College football is back and with it, college football sports betting. Each week during the NCAA football season, we’ll break down the biggest games of the week from a sports betting perspective and give you a pick or a lean for the games you, and the rest of America, are going to be watching.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel good about and could end up in our weekly plays. A “lean” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we favor over the other side. It could end up in our plays after additional research or information is released.
- Record on Picks: 18-10
- Record on Leans: 3-5
(2) Georgia at (13) LSU
The Georgia Bulldogs are currently the No. 2 team in the country, but have you looked at their schedule? Sure, they are ninth in the nation in points per game (44.2) and eighth in yards per play (7.1). But without them playing a ranked team, it’s hard to know if Georgia’s No. 2 ranking is accurate. With a four-game stretch against ranked opponents starting this week (LSU, Florida, Kentucky, and Auburn), we are about to find out all we need to know about the Bulldogs.
Now, Georgia hasn’t done anything on the field that warrants us questioning them as the second-best team behind Alabama, but LSU is their biggest test so far. Georgia already has scored 41 at South Carolina and 43 at Missouri. But going on the road to Death Valley is a big step up in competition. QB Jake Fromm is playing at an elite level and has thrown for 1200 yards, 12 TDs, and just two interceptions. Georgia isn’t just beating people; they are destroying them, but they will need to be on their game if they want to stay undefeated.
For LSU, they return home after suffering their first loss of the season at Florida a week ago. If the Tigers had won that game, this contest versus Georgia would have been the biggest one this Saturday. It’s still a massive game and a chance for LSU to get right back into the playoff conversation if they can pull the upset.
Defensively, the Tigers are giving up just over 20 points per game. Their defense will look to ride the emotion of their home crowd all game long. This is the biggest home game of the year for LSU. The Cajuns will be at full throat for most of the afternoon.
This game really will come down to LSU’s offense. If they can score enough to keep pace with Georgia, the environment could play a big role in the outcome. QB Joe Burrow struggled last week, going 19 for 34 for just 192 yards and two big interceptions, but he has been good in LSU’s two huge wins this season (Miami and Auburn). Burrow must protect the football this week against a Georgia defense averaging over 1.5 takeaways per game. Running Back Nick Brossette has rushed for eight touchdowns and nearly 600 yards. He must have a big game and pick up critical first downs to keep drives alive for LSU.
Georgia is 6-0 but just 3-3 ATS. The hook here is really attractive, so make sure you get it at +7.5. If you do, take the points and the home dog playing in front of their passionate fanbase. Georgia wins, but LSU covers.
Pick: LSU +7.5
(15) Wisconsin at (12) Michigan
This game is a matchup of teams that have not done well against the spread this season. Wisconsin is just 1-4 against the number while Michigan is 3-3. We’ve been on the right side picking both these team this year. Now, they face off in week 7.
Last week, we took Michigan -17.5 and needed a big second half against Maryland to cash the ticket. In Week 4, we took Wisconsin -3 to cover at Iowa, and the Badgers came through for us. These two conference foes clash in a game that could be a preview of the Big 10 title game. Neither team has suffered a loss in conference play yet, but neither has played particularly well for long stretches this season.
Wisconsin was a national title sleeper pick until they lost at home to BYU. The Badgers still feature one of the best scoring defenses in the country, giving up just 16.4 points per game, but there are problems on that side of the ball. Wisconsin gives up a lot of yards, nearly 350 per game, and gave up 407 last week against a winless Nebraska team. Michigan will have opportunities for big plays. That means QB Shea Patterson must play well. Patterson threw for 282 yards and three scores last week and needs to continue his strong play if the Wolverines want to stay unbeaten in the Big 10.
The Michigan offense is good, but their defense is the best in the country. UM ranks first in yards given up per game (230.5), yards per play (3.5), and third in yards per pass (3.5). Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook will need to rely on his experience to handle the Michigan pressure that is sure to be in his face all game. He did not play well last year in this game, but he is completing big passes down the field this year and has 10 touchdown tosses on the season. If Wisconsin can hit the deep ball consistently, they could pull the upset on the road.
Michigan fans have been waiting for a breakout game against a ranked opponent. This could be the major opportunity for Jim Harbaugh to show his program has arrived. However, Wisconsin’s experience makes it very difficult to see them losing by more than one score, which is what this line suggests is going to happen.
The folks in Ann Arbor could well leave happy, but take the points here. An experienced Wisconsin team is not going to get rolled by more than seven.
