Week 7 College football best bets, odds and game picks including Oregon vs Washington
Week 6 was another terrific week of college football, including a couple of massive upsets (hello, Georgia Tech), plus a myriad of marquee games that went down to the wire. My condolences to all of us who had Missouri +6.5… that was another terrible beat to swallow. However, with last weekend in the rearview mirror it’s time to get into this Week 7 slate with my weekly best bets column.
We finally had the dreaded 0-3 week last Saturday, bringing my record to 9-7 over the past 5 weeks, but regression was to be expected after I had been running hot. We’re still having a winning season in the column overall, so let’s get back on track this week!
We’ve got a very compelling slate ahead of us, including a massive game in Seattle as serious Pac-12 and College Football Playoff implications are on the line in what could be the biggest game of the season in college football thus far. With Saturday rapidly approaching, here is a look at my best bets for Week 7 of the college football season and remember you can check out all our CFB predictions for the Week 7 games.
Washington Huskies -2.5 over Oregon Ducks (-115)
Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to Washington -3.
Oregon has looked very confident for most of the season, having recently rolled through Colorado and Stanford prior to this matchup. However, the schedule has been very kind to Oregon, which struggled in its lone road contest against a somewhat competent opponent, an 8-point win over Texas Tech in which the Ducks won the turnover battle by a 4-0 margin. In fact, Texas Tech was up by 9 heading into the final quarter before 13 points from the Ducks gave them a 1-point lead in the waning moments. Led by Heisman contender Bo Nix, there’s isn’t much wrong you can say about this Oregon offense, with the Ducks sitting 1st in EPA per rush, rush success rate, 3rd in passing success rate and 1st in net points per drive (CFB-Graphs). Nix has a plethora of weapons at his disposal and this Oregon offensive line should see success against a Washington front that has struggled at times defending the run. With that said, the Ducks needed 3 interceptions from Tyler Shough to win that game in Lubbock, a fortunate twist of turnover luck that they certainly shouldn’t get against Michael Penix Jr. and the best passing offense in the nation.
Just how good is Washington’s offense? Well, the Huskies are either 1st, 2nd or somewhere else in the top 5 in pretty much any metric. That goes for passing success rate (1st), EPA per pass (2nd), early downs EPA (1st), offensive success rate (1st) and net points per drive (3rd) per CFB-Graphs. The combination of Penix Jr. and Kalen DeBoer has been a match made in heaven, as DeBoer’s innovative offense has meshed perfectly with Penix’s ability to make any throw on the field. Furthermore, Washington isn’t just a great passing offense, as its rushed the ball on about 40% of its plays while ranking 8th in the nation in rushing success rate. Then there’s the matter of the wide receiving room, which could be the best in the nation. Between Jalen McMillan, Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk and Germie Bernard, there’s NFL-level talent all over the field, which should stretch an Oregon secondary that previously allowed 11.75 yards per reception against Texas Tech.
Nix and the offense should get theirs and I’d expect this to be a great game throughout. However, I’m skeptical of the Ducks’ secondary and their ability to slow down to Washington’s skill position talent. After all, Oregon has played the 104th strength of schedule this season, while Washington’s sits just inside the top 40. And outside of a fairly close affair at Arizona 2 weeks ago, the Huskies have been demolishing the competition. Washington knocked off this same Oregon team on the road a season ago and has got even better since then. At under a field goal, I’ll gladly back the team with the better coach and (slightly better) quarterback in front of what should be one of the best crowds in Husky Stadium history.
Read our full Oregon Ducks vs Washington Huskies predictions
UCLA Bruins vs Oregon State Beavers under 55.5 (-110)
Odds available at BetMGM Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to under 53.5.
For our second best bet, we’re going an under in Corvallis between the UCLA Bruins and Oregon State Beavers. My handicap on this game is pretty similar to how I’ve approached betting on each of these teams throughout conference play to this point. Oregon State wants to run the ball early and often, and it has worked out for the Beavers thus far, as they sit at 4th in rushing success rate and 8th in EPA per rush per College Football Data. Jonathan Smith’s bunch has no problem keeping the ball on the ground and eating up clock, and they’ll likely look to abide by that blueprint and limit the possessions to keep their defense fresh for big moments in the second half.
UCLA has looked very strong defensively all season, including a game last week in which the Bruins completely shut down what had been a potent Washington State offense to this point in a home victory. However, the same can’t be said for the offense, as freshman quarterback Dante Moore is experiencing some growing pains. In my estimation, Moore is clearly the QB that gives UCLA the highest ceiling this season. However, the Bruins’ passing attack is having a ton of issues at the moment, ranking 119th in EPA per pass and 109th in passing success rate (CFB-Graphs). UCLA is also 96th in early downs EPA, so I don’t expect this team to put Oregon State’s solid pass defense (36th EPA per pass) under pressure on a consistent enough basis in order to put up a big number on the road.
Both defenses should hold considerable advantages over the opposing offenses, so it’s hard not to forecast a tight, lower-scoring game as long as we don’t get multiple game-altering turnovers. I expect Oregon State’s offense staff to keep the playbook very simple for DJ Uiagalelei, and Moore struggled mightily at Utah in his only other true road start of the season. Don’t expect a sudden change of events on Saturday.
Be sure to check out all of our NCAAF Week 7 picks for the biggest games on Saturday
South Carolina Gamecocks ML over Florida Gators (-110)
Odds available at Caesars Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to South Carolina -2.5
This isn’t nearly as high-profile of a game as what we’ve got out west this weekend, but I still think we’re getting a bit of value on the home side in this SEC clash. For starters, you’ll never have to convince me to fade Graham Mertz on the road in a hostile environment. The Florida quarterback is leading a Gators team that has dropped 13 of its last 14 away from home, including a terrible loss against lowly Vanderbilt and a 23-point loss in this stadium against South Carolina just 2 seasons ago. This offense is an issue at the moment, especially away from home, as the Gators were substantially outgained by Kentucky and a terrible Utah offense without Cam Rising at the helm. So while I have concerns with the Gamecocks defensively, I don’t think Florida will exploit them.
The Gamecocks are coming off a bye week, so we’ll see the fresher team at home in a perfect spot for Spencer Rattler and this passing offense to cook. This is also a situation in which head coach Shane Beamer thrives, having covered all three games off a bye in his previous seasons in Columbia by an average margin of more than 20 points. Rattler has also been much better at home this season, where the Gamecocks still haven’t lost and are much more efficient on offense. So while this Florida defense looks terrific on paper by the raw metrics, this unit was boat raced by Kentucky in its last outing on the road. Given that I like Rattler and the South Carolina weapons on the outside more than what the Wildcats have, I’ll gladly take the Gamecocks to win by a field goal.
Be sure to check out our full Florida vs South Carolina predictions