Wilson: 5 College Football Best Bets for Week 7

Wilson: 5 College Football Best Bets for Week 7 article feature image
Credit:

Christopher Hanwinckle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Big Red

  • Collin Wilson gives out his five favorite college football picks for Week 7.
  • He's betting some good games, some ugly games and some in between.

Success Rate and efficiency continue to take shape and help me identify college football teams I want to bet on and against.

The biggest names in offensive success rate are no surprise in Oklahoma, Georgia and LSU. The Sooners and Tigers play in the premier games of Week 7, but against two different pass defenses.

Texas is 128th in defensive success rate against the pass, while Florida is one of the most havoc-minded defenses out there with an opponent passing success rate rank of 22nd.


Odds as of Thursday night and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).


The Group of Five has its own showdown in Week 7 as Hawai’i visits Boise State in what could be a conference championship preview. The Broncos will need their top 20 defensive success rate against the pass versus Cole McDonald and a Hawai’i offense that is third in passing success rate. It is a big weekend for our Rainbow Warrior futures.

Be sure and follow me in The Action Network App to get my bets on every Week 7 game, plus Week 8 openers on Sunday.

College Football Bets for Week 7

Maryland vs. Purdue

  • Spread: Purdue +3.5
  • Over/Under: 53.5
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: Big Ten Network

An opening spread of Purdue +16.5 at Circa Sports closed at +28.5 in last week’s game against Penn State. It is safe to say the oddsmakers knew how to properly identify the Boilermakers without quarterback Elijah Sindelar and wide receiver Rondale Moore as the final score fell 35-7.

But it may be a shock to see Purdue as a short underdog against Maryland.

And there is some good news for Purdue.

Jack Plummer did not turn the ball over against a top 10 defense in Penn State. For all the press of the decimated offensive line of the Boilermakers, the Nittany Lions generated 10 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and four hurries of Plummer without generating an interception in Week 6.

Maryland is just 57th in sack rate and rank outside the top 40 in defensive passing success rate. There is room for Plummer to work.

Maryland allows more 7.5 yards per pass attempt and over 60% completion rate against opponents. Those defensive metrics are both outside the top 65.

Take the Rutgers game out of the statistics and Maryland gave up nine touchdowns and an average of 335 yards through the air to Temple’s Anthony Russo, Syracuse’s Tommy DeVito and PSU’s Sean Clifford.

Tyrrell Pigrome will likely get the start at quarterback for Maryland with Josh Jackson doubtful (ankle). The Terps offensive line has had as many issues as the Boilermakers with a rank of 111th in stuff rate and 70th in sack rate.

The biggest issue for Maryland is points in the red zone. The Terps are 113th in red zone scoring with an average of 4.92 points per trip. Don’t look for Maryland to kick past the 40 yard line, as the Terps are the only team in the nation without a field goal. Mike Locksley may have zero faith in his kicking unit, with just two failed attempts through five games.

Pick: Purdue +3.5

 

Mississippi State vs. Tennessee

  • Spread: Tennessee +7
  • Over/Under: 53
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

Never did I think I would find myself on the sinking Titanic described by Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

But the quarterback change initiated a new line of thinking. A flicker of hope came through when backup Brian Maurer had his first career completion for an explosive play touchdown.

The fun didn’t stop there as Maurer hit Jauan Jennings for 33 yards and three other Volunteers receivers for big plays. The Tennessee offense has been dreadful this season, but a sign of life against the Georgia Bulldogs may provide confidence against Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs have troubles of their own, ranking outside the top 100 in opponent yards per play. Injury to quarterback Tommy Stevens will continue through this week, as Moorhead stated there is opportunity to get both quarterbacks on the field at the same time. The statement from the head coach signifies that Mississippi State is going to throw anything they can against the wall to find some offensive success.

The real issue for Mississippi State is the defense and the allowance of the explosive play. Cowbell has allowed 25 passes to go longer than 20 yards, enough to rank 121st in the country.

Tennessee should have covered their previous game against Georgia but didn’t, which may give a bit of value to this week’s spread. Expect a desperate but revitalized Volunteers offense to show up and expose the Bulldogs secondary.

