Week 7 of the college football season is the biggest week yet. Blockbuster rivalries like Alabama at Tennessee and Penn State at Michigan barely scratch the surface of what’s on tap Saturday. For this week’s picks, I’m diving headlong into these Week 7 rivalries to see if there’s value in the college football betting market.
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College Football Week 7 Picks, Best Bets
To place a bet on any of the games below, click on their odds in the tables.
Baylor at West Virginia
You won’t have to wait until Saturday night to find out if this bet hit– Baylor heads to Morgantown on Thursday night. Milan Puskar Stadium is a notoriously difficult place to play, but Baylor is playing a shorthanded West Virginia offense. Star running back CJ Donaldson will not play this week after suffering a frightening concussion against Texas. Without Donaldson in the lineup, WVU managed 4.0 yards per play against the Longhorns.
The Bears have played well against the run this season, currently allowing the eighth-fewest yards per carry (2.8). Taking backups Tony Mathis and Justin Johnson Jr. out of the calculus leaves the entire offense up to JT Daniels. Under Daniels, WVU is averaging just 6.5 yards per attempt (99th) and he has a 129.9 passer rating (75th) on the season.
While Baylor’s defense has taken a considerable step backward from where they were last year, they’re still a unit capable of slowing down a hobbled West Virginia team.
A struggling secondary for WVU against Blake Shapen is also a good setup to take Baylor on the road (which I am doing, too).
- Brett’s Bet: West Virginia UNDER 25.5 team points (-110), placed Oct. 11 at DraftKings Sportsbook
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No. 10 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan
James Franklin is 2-10 against Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State on the road in his time at Penn State. Those two wins game against 2020 Michigan (2-4) and 2019 Michigan State, who fired their head coach.
Now, Franklin and Penn State head to the Big House to face a top-five Michigan team. The Nittany Lions have posted respectable numbers against the run this year, standing in the top-10 in yards per rush allowed (3.0), but it’s worth noting they haven’t faced an offense that’s above 99th nationally in yards per rush themselves. Blake Corum and Michigan is rushing for 5.4 yards a clip, 15th-most in the country.
Michigan if fifth nationally in yards per rush allowed (2.6), though they have the same resume concerns as Penn State. However, if it came down to it, the Wolverines are much better equipped to run against a sturdy defense than Penn State is, particularly up front. They even sent Corum over 130 yards rushing against one of the stiffest defenses in the country in Iowa.
Interestingly, Sean Clifford has never thrown an interception against Michigan. If the game is put solely in his hands, he has the track record of not taking Penn State out of the game against Michigan. But increased work for Clifford is a recipe for a loss. Penn State is 1-6 when he attempts 34 or more passes.
If you give me Franklin on the road in a big spot and tell me the game is resting solely on Clifford’s shoulders, I’ll take Michigan at a touchdown every time.
- Brett’s Bet: Michigan -7 (-106), placed Oct. 9 at PointsBet
- Best Available Number: Michigan
No. 3 Alabama at No. 6 Tennessee
Related markets often have value when they aren’t aligned. This is the case in Saturday’s blockbuster matchup between Alabama and Tennessee. With Heisman QB Bryce Young still not confirmed to be playing, the Tide balance between -7 and -7.5 road favorites, a number that hasn’t moved all that much. When the number doesn’t move, that means the market as a whole hasn’t found that number to hold much value and, therefore, is sharp.
So if we take the assumption thats seven-ish points is a “correct” spread, why are the Vols +5 underdogs in the first half? That would imply one of two things: The full game number is off-market and should be around -10 (unlikely given the action and attention on it), or this first-half spread is off-market (more likely, since related markets have less attention on them).
However, this isn’t just a blind bet based on assumption.
This is Tennessee’s biggest game since Peyton Manning wore the orange and white. Hendon Hooker has the Vols firing on all cylinders, posting top-10 marks in passing offense with a ridiculous 189.2 passer rating (second only to CJ Stroud).
With or without Young in the lineup, Tennessee is going to come out strong and want to start fast. Without Young, the Tide will have to lean into their run game, which plays into the teeth of the Vols defense. This season, Tennessee has top-10 marks in run defense EPA, which would spell bad news for Jalen Milroe.
I’m not messing with a full-game spread with Young’s status unclear and the market not finding value in the line. Instead, I’m leaning into the first-half spread.
- Brett’s Bet: Tennessee +5 1H (-106), placed Oct. 12 at FanDuel Sportsbook
- Best Available Number: TEN 1H
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