Pick: Wisconsin +9.5
(7) Washington at (17) Oregon
There was so much hype around this Washington team before the season that it’s hard to remember they only have one loss. The season-opening defeat to Auburn took a lot of air out of the national hype balloon for the Huskies. However, a Pac-12 title and a major bowl game is still right there if they continue to take care of business. The same can be said for Oregon, who also have just one loss on the year.
If the Huskies get past the Ducks this week, they will most likely end the regular season 11-1 and in prime position for a major postseason opportunity. The playoffs are a long shot, but a great season is still on the table.
QB Jake Browning is a solid college quarterback, and his team is coming off of a 35-7 whipping of BYU at home last week. Browning was a red hot in that game. He went for 23 of 25 for 277 yards and one touchdown. Outside of that blowout, nearly every other game has been a dogfight for Washington. They will be in for another one on Saturday.
The Ducks are still kicking themselves for choking away the game against Stanford two weeks ago. Last Saturday, Oregon blew out Cal on the road 42-24 to improve to 4-1 on the year. However, the Ducks have been awful ATS this season with just a 1-4 record. Last week was the first time Oregon covered all year. QB Justin Herbert played terrifically and threw for two touchdowns in the victory. RB Travis Dye ran for 115 yards and a score as well.
Washington’s defense came into the year as the strength of the team. The unit currently ranks in the top 20 in points given up (6th), yards per game (11th), and yards per pass (16th). The Huskies will have their hands full with Oregon’s offense, which is averaging 41.5 points per game. That’s 11th best in the country.
In Oregon’s two PAC-12 games, they have scored a combined 80 points. Slowing down NFL prospect Herbert and company will not be easy because Washington’s D does not generate enough pressure on the quarterback. If they let Herbert continue to connect on 76 percent of his passes (per his PAC-12 play), it’s going to be a long day for UW. The Ducks offense can hurt you in many ways as long as they keep track of the football.
The East Coast might not know it, but these two schools don’t like each other one bit. Rivalry games are always fun, and the home crowd in Eugene will be jacked up. Look for Oregon to pull the upset over Washington to make up for the blown game against Stanford.
Pick: Oregon +3.5
Lean: Over 57.5
(6) West Virginia at Iowa State
One team that is undefeated and not getting a ton of love for the playoffs is West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are 5-0 and a very impressive 4-1 against the spread. This game is on the board for us because it could get really ugly for Iowa State against this high-powered offense led by QB Will Grier. We like the spot that West Virginia is in this week.
Last week, Grier and company failed to cover for the first time this year on the road at Kansas. The Mountaineers won 38-22, but Grier was picked off three times. He did throw for 332 yards and four touchdowns, but the interceptions have to be cleaned up. When you are favored by 27 and don’t take care of business, the coaches have what they need to get on an undefeated football team all week at practice. That’s bad news for the Cyclones.
Iowa State got their annual scalping last week on the road against Oklahoma State. Every year, the Cyclones surprise somebody in the Big 12 they aren’t supposed to beat. Last year it was Oklahoma. This year it was the Sooners’ in-state brothers.
If you don’t know the name Brock Purdy, you should soon. The true freshman quarterback was inserted into the lineup last week. And all he did was throw for 318 yards and four touchdowns in his first college game. He also did it on the road. OSU clearly wasn’t ready for him, but West Virginia now has game tape on Purdy and will be prepared for the budding star. Purdy also ran the ball for 84 yards and another touchdown, so he can do it with his arm and his legs. Starting QB Kyle Kempt is doubtful, so it’s Purdy’s team for the time being.
Zooming out, the Big 12 has a problem on its hands. West Virginia is the last remaining undefeated team in the conference. The Mountaineers don’t have a marquee game on their schedule besides a matchup with Oklahoma at the end of the year. There isn’t a sexy non-conference victory for the selection committee to talk about if they run the table. What’s more, the Big 12 as a whole isn’t very good. The Mountaineers can’t afford to take anyone lightly, and they already didn’t look great against a bad Kansas team last week. WV must put up style points to keep themselves in the conversation for the playoffs.
Playing in Ames isn’t easy, but there is just too much talent on the offensive side of the ball for West Virginia, leading to 38.8 points per game on average. The Cyclones will struggle to keep up in this one. WV should score at least 30. Look for Iowa State to keep it close early, but then too many points from Will Grier and company will make for an easy cover.
Pick: WVU -6.5
Pick: Over 56