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Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 7 Picks


We are at the halfway point of the college football season and things seem to be going well. If you followed my Seth Russell for Heisman selection, you are loving the value you got with what it is now. Leonard Fournette is currently your leader, but there's no reason why Russell couldn't surpass him with a few more good performances and an undefeated Baylor team. Elsewhere, the race for the spot in a New Year's bowl game for the Group of 5 teams is really good with Toledo, Boise State and the AAC trio of Houston, Memphis and Temple all laying claim. I've had a few semi-cool weeks, but I smell a streak coming.

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Record: 31-26 (5-4 last week)

Cincinnati (3-2) at BYU (4-2) (Friday)

It's the third straight home game against a team from the AAC for BYU. The Cougars beat UConn and ECU the last two weeks, but figure to get a huge challenge from Cincy. The Bearcats are rolling offensively, scoring 30 points or more in all but one game and it's because of their quarterbacks Gunner Kiel and Hayden Moore. The latter was part of the attack that put up 620 yards at Memphis in a 53-46 loss. BYU has been gashed a bit by competent passing games such as Nebraska, Boise State and East Carolina. The problem for Cincinnati has been a defense that has been roughed up in three of the last four gmaes. Tanner Mangum will get the call under center for BYU after he was injured last week. Cincinnati has played five overs in its last eight games as an underdog and I think the only way the Bearcats win is in a shootout. SELECTION: Over 66

Buffalo (2-3) at Central Michigan (2-4)

The Chippewas are coming off a tough, two-point loss at Western Michigan and are looking to turn things around against Buffalo. The Bulls have been a bit of a disappointment this season, but are coming off a 28-22 loss to Bowling Green and a bye week. Buffalo has held three teams to under 130 yards passing, including Penn State, so they won't be too fazed by Cooper Rush. CMU's going to most likely be without Tim Hamilton at linebacker, which is a big loss for the mediocre unit. The Bulls have covered in four of their five games this season including all three as an underdog. They are 11-5 ATS in the last three years against conference opponents and 9-3 ATS against teams with a losing record. SELECTION: Buffalo +7.5

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Marshall (5-1) at FAU (1-4)

I was off on the FAU/Rice game last week, but that isn't scaring me from playing a game involving the Owls again. FAU has scored just 78 points the last four weeks and is struggling to get any sort of consistency. This isn't good considering Marshall is coming to town and this team just held a potent Southern Miss team to 10 points and 439 yards of offense. Good thing the Thundering Herd have a solid defense, as their offense is not putting up good numbers. In two of their last three wins, they managed fewer than 300 yards of offense. These two have combined for six unders in 11 games. SELECTION: Under 53.5

New Mexico State (0-5) at Georgia Southern (4-1)

Matt Breida is a name the country needs to know as he is the straw that stirs the potent Georgia Southern drink. The Eagles are averaging 37.2 points per game and 377.4 rushing yards as well. They are facing an Aggies defense that has allowed almost 600 yards per contest. New Mexico State is playing its third straight road game, which will certainly take its toll. The Aggies gave up 401 yards on the ground to New Mexico two weeks ago.  The Eagles are plenty capable of scoring with Larry Rose III on the ground. New Mexico State has gone over in 21 of its last 29 games including four of five this year. There isn't a trend involving the Aggies that doesn't skew heavily to the over. SELECTION: Over 64.5

Iowa (6-0) at Northwestern (5-1)

The Wildcats’ season took a turn for the worst after getting pasted in Ann Arbor. Now they welcome a surprising Iowa team to Evanston on Saturday. The Wildcats’ offense has scored just 70 points in their last four games combined, but has lost just once during this span. Credit a really stout defense and a solid run game for that. Wildcats running back Justin Jackson was unable to get things going last week and may struggle to do so against the Hawkeyes as well. Iowa's offense is putting up solid numbers, but the Hawkeyes haven’t really faced any good defenses yet this year. Northwestern has not allowed a single team to throw for more than 200 yards. The Wildcats have gone under in 13 of their last 18 home games and 11 of their last 16 games against teams with a winning record: SELECTION: Under 41

