NCAAF Week 7 Parlay at (+257) Features Renewed Wisconsin and High-Scoring North Carolina and Duke

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Jordan Turner #54 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates his interception with Nick Herbig #19 against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Rich Schultz/Getty Images/AFP.

Top sportsbooks have released their NCAAF odds for this week’s college football action. Two games, in particular, interest me as worth investing in:

For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for the first game and the total for the second. Feel free to parlay both bets at one of our best sportsbooks in order to maximize your profit.

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Wisconsin Badgers vs. Michigan State Spartans

Saturday, October 15, 2022 – 04:00 PM EDT at Spartan Stadium

Non-Competitive Spartans 

Against Power Five competition, Michigan State is 0-4 ATS. This trend includes three ATS losses against fellow Big Ten schools.

The Spartans were close to sneaking in an ATS triumph against four-touchdown favorites Ohio State, but were non-competitive from an ATS standpoint against Maryland and Minnesota.

Michigan State is repeatedly the easiest team on its opponent's schedule. Maryland, for example, lost to Purdue but beat the Spartans by two touchdowns.

The Right Contender

All of these results beg the question: what kind of team can Michigan State compete against?

Looking back at last year, the Spartans did get a favorable schedule in that they got to face Northwestern, Indiana, and Rutgers. But they did also beat Maryland.

So what was the main difference between last year and this year, which has permitted contrary results in two years of playing against Maryland to take place?

Lacking a Run Game 

The central difference is that Michigan State lost its star running back to the NFL.

Qualitatively, Michigan State's offensive line has likewise regressed after it lost three starters, all on the right side, plus depth pieces during the offseason.

Relative to last year, the Spartans have dropped 51 spots in rushing yards per game.

Consequences of Lacking a Run Game 

This regression generates several deleterious consequences that extend beyond the simple fact of lacking a run game.

Offensively, Michigan State is anemic, similar to what it was especially before Kenneth Walker exploded last season. Against Big Ten competition, the Spartans only reached 20 points in the waning minutes of their blowout loss to Ohio State.

Any hype over quarterback Payton Thorne now appears insane because it is obvious how heavily he depended on the threat of Walker's running to make play-action passing work.

Because defenses aren't afraid of Spartan running, play-action is ineffective, and so Thorne is powerless.

Wisconsin's Run Defense 

Motivated by having the coach they want, the Badgers blew out Northwestern 42-7. It was just Northwestern, but it was 42-7. In the process, they held Evan Hull to what was by far his worst game of the season.

He mustered 1.4 YPC against Wisconsin after producing a somewhat respectable 4.1 YPC against Penn State and, earlier, thriving against Nebraska. The Badgers have strong forces on the defensive line in the form of Keeanu Benton and Isaiah Mullens.

Both demand double-teams and, assuming the optimism in Benton's playing status is justified, both will have a field day against Michigan State's regressed offensive line.

Especially preseason All-American Nick Herbig will thrive in the spaces that Benton and Mullens will help open up as he uses his high motor and quickness to wreak havoc in the backfield.

Graham Mertz vs. Spartan's Pass Defense 

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz's five-touchdown, zero-interception performance last week was a sign of things to come against Michigan State's porous secondary.

The Spartan pass defense regularly makes opposing quarterbacks look amazing.

Washington's Michael Penix Jr., for example, enjoyed his best performance against a Power Five school not against Kent State of the MAC but Michigan State.

The same is true of Minnesota's Tanner Morgan, who looked massively better against Michigan State than he did against New Mexico State.

Spartan's Run Defense?

Run defense was and traditionally has been a saving grace for the Spartans.

However, and this is partly another consequence of failing to sustain drives on offense, the run defense is easily worn down and outmatched.

In their last three games, the Spartans are allowing an average of 217.3 rushing yards. One thing that the current odds do not reflect is Wisconsin's newfound ability to be aggressive on offense.

As evident last week, Wisconsin will use its run game, its traditional bread-and-butter, to make big things happen in the passing game especially via play-action passes.

NCAAF Pick: Wisconsin -7.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 08:00 PM EDT at Wallace Wade Stadium

Is The Tar Heel Defense Better?

North Carolina's defense has cultivated fame for being awful after giving up over 60 points to App State and almost costing its team the game against Georgia State.

Overall, the Tar Heel defense currently ranks 123rd in limiting opponents to 491.4 yards per game. 

Perhaps this statistic is primarily a reflection of prior weeks?

But its game two weeks ago against Virginia Tech is rather meaningless because the Hokies had been uniquely disorganized, confused, disoriented, and apparently talentless.

For example, they had scored 10 points against a West Virginia team that, even after facing Virginia Tech, allows 35.3 points per game.

Most recently, North Carolina faced a competent offensive test and allowed Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, who had been struggling this year and was even benched, to have what was his best game of the season since he dominated Bethune-Cookman.

Van Dyke threw for more yards than the entire Tar Heel defense allows on average this season.

Duke's Versatile Offense 

Blue Devil quarterback Riley Leonard, though, is not struggling.

He's typically been an efficient quarterback who mistakes few mistakes and can add extra productivity on the ground.

While he doesn't typically make big plays, he won't need to against a Tar Heel defense that regularly affords opposing wide receivers too much of a cushion.

Leonard gets support from multiple running backs who average over five YPC who, however many of them are healthy enough to play, will demand significant attention from North Carolina's defense.

Drake Maye vs. Duke's Porous Secondary 

With 21 touchdowns to 3 interceptions, quarterback Drake Maye has been the best offensive weapon on his team.

With the strength of its offense located in its pass attack, North Carolina matches up well against the Duke defense.

Except against a Virginia quarterback who has been in a funk in his team's new offense all season, Duke's defense has been porous in the back.

Jalon Daniels

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels, for example, enjoyed by far his best game in terms of passer rating against Duke. He amassed 324 yards and four touchdowns.

Most recently, Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims, typically an inefficient passer who relies on running the ball, completed 67.6% of his passes against Duke in addition to thriving on the ground.

Maye, too, is a productive runner while his arm talent and accuracy help make him efficient and effective as a passer.

NCAAF Pick: Over 66 (-115) at BetOnline

NCAAF Parlay Verdict 

With your NCAAF picks, expect a strong win from Wisconsin and a high-scoring game between North Carolina and Duke.

Be sure to use our trusty parlay calculator for your parlay betting needs.

NCAAF Parlay Picks

  • Wisconsin vs. Michigan State: Wisconsin -7.5 (-110)
  • North Carolina vs. Duke: Over 66 (-115)

NCAAF Pick: Two-Legged Parlay (+257) at BetOnline

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Two-Legged Parlay (+275)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.