Our Staff’s 5 Favorite College Football Bets for Saturday
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Patrick Taylor Jr.
Going at any college football card alone — especially one lacking marquee games — can be a daunting task. Don’t do it alone.
Our staff has worked hard all week to narrow down their favorite plays for Saturday, and came up with some interesting ones involving Blazers, Beavers and Demon Deacons.
Let’s get weird on this post-Halloween college football slate:
College Football Best Bets, Week 10
Odds as of Friday at 12 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
John Ewing: Wake -7.5 vs. NC State
- Game: NC State at Wake Forest -7.5
- Total: 60.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
Historically, it has been profitable to bet ranked home teams with at least 14 days between games:
Since 2005, Top 25 off a bye at home have returned a profit of $2,967 for a $100 bettor. NC State is also coming off a bye but that hasn’t stopped the ranked home team from being the smart play.
In this scenario when both teams are off a bye week, the ranked home team has gone 27-16 (63%) ATS.
Not only does history point to value on Wake ,but the Demon Deacons could get a boost offensively as starting quarterback Jamie Newman should return from a shoulder injury. N.C. State on the other hand will be starting redshirt freshman Devin Leary at quarterback in his first start.
Given the uncertainty at quarterback for the Wolfpack and the rest advantage for the Demon Deacons, Wake is a smart play on Saturday.
Pick: Wake Forest -7.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Steve Petrella: Oregon State 1H ML (+160)
- Game: Oregon State at Arizona -5.5
- Total: 70.5
- Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
- TV: Pac-12 Network
While it feels like Oregon State and Arizona have already played twice this year, and I’ve already made this same bet twice (going 1-1 for +.55 units), that is in fact not the case. This is their first meeting.
I’m going back to the well with ole’ reliable, the first half Beavers. They’ve had a halftime lead in four of their seven games this season, including thrice as an underdog, and this is a profitable system I’ve been going back to over and over this year.
There’s more variance in games with high totals, and betting small road underdogs on the first half moneyline has been a profitable endeavor.
Oregon State’s offense has struggled in its last two games, but they came against elite defenses in Utah and Cal. This Arizona defense is not that.
While the Wildcats offense could always get a late score, I’m more than happy to take a stab at my trusty Beavers taking a lead into the break.
Pick: Oregon State 1H ML (+160) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Kyle Miller: Oregon-USC over 62
- Game: Oregon -3.5 at USC
- Total: 62
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
The injuries are mounting in Southern California and even though Clay Helton and the Trojans got the win last week in Colorado. They showed some of their warts on defense. Luckily for Helton, he has one of the best offensive minds in the country in offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.
Harrell has USC’s offense clicking despite almost no depth at running back. Receivers Michael Pittman, Tyler Vaughns, and Amon-Ra St. Brown are future pros and they’ve all gotten the ball in this high-powered, Air Raid offense. Quarterback Kedon Slovis was an afterthought coming into the season but he’s been extremely impressive as a true freshman.
I’m not worried about the USC offense getting the requisite amount of points in this game. I’m worried about the Trojan defense. They haven’t been good against the pass but they’ve been very susceptible to the run. USC ranks 101st in average yards per carry allowed and 68th in percentage of explosive run play allowed. More importantly, they’re 103rd in defensive line score, which is a major problem against an excellent Oregon offensive line.
Oregon’s defense has been really good this year and they’ve been figured out a bit in the last couple of weeks. Teams that can pass the ball effectively are going to have some success against these guys.
USC’s Air Raid offense certainly fits the bill. I’ll take the over 62 in this one and hope for a Pac-12 after dark shootout.
Pick: Oregon-USC Over 62 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Collin Wilson: UAB +12.5
- Game: UAB at Tennessee +12.5
- Total: 48
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPNU
An opener of Tennessee -13 at Circa Sports sent me into a frenzy texting my runners in Vegas. Our Action Network power ratings call for this game at Tennessee -13, but I like UAB before it dipped to -9.5. Since the dip south of Tennessee -10, the number has moved back up to the dead zone of -12.
This game actually represents the biggest havoc mismatch of the weekend: UAB ranks fifth in havoc against a Tennessee offense that is 99th in havoc allowed.
This game is critical to a Tennessee team at 3-5 looking to make a bowl, but the SEC non-conference sandwich spot cannot be ignored. After four consecutive SEC games without a bye week, the Volunteers come into this UAB spot with a road trip to Kentucky on deck. The battle between Tennessee and havoc allowed has provided the most frustrating moments for head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Jeremy Pruitt’s infamous “facemask grab” set to Jim Ross commentary. pic.twitter.com/z40mEIrEKo
— Ryan Moses (@RMoses10) October 22, 2019
Although Lynn Bowden Jr. and Kentucky present a monster challenge for the Tennessee defense, the Volunteers should game plan for a UAB defense that specializes on takeaways. The Blazers have 11 forced fumbles and rank 16th in tackles for loss.
This defense is a fumble causing machine.
Tony Fair forces the second ODU fumble of the day and Alex Wright returns it to the +33! pic.twitter.com/II9pezHzHn
— UAB Football (@UAB_FB) October 19, 2019
The Blazers have not played the schedule of Tennessee, but the statistics support UAB as one of the best defenses in the Group of Five.
UAB is No. 5 in opponent yards per play, No. 7 in opponent third down conversion rate and 13th in sack rate.
This number currently sits in a dead zone at 11.5 and 12 at most shops. Set up line watcher in Sports Insights to get notifications for a move to UAB +13.
Pick: UAB +12.5, but wait for steam to 13 or better. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Stuckey: Memphis -6
- Game: SMU at Memphis -6
- Total: 71.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
This could easily be an undefeated, top 15 Memphis team hosting a 2-3 loss unranked SMU team if a few balls bounced differently over the first two months of the season.
Just take a look at the yards per play summary so far this season for these two teams:
- SMU: 6.0 yards per play (52nd) and 5.2 yards per play allowed (47th)
- Memphis 7.2 yards per play (5th) and 5.1 yards per play allowed (33rd)
From a net perspective, Memphis sits at +2.1 compared to +0.8 for SMU. And they’ve had fairly similar strengths of schedule overall.
This Memphis team is a legit top 20 team nationally with an absolutely explosive offense. I have their offense and defense rated superior to SMU’s.
And on top of that, Memphis has one of the best special teams units in all of college football while SMU is just horrid in that area. For reference, per SP+, Memphis has the sixth-best special teams unit in the land while SMU comes in at No. 111.
The Mustangs have missed three field goals and five extra points this season. They’ve also been much worse when it comes to punting; SMU ranks 88th in net punting to Memphis’ 15th.
Lastly, I didn’t even mention that SMU could (but nothing is confirmed) be without star wide receiver Reggie Roberson, who left last game with an injury and was seen on crutches afterward.
Roberson is one of the most explosive receivers in the country (top 10 in receiving yards) and an important piece of the return game for Sonny Dykes. He and James Proche make up one of the most dynamic receiving duos in FBS and his absence will make it much easier for Memphis to focus on Proche.
Pick: Memphis -6 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]