Nebraska (2-4) at Minnesota (4-2)

Minnesota's offense finally showed a pulse in a 41-13 win at Purdue last week. Before then, the team had managed just 77 points over the first five games. Mitch Leidner has not thrown for more than 264 yards yet in his short career and will face a Nebraska team that will force him to win the game through the air. This Cornhuskers’ defense has not allowed more than 150 yards per game on the ground. Minnesota's defense has been equally solid this season. The Golden Gophers have allowed 306.2 yards per game, but will be tested by Tommy Armstrong Jr. The Gophers have gone under in 10 of their last 17 home games. SELECTION: Under 47

Missouri (4-2) at Georgia (4-2)

The Bulldogs return home looking to turn things around as they host Missouri. I know what you are thinking… what's an SEC game doing on my card? I've been watching some of Missouri lately and I like what I've seen. The Tigers have a very good defense that has held every opponent to 21 points or less. Georgia lost a chunk of offense when Nick Chubb went down. Now Sony Michel is still a solid running back, but the passing game has had its issues. Drew Lock is 1-1 as starter for the Tigers this season and he's been a bit of an improvement over Maty Mauk. Mizzou has covered 10 of its last 12 road games and 21 of the last 34 overall. Georgia has been a terrible cover as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points going 1-5 ATS the last three seasons. SELECTION: Missouri +16

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Virginia Tech (3-3) at Miami (3-2)

The Hurricanes have lost two straight entering Saturday's game with Virginia Tech. The Hokies put together a solid team effort in their win over NC State last Friday night and are now in better spirits after a couple of rough losses. This is still a really good defensive unit with Brandon Facyson trying to rediscover the form that made him the No. 1 cornerback he was before he got hurt. Revenge will be a factor after the Canes embarrassed the Hokies at their place last year on a Thursday night. Miami has been vulnerable on defense, allowing 28 points or more in three straight games against competent opponents. The Canes have failed to cover in 11 of their last 17 conference games. The atmosphere at this one will be lackluster at best. Miami is ripe for an upset. SELECTION: Virginia Tech +6

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Michigan State (6-0) at Michigan (5-1)

Before the season began, Sparty was a seven-point favorite in this game and now it's completely reversed. Michigan has allowed just 38 points this season on defense, although 24 of them came against Utah, its best opponent. The Wolverines’ defense is putting up incredible numbers, but against teams they should manhandle. Connor Cook and the Spartans have struggled in their last two games beating Purdue by just three and Rutgers by a touchdown, but they have the advantage at quarterback. Michigan's run game has worked so well that Jake Rudock hasn't been asked to do too much. Michigan State's defense has been a bit leaky, but should be able to hold its own in this one. Sparty has been an underdog just five times the last three years covering four of those games. The line movement almost makes the underdog worth it. SELECTION: Michigan State +8.5

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Louisville (2-3) at Florida State (5-0)

Louisville has won two straight and will be looking to continue the momentum in Tallahassee against Florida State. The Seminoles’ offense has gone a bit stagnant as of late scoring just 67 points in their last three against Boston College, Wake Forest and Miami, with most of the damage coming against the Hurricanes. Louisville's defense has improved, allowing just 36 points in the last three games (Clemson, Samford and NC State). If Louisville's offense was more reliable, I'd look for the Cardinals in an upset... especially if it's above 7.5. I think the early kickoff means some early struggles: SELECTION: Under 45.5

San Diego State (3-3) at San Jose State (3-3)

It's a big matchup in the Mountain West as the Aztecs hit the road for the second straight week. One of the reasons why I like the home team here is because San Diego State is coming off a grueling road trip to Hawaii. The Spartans’ offense has been very good and is able to beat you on the ground and through the air. San Diego State is pretty close to one-dimensional with Donnell Pumphrey running the ball. The Aztecs have failed to cover in 17 of their last 26 road games with a total between 42.5 to 49. SELECTION: San Jose State ML -140

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— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.