turnover-worthy play.
While the defense stuffed LSU rushing attempts and explosive plays, Nix made the touchdown pass of the season to keep Auburn in the national title picture.
— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) October 3, 2021
Stetson Bennett’s Mark on the Point Spread
The market made an adjustment in the 11th hour after the news of JT Daniels not suiting up for the Bulldogs.
The spread against Arkansas reached as high as Georgia -19, but more speculation around Daniels’ health and confirmation of his sitting out moved the line to Georgia -15.5. The closing line ended -16.5, indicating the drop from JT Daniels is as small as 2.5 points.
Bennett was serviceable when asked, completing 7-of-11 passing attempts with one turnover-worthy throw.
The win over Arkansas was based on a power run attack that included defensive linemen blocking for Zamir White and the emerging Kendall Milton.
Without JT Daniels under center, Smart may elect to continue an offensive attack that called rush on 56 of Georgia’s 67 plays against Arkansas.
On the season, Georgia has almost twice as many attempts on the ground with a Success Rate 18% above the national average. While there has been a substandard mark in explosiveness, Georgia dares defenses to shut down a heavy-run game.
No matter if the Bulldogs defense is consumed with spreadsheets or eyeball viewing, this is shaping up to be an all-time college football unit.
Georgia has allowed numbers well below the national average in standard and passing downs, but in passing plays specifically, opponents have tallied 17% below the national average.
Georgia has allowed just a single rush attempt over 20 yards.
When Jalen Carter isn’t leading the team in defensive pressures, he blocks three on the offensive line.
Jalen Carter eating up Hog defenders pic.twitter.com/6LCnKCecsy
— Greg Brandt (@devywarehouse) October 2, 2021
This defense has allowed just two touchdowns the entire season, both fourth-quarter entries by UAB and South Carolina.
Opponents are averaging less than a point per trip past the 40-yard line. On the season, there have been five opponent trips to the red zone, with all three converted scores going as field goals.
This will be put to the test against an Auburn offense that has scored in 15-of-16 attempts in the red zone this season.
Pack a Lunch, Bo Nix and Tank Bigsby
Nix has a clean season record from the point of touchdowns to interceptions, but a closer look shows a log of a turnover-worthy play in every game except Akron.
Nix has increased his average depth of target and produced three big-time throws in the victory over LSU.
Passing pressure is key, as Georgia ranks second overall in pass rush. To Nix’s credit, identifying pressure and learning to throw away has been key to keeping the Auburn offense on the field. Nix is achieving his best season when the blitz is called, logging a 3% better adjusted completion rate.
Bo Nix is just running around like a madman.pic.twitter.com/wzyr98hUpX
— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 3, 2021
While there are question marks around this offensive line protecting Nix in the passing game, there may be an advantage in establishing the run with Tank Bigsby.
Auburn is 13th in Line Yards, and the Tigers running game averages 6.9 yards per attempt on the season. Defenses have stuffed the Auburn rush attack 10% less than the national average.
The emergence of Jarquez Hunter has added another explosive element with 4.9 yards after carry and 18 missed tackles created.
— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) October 3, 2021
Stopping the Ground Game
Auburn was a much different handicap in Week 5 against LSU, a team that wanted to line up and throw.
This game will test Auburn’s rush defense, a unit that ranks 16th in Rushing Success Rate. The Tigers support a grade of 13th in tackling and have been top-20 in stopping the explosive play on the ground.
The linebacker duo of Zakoby McClain and Chandler Wooten leads the team in tackles.
Smoke Monday and Roger McCreary have seen a Stetson Bennett-led Georgia offense. The Bulldogs managed just a single explosive drive despite Auburn creating zero pressure on Bennett.
Auburn’s mission is to stop an offensive line that is plowing holes against good competition, but in passing downs situations, expect the secondary to generate a few third-down stops.
Georgia vs. Auburn Betting Pick
Despite a tempo mark of 113th in the nation, Georgia is putting up plenty of offensive points in each game since the opener against Clemson. In 20 red-zone opportunities, the Bulldogs have punched 14 into the end zone.
