College Football Picks and Predictions Week 7: Wildcats Get Exposed Without Levis

Kentucky's fast 4-0 start has quickly fallen apart and has been made even uglier by an injury to starting quarterback Will Levis. Without him, the Wildcats won't be able to keep pace with one of the SEC's best offenses in Mississippi State.

Andrew Caley - Senior Betting Analyst at
Andrew Caley • Senior Betting Analyst
Oct 12, 2022 • 10:37 ET • 4 min read

Unlike Alabama, the Triple Option really is rolling, turning a profit in three straight weeks. Let’s go for four in a row as most college football teams head into the back half of their seasons.

But while some teams are gearing up for the second half, others are already looking towards next season, none more notable than Colorado. The Buffs started the season 0-5 SU/ATS and have fired their head coach so how much motivation will they have heading into this matchup with Cal?

Then we look to take advantage of a couple of teams dealing with some quarterback injuries. I break it all down in my best college football picks for betting Week 7.

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College football picks and predictions for Week 7

Cal -14.5 (-110)

Taking a team like Cal to cover more than two touchdowns on the road may seem like I’ve hit my head, but spoiler alert: This is a big old fade of Colorado... arguably the worst team in college football this season. 

This season in Boulder has been a dumpster fire. The Buffaloes have begun the year an ugly 0-5. It’s not just that they're 0-5 straight up or even 0-5 against the spread... it’s the way in which this team is losing.

The Buffs have been underdogs in every game, getting an average of 19.5 points per game, failing to cover those points by over 10 points per game. Like I said, ugly. So ugly in fact, that the decision-makers at Colorado decided enough was enough with head coach Karl Dorrell following the team’s 43-20 loss at Arizona.

With the team 2+ seasons into Dorrell’s tenure, that means there are a lot of players on this already struggling Colorado roster whose motivation may be lacking for the remainder of the year, before heading to the transfer portal. 

There are issues all over the board for Colorado, starting with its non-existent offense. The Buffs rank 126th in total offense, 121st in yards per play, and 129th in scoring at just 13.4 points per game. On top of that, they turn over the ball more than most. 

The defense isn’t much, if any, better, ranking 129th in total yards and 130th in scoring, surrendering 43.2 points per game. They are getting gashed by opposing backs for over 300 yards per game. That’s dead last in college football.

Now, this Cal team isn’t much to write home about, but they are more than talented enough to take advantage of this matchup. It looks like the Golden Bears have found something in freshman back Jaydn Ott, who is rushing for over seven yards per carry and has already found the end zone five times. He should eat in this one and the Cal defense is also showing signs of potential.

It’s time to start fading the Buffs until they prove otherwise.

Mississippi State -6.5 (-110)

Will Levis and the Kentucky Wildcats were getting an awful lot of hype heading into this season and that only increased after a 4-0 start and a Top 10 ranking. However, that hype was a little fraudulent. 

Not only does Levis have some things to work on if he wants to be successful at the next level, but the Big Blue offense as a whole has been disappointing this season, particularly the offensive line. It might be one of the worst in college football.

Levis was sacked six times in his first two conference games this season, resulting in him missing last week’s game against South Carolina with foot and hand injuries. 

Backup Kaiya Sheron struggled in Levis’ absence, going just 15-for-27 for 178 yards, two touchdowns, and one pick, with the majority of that production coming in the game’s final and basically meaningless drive.

The more concerning part about the Wildcats’ performance against the Gamecocks was that the O-line couldn’t open up any holes in the run game. Despite the fact starting running back Chris Rodriguez returned and the Gamecocks' defense ranks 102nd in rushing yards allowed, the Wildcats managed just 3.4 yards per carry.

And you know whose defense is better than South Carolina’s? This week’s opponent: Mississippi State. The Bulldogs rank a respectable 50th in opponent yards per play and are surrendering just 21 points per game.

But the real issue for Kentucky, no matter who is under center, is whether it will be able to keep up with Will Rogers and this Mississippi State offense. 

Rogers is lighting it up again this season, already throwing for 2,110 yards with 22 touchdowns compared to just three picks, leading the Bulldogs to a 5-1 SU and 4-1-1 ATS record, including back-to-back impressive wins over Arkansas and Texas A&M where they put up at least 40 points in each.

The ‘Dogs will be too much for the ‘Cats in this one.

San Jose State -8 (-110)

It looked like the Mountain West Conference was set up pretty well this season when it came to quarterbacks. Logan Bonner, Hank Bachmeier, Haaziq Daniels, and Jake Haener led the way entering the season. But boy, have things changed in a few weeks.

Bonner has been so bad he lost his job at Utah State. Bachmeier has entered the transfer portal after offensive coordinator Tim Plough was let go. Daniels and Air Force have been plagued by inconsistent play. And an injury to Haener looks like it has derailed Fresno State’s season heading into this weekend’s matchup with San Jose State.

The collapse of the Mountain West QB situation has opened the door for the Spartans. SJSU has begun conference play with three consecutive wins. While Hawaii transfer Chevan Cordeiro has been solid under center, it’s a veteran Spartans defense that is the heart of this team.

They have allowed just 29 points over their three conference wins. They rank ninth in the country in opponent yards per play and the secondary has been ball-hawking, reeling in more interceptions (six) than passing touchdowns allowed (five).

Simply put, the Spartans will be a handful for a Fresno State offense that is spiraling and struggling without its star quarterback.

After nearly leading the Bulldogs to a big win over Oregon State, Haener got hurt against USC and the wheels fell off from there with embarrassing losses to UConn and Boise State in which they put up a combined 34 points with backup Logan Fife taking the snaps. 

Fife has struggled in his first two starts, throwing for just 294 yards with no touchdowns and four picks. And San Jose State is just not the defense you can have poor quarterback play against. Throw in injuries to starting wideout Josh Kelly and top defender Evan Williams and it’s hard to see Fresno State keeping this one within eight points.

Week 7 odds overview

Alabama at Tennessee (+7)

We've got to keep an eye on the biggest game of the weekend where we get to find out if the Tennessee Volunteers are for real. And early bettors are giving them a shot, moving Rocky Top from +7.5 to +7. 

The Crimson Tide have struggled against quality opponents nearly losing to both Texas and Texas A&M, but this is still Bama. If you like the Vols, wait until the public Tide money starts rolling in, and get at least 7.5. 

Oklahoma State at TCU - O/U (68.5)

First place in the Big 12 is up for grabs when Oklahoma State visits TCU this weekend. And while I think the outcome is a bit of a toss-up, I'm taking a hard look at the Over.

Both Spencer Sanders and Max Duggan have been slinging it this season and this matchup has all the makings of a shootout. Both teams are Top-20 pass offenses and Bottom-20 passing defenses. The 68.5 might not be enough to contain these Big 12 teams.

James Madison (-11.5) at Georgia Southern

If you haven't heard, the James Madison Dukes are taking the FBS by storm. The Dukes are in their first season at this level and are taking down anything and everything in their path.

JMU is 5-0 SU/ATS which includes an impressive win at Appalachian State and are covering the number by an average of 14.4 points per contest. And it looks like Georgia Southern's 121st-ranked defense is going to have a tough time slowing JMU down.

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