Best CFB Week 7 bets
CFB VEGAS EXPERTS
ESPN INSIDER
10/12/17

Our experts are back with their Week 7 college football picks. Every Thursday, Phil Steele, "Stanford Steve" Coughlin and Chris Fallica will pick out their top plays from some of the week's best matchups. It's all here in one file for your perusing pleasure.

Here are the best bets for Week 7 of the college football season.

ATS record:

Phil Steele: 2-5-1 in Week 6 (20-27-1 season)
"Stanford Steve" Coughlin: 3-2 in Week 6 (16-12-1 season)
Chris Fallica: 6-0 in Week 6 (24-20 season)

Note: Lines from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of Thursday morning.

Common games



No. 6 TCU Horned Frogs (-6) at Kansas State Wildcats

Total: 52

Steele: TCU enters this matchup coming off of a game against West Virginia in which there were only 10 total points scored in the first half. The Horned Frogs are holding their opponents to 101 yards per game below their average, No. 14 in the FBS, and TCU has held all four of its FBS foes to their season low in total yards. Kansas State is holding its opponents to 26 yards per game below their average. Wildcats quarterback Jesse Ertz was injured last week in the third quarter and Alex Delton was trusted to throw only five passes in a double-overtime game. This should be a low-scoring game.

Pick: Under 52
Score: TCU 27, Kansas State 21

Coughlin: We all know how good Kansas State teams are in the home underdog role with Bill Snyder as a head coach. The numbers simply speak for themselves. We also know about the job Gary Patterson has done with his team. The Horned Frogs are coming off an emotional win at home against a very good West Virginia team to remain undefeated. The biggest factor in this game is that K-State's quarterback is out and Delton will be under center. Delton is more of a runner than a thrower and I expect Snyder to have plenty of designed quarterback runs installed for this game. The Wildcats will want to keep the ball away from Kenny Hill and the TCU offense, and try and drain the clock. Delton came in last week and rushed for 72 yards and two TDs on 10 carries.

Fallica: Our only mandatory game of the week is one I wouldn't normally play with Ertz out. This number will climb, though. Ertz's replacement, Delton, can run some, and Snyder's team typically plays well as a 'dog. While TCU remained undefeated last week, I wonder how much longer it will remain that way, as West Virginia did a pretty good job against the Horned Frogs defensively and outgained them by nearly 100 yards. If you limit the numbers to matchups with Power 5 teams, the TCU offense is seventh in the Big 12 in yards per game, and K-State has the best defense in the Big 12 against P5 teams. Don't be surprised if this one is a four-quarter game, despite Ertz's absence.

ATS pick: Kansas State +6
Score: TCU 31, Kansas State 27



Florida State Seminoles (-7) at Duke Blue Devils

Steele: Florida State does not have the worst offensive line in the country and the improvement starts this week. Florida State's offensive line struggled last season and it has really struggled this season, but part of that is due to a very tough slate of opposing defensive lines. So far the Seminoles have taken on three defensive lines that I had rated in my top six in Alabama, NC State and Miami, plus No. 25 Wake Forest. Last week Florida State had a 406-337 yard edge at home versus Miami. This week it takes on a Duke defensive line that's not even in my top 60. Florida State has taken on my No. 1 toughest schedule and Duke has taken on just my No. 54 slate. I like Florida State to go on the road and win by over two touchdowns.

ATS pick: Florida State
Score: Florida State 27, Duke 10

Coughlin: With all the preseason love the boys from Tallahassee were getting, it's curious to think what the Noles will make of the rest of their season as they sit at 1-3. If Bobby Bowden were still the head coach I would be worried, but this is where Jimbo Fisher earns the millions he makes. Look at the three defenses that true freshman quarterback James Blackman has faced in the first three starts of his career: NC State, Wake Forest and Miami. Those three teams have NFL talent all over the defensive side of the ball, and two of those teams are ranked in the top 20. I like the spot here for Florida State and I don't think Fisher has lost his locker room, so I expect a solid effort.

ATS pick: Florida State
Score: Florida State 28, Duke 17



No. 5 Washington Huskies (-18) at Arizona State Sun Devils

Steele: Arizona State had actually won 10 in a row in this series, but last season a beat-up Sun Devils team down about half of its starters finally lost its streak. ASU limped into Washington near the end of the season and got hammered 44-18. The Sun Devils are not deep but have remained fairly healthy and have the athletes to stand toe-to-toe with the Huskies. Washington has taken on just my No. 100 schedule and Arizona State is its toughest foe faced all season. Arizona State has taken on my No. 9 toughest schedule with losses to San Diego State, Texas Tech and Stanford. Those teams have combined for only three losses and the Sun Devils have not lost a game by more than 10. This one is in the desert at night and Arizona State is fresh off a bye, while Washington is playing its third road game in four weeks.

