Every week throughout the season we’ll give you a college football viewing guide by highlighting the five best games of the coming weekend. We will pick those five games against the spread and highlight some other matchups that caught our eye from a betting perspective.
We’ve reached the halfway point of the college football season and the race for the national championship feels wide open. From a rankings perspective, Georgia has separated itself from the pack to this point in a year with a bevy of other teams with realistic paths to the four-team College Football Playoff.
On paper, Week 7 does not look like the most action-packed week we’ll experience this season — especially on the heels of an extremely eventful Week 6. But Week 6 showed us that upsets can always emerge from unexpected places.
(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)
Time: Noon | TV: Fox | Line: Texas -4.5 | Total: 60
Has there been a more under-the-radar undefeated team so far this year than Oklahoma State? Only No. 16 Wake Forest has a lower ranking among undefeated teams from the major conferences. Before having a bye last week, the Cowboys beat both Kansas State and Baylor by double digits at home. Can they keep it going on the road against Texas?
The Longhorns (4-2) are coming off a heartbreaking loss to rival Oklahoma. Texas had a big lead but ended up losing on a last-second TD. How will Steve Sarkisian’s team respond? The Longhorns have gotten strong play on offense with star running back Bijan Robinson and QB Casey Thompson. The defense, on the other hand, has been the second worst in the Big 12. The only defense worse? Kansas.
Sam: Oklahoma State +4.5, Nick: Texas -4.5
Time: Noon | TV: CBS | Line: Arkansas -4.5 | Total: 53.5
Auburn (4-2) is coming off a 34-10 loss to Georgia and is about to play its third tough road game of the season. The Tigers lost to Penn State by eight and then had a come-from-behind win over LSU. Can Auburn win at Arkansas? Auburn couldn’t run the ball at all against Georgia, but did move the ball better than most of UGA’s opponents. How will the Tigers’ offense fare on the road in Fayetteville?
Arkansas started the year 4-0 with upset wins over Texas and Texas A&M. Since then, it has lost back-to-back games. The Razorbacks lost 37-0 to Georgia and then dropped a 52-51 shootout at Ole Miss last weekend. The Razorbacks had 676 yards of offense last week but also allowed Ole Miss to gain 611 yards and score three touchdowns of more than 50 yards.
Sam: Auburn +4.5, Nick: Auburn +4.5
Time: 3:30 | TV: CBS | Line: UGA -21.5 | Total: 44.5
Kentucky is off to a 6-0 start for the first time since 1950, but now is tasked with facing top-ranked Georgia in Athens. The Wildcats used a blocked field goal to upset No. 10 Florida at home two weeks ago and then rushed for 330 yards in last week’s win over LSU. Will Levis, a transfer QB from Penn State, scored five touchdowns in the LSU win — three through the air and two on the ground.
Georgia’s defense should provide much more resistance for UK. The Bulldogs have the best defense in the country, allowing just 5.5 points and 203.5 yards per game and only 3.6 yards per play. In fact, Georgia has allowed only two offensive touchdowns all year. Meanwhile, the offense has taken strides despite an array of injuries. The running game has been solid, and Stetson Bennett has filled in admirably for JT Daniels at quarterback.
Sam: UGA -21.5, Nick: UGA -21.5
Time: 7:30 | TV: SECN | Line: Ole Miss -2.5 | Total: 82
Any time a game has an over-under in the 80s, it grabs your attention. These are two of the top offenses in the country — particularly Ole Miss. The Rebels (4-1) are averaging 561.7 yards per game and are coming off a 52-51 victory over Arkansas. In the win, Matt Corral threw for 287 yards, rushed for 94 yards and had four total touchdowns. Corral is one of the betting favorites for the Heisman Trophy along with Alabama QB Bryce Young.
Tennessee (4-2), in its first year under Josh Heupel, has scored 107 points combined in its last two games, wins over Missouri and South Carolina. The Vols’ offense has been much better with Hendon Hooker at quarterback, and the team’s rushing attack has been prolific. The Vols are No. 6 nationally in rushing offense, averaging 253.7 yards per game. Now they have a chance to pull off a big upset at home.
Sam: Ole Miss -2.5, Nick: Ole Miss -2.5
Time: 10 | TV: ESPN | Line: Pick ’em | Total: 50.5
Aside from No. 9 Oregon, Arizona State (5-1) is the only other ranked team in the Pac-12. You could argue ASU should be ranked higher. Other than a mistake-filled loss to BYU, the Sun Devils have cruised past every other team they’ve faced. ASU is 3-0 in conference play and beat Colorado, UCLA and Stanford by an average of 19.7 points. ASU currently sits atop the Pac-12 South standings.
Expectations were high for Utah entering the season, but the Utes opened the year 1-2 with ugly losses to BYU and San Diego State. They’ve rebounded since then, knocking off Washington State and USC to open Pac-12 play. Cameron Rising has taken over at QB and played great against USC, throwing for 306 yards and scoring four total TDs in the 42-26 win. Rising will need another strong performance to help his team beat ASU and move into first place in the division.
Sam: Utah, Nick: ASU
Head-to-head ATS: Sam: 15-15, Nick: 15-15
Week 7 best bets
Nick Bromberg (Last week: 2-1, Overall: 11-7)
No. 19 BYU at Baylor (-6.5): BYU lost at home to Boise State because it fumbled the ball three times. Those were the first fumbles of the season for the Cougars. I think BYU holds onto the ball and I’m still not totally convinced in Baylor even after a big win over West Virginia a week ago. Pick: BYU +6.5
TCU at No. 4 Oklahoma (-13.5): The Horned Frogs are banged up entering this game and Oklahoma, as you probably know, will likely be starting Caleb Williams at QB. I think this is a total inflated by OU’s shootout win over Texas and TCU’s blowout win over Texas Tech. I’m going to live dangerously with another under. Pick: Under 65
No. 13 Ole Miss (-2.5) at Tennessee: Tennessee has put up over 100 points in the last two games combined and this is an Ole Miss team that beat Arkansas 52-51. But the total on this game is way too high — and it keeps going up. I was ready to go under when it opened at 79.5. And that desire has only increased with the number. Pick: Under 82
Sam Cooper (Last week: 1-2, Overall: 8-10)
California at No. 9 Oregon (-14): Oregon is dealing with a ton of injuries, including RB C.J. Verdell, and I don’t trust the Ducks to cover a two-touchdown spread with Anthony Brown at quarterback. Under Justin Wilcox, Cal is 11-4 ATS as a road underdog. I’ll take the points. Pick: Cal +14
Nebraska (-4) at Minnesota: Minnesota has the fewest passing attempts of any non-option team in the country and is down to its third-string running back. Nebraska just lost a heartbreaker to Michigan and has to go on the road for an 11 a.m. kickoff. This has “low scoring” written all over it. Pick: Under 48
Pittsburgh (-5) at Virginia Tech: Pitt is coming off a bye. The Hokies have a struggling offense and are coming off a tough loss to Notre Dame. Pitt’s offense has been on fire and the Panthers have a strong history (10-3 ATS) as a road favorite under Pat Narduzzi. Pick: Pitt -5
For other Week 7 picks from Sam Cooper, click here.
For Week 7 picks from Dan Wetzel, Pete Thamel and Pat Forde, subscribe to the College Football Enquirer podcast.