CFB Week 6 best bets: The 'Saturday 7'

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One way to evaluate your handicapping is to tally up how far away your wins and losses were from the point spread. However, sometimes that can be misleading. We lost Stanford (+17) when they lost by 18 points last week. However, the Cardinal were never in that game and scrambled to get even that close.

Meanwhile, Oregon State (+10.5) lost 42-16. That was a five-point game in the third quarter, but the Beavers had their third-string quarterback in after Chance Nolan hurt his neck early. Oregon State actually had more total yards than Utah, 417-361.

Luckily, those results were the only two losses for our seven most valuable underdogs last week, and along with our early looks at each week's big games, a 10-5 slate brings us to 39-28-1 (58.2%) on the season.

Texas vs. Oklahoma (+9, 65.5)

The Red River Showdown didn't qualify for our big games, but don't tell that to the two teams involved. Quinn Ewers is in, and Dillon Gabriel may be out, so why bother even playing this game?

They'll still kick it off at the Cotton Bowl, and any other week, you could argue that Oklahoma might pack it in on the season after two losses. That's not what this rivalry is built on, though. It wasn't when Texas was the heavy underdog in this matchup in years past, and it won't be with the roles reversed this year at the State Fair.

Pick: Oklahoma +9

Purdue @ Maryland (-3, 59.5)

Depending on what Minnesota does the rest of the season, we may look back at Purdue's win last week as a combination of comprehensive and crucial in the Big Ten West. Plus, the Boilermakers could very reasonably be 5-0 had they not blown games against Penn State and Syracuse.

If Aidan O'Connell can handle the Minneapolis outdoors and the indoor track at Syracuse, Purdue can go to Maryland and win. The market has dropped this line from above a field goal, but this is more of a pick'em game, in my opinion.

Pick: Purdue +3

James Madison @ Arkansas State (+11.5, 55.5)

We're going to sell James Madison at what hopefully is the peak of its rating. While JMU is undefeated in the traditional sense, Arkansas State is undefeated against the spread.

The Red Wolves had a rough non-conference slate - which is typical of most Sun Belt teams. A visit to Ohio State could have gone a lot worse, and they had fourth-quarter leads at Memphis and Old Dominion. Now, with little regard, they're getting double digits at home in-conference. James Madison might be really good, but we'll bet it's not that good.

Pick: Arkansas State +11.5

Texas Tech @ No. 7 Oklahoma State (-9, 69.5)

We faded Oklahoma State last week on the premise that it hadn't proven its worth before its first road game. While the scoreboard looked flattering in the Cowboys' win over Baylor, the Bears outgained the Cowboys 457-379.

The Pokes shouldn't expect a kickoff return touchdown or a safety, and the defense will have its hands full with Donovan Smith. Kansas State beat Texas Tech last week because its superior defense contained Smith on the ground. Even still, the Red Raiders matched the Wildcats on offense. However, Adrian Martinez and Deuce Vaughn were their typical troublesome selves. Oklahoma State doesn't have the same threats for a still-underrated Texas Tech team.

Pick: Texas Tech +9

Duke @ Georgia Tech (+3.5, 53.5)

We've reached a point where Duke is a road favorite in the ACC, and I won't stand for it. Georgia Tech went beyond the call of duty last week, winning outright as three-touchdown underdogs, then somehow woke up a half-game back of Duke's division lead. The ACC Coastal is a weird place.

Admittedly, the Yellow Jackets' offense wasn't an electric factory in victory, and Duke's defense may well shut them down. But the Blue Devils' run through a dismal Virginia team wasn't impressive, either. Getting the hook with the home underdog, with a new lease on life, is worth a look.

Pick: Georgia Tech +3.5

No. 16 BYU vs. Notre Dame (-3.5, 51)

The market is telling me that Notre Dame is good enough - on a neutral site in Las Vegas - to beat a good BYU team since the number's been pushed over a field goal. I don't buy it.

The bye week came at a bad time for the Irish after they just found an offensive rhythm at North Carolina. Everyone finds that against the Tar Heels, though. BYU's defense isn't great, but it hasn't taken much to slow the Irish this year.

Pick: BYU +3.5

No. 12 Oregon @ Arizona (+13.5, 70)

We're back on a longtime hero of this column: Jayden De Laura. I didn't love the idea of laying big weight with Arizona last week, but kudos to the Wildcats for covering a big number versus Colorado. This is a more comfortable situation to pile into Arizona - getting almost two touchdowns.

Oregon had more athleticism than Stanford last week, but taking the show on the road barely worked out when the Ducks played at Washington State. De Laura's new team can hang with Oregon the same way his old team did.

Pick: Arizona +13.5 (wait to see if +14 appears)

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

CFB Week 6 best bets: The 'Saturday 7'
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