Top-25 Matchups Galore: How I’m Betting Iowa vs. Penn State, Oklahoma vs. Texas

Written By Eli Hershkovich on October 7, 2021
Week 6 College Football Best Bets

With four ranked college football games on Saturday’s slate, you have zero reason to minimize your sportsbook apps. Let’s break down how I’m attacking No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 21 Texas and No. 3 Iowa vs. No. 4 Penn State with my Week 6 college football best bets.

No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners vs. No. 21 Texas Longhorns

Over at PointsBet, 57% of the bets are backing Texas while 52% of the handle is on Oklahoma. As of now, the spread has the Sooners as a 3.5-point favorite in Dallas, but there’s juice on the Longhorns’ side.

Steve Sarkisian’s offense is tied for the eighth-most yards per play (6.8 YPP) across Division I, and that’s a product of their elite ground game with tailback Bijan Robinson at the forefront. Robinson led college football in most missed tackles forced on runs (15) amid Texas’ Week 5 road win at TCU, covering in the process (-4.5).

Nevertheless, Alex Grinch’s defense is allowing the sixth-fewest expected points added (EPA) per carry, sitting ahead of Iowa and Georgia. EPA is equated by expected points scored based on the down, distance, and field position at the start of a play compared to the end result.

I haven’t been high on Grinch’s defenses after he made a name for himself at Washington State, but that metric isn’t a fluke. The Sooners have already stymied two above-average rushing attacks in Nebraska and Kansas State.

On the other side, Texas’ passing defense ranks No. 99 in EPA/dropback. Although preseason Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler has likely fallen out of the race, his passing production (7.6 YPA) isn’t as poor as the overall consensus. Look for Rattler or possibly backup Caleb Williams to excel.

Inside Scoop from the Sportsbook

“At a neutral site, we had discussions of maybe opening this thing closer to a pick’em, maybe Oklahoma -1 or -2,” Motoi Pearson, a senior trader at WynnBET Sportsbook, said. “Overall, Oklahoma -3 made the most sense, just referring back to the power ranking. The market has agreed and bumped some as we sit at Oklahoma -3.5. We expected this to be more of a popular over (62.5) bet instead.”

Pearson hasn’t placed a wager on this game yet, but he’d sway towards the Longhorns at the current spread.

Eli’s Bet: Oklahoma -3 (DraftKings — placed at 5pm ET on Thursday, Oct. 7)
Best Available Line: Oklahoma

No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions @ No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes

The winner of this game will assuredly see their College Football Playoff odds shorten.

With both defenses boasting a top-ten opponents’ EPA/play, the under would appear to be the right side. But it’s been driven down enough (42.5 to ) to the point where there’s not much value left.

While I haven’t respected the market’s endearment towards Iowa all season, quarterback Spencer Petras at least exhibited an ability to stretch the field (7.4 YPA) in the dominant win over Maryland in Week 5. But the Nittany Lions’ elite passing defense should cause him to retreat back into his shell.

For James Franklin’s offense, signal caller Sean Clifford & Co. surprisingly rank No. 20 in EPA/dropback, and the Hawkeyes are most susceptible through the air. With this game projected to be decided by a score, I’ll look to back Penn State with a potential live bet. Pearson’s team at WynnBET has a similar stance on the game.

“We were the first market to open this up at Penn State -1.5,” Pearson said. “We thought the spot was well-suited for Penn State. Although the rest of the market opened with Iowa as a two-point favorite, we were fine with taking Hawkeyes money up until now. The market has taken us to Iowa -1.”

Potential Betting Angle: Penn State live +3.5 or better
Best Available Line: Penn State

Week 6 College Football Odds

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Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

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