Week 6 Best Bets for College Football: 5 Top Picks For Saturday Night (October 9)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: The Arizona Wildcats football team.
- Can Virginia Tech top Notre Dame at home? Will Texas A&M cover a big spread vs. Alabama?
- And how about in two other late-night duels? New Mexico vs. San Diego State and UCLA vs. Arizona.
- Our experts offer up five best bets for the Saturday night games to close out Week 6 of college football.
College football Saturdays never end, especially from the perspective of a bettor. The night window is the last opportunity to hopefully continue to pad your wallet before NFL Sunday.
Of course, No. 1 Alabama facing off against a disappointing 3-2 Texas A&M team is the biggest duel of the primetime session, but our experts are also eyeing Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame, San Diego State vs. New Mexico and Arizona vs. UCLA.
With that in mind, our staff offers their best bets for all four of these games. Use the table below to find the pick that will help make you some hard-earned cash.
Saturday College Football Best Bets for Week 6
Our Top Picks for Late Saturday Night
The set of college football team logos below reflects each of our college football staff’s best bets for games kicking off at 7:30 p.m. ET or later.
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. 14 Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech +1
First off, this is a great situational spot for Virginia Tech.
Notre Dame comes off a loss (and two straight very physical games) that pretty much ended its College Football Playoff hopes. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech comes in fresh off a bye with extra time to prepare for a Saturday night game in Lane Stadium.
It’s also a good matchup on paper for a stingy VT pass defense that ranks in the top five nationally in Pass Success Rate. That’s key against a Notre Dame offense that is simply incapable of running the ball.
And it’s even better if we get some potential weather that hits.
Virginia Tech’s offense is fairly underwhelming overall, especially after losing star tight end James Mitchell, but it should have enough success on the ground to sustain enough drives here.
Pick: Virginia Tech +1
Virginia Tech ML -105
Sharp money is all over this matchup. Per our PRO Report, the Hokies are pulling in less than 50% of the tickets but more than 75% of the handle. As such, Virginia Tech has moved to slight favorites at many sportsbooks.
I’m looking to follow the smart money in this spot and bet Tech to win.
The Notre Dame offense is fraudulent. Cool, the Irish are putting up 30 points per game, but they’re doing it with a wildly inefficient offense. The Irish rank among the bottom 10 FBS teams in Line Yards, Standard Downs Success Rate, and Rushing Success Rate.
That means they’re falling back on Jack Coan, who grades out at exactly 132nd in PFF’s college quarterback grades. He’s completing over 60% of his passes but for just 7.2 yards per attempt.
The strength of the offense seems to be the passing game, as the Irish rank 28th in Passing Explosiveness. However, Coan has completed only seven of his 26 attempts 20+ yards downfield, good for a 30.8% adjusted completion percentage, per Pro Football Focus.
The Notre Dame defense is good, but the stats imply the Hokies can go toe-to-toe with it (ND is 17th in Defense Success Rate, VT is 15th).
And while the Hokies have struggled on offense themselves, I’m hoping they can mix it up and show enough different looks with Braxton Burmeister to catch the Irish off guard.
The last time these two met, Notre Dame barely won, 21-20. I’m expecting Justin Fuente to get his revenge and squeak out an ugly one in Week 6.
Pick: Virginia Tech ML -105
No. 1 Alabama vs. Texas A&M
Taking Alabama on the spread is a pretty rare play for me. I don’t typically like laying big numbers, and it’s not common for the Crimson Tide to be anything less than a double-digit favorite.
Why do I feel comfortable laying the 17.5 in this matchup at Texas A&M? Well, quite simply, I think the Aggies are an extremely mediocre football team.
Quarterback Zach Calzada has really struggled since taking over in the Colorado game. The sophomore is barely completing over 50% of his passes and has already thrown four interceptions.
I don’t see a scenario in which the A&M offense can consistently move the ball up and down the field against the Tide.
On the other side of the ball, Bryce Young and the Alabama offense will certainly be able to get theirs. Brian Robinson Jr, Jameson Williams, and John Metchie III are just a few of the weapons that Young has at his disposal, and all are capable of cashing in on explosive plays against the Aggie defense.
I’m well aware that the “12th Man” will be rocking early on at Kyle Field, but I expect the Crimson Tide to take control early and drown out the crowd from there.
CBS chose this matchup as the one game to use in their night-game slot for the 2021 season. Expect the individuals who made that decision to have some regrets by the middle of the third quarter of this game. Tide Big.
Pick: Alabama -17.5
New Mexico vs. No. 25 San Diego State
By Shawn Burns
San Diego State has quietly entered the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2019.
The Aztecs are 4-0 and are getting healthy at the right time with quarterback Jordon Brookshire and running back Greg Bell both prepared to return to action against New Mexico.
The offense averages 36 points per game and 254 rushing yards per game. Defensively, they allow only 19 points per game and have the second-best run defense in the country, allowing 46 yards per game and under two yards per rush.
New Mexico has lost three in a row, including last week’s blowout loss to Air Force. The Lobos were battered from the get-go and allowed 408 yards rushing in defeat.
They now must prepare for another physical offensive line and a strong group of talented running backs. San Diego State runs the ball on 70% of plays and has four running backs who average over five yards per carry.
Look for the Aztecs to roll in this spot.
Pick: San Diego State -19
This UCLA defense had a solid start to the season, but it has rapidly declined over recent weeks. Last Saturday, Arizona State diced up the Bruins defense to the tune of 0.485 Expected Points Added Per Play, which ranked second among all FBS offenses in Week 5.
Overall, UCLA’s defense comes into this with a ranking of 77th in EPA per play on the year. Arizona’s offense hasn’t performed great against a tough opening schedule of defenses, but it should be able to move the ball to a degree against a defense that has been very leaky over the past few weeks.
Meanwhile, UCLA’s offense should go up and down the field on this Wildcat defense. The Bruins’ Dorian Thompson-Robinson comes into this game ranked eighth in the nation in adjusted yards per attempt and has the benefit of facing a pass defense that ranks 124th in EPA per pass and 122nd in pressure rate, per PFF.
UCLA has one of the best rushing offenses in the country as well and will likely cause issues for a team that was just gashed by Oregon on the ground in its last outing.
Overall, I project this one at 66.4 and will be expecting a big day from the UCLA offense after last week’s disappointing loss.
Pace could be a factor here as well, considering the Bruins lead the nation in possessions per game at this point.