Miller: My 4 Best College Football Bets on Under-the-Radar Games for Week 7
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: De’Michael Harris
Everyone will have their eyes on Oklahoma-Texas and Florida-LSU this weekend, but don’t forget that there’s plenty of value to be had in games involving smaller-conference teams.
The lines often aren’t as sharp and there aren’t as many eyes on the games. If you know personnel mismatches, coaching staffs and advanced stats for Group of Five teams, you can put yourself in a good position to fire and make some money.
Odds as of Friday at 9 a.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Every Saturday, I’ll be putting out a few of my favorite bets in some under-the-radar games.
This week I’ve got four, so let’s get to it.
Week 7 College Football Picks
Wyoming at San Diego State
- Odds: SDSU -3.5
- Total: 38
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
So far this year, Wyoming has been out gained in four of their games. Despite that, the Cowboys sit at 4-1 on the season and now travel to San Diego State on Saturday night.
They’ve certainly been one of the luckiest teams in the country, but they are coming off their best game of the season last week in a 53-17 win over UNLV.
Quarterback Sean Chambers isn’t dynamic in the passing game, but has taken care of the ball very well through the first five games of the season. Where Chambers excels is in the quarterback run game.
He leads the Cowboys in rushing, averaging 7.1 yards per carry with six touchdowns. He’s the biggest reason that Wyoming ranks 29th in explosive plays this year. The offense isn’t efficient, but they can put up points in bunches when they’re hitting chunk plays.
The Cowboys offense will face its toughest test of 2019 this week in San Diego. San Diego State has the top group of five stop unit in the country, ranking 18th in defensive efficiency.
The issue for the Aztecs is their anemic offense that ranks in the bottom-15 of every offensive category that I look at to cap games.
Wyoming is the more balanced team as they have both a competent offense and defense. I make this spread a little bigger than the current number, but I still feel comfortable backing the Cowboys in San Diego.
The Pick: Wyoming +3.5
North Texas at Southern Miss
- Odds: Southern Miss -3
- Total: 58
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: Facebook Live
I was a big fan of both of these teams coming into the season but neither has looked the way I expected them to so far.
I was looking for Southern Miss to have a dominant defense and to struggle a bit on offense and I thought North Texas would have a great offense but allow quite a few points.
Southern Miss’s defense has been anything but dominant in 2019. It ranks 118th in yards per play, 114th in defending explosiveness, and 95th in defensive efficiency. The North Texas offense has been pretty disappointing behind senior quarterback Mason Fine, but he’ll have plenty of open receivers on Saturday.
My projection for this game is right around the current number but SP+ makes the Mean Green a 2.5-point favorite. This number has moved towards North Texas throughout the week and I feel that that’s the right side.
The Pick: North Texas +3
Navy at Tulsa
- Odds: Navy -1
- Total: 54
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPNU
Navy is a team that’s been moved up in my power ratings consistently so far this season. They’ve jumped up eight points in the first six weeks and I think coach Ken Niumatalolo has turned Navy around after a really rough season in 2018.
I was pretty optimistic in the preseason that Tulsa would improve enough to sniff a bowl bid and so far they’ve handled their business against the teams they should beat. This week they’ve got the tough task of stopping the Navy triple option offense.
The good news for the Golden Hurricane is that their defensive line is actually pretty stout against the run so they should keep Navy’s offense in check.
The Tulsa offense has been really rough through the first half of the season. They rank…
- 112th in yards per play
- 93rd in explosive plays
- 92nd in offensive efficiency
The trenches are going to be a problem for Tulsa as their offensive line ranks 125th in line score while Navy’s defensive line is No. 9. Navy’s defense has been stingy this year so I’m not expecting Tulsa to do much at all on offense.
The clock is going to be moving plenty in this game and there shouldn’t be very many explosive plays at all. I played the under 54 in this game earlier in the week. It moved down a couple points but it’s since jumped back up. Go out and grab that under 54 before it takes another dive.
The Pick: Under 54
Toledo at Bowling Green
- Odds: Toledo -26.5
- Total: 65.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
I’ve made some gross bets in my life but this one may just take the cake. Bowling Green is easily one of the worst teams in the country and they’ve yet to cover a spread against an FBS team this year.
Bowling Green defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is widely known as one of the worst in the business and he’s lived up to his reputation so far in 2019. The Falcons are 127th in yards per play and 122nd in efficiency. They’re clearly very outmatched in this game but I think they’re catching too many points.
I’ve been fading Toledo for the last couple of weeks and I’ve been burned by it but I’m going back to the well this week. Toledo’s offense is excellent but after a big win against Western Michigan, I doubt they’ll be very motivated to keep the first stringers in deep in the second half.
The Rockets defense has been shockingly lucky so far this season. They rank 37th in points per play allowed, but 98th in yards per play allowed so there’s going to be some serious regression coming soon.
My power ratings, SP+, and The Action Network’s power ratings make Bowling Green a +19.5 underdog in this game so there’s some value on the Falcons.
The Pick: Bowling Green +26.5