What are the Odds: Maintaining momentum in Week 7

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Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/TNS

Jalen Hurts (1) of the Oklahoma Sooners breaks free on a run from Osa Odighizuwa (92) of the UCLA Bruins during the first half of a game on at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 14 in Los Angeles.

By Ben Bobeck, Senior Staff Writer

In sports, politics and life in general, there’s one little factor that can change everything — momentum.

A huge late cover from Boston College fought off a potentially winless day in college football. Combine that with my two-game NFL sweep with the Cardinals winning outright and the Bills-Titans under looking safe the whole game — even with Josh Allen starting — and it appears momentum is on my side. Like the Washington Nationals’ hashtag says, let’s #StayInTheFight and keep it going.

Before getting started, you can read last week’s picks here.

All-time record: 4-9

NCAA Football: 2-6

NFL: 2-3

A quick recap for those who are new to everyone’s favorite degenerate pastime — we’ll be looking primarily at spreads, money lines and over/unders for this series. Spreads are adjusted according to who oddsmakers favor in the matchup and by how many points. Money lines are straight bets on a team to emerge victorious. Over/unders, also referred to as totals, are wagers on the total number of points scored in any given matchup.

All line info used in this series is courtesy of OddsShark.com. The Pitt News does not condone illegal gambling. Sports gambling is illegal in Pennsylvania under the age of 21.

No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Texas +10.5, neutral site at Cotton Bowl (over/under 75.5 points)

THE PICK: Texas +10.5

Maybe the second-best game of the weekend after LSU-Florida, this year’s edition of the Red River Rivalry is shaping up to be a great one. Both Oklahoma and Texas have College Football Playoff dreams, but Texas has more to lose in this game. With one loss already to LSU, Tom Herman’s Horns cannot afford another early-season setback.

Both offenses, led by junior Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger and senior Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, have already proven their game-changing ability. This game will come down to which defense can get a crucial late-game stop.

I see Hurts and the Sooners winning this one and keeping themselves squarely in the Playoff hunt, but look for the Longhorns to keep it close enough to cover.

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No. 25 Cincinnati at Houston +7 (over/under 51.5)

THE PICK: Cincy -7

In a classic clash of the cats, the Cincinnati Bearcats head into Cougartown fresh off handing UCF the Knights’ first conference loss since November 2016. The Bearcats are now 4-1 — their lone loss coming against perhaps the best team in the country, Ohio State — and firmly in the driver’s seat in the American Athletic Conference.

Compare that to the situation of Houston and first-year head coach Dana Holgerson, and you’ll be more than comfortable taking the points on the road. The Cougars already lost dynamic senior quarterback D’Eriq King and senior receiver Keith Corbin to injuries for the rest of the season.

Cincinnati beat UCF by forcing turnovers and playing solid defense, a formula that will lead it to success in Houston again this weekend.

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Michigan State at No. 8 Wisconsin -10.5 (over/under 40.5 points)

THE PICK: Under 40.5 points

Michigan St. is in the middle of a brutal stretch that epitomizes the difficulties of playing in the Big Ten East. With three top-10 teams in four weeks and only a bye to separate them, Sparty’s tough defense will face three extremely talented offenses. After the dynamic, explosive attack of No. 2 Ohio State last week, head coach Mark Dantonio’s MSU team heads into Wisconsin to take on the potent ground game of junior running back Jonathan Taylor and the unbeaten Badgers.

Taylor comes into this matchup fresh off another Heisman-level performance to add to his resume, with 186 yards and five touchdowns against Kent State. That performance brought his season totals to 745 yards on 103 carries for 12 touchdowns.

Both teams sport stingy defenses, with Wisconsin ranking top nationally with just 5.8 points allowed per game and MSU coming in at No. 21 with 18.2 points allowed per game. Welcome to Big Ten football. Take the under.

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Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings -3 (over/under 44)

THE PICK: Philadelphia +3

In a rematch of the 2018 NFC Championship, Philadelphia once again flies north to take on noted apologist Kirk Cousins and the Vikings. Philly will lean on Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett and the rest of its defensive front to stop Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook and force Cousins to win this game through the air — something he hasn’t seemed capable of doing at most points this season.

The Eagles have also found some semblance of a rhythm on offense, with Jordan Howard emerging as seemingly the go-to guy in a backfield filled with talent. Even with a depleted secondary, Philly is in a good position to go into the same building where it won its first Super Bowl and come out strong.

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