College Football Week 7 Midweek Best Bets: Louisiana Tech vs. Middle Tennessee, UTEP vs. Florida International, West Virginia vs. Houston, and Stanford vs. Colorado
Midweek college football action is heating up with several games this week. In this article, find best bets for midweek games featuring Louisiana Tech vs. Middle Tennessee, UTEP vs. Florida International, West Virginia vs. Houston, and Stanford vs. Colorado.
College Football Week 7 Midweek Best Bets
We’ve reached peak football season as there are games every day for the foreseeable future, including some exciting midweek action. This week features more C-USA games plus Big 12 and Pac 12 games to be excited about. In this article, I’ll bring you one pick for each day of games. Let’s get to work.
Tuesday: Louisiana Tech at Middle Tennessee
If you’ve been following these C-USA games, you’ve probably heard somebody mention how good this Louisiana Tech secondary is. They rank 8th in passing success rate allowed and PFF’s team coverage grades. However, I believe it’s important to look at who they’ve played to this point.
The Bulldogs have faced three teams on their backup quarterback, an FCS program that’s now 0-5 this season, and FIU’s Grayson James, who was benched for a true freshman after a horrific first game with 5-14 passing for four yards and an interception.
When Louisiana Tech has faced real quarterbacks, they haven’t fared as well. SMU’s Preston Stone had 248 passing yards and three touchdowns. North Texas’s Chandler Rogers had 313 yards and two touchdowns. Western Kentucky’s Austin Reed had 297 yards and three touchdowns last week, as well as the first interception in the group.
This week, Louisiana Tech faces Nicholas Vattiato, who is 43rd in PFF passing grade among 156 qualified quarterbacks. In his first year as the full time starter for the Blue Raiders, Vattiato has fared very well despite facing a brutal schedule that has included road games against Alabama and Missouri in the first two weeks.
That schedule brings me to my most important point -. Middle Tennessee has faced the 23rd-toughest schedule to this point while Louisiana Tech ranks 103rd in strength of schedule. I believe that’s buying us value on the line, and I like Vattiato to lead his team to a home win here.
Best Bet: Middle Tennessee -3
Wednesday: UTEP at Florida International
UTEP sits at 1-5 and has been largely noncompetitive in their last four games – they’ve lost to Northwestern, Arizona, UNLV, and Louisiana Tech by an average of over 20 points per game. Head coach Dana Dimel is very much on the hot seat, and the vibes in El Paso aren’t great as this team has virtually no strengths.
The passing game was supposed to be one, but starting quarterback Gavin Hardison’s health is in question. He wasn’t very efficient before, completing just 56.6% of his passes with 7.3 yards per attempt. Against Louisiana Tech last week, UTEP had to cycle in three other quarterbacks due to further injuries to the position.
UTEP is also likely without senior wide receiver Tyrin Smith, who has only played four games this season and is poised to redshirt. Smith had originally transferred to Texas A&M and returned to UTEP before the season. The passing offense has taken a further dip in his absence as their next three leading receivers have catch rates under 50%.
FIU doesn’t have much to hang its hat on offensively, but it should have success running the ball, especially with dual threat true freshman Keyone Jenkins. UTEP ranks 90th in PFF’s tackling grades and 118th in rushing EPA allowed. FIU opened as high as 6.5-point underdogs, and this line has been on the move ever since. I’m taking FIU to win outright.
Best Bet: FIU Moneyline
Thursday: West Virginia at Houston
At this point in the season, I’m constantly on the lookout for gaps in strength of record, and there’s a big one here. West Virginia has played the 16th-toughest schedule this year, while Houston ranks 86th. The Mountaineers had to play Penn State in Week 1, where the Nittany Lions covered on a last second touchdown with six seconds left.
Since then, West Virginia has handled its business, winning four straight games, including two straight as underdogs. I believe the market is continuing to undervalue West Virginia here against a Houston team that has shown a lot of warts lately.
Houston has two wins this season, but I don’t find either that convincing. In Week 1, they beat UTSA but the Roadrunners had a postgame win expectancy of 78% and lost on a controversial spot of the ball on a fourth down. They also beat Sam Houston State, an 0-5 team scoring 10.8 points per game, which ranks dead last in the FBS.
The Cougars have missed quarterback Clayton Tune and wide receiver Tank Dell, who’s now thriving on the Texans. Houston’s passing offense has taken a massive dip as Donovan Smith hasn’t been nearly as efficient as Tune was last year when he had over 4,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns.
West Virginia’s defense is the best unit on the field in this game. The Mountaineers have an outstanding cornerback duo with Beanie Bishop Jr. and Malachi Ruffin, and they rank third in passing success rate allowed. They’re also top 25 in EPA and success rate allowed on the ground.
I struggle to see how Houston finds points here, while West Virginia’s ground game should function very well against a Houston defense that ranks 107th in rushing EPA allowed and 97th in PFF’s tackling grades. West Virginia gets the road win here.
Best Bet: West Virginia -2.5
Friday: Stanford at Colorado
The Colorado fade continues after we cashed on our Arizona State +4 ticket last week. Colorado won on a last second field goal there as their rollercoaster season continued. That was the first week all season that Colorado’s game hasn’t been a complete spectacle, and the players looked like they were running on fumes.
Stanford, meanwhile, comes into this game about as well rested as possible. In addition to a bye last week, they got blown out by Oregon the week before, giving them plenty of time to give their depth players some run. They’ll be incredibly fresh for perhaps their biggest game of the season – a primetime, nationally televised game against Coach Prime.
Troy Taylor’s first season as head coach has been a rebuilding year, and it will take time for Stanford to get back on track as they prepare for life in the ACC. However, Taylor had a 30-8 record in three seasons at Sacramento State, and I expect him to make substantial progress with this team coming out of the bye.
The best player in this game is still Shedeur Sanders, who has over 2,000 passing yards and 16 touchdowns to just two interceptions. However, I expect defensive coordinator Bobby April III to have a strong game plan. April is a former positional coach at Wisconsin when they had some of the best defenses in the country.
Colorado remains a horrible team to back as a favorite. They still struggle to run the ball and their special teams rank 126th in the country per PFF. The Buffs have had issues with kicking this season, further impacting their ability to build leads. This spot favors Stanford tremendously, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they won outright.
Best Bet: Stanford +12