Georgia is 20th in the nation in time of possession in part to the defense giving up so few first downs. The Auburn defensive front will struggle to keep the Bulldogs’ ground game out of standard downs, which will equal plenty of scoring opportunities for a Georgia team that is 20th in Finishing Drives.
Auburn has similar numbers when crossing the 40-yard line. A rank of 12th in Finishing Drives is highlighted by 16 red-zone trips that resulted in 11 touchdowns and a handful of field goals.
Both of these teams know how to score in opponent territory. The biggest question is whether or not Auburn will be able to get the ball into Georgia territory.
The Action Network projection on the game makes Georgia -12 with a total of 51.5. There are edges in both of the numbers, although there is no reason to act on a spread that sits in a dead zone. Waiting until Saturday morning to see the final injury list for Georgia may give the bump needed to grab Auburn +16.5 or better.
As for the total, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has Auburn running at a tempo rank of 31st in the nation. The entire offensive playbook will be on display from the first snap, using 11 and 12 formations and hiding run versus pass with pre-snap motion and no-huddle.
Because Auburn has an equal balance of run and pass that the Georgia defense must respect, there should be points on the board.
The pace of Auburn offense not only means an increased chance of points, but also more possessions for a Georgia offense that is slicing through college defenses.
With a projection of 51 on the total, in coordination with tempo and two offenses that score more touchdowns than field goals, the over is suggested through the key of 48.
Pick: Over 48 or Better · Auburn +16
Utah vs. USC
From a short- and long-term historical perspective, there may not be a more appetizing play than USC on the Week 6 schedule.
Utah has yet to cover a game on the 2021 season while only taking three games against the Trojans in the past 10 of this series. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2010, the Utes have never won a trip to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
While Utah undergoes a quarterback change and subsequent transfer of Charlie Brewer, USC has already fired coach Clay Helton.
Interim coach Donte Williams has played the role of bad cop after the win over Colorado, citing fumbles, penalties and celebrations that are not part of team football.
USC is not completely out of the division race at 2-2, but a win over Utah is vital to any remaining season goals.
The all-white throwback jerseys will accompany the Utes on the trip, as Utah looks to stay undefeated in the Pac-12 South.
New all white throwbacks are here 🔥 pic.twitter.com/o4mwdTjjVO
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 5, 2021
Utah Offense Rising?
The switch to Cameron Rising over Brewer was done to create a spark within the offense.
After a vanilla 15-of-26 performance with an interception against BYU, Brewer entered the San Diego State game as the starter. The super senior posted a 31% Success Rate on 14-of-26 passing with no touchdowns.
Rising, who lost a close quarterback battle through training camp, took over duties under center and posted three touchdowns in the overtime comeback against the Aztecs.
Cameron Rising finds Solomon Enis for the 2 point conversion. We are headed to OT.
SAN DIEGO STATE 24
— CFB Blitz (@BlitzCfb) September 19, 2021
Brewer left the program after the victory, leaving only Texas freshman transfer Ja’Quinden Jackson as depth for Rising.
The Washington State game provided more vanilla play from the Utah quarterback position, with Rising going for 137 yards on 13-of-23 passing.
Rising targeted eight different players as he looked to find rhythm, but two drops and six pressures from a Cougars defense that is dead last in most categories suggest more work is needed from the Utah offense.
The trench ranks 110th in pass blocking and Havoc Allowed. Not all of that rank is on the offensive line, as Utah is near the bottom of FBS in fumbles for 2021.
Defending the Deep Shot
Utah has improved against opponents on deep passing attempts.
The schedule has not been the most fearful list of threats with Washington State, San Diego State, BYU and Weber State, but Utah is top-20 in Defensive Passing Expected Points.
The fundamentals are still there for head coach Kyle Whittingham and defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley, as the Utes are 16th in tackling and support a top-25 Defensive Havoc Rate.
