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.
1. What is your favorite pick against the spread?
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: Missouri +10 over Texas A&M.
Jimbo Fisher became the first former Nick Saban assistant to knock off his old boss when Texas A&M upset Alabama last week, and Fisher said this week he’s already sick of talking about that win. He’s trying to send a message that his players need to move on, but I’m skeptical the Aggies are listening, and I’m going to bet on Mizzou to keep this game within a touchdown.
Texas A&M’s injury list is long and includes multiple offensive linemen, QB Zach Calzada and RB Isaiah Spiller. While Calzada and Spiller will both probably play vs. the Tigers, I’m hopeful that Fisher prioritizes their long-term health rather than running up the score. On the other side, Missouri’s offense is converting 53% of third downs this season and should be able to keep the chains moving late to keep this one close.
Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: San Diego State -9.5 over San Jose State.
This line should probably be in the double digits. The Aztecs have covered their last four games in a row, while SJSU hasn’t covered since Week 0. The Aztecs have one of the better run games in the country to match with a top-20 defense, and SJSU is dealing with QB issues with their starting QB Nick Starkel, who is questionable with an arm injury. The Spartans got the win in the 2020 matchup, but I think the Aztecs get more than their share of revenge in 2021.
Kate Constable, Stadium Host & Digital Producer: Michigan State -4.5 over Indiana.
This number doesn’t feel high enough to me when we’re talking about a 6-0 (4-2 ATS) Michigan State team taking on a 2-3 Indiana team who could be starting their backup QB in Jack Tuttle. IU’s starter Michael Penix Jr. suffered a shoulder separation against Penn State. The Hoosiers had a bye last week, which may have given Penix time to recover, but Tom Allen hasn’t committed to a starter for Saturday, yet.
Quite frankly, I don’t think it matters either way. Indiana’s defense is ranked 98th in rushing efficiency — which is a huge red flag for me knowing that MSU’s Kenneth Walker has been able to run all over teams this season.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: Texas -3.5 over Oklahoma State.
On paper, the situation doesn’t favor Texas. They are coming off a demoralizing loss to Oklahoma last weekend, while Oklahoma State was able to rest on a bye. I believe that factor is built into the line, but if Texas held on to an 18-point halftime lead against Oklahoma, they would be a bigger favorite here.
No. 12 Oklahoma State is a team I’ve been looking to fade all season because they are a fraudulent 5-0. They barely beat Missouri State and Tulsa in the first two weeks, got past Boise State and Baylor (who I also think are overrated) and beat Kansas State with their backup quarterback. I like the matchup of the Longhorns’ offense led by QB Casey Thompson and RB Bijan Robinson against the Cowboys’ defense. Texas still has plenty to play for this season, so I don’t expect too much of a letdown here. If they win out they would have an opportunity to avenge their loss against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game.
2. What is another bet you like?
AS: Under 51 in South Carolina-Vanderbilt.
I will not be watching this game, and I would suggest that you, dear reader, avoid this one too because it’s going to be ugly. South Carolina takes their time (106th in FBS in plays per game) on offense and has turned the ball over 11 times in six games. On the other side, Vanderbilt is the only team in college football without a scrimmage play of 40-plus yards and is converting just 32% of third downs. I could go on for another 300 words with more stats to make my case, but you get the point: I expect a lot of punts and a low-scoring game Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.
BW: Over 60.5 in Hawaii-Nevada.
When Nevada plays conference foes, its offense is good. Like, really good. They average 48 points a game when not playing a team from the Pac-12 or Big 12. And this week, they go against a Hawaii defense that ranks 101st in the country in points scored and 105th in total yards allowed. I think the Wolf Pack can score upwards of 45 points, so add on Hawaii scoring 17-20 against a middle-of-the-road Nevada defense and this over should hit comfortably.
KC: Syracuse +13.5 over Clemson.
Get your bets in quick for this one because this is a Friday night showdown at the Carrier Dome. Clemson isn’t putting up points like we’ve seen in recent years, and Syracuse’s defense has shown the ability to keep games close. Syracuse played their last two opponents tight, losing to FSU on a last-second field goal in Week 5 and then losing to Wake Forest in OT in Week 6. The Orange’s defense ranks third in the ACC in total defense and first in sacks, while the Tigers’ offense is dead last in scoring and total offense. Clemson also has yet to cover against any FBS team, while Syracuse has covered its last four.
NJ: Alabama -17 over Mississippi State.
I usually stay away from betting Alabama for full-game spreads because the numbers are inflated, but I’m going to take the bait here with the Crimson Tide coming off a shocking outright loss at Texas A&M. Even though it’s Alabama’s second-straight road game and Mississippi State is coming off a bye week, I think this point spread is still reasonable.