Pick: Tennessee +7

UAB vs. UTSA

  • Spread: UTSA +12
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN+

No one would blame UAB and head coach Bill Clark for being a bit fatigued. The Blazers played in the longest game in program history, just over 6 hours due to multiple lightning delays against Rice. UAB would go on to win 35-20, but a finish time past midnight in the driving rain could linger into Week 7.

Clark mentioned in his Monday presser that going on the road is always a challenge. The Blazers had uncharacteristic turnovers at Akron and against at Western Kentucky. UAB lost to WKU as a favorite after quarterback Tyler Johnston threw four interceptions.

Heading on the road to UTSA, the Blazers may be without their top running back.

As for UTSA, the Alamodome will celebrate the 100th game in Roadrunner history with Hispanic Heritage Game and Family Weekend. There will be Lucha American Wrestling as one of the festivities, and that alone is enough to energize a fan base to rally UTSA.

As far as the football itself, there is reason to think the Roadrunners can keep this close. UAB will rely on the arm of quarterback Tyler Johnston even if Spencer Brown is starting.

The Blazers are 15th in the nation in pass yards per attempt and 60th in passing success rate. Johnston can throw the ball deep, which is where the UTSA defense excels. The Roadrunners have allowed just 12 passes over 20 yards, good enough to rank 22nd in the country.

Expect UTSA to prevent most big passing plays for UAB, and with a total of 47, there is plenty of value on the current number of 12.

Also, UAB has arguably the easiest strength of schedule to this point. Rice, South Alabama, Akron and Western Kentucky all rank outside the Action Network top 100 and this Blazers team might not be as good as we think.

Pick: UTSA +12

Army vs. Western Kentucky

  • Spread: Western Kentucky +4.5
  • Over/Under: 43
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: Stadium

The Western Kentucky defense has been the primary reason why they may go over their season win total and make some noise within their division. A victory over Old Dominion last week saw a complete shutdown of the Monarchs offense.

The Hilltoppers rank 24th in total defense, led by a front seven that is 15th in opponent rushing yards per attempt. Western Kentucky is also limiting opponents to just 27% success in third down conversions, good enough to rank 14th in the country.

Army comes into this game off a loss to Tulane after the Green Wave limited the Black Knights to just 193 rushing yards at 4.4 per attempt. The final score masks how much the Army offense struggled, scoring just three times on drives from their own territory.

A few havoc plays led to almost half of the Black Knights points.

When you handicap against Army, you size up the trench work of the opposing team. Western Kentucky is 37th in line yards and 23rd in stuff rate. Both of those stats are crucial against the Army triple option that looks fullback dive first.

Pick: Western Kentucky +4.5

Washington vs. Arizona

  • Spread: Arizona +6
  • Over/Under: 60
  • Time: 11 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

During my summer travels to Vegas to nab as many Washington under 10 wins tickets as I could, it never once occurred to me that this might cash before mid-term exams.

The Huskies have fallen on hard times starting with an early season loss to Cal in a lightning delay game, but most recently allowed Stanford to gain almost 500 total yards.

There is a collection of issues on both sides of the ball for Washington. We knew defensively that there would be turnover at every position, but the new starters are 103rd in line yards, 119th in power success and 106th in stuff rate. Through the air Washington is outside the top 75 in opponent passes over 20 yards.

Another reason for the loss to Stanford is the inefficiency of quarterback Jacob Eason, who threw for just 206 yards on 36 attempts. Washington is outside the top 40 in passing success rate, and that number falls to outside the top 75 in passing downs.

Meanwhile, the Arizona offense continues to post explosive plays.

While Arizona has had plenty of plays over 20 yards both in the air and on the ground, the Wildcats rank top 10 in passes over 40 yards.

The Arizona defense still lacks desired numbers to stop any offense from scoring, but it makes up for that in fire power on the offensive side of the ball.

Expect a Washington team that ranks 80th in red zone points per attempt to have issues keeping up with the Arizona scoring in Tucson.

Pick: Arizona +6