College Football Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 6 Favorite Bets for Saturday Games
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book (12).
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On a Saturday with marquee matchups all across college football, it’s only fitting that our favorite bets come from both Athens, Ohio and Athens, Ga.
The Ragin’ Cajuns and Bobcats matchup is getting lots of love from our experts. And we’re not against betting marquee games here — you’ll find a few below, including Notre Dame-Georgia — but always search far and wide to find betting value on a college football Saturday.
Here are five of our favorite bets for Saturday.
College Football Best Bets for Saturday
All odds above as of Friday at 10 a.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
- Game: UL-Lafayette at Ohio
- Spread: Ohio -3
- Total: 67.5
- Time: 2 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Fresh off a game where it allowed more than 300 yards on the ground to Marshall, Ohio sits at 114th in the nation at 5.2 yards per rush allowed.
And that’s the last problem you want to have against one of the most explosive rushing attacks in college football.
The three headed monster of Ragas, Calais and Mitchell should run wild against Ohio on Saturday.
Through three games, Calais and Ragas are averaging a silly 11.6 and 11.5 yards per carry, respectively.
Give me the 3-0 ATS Ragin Cajuns who continue to not garner enough respect in the market.
Pick: ULL +3
- Game: Notre Dame at Georgia
- Spread: Georgia -14.5
- Total: 57.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET, CBS
I normally need a lot of supporting evidence to go against my power number while swimming with a massive public favorite. The Georgia and Notre Dame stats are so contrasting that even the most contrarian player in the world would have a hard time supporting the Irish.
One thing was clear as I read the box scores after Week 3 — if New Mexico could average 4.6 yards per carry on 46 attempts in South Bend, then ND is in big trouble against this mammoth Georgia offensive line and rushing attack. The Dawgs have the best line in the country by most measures and a stable of dynamic backs.
The Irish are also 117th in opponent third down conversion rate and that’s led to big time of possession advantages for the other team. We saw it against Louisville — the Irish struggled to get off the field if they weren’t generating turnovers.
Assuming health and turnovers do not play a large factor, Georgia should be able to name the score and wear down the Irish front on the ground.
Pick: UGA -14.5
- Game: Appalachian State at UNC
- Spread: UNC -2.5
- Total: 58
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET, Charter Sports Southeast
Appalachian State has had a somewhat quiet start to the season because of its opponents and a Week 3 bye, but this offense has been as deadly as ever, while the defense got torched by Charlotte for 41 points and replaced a lot of pieces from last season.
The Mountaineers are averaging more than 7 yards per play on offense and ran all over both Charlotte and East Tennessee. That sets up well against a UNC defense that ranks 93rd in yards per carry allowed this season.
Remember, this is the same App State team that ranked top 10 in yards per carry and yards per play last season and on average broke at least one 40-plus yard run per game. The Mountaineers are efficient and explosive on the ground, and quarterback Zac Thomas is extremely capable when called upon.
UNC has been magical in the second half thus far and a little slow out of the gate. I trust quarterback Sam Howell to get his fair share of points to hit this over against an App State defense that I still don’t believe has found its form.
(Though maybe those points won’t come until the second half, so set an alert in The Action Network app to get notified when the 2H total opens and be ready to fire if the number is around 28 and both offenses have shown signs of life).
Picks: Over 58, App State 1H ML (+130)
- Game: Michigan at Wisconsin
- Spread: Wisconsin -3
- Total: 44.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET, ABC
No. 11 Wisconsin is coming off a bye. Top 25 squads are the best programs in the country with superior athletes, facilities and coaching staffs. These are teams capable of putting the extra time to recover and game plan to good use.
Since 2005, these teams are 189-164-11 (54%) ATS following a bye.
Ranked teams playing at home after a bye, like Wisconsin, have been even more profitable.
The Badgers are a match for this system, but some bettors may be hesitant to Wisconsin facing a ranked Michigan team in such a similar spot. However, this strategy still works when the opposing team is ranked.
Since 2005, in matchups of Top 25 programs, the home team off a bye week has gone 41-26-1 (61.2%) ATS. When both teams were off a bye (which expectedly makes the sample pretty small), the home team is still 12-9 ATS.
History points to value on Wisconsin, so does SP+, which projects the Badgers to win by 9 points on average.
Pick: Wisconsin -3
- Game: Oklahoma State at Texas
- Spread: Texas -6.5
- Total: 72.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
One of the games I jumped on immediately this week was Oklahoma State and Texas. I took the Cowboys +7 and I still favor that side at the current number. Mike Gundy has dominated Texas of late and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon.
Texas is definitely the more battle-tested of the two, but I’m really, really concerned about the Longhorn defense. They rank 104th in yards per play allowed and 80th in explosive play percentage. Oklahoma State isn’t exactly the opponent you want to be facing when you’re having defensive struggles.
The Oklahoma State offense ranks 17th in yards per play, 17th in explosive play percentage, and 10th in offensive efficiency. I expect Spencer Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, and Tylan Wallace to have monster days in Austin on Saturday.
I make this game around a pick despite moving Texas up a few points since the start of the season. I was happy to get the seven points but I’m still looking to play the Cowboys.
Pick: Oklahoma State +6.5
- Game: Cal at Ole Miss
- Spread: Ole Miss -2.5
- Total: 41.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Ole Miss being -2.5 makes no sense to me. Even the opening number of +1.5 wasn’t enough points according to Collin Wilson’s projections (which have this game at Cal -4). Cal is undefeated with a win over Washington, while the Rebels lost their only challenging game to this point (Memphis).
But I’m not here to ask questions. I’m here to listen to what the market — specifically the sharps and the oddsmakers — is telling me. And it’s telling me to bet Ole Miss.
As far as market activity goes, this game is shaping up to be a mirror image of the Syracuse-Maryland matchup from two weeks ago. Unranked Maryland opened as a dog hosting No. 21 Syracuse, only to close at -1.5 … and blow the doors off the Orange, 63-20.
Ole Miss opened as a dog hosting No. 23 Cal, and now sits at -2.5 …
If you’ve happened to catch any of my previous picks, you know I’m high on fading the bottom of the Top 25 rankings, especially early in the season. Since 2005, in the first five games of the season (while there’s still plenty of uncertainty), unranked teams getting no more than a touchdown (or being favored) vs. opponents between No. 20 and No. 25 have gone 51-33-3 (60.7%) against the spread.
Pick: Ole Miss -2.5