The pass breakups are mid-FBS rank, but the tackles for loss rank top-10 among all teams nationally. Specifically, Devin Lloyd has been a one-man Havoc train and ranks second nationally in individual defensive grading, per PFF.
How USC’s AD and Co-Offensive Coordinator Impact the Game
Helton was quick to get a niche offense in place for the Trojans in 2019, aiming for Kliff Kingsbury. USC had the coach in place for a couple of weeks before the Arizona Cardinals presented a better offer, leaving the Trojans with the option of taking protege Graham Harrell.
Vertical deep shots became a part of a 2019 offense that destroyed defenses that refused to drop eight defenders into coverage. USC played plenty of empty-back 10 formations mixed with 11, but that offense has changed in Helton’s absence.
Although USC passes on 57% of offensive snaps, the 10 formations have been completely abandoned with a two-tight end set now representing 35% of attempts.
None of the current interim staff is expected to be retained by Athletic Director Mike Bohn, leading to speculation the offensive game plan has been taken away from Harrell.
This could be music to the ears of Utah coaches and staff who have consistently struggled in previous seasons against the Air Raid of USC and Washington State.
Kedon Slovis playing for his draft capital life!!! pic.twitter.com/UDXCHKtD26
— Ray G 🏁 (@RayGQue) October 2, 2021
There has been renewed focus for quarterback Kedon Slovis since returning from injury. The emergence of backup Jaxson Dart and the combination of an interim head coach has taken the handcuffs off Slovis taking aim at targets downfield.
This is a Trojans offense that ranks top-40 in Passing Success Rate and seventh in passing downs explosiveness.
USC Aims to Stop the Chains
USC has not been the most successful defense in stopping the chains, specifically when opponents attempt explosive plays. The Trojans are outside the top 100 in tackling and Defensive Havoc.
Defenses can live with giving up available yards, but firming up in the red zone is where teams separate themselves from a win and a loss. USC has not had success when opponents cross the 40-yard line, ranking 75th in Finishing Drives.
Of the 13 opponent scores against the Trojans defense, all 13 have been touchdowns.
The biggest issue for the defense is controlling the offense in early attempts.
USC ranks outside the top 100 in standard downs Success Rate and explosiveness on defense.
When USC has been able to force third downs, it has stepped up to the plate and allowed just 18 first downs for a rank in the top 25 in opponent conversions.
Utah vs. USC Betting Pick
This game is a battle between a Utah team that has not covered a game and a USC team without a head coach leading a multi-quarterback shuffle.
The Utes’ numbers can be skewed no matter which side of the ball is reviewed, with a defense against a softer schedule of offenses and an offense that has been led by two different quarterbacks.
As for USC, the tempo from previous Air Raids has increased along with the number of shots downfield.
When Harrell had full control over the offensive plan under the Helton regime, Slovis took just 22% of passing attempts beyond 20 yards with nearly 70% coming behind the line of scrimmage or within nine yards against San Jose State. Those deep shots dropped to 11% of passing attempts against Stanford, the last game coached by Helton.
Since the change at head coach, downfield passing over 10 yards has jumped to nearly 40% for Slovis. Dart’s Week 3 passing chart saw 50% of passes go over 10 yards.
The Action Network projection on the game is USC -4, leaving little value to the spread.
But the total may be where the value lies. USC is still a team that struggles to tackle or take the ball away. No opponent has recorded a field goal on the Trojans because all 13 scores have been touchdowns. Will the Utah secondary be ready for the new aggressive downfield look from the Trojans?
Utah has struggled in key areas, specifically ranking 121st in special teams and 126th in Defensive Line Yards. The Utes are fantastic in Defensive Havoc, but those numbers are supported by attacking the rush and not passes defensed.
The Action Network projection on the total is 53.5, but there are plenty of key numbers to consider. Both 55 and 51 have the highest percentage of totals in games logged since 2000. The number of 53 is nowhere close, while 52 is in the top six of all key total numbers.
As of this writing, there are few 52s on the board, but considering the popularity of the number, it’s worth paying an extra 10 cents when playing the over.