ATS pick: Arizona State
Score: Washington 31, Arizona State 24

Coughlin: Could this Washington defense be better than last year's unit that led the Huskies to the College Football Playoff? Well, we're going to get a good idea if it is on Saturday, in what looks to be a special #Pac12AfterDark game for the fans to enjoy. The Huskies come in with that stingy defense, which has given up only 10 points per game and around 228 yards of offense per game. I think this matchup is about who these teams have played so far and if they've been put to the test. The Sun Devils have played far better competition, and I know the Huskies can only play who's on their schedule, but the evidence thus far favors the Devils. Did I mention this is the biggest underdog ASU has been in over 20 years? In 1996, Arizona State beat No. 1-ranked Nebraska 19-0 as a 24-point 'dog.

ATS pick: Arizona State
Score: Washington 38, Arizona State 27

Other games



Purdue Boilermakers at No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers (-17.5)

Steele: Wisconsin has beaten Purdue nine straight times by at least 17 points and is almost perfect against the Las Vegas number, going 10-1 ATS over an 11-game series winning streak. Making the Wisconsin side even more attractive is that Purdue is coming off a misleading final versus Minnesota last week. With 1:30 left in the game, Purdue trailed by one but got a touchdown and two-point conversion with 1:17 left to lead by seven. Minnesota was at the Purdue 27 and threatening to tie the score but had an interception returned for a touchdown for the 14-point margin. I feel Wisconsin is better than Michigan and the Wolverines beat the Boilermakers by 18 on the road. This game is in Madison, and Paul Chryst wins home games by an average of 27.3 points.

ATS pick: Wisconsin
Score: Wisconsin 34, Purdue 13



Old Dominion Monarchs at Marshall Thundering Herd (-16.5)

Steele: Marshall won the first two meetings between these programs by wide margins before dropping last season's game. Under head coach Doc Holliday, the Herd are 23-6 hosting Conference USA foes and three of those defeats are against schools no longer in the conference (two versus UCF, one versus Tulsa). Marshall is 15-8-1 versus the Vegas number as a home favorite and Old Dominion is just 1-7 ATS as an away 'dog. Old Dominion is a banged-up team with its top running back and wide receiver both out for the year.

ATS pick: Marshall
Score: Marshall 34, Old Dominion 13



No. 10 Auburn Tigers (-7) at LSU Tigers

Steele: I feel Auburn is a legitimate national title contender. The Tigers let me down last week as they led 35-3 at the half and were dominating. In the second half, they settled for some field goals, had their backups in on defense and gave up three touchdowns to win by only 21. The matchup of this game is a banged-up LSU offensive line that will be playing two or three true freshman against one of the best defensive lines in the country. LSU is giving up 240 rushing yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry. That plays into the hands of Auburn. Daniel Carlson gives Auburn a large edge at kicker and the Tigers have the more balanced offense. In SEC games, Auburn is averaging 138 yards more than its opponents give up and holding foes to 86 yards below their average. LSU is minus-43 yards per game and plus-1 yard per game in those two categories.

ATS pick: Auburn
Score: Auburn 24, LSU 14



Northern Illinois Huskies (-5) at Buffalo Bulls

Steele: Buffalo has lost all nine MAC meetings with the Huskies by an average of 29 points. Marcus Childers is perhaps Northern Illinois' most dynamic quarterback, but he didn't win the job in August. Last week, Childers got the start and threw three touchdowns. Despite little playing time, he's the team's No. 3 rusher with 123 yards. Northern Illinois has a rock-solid defense that is giving up only 261 yards per game and holding foes to 68 yards per game below their season average. Buffalo's defense is giving up 4.7 yards per carry and 96 yards per game more than what their opponents' average. Quarterback Tyree Jackson has missed the past two games and is questionable to return for this one. Northern Illinois already beat Nebraska on the road and outgained San Diego State 429-263 with a 23-10 first-down edge on the road.

ATS pick: Northern Illinois
Score: Northern Illinois 28, Buffalo 17



UNLV Rebels at Air Force Falcons (-7.5)

Total: 66

Steele: I understand why the total is 66. UNLV games have averaged 64 points and Air Force games 68, but I love the matchup here. Air Force has taken on two elite defenses in Michigan and San Diego State and two defenses that defend the option every day in practice in New Mexico and Navy. They now take on a young UNLV defense that has only two starters back, and head coach Tony Sanchez has not faced the option since taking over. UNLV has a potent offense led by running back Lexington Thomas. The Rebels are averaging 6.1 yards per carry and have two wide receivers who average over 20 yards per catch, including Devonte Boyd. They also have faced two of the nation's top defenses in Ohio State and San Diego State. UNLV has averaged 554 yards and 42 points in its three other games, and Air Force has only one returning starter on defense. I think this game will be over the total in the third quarter.

