CFB Week 7 best bets: The 'Saturday 7'
Some days you lose a toss-up game that could land on either side of the spread. On other days you bet on Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. Whoops. It could be worse. We could have bet on Vanderbilt, only to watch Lane Kiffin run up the score late and then lie about it.
We took a step back with a 2-5 Week 6, but that was helped by a pair of wins in our bets on the biggest games. We'll focus on the big picture and be content with a 43-33-1 (56.5%) overall record on the season.
Iowa State @ No. 22 Texas (-16, 48.5)
All credit to Texas for vanquishing the Sooners into the center of the earth at the Cotton Bowl, but a 49-0 score is cosmetically enhanced by Oklahoma not having a functional quarterback. However, that's helped increase this point spread beyond two touchdowns.
There is letdown potential for the Longhorns, but a bet here is more about Iowa State and its coach, Matt Campbell. We don't want to trust them at a short price in showdown games. However, when it comes to getting copious points, the Cyclones have hung around with teams with better talent.
Pick: Iowa State +16
Old Dominion @ Coastal Carolina (-12, 56.5)
We've moved away from Old Dominion after cashing tickets on it as big underdogs to state rivals from the ACC. We avoided a couple of their losses against the spread since then, but it's time to jump back on the Monarchs.
Old Dominion was tied late in the third quarter with Liberty last week but let the game slip. Now it's back on the road at undefeated Coastal Carolina, which hasn't gotten the same attention as in years past. This is probably due to a series of non-dominant wins against lesser competition. It's understandable why the 6-0 Chanticleers are double-digit favorites here, but ODU has shown it can compete with better teams.
Pick: Old Dominion +12
Maryland @ Indiana (+12, 61.5)
The final scores of Indiana's three straight losses aren't appealing. But the Hoosiers were tied at halftime with Michigan and Nebraska and only had 46 fewer total yards than Cincinnati.
Maryland had a chance to announce a breakthrough at home against Purdue last week and fell short. The Terps continue to be more talented than most but still aren't getting enough out of it. We'll dare them to get a dominant road win in a way that only the upper echelon of the conference can reliably pull off.
Pick: Indiana +12
Stanford @ Notre Dame (-17, 53.5)
Cap tip to Notre Dame for winning tightly-lined games against a pair of flawed teams. Coming off their win over BYU in Las Vegas, the Fighting Irish return home to an uncomfortable position - multi-score favorites.
Stanford finally covered last week against Oregon State and returns to a comfortable position as multi-score underdogs.
Marcus Freeman's in-game decision-making has leaned conservative, especially with a lead. That'll keep the Cardinal in play for at least a backdoor cover, with the most likely result being a clock-wasting drive by Notre Dame to secure a comfy 10-point win.
Pick: Stanford +17
Nebraska @ Purdue (-14, 55.5)
Remember Nebraska?! Thankfully, the Cornhuskers have flown under the radar lately, getting two wins against the bottom of the Big Ten. A visit to Purdue is a step up from Indiana and Rutgers, but that's what all the points are for. Now that things seem to have settled down around Lincoln, we can go back to relying on Nebraska to play better teams closer than the point spread suggests.
Pick: Nebraska +14
Memphis @ East Carolina (-5, 58.5)
Those of us who were on Houston last week at Memphis are still unsure how the Cougars cashed tickets. The Tigers largely dominated that game, and a story could be told about how that loss might have crushed their souls. However, perhaps that narrative is translating into a couple of extra points beyond a field goal in favor of the home team.
Eastern Carolina finally played a road game last week and scored nine points. Sure, the Pirates are back home here, but what about wins over Campbell, ODU, and South Florida indicate they should be laying this many to Memphis?
Pick: Memphis +5
North Carolina @ Duke (+7, 67)
We seem to have a solid understanding of what this version of Duke is. With four wins and two close losses, the Blue Devils are trying to get to their first bowl since 2018. That was also the last season they beat North Carolina. What Duke isn't, under Mike Elko, is the defense-less outfit of the years since then.
The Blue Devils aren't Notre Dame either, but Elko's group should provide more resistance to Drake Maye than any of the Tar Heels' opponents outside of the Irish. Duke's offense will have to be better to give them a chance to win, but most teams are when taking on North Carolina.
Pick: Duke +7
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.
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