Week 6 College football best bets, odds and game picks including Oklahoma vs Texas
Week 5 was another terrific week of college football, including a couple of massive upsets (hello, Bowling Green), plus a myriad of marquee games that came down to the wire. My condolences to all of us that had Duke +6.5…that was a brutal beat to swallow. However, with last weekend in the rearview mirror it’s time to get into this Week 6 slate with my weekly best bets column.
With Saturday approaching, here is a look at my best bets for Week 6 of the college football season.
Texas Longhorns -4 over Oklahoma Sooners (-110)
Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of writing. Playable to -6.
The Red River Rivalry is always one of the biggest games on the college football calendar, and this year the installment features a couple of undefeated teams at the top of the Big 12. Oklahoma has flown under the radar a bit in terms of national spotlight while there are analysts out there (including myself) that believe Texas is the best team in the country at the moment. The question becomes; who has the edge in Saturday’s showdown?
Prior to the season I was all in on Texas to win the conference, and I’ve seen nothing to change my mind. Steve Sarkisian’s offense is as efficient as ever, with elite talent at the skill positions and a confident quarterback in Quinn Ewers, who is playing extremely well since the win over Alabama in Week 2. Even with Texas’ season-long success on paper (15th in EPA per pass, 19th in EPA margin, 16th in points per quality possession), it’s telling that the Longhorns left points on the board against Alabama and Kansas, two games that they won in convincing fashion. Furthermore, this defense is terrific, sitting at 5th in passing success rate, 7th in rush success rate and 7th in net points per drive. Dillon Gabriel and Oklahoma’s passing game struggled at times against SMU and Cincinnati, plus I find it hard to believe that Oklahoma’s middling running game will get going against a Texas front seven that is a havoc machine.
Not only is this bet a continued play on Texas, but I’m going back to well with another slight fade of Oklahoma, who looked impressive against Arkansas State and Tulsa in September, but seriously struggled at times en route to a fraudulent cover against SMU. The Sooners also failed to cover against Cincinnati, despite an overwhelming edge in the turnover battle. Oklahoma also has serious offensive line concerns, as the Sooners haven’t been great in pass-blocking despite playing a barely-top 100 strength of schedule over the first 5 weeks. For my money, Texas has the better offense in this game while the Longhorns defense is certainly the best unit the Sooners will face all season long. It’s hard for me to find a path where Oklahoma keeps this within 6 points over the course of a full game, so I’m sticking with my belief in Texas in another high-profile showdown. Hook ’em!
Read our full Oklahoma vs Texas predictions
Washington State Cougars +3.5 vs UCLA Bruins (-110)
Odds widely available at time of writing. Playable to +3.
I’ll happily admit that I was dead wrong about this Washington State team. The Cougars have done nothing but impress me to this point in the season, and Cam Ward has established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in college football. Ward leads a Cougars passing attack that is 7th in success rate and 10th in EPA per pass per CFB-Graphs, and those impressive numbers have come against a couple of strong defenses in Wisconsin and Oregon State. Defenses are simply not going to stop Washington State through the air, and that shouldn’t change on Saturday. In fact, UCLA’s defense ranks 69th in passing success rate, despite not having played an offense that is anywhere near the Cougars’ level.
As for the hosts, I expected them to lose to Utah on the road 2 weeks ago and that’s exactly what happened. Overall, freshman quarterback Dante Moore still has an extremely high ceiling and raises the level of Chip Kelly’s offense as a whole, which makes UCLA a bet-on team in general this season. However, the Bruins passing attack is having a ton of issues at the moment, ranking 115th in EPA per pass and 94th in passing success rate. UCLA is also 74th in early downs EPA so I don’t expect this team to put Washington State’s surprisingly decent defense (37th EPA per pass, 34th EPA per rush) under pressure on a consistent enough basis in order to score on most of their possessions. That’s the type of effort it will take to hang with an outstanding Cougars offense as they continue to sling the ball all over the field.
One system that I took into account for this game is as follows: fading the home favorite following a game in which they scored less than 10 points nets you a greater than 15% return on investment over the last 18 seasons. This system isn’t predictive of this week’s outcome, but it has been consistently winning and I certainly still agree with the principle that this Washington State team is being a bit undervalued due to preseason priors. For what it’s worth, it’s not like UCLA has much of a home-field advantage either, so let’s back the Cougs in what might be the last game where we get a decent number on this electric offense.
Be sure to check out our full Washington State vs UCLA predictions
Missouri Tigers +6.5 vs LSU Tigers (-110)
Odds available at WynnBet Sportsbook at time of writing. Playable to +4.5
Situationally, this is one of the worst spots of the week for any team on this week’s slate. The Tigers were supposed to be in the conversation for the College Football Playoff heading into the season, but that ship has already sailed following a defeat at Ole Miss last week in which LSU surrendered 55 points in its second loss of the season.
LSU’s offense has not been the issue, as it is 14th in passing success rate and 5th in rushing success rate with Jayden Daniels at the controls of a dynamic and balanced offense. Instead, it’s been this talented defense that has been atrocious (107th in passing success rate, 118th in opponent net points per drive). The Tigers’ secondary has been picked on by every decent quarterback they’ve played and Missouri is surprisingly 15th in passing success rate and 13th in EPA per pass on offense (CFB-Graphs). The Tigers are a balanced unit, ranking 36th in rush success rate and 20th in early downs EPA, so it’s fair to expect that Brady Cook and company will have consistent success on early downs, putting them in favorable positions all afternoon long.
Not only is the College Football Playoff out of the question for LSU, it’s unlikely that the Tigers will even win the SEC West. I can’t imagine that getting up for a sleepy 11:00 am CT game against Missouri will be easy for this LSU team that has been disappointing by all accounts. Missouri should be the far more motivated team in this spot, and there’s a reason why the line continues to tick down. The [Missouri] Tigers are at home, where they’ve already upset one ranked team this season. It wouldn’t surprise me if they pulled another short upset on Saturday, so let’s take the 6 points while we still can.
Be sure to check out all of our NCAAF Week 6 picks for the biggest games on Saturday