During the college football season, the Stadium staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice in this roundtable. Here are our thoughts on the Week 7 slate.
Note: Ben and Nate will discuss all of their college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: Southern Miss -4 over Arkansas State.
Here’s a quick Group of Five refresher for this bet: Southern Miss started 0-2, and coach Will Hall went viral thanks to a VERY sweaty shirt in the Miami heat, but then USM won two in a row (including as an 11.5-point underdog) before taking a 27-10 loss to Troy off of their bye week. Got all that?
The Golden Eagles turned it over four times against Troy, leading to 20 points for the Trojans. In three losses this season, Southern Miss has turned it over 12 times. In the two wins? Zero turnovers. Arkansas State is dead last in the Sun Belt with just three takeaways in six games, so I’m hopeful the Golden Eagles can take care of the football and get a comfortable win against the Red Wolves.
Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: Alabama -7 over Tennessee.
Alabama has historically been their best after a game in which they got embarrassed. While they didn’t lose against Texas A&M, it sure was too much of a sweat for Bama. This week, they’re most likely getting Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young back, and they can also make the lightning-fast Tennessee offense uncomfortable with their talented defensive line. The Tide wake up for games like this, and giving a touchdown is too good to pass up.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: TCU -4 over Oklahoma State.
I’m going back to TCU in this section after they cashed my bet against Kansas last week. You could also argue this is more of a bet against Oklahoma State, who I tried to fade last week — but they won by 10 after I took a bad number on Texas Tech at +9.5 (the Cowboys trailed by eight late in the third quarter, so a lot had to go right in the second half to win by 10). Texas Tech was able to move the ball on Oklahoma State with their third-string quarterback, and the Cowboys’ defense was on the field for 104 plays. I like what I saw from QB Max Duggan and the TCU offense last week, and I’ll look to back them on Saturday against an overrated and tired Oklahoma State.
AS: Virginia Tech +7 over Miami.
The lines are starting to tighten up across the board as conference play continues, and it’s becoming harder to find value. Therefore, I give you another bet on a game that I definitely won’t watch — and I recommend that you don’t either.
Virginia Tech has really struggled to score this season under new coach Brent Pry and offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen, failing to hit 30 points in any game this season. Miami has also struggled to move the ball, as the Hurricanes have averaged 5.97 yards per play this season, good for eighth in the ACC, but the average drops to 5.79 yards per play when removing last week’s game against North Carolina. The Tar Heels have a defense barely worthy of the FBS, so I’m choosing to throw that performance out and wait before buying stock in a Miami resurgence on offense. I’m hopeful the Hokies can keep this one within a touchdown.
BW: Wisconsin -7.5 over Michigan State.
The Badgers have made amends in my eyes. They fired Paul Chryst and handed the reigns to program-favorite Jim Leonhard, who after one game looks like a capable coach. QB Graham Mertz and the offense look like they have more room to breathe, and the players are responding. As for Michigan State, they’ve looked bad. Their secondary is a mess and their offense is as average as you can be. With a newfound offensive life and a downward trending Spartans team, this should be a double-digit win for the Badgers.
NJ: Utah -3.5 over USC.
Before the season I had a pretty strong conviction that Utah was the best team in the Pac-12 and USC was overvalued. I bet Utah over 8.5 regular season wins, USC under 9.5 regular season wins, and Utah to win the conference. None of those bets are looking good right now with Utah having two losses, USC undefeated at 6-0, and UCLA and Oregon in much better shape than Utah to win the Pac-12.
But I really think Utah is the right side in this game despite a bad performance from their defense at UCLA last week. This number reveals that the Utes are still respected even against an unbeaten USC team that the public is gravitating towards. Rice-Eccles Stadium is a tough environment to play in because of the crowd noise and elevation, and Utah is a different squad when playing in Salt Lake City. My exposure on Utah in this game might be minimal because of my preseason bets, but if you don’t have a ticket on either team, I would wait as long as possible and try to bet Utah at -3.
AS: Nebraska (+430) over Purdue.
Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell is back, the Boilermakers have won three in a row, and now they return home to Ross-Ade Stadium as a two-touchdown favorite against a Nebraska team with an interim coach. The Boilers are now 2-1 in the Big Ten and their only game left against a Big Ten East opponent is the season finale versus dreadful Indiana, so it’s safe to say Jeff Brohm’s team is in the driver’s seat in the West.
However, the Big Ten West is crazy and nothing in that division makes sense! Exhibit A: Nebraska just won a 14-13 game against Rutgers after going 5-22 in one-score games under former coach Scott Frost. Exhibit B: Purdue is tied with Illinois and Nebraska at the top of the West standings and the No. 24 Illini (yes, this Illinois grad wants you to know his team is ranked for the first time since 2011) hold the top spot right now due to tiebreakers. What world are we living in?!
I’m just rooting for more chaos, which is why I’m picking the Huskers to get an outright win in West Lafayette.
BW: Illinois (+210) over Minnesota (if Tommy Devito plays).
It’s been like 15 years since I’ve said this, but I’ve had a lot of fun watching Illinois play football. They have some fun offensive players, including Chase Brown, and their defense ranks in the top five in a multitude of categories. A home game against fellow Big Ten West program Minnesota is just the matchup they need to see how they stack up against the conference’s best.
It won’t be an easy one, with the Gophers’ Tanner Morgan and Mohamed Ibrahim providing a legit one-two backfield punch. But the Illini have already been tested this season, and their results are promising. As long as QB Tommy Devito plays for Illinois, I’ll back the Illini ( at +150 or longer).
NJ: Georgia Southern (+340) over James Madison.
James Madison has quietly been a great story in their first season since transitioning from the FCS to FBS level. The Dukes are 5-0 and already ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll. But in the first game with that ranking by their name, I could see a letdown now that they are the hunted as opposed to the hunter. Georgia Southern has an outright win at Nebraska this season, and Clay Helton’s team has a good enough offense to at least make this game interesting. I know it’s narrative driven, but with a lack of intriguing underdogs on the board, I’m going to have something on Georgia Southern to win this week.
AS: Alabama -7.5 over Tennessee.
Alabama going down to the wire with Texas A&M, and Tennessee blowing the doors off LSU on the road was the perfect recipe to get Alabama laying single digits against the Vols. Bryce Young is still dealing with a shoulder injury, but the fact that Young was in uniform last week makes me confident he’ll be on the field at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
The only problem? That pesky half point next to the “7” at several sportsbooks. If this line drops to 7, I will definitely be on the Tide. Bama has won 15 in a row against Tennessee, and I’ve seen this movie enough times to know that all the positive vibes in Knoxville come to an end when Nick Saban comes to town.
BW: NC State +3.5 over Syracuse.
I’ve been as big of an NC State backer as anyone this season, but I’ll admit I’m starting to waver. The injury to Devin Leary certainly hasn’t helped, but the Wolfpack haven’t been as dominant as I expected them to be. Getting a field goal on the road against a beatable Syracuse team is really tempting, and maybe if this line gets to +4, I’ll bite — but NC State hasn’t shown me any reason to really believe in them this season.
NJ: Colorado +15.5 over California.
During my deep dive into potential underdogs to bet on, I considered Colorado. The Buffaloes are coming off a bye and playing their first game after firing head coach Karl Dorrell. Last week, the four Power Five teams who already fired their coaches this season won outright, so maybe Colorado can play inspired football against a California team that doesn’t have the offense to cover big numbers.
But then I saw Colorado’s interim coach is Mike Sanford Jr., who has greatly struggled in stops at Utah State and Minnesota. Sanford Jr. being in charge and Colorado’s horrible statistical profile has me completely off this wager.