With the start of the 2018 NCAA college football season just a few weeks away, collegiate gridiron gaming aficionados everywhere are gearing up for a fun-filled – and hopefully – profitable run through the regular season. In an effort to help you cash in early and often over the course of the coming season, I’m offering up some expert NCAAF betting analysis on a pair of must-bet matchups for NCAA Football Week 7.
Let’s get to them right now.
NCAA Football Week 7 Must Bet Games – 2018 Season
Arizona at Utah
Not only did the Arizona Wildcats go a respectable 7-6 in the Pac-12 a year ago, but more importantly, they found out they have a flat-out superstar in dual-threat quarterback Khalil Tate. Along the way, the Wildcats beat UCLA for the first time since 2011, blew out a top 15-ranked Washington State squad and reached the top 25 for the first time since 2014.
Now, heading into 2018, the Wildcats could be even more dangerous under first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin after the team parted ways with former head coach Rich Rodriguez because of allegations of misconduct and a lawsuit filed by a former staff member. If there’s one thing Sumlin can do, it’s coach offense and he’s got a monster athlete in Tate who set the record for FBS quarterback rushing yards in 2017 with 1,411. Tate is also a capable passer and a definite play-maker. The Cats have a bunch of question marks on defense, but Tate is a preseason All-American and could carry his team to brand new heights in 2018.
Utah also went 7-6 last season under head coach Kyle Whittingham and the Utes have plenty of experience returning on offense and a few on defense as well. 2017 starting quarterback Tyler Huntley will be challenged by highly touted true freshman Jack Tuttle and redshirt freshman Jason Shelley, but the Utes have an emerging star in running back Zack Moss who finished off his 2017 campaign with 196 yards against Colorado in Utah’s regular season finale before rushing for 150 yards against West Virginia in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Whittingham will need to find a replacement for superstar wide receiver Darren Carrington II, but last season’s four new starters on the offensive line are now experienced heading into 2018. Defensively, Utah needs to replace two starting linebackers and that could hurt them, particularly early on.
Utah beat Arizona 30-24 in the desert last season and they’ve won three straight in this series, but I’m thinking this matchup is a perfect time for the Wildcats to extract some revenge behind the virtually unstoppable Khalil Tate and the offensive schemes of new head coach Kevin Sumlin.
NCAA Football Week 7 Betting Pick: Arizona 31 Utah 27
Wisconsin at Michigan
Wisconsin went a stellar 13-1 last season and won their second straight Big Ten West title but got left out of the four-team playoff because of what was deemed as too soft a schedule. No matter, the Badgers are back and they’re loaded for head coach Paul Chryst who has gone a stellar 34-7 in three years leading his alumni.
10 starters are back on offense including supremely gifted sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor who finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting after rushing for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns as a freshman last season. Wisconsin needs quarterback Alex Hornibrook to take another step forward in his evolution, but he’s done so each season and I see no reason why he won’t in 2018 as well. Defensively, Wisconsin must replace a whopping eight starters, but the Badgers have been one of the very best defensive teams in all of college football in each of Chryst’s three years at the school so I see no reason why they won’t be again even with their losses.
Michigan struggled to a uninspiring 8-5 record a year ago, but the Wolverines could be poised for a much better campaign in 2018 – if they find the answer they’ve been lacking at quarterback ever since Jim Harbaugh took over the program in 2015. Now, heading into 2018, Harbaugh may have found the quarterback he’s been looking for in former Ole Miss signal-caller Shea Patterson who threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns on just seven starts with the Rebels a year ago. Unfortunately, there are questions along the offensive line and inexperience at the wide receiver position.
Defensively however, Michigan should be powerful once again under Harbaugh’s schemes. have an All-America inside linebacker in Devin Bush and another All-America candidate in fellow linebacker Khaleke Hudson. The Wolverines had the best pass defense in the country a year ago, so, generally speaking, Michigan has been nothing short of outstanding under Harbaugh defensively.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, even at home Wisconsin looks like the better team in this matchup. The Badgers beat up on their Big Ten rivals 24-10 last season to cover the chalk as a 6.5-point home favorite and I believe another victory is in store for Wisconsin in this Week 7 matchup in 2018 despite the fact that this game will be played in Ann Arbor. I like Wisconsin for the hard-fought win – and for the Badgers to really challenge for a berth in the four-team playoff!
NCAA Football Week 7 Betting Pick: Wisconsin 23 Michigan 21