Pick: Over 66
Score: Air Force 49, UNLV 40



No. 24 Texas Tech Red Raiders at West Virginia Mountaineers (-3.5)

Coughlin: This game is interesting, with a ranked team getting points against an unranked team. What's important to me is who each team has played coming into this game. While the Red Raiders come in with one fewer loss, they have played an inferior competition compared to Dana Holgerson's team. The Mountaineers have the two best losses in the country: a close loss to Virginia Tech in a neutral-site game and the aforementioned loss last week to TCU. I talked about my love for Will Grier and this offense before the season started, and Grier has done nothing to disappoint as he has thrown for over 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns.

In its only loss, Texas Tech was lucky to lose by only seven points as Oklahoma State went up and down the field on the Red Raiders, only to crumble on five possessions inside the 5-yard line, including two short misses on field goal attempts. I think the Mountaineers come home, where they always play better, and get a great effort and take care of the ranked Red Raiders.

ATS pick: West Virginia
Score: West Virginia 38, Texas Tech 24



Connecticut Huskies at Temple Owls (-9)

Coughlin: There's a feeling and a mindset a team forms in the days after getting embarrassed on national television -- "let's not let that happen again." This is the vibe I am getting from the Huskies as they prepare for this Temple game. These two schools compete to recruit a lot of the same players, so it means a lot to the coaching staffs. When you look at the UConn schedule to see few remaining winnable games, this one means more. While the defense has struggled with speed, the offense is 12th in the country in passing yards per game at 325. On the other side, Temple enters this game averaging only 19 points. The Huskies keep it close enough.

ATS pick: UConn
Score: Temple 28, UConn 24



No. 17 Michigan Wolverines (-8) at Indiana Hoosiers

Fallica: Michigan has significant problems on offense right now. Last week against Michigan State, John O'Korn's QBR was 20. And if you eliminate the eight carries for minus-9 yards by O'Korn, the Wolverines ran for only 111 yards on 31 carries with one gain of 10-plus yards. The offensive line has to improve and fast, especially heading to Penn State next week. A glance of Indiana's season shows a 3-2 record, but dive in a little deeper and you know the Ohio State game was a real contest for three quarters. Michigan doesn't have a back as dynamic as J.K. Dobbins. The win at Virginia looks a lot better now. And yes, the final score at Penn State was 45-14, but the Hoosiers gave up only 370 yards, held Saquon Barkley to 56 yards on 20 carries, gave up two non-offensive touchdowns and turned the ball over four times. The last time these two met at Bloomington, IU lost by only seven as a 13-point 'dog. Last season in Ann Arbor, it was just a 10-point game with IU easily covering the 24. I won't go as far to pick IU to win outright, because you can always count on a late turnover or two, but I do think this will be close.

ATS pick: Indiana
Score: Michigan 23, Indiana 20



Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (-6) at UAB Blazers

Fallica: Why does UAB continue to get such little respect in Las Vegas? The Blue Raiders are riddled with injuries all over the field right now entering this matchup. If the Blazers can win here, they would have a legitimate shot at six wins and bowl eligibility as they still host Rice and UTEP, which are their only home games in their final six games. Riding high after upsetting Louisiana Tech last week, the Blazers pull another upset this week and get to 4-2.

ATS pick: UAB
Score: UAB 27, Middle Tennessee 24



Akron Zips at Western Michigan Broncos (-14)

Fallica: The Broncos are coming off that marathon seven-overtime affair in Buffalo last week and have been money-burners as a favorite this season, going 0-3 ATS as favorites. In this matchup last season, Akron was embarrassed 41-0 as a 14-point 'dog in Akron, but Terry Bowden's team looks improved from last year. Quarterback Thomas Woodson is coming off his best game of the season and the Zips are using a bunch of backs. In the past three games, Akron nearly won at Troy as a huge 'dog and handled its business versus Bowling Green and Ball State. I don't think the Zips can win here, but they are playing better and I'll grab them and the points here.

ATS pick: Akron
Score: Western Michigan 38, Akron 28



Tulane Green Wave (-13) at Florida International Golden Panthers

Fallica: Tulane blitzed a bad Tulsa team last week, but I don't know about laying 14 (now down to 13) on the road here despite the fact I love what Willie Fritz is doing with this team. Sure, FIU got blown out by UCF in the opener and turned the ball over a ton, but since then, the Panthers have cut down on turnovers and done a really good job on third down. And if Butch Davis' team can have some success on the early downs and take Tulane out of its comfort zone, FIU can win on third down again and keep this one close. But since the Panthers have scored more than 17 only once in five games, it's hard to see FIU scoring more than 20 or pulling the outright upset. I think the defense will do its part, though.

ATS pick: FIU
Score: Tulane 28, FIU 20



New Mexico Lobos at Fresno State Bulldogs (-2.5)

Fallica: The Lobos have pulled two straight upsets and I like them to pull off a third here as a slight road 'dog. The idle week came at a good time for Bob Davie's team as it got a chance to get a bit of a breather after those two upsets and prep for an improved Fresno State team under Jeff Tedford. But I like New Mexico's offense to give Fresno some trouble here and outscore the Bulldogs.

ATS pick: New Mexico
Score: New Mexico 35, Fresno State 31