We saw plenty of chaos amongst the college football picks once again last week. In fact, my piece on Big 12 moneyline underdogs accurately predicted more winning bets than this weekly best picks column did in Week 5. Air Force got the easy ATS cover and outright win as a touchdown underdog while Middle Tennessee’s late touchdown blew the hopes of Western Kentucky covering as a 7-point favorite in the 100 Miles of Hate rivalry game. North Texas got steamrolled by Southern Mississippi as part of our 1-2 week. On the season, this column’s record is now 6-6.
Week 6 college football features a slate chalked full of intriguing matchups, including three that pit top-25 teams against one another. Throw in the Red River Rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas and the rest of the unpredictable Big 12 and it’s bound to be another fun weekend of football.
In an effort to get back on the winning side of .500, here are my best college football picks of the Week 6 slate.
Week 6 College Football Picks
All odds courtesy of Bovada Sportsbook
(19) Virginia Tech at (8) North Carolina (-4.5)
One of the top-25 matchups this week will take place in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as Justin Fuente’s Virginia Tech Hokies do battle with Mack Brown’s North Carolina Tar Heels. Both teams come into the game with 2-0 records, with each going 1-1 ATS in their first two games. After opening at an even touchdown, heavy action on Virginia Tech has seen this line come crashing down. This has created terrific value on UNC in this spot.
The big news for Virginia Tech this week is the return of quarterback Hendon Hooker from COVID-19 quarantine. This has likely been a major reason why the Hokies have been popular among the sharp Week 6 College Football picks. While there may be some rust in his first game of the season, his presence will complement the Hokies’ strong running game nicely long-term. Khalil Herbert is coming off a monster game against Duke, rushing for 204 yards and 2 scores on just 20 carries (10.4 yards per carry average). Va Tech’s defense will need to be better though if it hopes to control the Tar Heels offense.
It may not always be pretty, but Mack Brown has brought a culture of winning football to Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have won their last 5 games straight up and are 4-1 ATS dating back to last year. They will look to avenge a 43-41, six-overtime loss to the Hokies from last season. Sam Howell is a much better quarterback than we saw last week against Boston College. Home field is meaningful in this one, with home teams going 6-2 ATS in the last head-to-head meetings between the teams. The early line movement in the Hokies favor is understandable, given the return of Hooker and their recent success in the series. With the Las Vegas market already seeing some buyback on the Heels, grab the 4.5 quick before it’s gone.
Kansas State (+8.5) at TCU
Kudos to Kansas State for avoiding the classic letdown spot last week following their big win over Oklahoma. The Wildcats took care of business against Texas Tech on the same day that TCU sprung a top-25 upset of their own against Texas. Now it’s the Horned Frogs turn to try and avoid a letdown. A line that opened at a full 10 points has seen mostly one-way traffic on Kansas State thus far in being bet down to 8.5.
The status of senior quarterback Skylar Thompson is key ahead of this game for the Wildcats. He was deemed probable by coach Chris Klieman after suffering a shoulder injury last week. It is worth noting that true freshman Will Howard did well in relief last week. Defensively, the Wildcats will look to continue their hot start to the season that has the team sitting pretty with a +7-turnover differential through three games.
TCU quarterback Max Duggan has been very impressive in the first two games this season, with a 74% completion percentage. Not to throw a damper on his huge game last week but it is possible that Texas has been slightly overrated this season by the betting market. The Longhorns defense is far from good, and Saturday figures to be a much tougher test for TCU. An advantage on defense, the return of Thompson, and the letdown narrative for TCU are the main three reasons why I love the Wildcats as one of this week’s college football picks.
Pittsburgh at Boston College (+6)
A defensive battle is anticipated when ACC foes Pittsburgh and Boston College lock horns on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers are coming off of a disappointing home loss to North Carolina State last week. With their top-25 ranking no more, Pitt will look to get back in the win column against a BC team that fought hard and only lost by 4 against North Carolina last week.
There’s a real justification for saying Pittsburgh has been somewhat overvalued by the betting market this season. Although 3-1 straight up, the Panthers are just 1-2-1 against the spread. Aside from their 55-0 Week 2 rout of Austin Peay, Pitt has failed to handle games as favorites. Their outright loss to NC State last week came in a game in which they were 14-point home favorites. Pitt’s offense is a time of possession machine but dealing with an underrated Eagles defense could prove tricky.
Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec has been a revelation for Boston College at quarterback. He has two games with over 300 passing yards and has shown good decision-making abilities. Unfortunately, the Eagles have failed to establish much of a rushing attack. This could spell trouble in a game against the ACC’s top pass defense. BC’s narrow win over Texas State was less than encouraging but covering against UNC as two-touchdown dogs last week suggests the Eagles can’t be overlooked.
Bonus Pick: Under 44
Believe it or not, the total of 44 on this game at Bovada Sportsbook actually presents value to the under relative to the rest of the market. With several Las Vegas books already moving to 43.5, betting the total under is another sharp College Football picks approach to this game. Expect a defense-dominated affair in Chestnut Hill, with Boston College keeping it close at home.