Alabama closed as a 19-point favorite in College Station last week, while the week before Mississippi State was a seven-point underdog at Texas A&M. Mississippi State won outright while Alabama lost, but there has been too much of an adjustment in this point spread. I’m also not impressed with Mississippi State this season, who recently lost to Memphis and LSU before their upset at A&M. I expect a 60-minute effort from Nick Saban’s team.
3. Which underdog of +200 or more on the moneyline has the best chance of an outright upset?
AS: UTEP (+225) over Louisiana Tech.
The UTEP administration stood by coach Dana Dimel despite five wins in his first three seasons, and it’s paying off in 2021. The Miners are 5-1 (2-0 in C-USA) and have eyes on their first bowl berth since 2014. Dimel is a Bill Snyder disciple — and his team plays like it: the Miners are snails on offense (sixth-fewest plays per game in FBS), run the ball 60% of the time and limit opposing offenses to a Conference USA-best 31.7% conversion rate on third downs. This recipe leads to fewer mistakes and close games, and I believe Dimel’s team is ready for a Louisiana Tech squad that has played a brutal schedule and could be looking ahead to next week’s game with conference heavyweight UTSA.
BW: Kansas State (+205) over Iowa State.
Farmageddon is back! The classic Iowa State-KSU matchup is always a fun one with the teams switching off wins during the last four years. Both teams are coming off a bye, but the Wildcats now have their starting QB Skylar Thompson back in the lineup. I can see KSU surprising bookmakers and coming out hot at home against an underwhelming Cyclones team.
KC: BYU (+200) over Baylor.
BYU looked incredibly sloppy last week in their loss to Boise State, but with a big game in Waco on Saturday, I think they fix those mistakes and go back to looking like a solid team again. The Cougars have also won outright twice this season as the underdog and are 23-9 ATS in their last 32 games as road ‘dogs. If BYU can limit their turnovers and win the battle in the trenches, I like their odds of pulling out the upset.
NJ: TCU (+400) over Oklahoma.
It’s been a wild college football season, so why can’t Oklahoma lose as nearly two-touchdown favorites just when we think they found a solution to their offense? I really don’t think Oklahoma deserves to be this big of a favorite based on their body of work this season. They failed to cover their first four games against FBS opponents and needed QB Caleb Williams to replace pre-season Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler to spark a comeback against Texas.
Lincoln Riley won’t reveal a starter for this game, but I would guess Williams gets the nod. He’s in a different situation now compared to last week when he came in mid-game and was asked to play aggressively. I always like TCU in the underdog role under Gary Patterson, so I’ll take TCU against the spread and play the Horned Frogs on the moneyline as long as QB Max Duggan and RB Zach Evans are healthy enough to play.
4. What is one bet you are tempted to make this week, but know you probably shouldn’t?
AS: Indiana +4.5 over Michigan State.
Michigan State is 6-0, ranked in the top 10 in both major polls for the first time since 2016, has already gone over its regular season win total and has a rivalry game in two weeks against No. 8 Michigan. However, I’m going to need at least six points to back the Hoosiers on Saturday. There are still plenty of whispers about Michael Penix Jr.’s health, and he’s struggled to hold onto the football against elite defenses this season with seven interceptions in IU’s three losses. Even if the Spartans are looking ahead to their bye week and Michigan, I don’t know if Indiana is good enough to take advantage.
BW: Alabama -17 over Mississippi State.
Alabama losing last week shook me to my core, folks. Since I have a future bet on them to win the title this year, my whole Bama worldview has been shattered. I truly don’t know what to expect from this game. Do the Tide come out with a vengeance, upset at last week’s loss? Or was the loss indicative of a long-term problem with the defense, which could carry over into this game? There’re just too many questions for me to back Alabama this week.
KC: Over 82.5 in Ole Miss-Tennessee.
This is an absolutely absurd number, and no one should bet this on principle alone, but I’m tempted to take the over 82.5 here for pure entertainment purposes. These are two fantastic offenses that run at a lightning-fast tempo, and a high-scoring game is inevitable — but probably not this high. A bet here would definitely make for an engaging game, and who doesn’t want to root for an offensive shootout?
NJ: Indiana +4.5 over Michigan State.
The Spartans have been one of the biggest surprises of the college football season, so I’m looking for opportunities to bet against them when they are in the favorite role. Indiana is very tempting as a home underdog coming off a bye week. Ultimately, what’s holding me back is Indiana will likely start Jack Tuttle at quarterback with Michael Penix Jr. injured. Tuttle is more of a game manager, so I’m not sure if the Hoosiers will be able to cover this number if they fall behind. Under 48.5 seems like a better play, as this is an early start and the temperature is expected to be in the 50s in Bloomington.