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College Football Best Bets Today | Expert Picks for Saturday Early Games

College Football Best Bets Today | Expert Picks for Saturday Early Games article feature image
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James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Syracuse’s Isaiah Johnson.

  • The final full college football Saturday of the regular season is upon us.
  • Our staff looks to close it out on a high note with a few best bets for Saturday's early college football games, including Wake Forest vs. Syracuse and more.
  • Read on for all three of our college football best bets for Saturday's early games.

College Football Best Bets for Saturday's Early Games

GameTime (ET)Pick
12 p.m.
2 p.m.
2 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

The final week of the 2023 college football regular season is here, so let's end it on a high note.

Our college football staff hand-picked three best bets for Saturday's early games: Miami (OH) vs. Ball State at noon ET, as well as Wake Forest vs. Syracuse and Georgia State vs. Old Dominion at 2 p.m. ET.

Let's make the most of the last day of wall-to-wall Saturday college football action.

Read on for our three best bets for Saturday's early games — and be sure to check out our top picks for the afternoon and evening kickoff windows as well.


Miami (OH) vs. Ball State

Saturday, Nov. 25
12 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Ball State +5.5

By Stuckey

Similar to Toledo, I'm not sure Miami (OH) will want to show too much or play all of its starters in this meaningless game, especially considering it already lost starting quarterback Brett Gabbert for the season, while No. 1 receiver Gage Larvadain missed last game with a hamstring injury.

While I'm looking to fade Miami (OH) in this spot, I'm also looking to continue backing Ball State, which I tabbed as a "buy-on team" in my midseason MAC Manifesto.

Following a brutal nonconference schedule that resulted in a number of key injuries, the Cardinals have finally started to put it together over the past month with five straight covers and a 3-2 overall record.

After not having much success with either Layne Hatcher or Kadin Semonza under center, head coach Mike Neu turned to his third-string quarterback, Kiael Kelly, while transitioning to a more basic read-0ption offense for the mobile sophomore.

With injuries and a lack of talent at wide receiver and tight end, this switch played into the strength of the Ball State offense.

Meanwhile, the defense has continued to improve as the season has progressed after expected early-season struggles following the loss of three super-talented defensive backs in the offseason.

Ball State doesn't have anything to play for on paper, but this is a team playing with a lot of confidence and pride down the stretch.

Additionally, I'm sure the Cardinals would like to avenge last season's loss to Miami (OH) in the regular-season finale.

In a game where both teams needed to win to get to bowl eligibility, the RedHawks stormed back from a 17-6 deficit in the fourth quarter to pull out an 18-17 win to end Ball State's season.

Lastly, this matchup projects as super low-scoring (hence, the total of 35.5) between two plodding offenses without much explosiveness.

Consequently, that makes the underdog even more intriguing in a game where points will come at a premium.

For what it's worth, Ball State head coach Mike Neu has gone 16-6 (72.7%) as an underdog in MAC play over the past five seasons, including 10-2 (83.3%) against teams with a non-losing record.

Pick: Ball State +5.5

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Wake Forest vs. Syracuse

Saturday, Nov. 25
2 p.m. ET
The CW
Syracuse -2

By John Feltman

Sayonara, Dino Babers.

With Babers now out of the picture for Syracruse, this is arguably one of the best spots of the weekend.

First and foremost, the Orange will be fighting for bowl eligibility as they enter this weekend with five wins on the year. I'm sure they would love nothing more than to stick it to their old head coach with a bowl season celebration.

Statistically, I see a lot of advantages for the Orange on defense, as they should limit any sort of offensive threat from this pathetic Wake Forest offense. This defensive unit is top 50 in Passing Success Rate, Line Yards and Havoc.

Even if Wake has success moving the ball at some point, it's bottom-20 in Offensive Finishing Drives and Quality Drives. I realize the Orange don't have a great offense themselves, but it's not even close to as bad as Wake's.

Between the motivation and terrific matchup on the defensive side of the ball, I expect the Orange to make a big statement at home. I'd prefer a cheap moneyline if this line gets above -3, but I don't think it will.

Pick: Syracuse -2 (Play to -3 OR ML -140)

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Georgia State vs. Old Dominion

Saturday, Nov. 25
2 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Old Dominion -2.5

By Mike Ianniello

Georgia State has been in a free fall, and I’m going to pile on the Panthers here.

After a 6-1 start, this team looked like the top contender to reach the Sun Belt Championship game. Since then, it's lost four straight games and has been eliminated from title contention.

The Panthers are coming off a 56-14 pounding at the hands of LSU last week but lost, 42-14, in each of the previous games against James Madison and Appalachian State as well.

All three teams put up over 500 yards of offense on the Georgia State defense.

That has been the story of the Panthers’ decline. This defense has fallen off a cliff. It ranks 109th in the country in Success Rate and sits 100th at preventing explosiveness. The secondary is a mess, and Georgia State has been awful against the pass.

Old Dominion’s offense has been terrific at scheming up big plays, ranking 22nd in the country in explosiveness. The Monarchs have two running backs in Kadarius Calloway and Keshawn Wicks who average 7.6 and 5.1 yards per carry, respectively.

Quarterback Grant Wilson has done a great job protecting the football with just one interception in the last six games. Their top three receivers — Kelby Williams, Reymello Murphy and Javon Harvey — all average over 13 yards per reception with an ADOT of more than 15 yards.

Old Dominion has eclipsed its season win total and exceeded expectations. Now, it has a chance to secure its first bowl berth under Ricky Rahne.

Georgia State has seen a promising season completely slip away. The Panthers have been bowl-eligible for more than a month and have nothing to play for here.

The Monarchs have the advantages on the field and motivation on their side in this one.

Pick: Old Dominion -2.5 (Play to -3)

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