Week 6 College Football Best Bets: Our Experts’ Top Picks for Early Afternoon Matchups, Including Oklahoma vs. Texas
Adrian Garcia/Getty Images. Pictured: The West Virginia Mountaineers.
- Following a game that featured four overtimes and nearly 100 points last year, Oklahoma faces Texas in the Red River Showdown.
- College football's Week 6 early afternoon window also features West Virginia against Baylor and Old Dominion vs. Marshall.
- Our experts break down and offer their best bets for all three of these matchups.
Following a week in which two top-10 teams lost, the No. 1 squad in the country cruised to an easy win and Cincinnati continued to make a push for the playoff, the college football slate is looking even more dramatic in Week 6.
Four ranked matchups take centerstage — including a top-five duel in Iowa City — but as usual, it doesn’t need to be an elite game in order to find the best betting value.
In the noon window, the Red River Showdown between No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 21 Texas presents an opportunity, but don’t forget about another Big 12 duel between West Virginia and Baylor and Marshall facing off against Old Dominion.
Our experts preview these three games to kick off the day and offer up their best bets. Use the table below to maneuver to the showdown you are most interested in reading about.
Saturday College Football Best Bets for Week 6
Our Top Picks for Saturday’s Early 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 noon to 2 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 More of Our Staff’s Best Bets for Week 6
Looking for more of our college football staff’s top picks for Week 6? Check out our best bets for each of Saturday’s three other kickoff windows:
No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 21 Texas
It used to be that a team or program would get overhyped in the offseason, fail to live up to said hype and then have to relive that cycle the following offseason.
But in the social media age a team can be “back,” a laughing stock and “back” again all within the course of a month.
Texas was humiliated by Arkansas — a team that trailed Rice at halftime in its opener — and as a result, everyone was out on Texas. Then, the narrative shifted once people began to buy Arkansas as an SEC sleeper.
Texas made a switch at quarterback and re-entered the AP Top 25. The hype train is again leaving the station for UT, which is strange given the fact that it’s beaten no teams of note, while its defense remains average by SP+ standards (56th).
Oklahoma, on the other side of the Red River, has been mocked mercilessly for its underwhelming offense this season. Lincoln Riley’s magic appears to not have worked on Spencer Rattler as the Sooners are averaging just 38 points per game (15th).
People are out on the Sooners, dropping the previous lookahead line back in August from OU -10.5 to OU -3.5 as of publication. That’s an overreaction by the public, plain and simple.
Oklahoma is better defensively and has a chance to be far more efficient on offense now that Rattler rebounded from a shaky start. Rattler’s QBR has exceeded 82.5 in three of his past four games.
Can they win without him being a Heisman-caliber quarterback? Absolutely. Can Texas win without a monster game from Bijan Robinson? No.
Texas’ bellcow has done it all this season, checking in at second nationally in all-purpose yards per game. The Sooners put Leddie Brown in a straightjacket two weeks ago (54 total yards) and bottled up Deuce Vaughn on Saturday on the ground (51 yards).
If they can limit a 150-plus-yard day from Robinson, Texas won’t make enough big plays to cover this number.
Pick: Oklahoma -3.5 or better
West Virginia vs. Baylor
Baylor hosts West Virginia as both teams position themselves in the Big 12 race.
The Bears rank 23rd in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 37 points per game. They have been even better at home, averaging 48.5 points per game. Baylor has a bruising rush game that ranks 13th in the country at 242 yards per game.
The Mountaineers have been relatively successful on offense this season as well. They rank 61st in the nation in scoring offense, putting up an average of 30 points per game.
West Virginia has played better than its record and posted scores indicate. Poor execution and mistakes at critical junctures have cost it at least 21 points and potentially a couple of wins.
Baylor has the 10th-ranked passing defense in the country, allowing only 155.6 yards per game. The Bears’ rushing defense is not nearly as good, ranking in the bottom third in FBS. West Virginia will have to establish the run so it can revert to its passing game behind quarterback Jarret Doege.
Conversely, West Virginia has an excellent rush defense but owns a passing defense that ranks in the bottom 50% of FBS.
Baylor will look to QB Gerry Bohanon to establish the passing game early to take advantage of the discrepancy between the Mountaineers’ rushing and passing defense.
The weather in Waco looks great for putting points up. It’s supposed to be in the low 90s and partly cloudy with no wind.
Baylor is going to establish the pass early to counteract West Virginia’s stingy rushing defense. The Mountaineers are a passing team and will need to air it out to beat Baylor at home. This matchup sets up to be a higher-scoring affair than Vegas is giving it credit for.
Based on both teams’ ability to put points up so far this season, my model is projecting a total score of 51.13 points.
I like Baylor’s ability to get comfortable offensively at home and West Virginia to rectify previous mistakes that have cost it points throughout the season.
Pick: Over 44
Old Dominion vs. Marshall
I expect this game to be a lot of fun between two first-year head coaches who are very good friends.
Ricky Rahne and Charles Huff spent four years together on the offensive staff at Penn State from 2014-17, helping the Nittany Lions bring a Big Ten Championship to Happy Valley in 2016.
Both of these offenses play at an incredibly fast pace. The Thundering Herd lead the entire country in plays per minute, and the Monarchs aren’t far behind at 23rd.
Marshall should do most of the heavy lifting here as three-touchdown favorites with an offense that ranks inside the top 50 in both Rushing Success Rate and Passing Success Rate. The Herd lead Conference USA with 539.4 total yards per game and are second with 37.8 points per game.
For Old Dominion, its offense is still a work in progress, but I expect it to continue to improve each week under Rahne’s system. Quarterback D.J. Mack is pushing the ball down the field more, increasing his yards per attempt in each of the last three games.
Mack also adds a running ability — along with a stable of running backs that ranks 54th in Rushing Success Rate — against a Marshall team that has struggled to stop the run this year, ranking 100th in the country.
The two biggest areas of weakness for the Herd defense have been preventing big plays, and stopping drives in its territory.
I’m not expecting Old Dominion to light up the scoreboard, but it can do enough to push this total over in a game between two coaches I expect to pull out some tricks against each other.