The Six Pack: Oklahoma-Texas, Michigan State-Wisconsin among best college football picks for Week 7
The Process is starting to find its footing after a ragged start to the season
They say Rome wasn't built in a day, and they say it for a couple of reasons. The first is that it's true. Rome wasn't built in a day. It took at least three, maybe even more. The second reason is it's an important reminder that just because something isn't working or completed quickly doesn't mean it won't be.
So, if Rome took at least three days to build as it is, how much longer would it have taken if the Romans had to build it out from a giant hole? I bet it would take a few weeks at least, and that's where The Six Pack is entering Week 7. The Six Pack went 4-2 again last week, meaning it's 8-4 over the past two weeks. That's good! What's not so good is that, due to the hole we had to build Rome in, The Six Pack is still only 15-21 on the season. But we're digging out of that hole, and Rome will be built.
Brick by brick and pick by pick.
Games of the Week
No. 6 Oklahoma (-11) vs. No. 11 Texas: I have a couple of principles that I have long followed. One is that I love underdogs in rivalry games like this one. The other is that you never want to bet against Tom Herman as an underdog. I followed those principles last year when I took Texas to cover, and it won outright. However, I'm ignoring them this year. I'm doing so because, while Herman is 13-3-1 ATS as a dog, the magic has faded a bit lately. Going back to the start of last season, Herman's Texas teams are a more pedestrian 3-2-1 ATS as a dog. One of those failures to cover came earlier this season against LSU. The one before that was against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.
Also, while Texas did cover the regular-season meeting last year, it was a little cheap. Oklahoma turned the ball over three times in that game and the Longhorns still only managed to win by three points. The Sooners are better defensively this year, and Texas is entering this game a bit banged up in the secondary. Can you think of a scarier team to face with a thin secondary than Oklahoma? Texas is good, but it's not on the level of good that Oklahoma is on. As long as Oklahoma takes care of the football, it will cover this easily. Oklahoma 45, Texas 27
No. 5 LSU (-13) vs. No. 7 Florida: The Gators picked up a significant win at home against Auburn last week, and now they have to head on the road to take on another top-10 team. I don't think it will be a fun trip for them. First of all, the home team in this series has gone 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings. There's another interesting tidbit produced by ESPN's Chris Fallica about the situation the Gators are in.
I could also mention that LSU is 12-3 ATS in its past 15 SEC games, but the trends don't matter. The reason LSU is going to cover this spread isn't because of trends, it's because LSU is a much better team than the Gators. Florida beat Auburn because Auburn has a one-dimensional offense and Florida was able to take it away. The Gators defense won't be able to stop this LSU offense, and on the other side of the ball, Florida's offensive line will have its hands full with the LSU defense. LSU fans will be eating gator while tailgating and then watch the Tigers eat the Gators alive inside the stadium afterward. LSU 38, Florida 17
Lock of the Week
Michigan State (+11) at No. 8 Wisconsin: I know, it's scary to bet against this Wisconsin team right now, but it was scary to take Northwestern and the points against Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago too. We saw how that worked out, as did Michigan State. The Wildcats showed that this Wisconsin offense can be stopped, or at least slowed down, and Michigan State has a defense capable of doing it. Northwestern held Wisconsin to 130 yards rushing on 36 carries in that game (3.6 YPC) and forced Jack Coan to beat them. He couldn't. If not for defensive touchdowns, Wisconsin might not be undefeated. On the other side, while Michigan State's offense isn't great, it's better than Northwestern's. Hell, it's hard to find an offense that isn't.
This should be a low-scoring classic Big Ten rock fight, and it's hard to pass up this many points in such a situation. The fact that the underdog has covered each of the past five times these two have played, and Michigan State is 4-1 ATS in the past five, doesn't hurt my confidence. Don't be scared by what Ohio State did to Sparty because the Buckeyes are an entirely different species of football team than most. Wisconsin 24, Michigan State 17
Underdog of the Week
Temple (+6) vs. No. 23 Memphis: Memphis has been pretty danged reliable as a road favorite in recent seasons, going 8-3 ATS since 2016. It's also 16-10-1 ATS in conference games since 2016 as well. But those Memphis teams had much better offenses than this one does. I'm just not a big believer in Brady White. Maybe he'll prove me wrong here, but I like the Owls, who have one of the stingiest defenses in the nation. The Temple defense does an excellent job of limiting explosion plays, and the Memphis offense relies on them heavily. I don't think Memphis gets enough of them in this game to cover this spread. In fact, while I'm taking the points, I don't think taking the Owls straight up is the worst idea, either. Temple 24, Memphis 23
Under of the Week
Maryland at Purdue (Under 53.5): I like the under here for a few reasons. One is that it's supposed to be quite windy in West Lafayette when these two take the field, and the wind is good for limiting points. The other is that Purdue likes to pass the ball. My numbers show me that the only team in the country that throws more often than the Boilermakers is Washington State. Now, some of that is circumstance as Purdue has trailed a lot and needs to throw to get back into games. But some of it is philosophy too. Throwing the ball is more difficult in windy conditions. Oh, and it's even more difficult when your starting QB is out, as well as your star play-making receiver. This Purdue team is so banged up that it's hard to see a path to many points, which makes Maryland look attractive given the spread, but Maryland will be without its starting QB as well. So the under feels far safer in this matchup. Maryland 27, Purdue 14
Friday Night Under of the Week
Virginia at Miami (Fla.) (Under 43.5): Like most people, my eyebrow raised when I saw that Miami was favored when this line was first posted. It's still favored now, but I want nothing to do with this spread. It doesn't feel right, so I'm going to avoid it. A big reason is that, while it might seem like Virginia should be favored because it is ranked and isn't the team that is 1-2 in conference play, it does have something in common with Miami. Its offensive line is not playing well. These are two bad offensive lines going against two strong defensive fronts. It's hard to score points in those situations! So I think the only way this game goes over the total is if there's at least one defensive touchdown. It's a very real threat, but not enough of one to scare me off this play. Miami 17, Virginia 16
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
4-2, +1.64 units
15-21, -7.35 units
So which picks can you make with confidence in Week 7? And which national title contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,300 in profit over the past four seasons.
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