Saturday College Football Odds & Best Bets: Our Staff’s Betting Picks for Clemson vs. Miami, Mississippi State vs. Kentucky & More (Oct. 10)
Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Dabo Swinney and Joseph Ngata.
- Looking for some last-minute college football bets for this Saturday? You're definitely in the right place.
- Our staff has you covered with 6 best bets to help you build a stacked Saturday betting card.
- Below, you'll find full breakdowns for each of our favorite betting positions for Week 6.
As we enter Week 6 of the college football season, our focus has begun to turn to the national landscape of the sport — which teams are well-positioned for a College Football Playoff push, and which teams have already removed themselves from consideration. Collin Wilson said it best in his Top 5 Favorite Betting Spots for Week 6:
Can a top-25 Iowa State team sweep the Big 12 and still make the Playoff with a loss to Louisiana? Will Virginia Tech be even better after fully recovering from COVID-19 and the return of quarterback Hendon Hooker? Will an undefeated Group of Five team sweep into the spot if the Power Five conferences finish with two-loss champions?
Week 6 will help answer a few of those questions.
Collin is 100% spot on that Week 6 should deliver crucial answers for some of the country’s premier programs. This week might be the most compelling, if not somewhat top-loaded, betting card of the young college football season. And our staff has you covered with our best bets from six games this weekend.
All below odds have been updated as of Friday afternoon.
Saturday College Football Best Bets for Week 6:
Check our top Saturday picks below, each of which comes from one of the following games:
- 12:00 p.m. ET | (22) Texas vs. Oklahoma
- 3:30 p.m. ET | (14) Tennessee at (3) Georgia
- 4:00 p.m. ET | Pittsburgh at Boston College
- 6:00 p.m. ET | Temple at Navy
- 7:30 p.m. ET | (7) Miami at (1) Clemson
- 7:30 p.m. ET | Mississippi State at Kentucky
Pete Ruden: Texas at Oklahoma Over 72.5 (-110)
- Odds available at FanDuel [Bet Now]
- Kickoff Time: 12 p.m. ET
This Red River Rivalry game is made for the over, and it’s going to be a great way to start Saturday’s slate of college football.
Texas and Oklahoma unsurprisingly rank first and second, respectively, in the Big 12 in total offense. Both teams also sit in the top 10 nationally, each racking up well over 500 yards per game.
It’s a similar story in terms of scoring offense, as Texas tops the charts nationally by scoring 51 points per game, including a 63-point outburst against Texas Tech, which happens to be another high-powered offense.
But these teams do more than move the ball. They do it quickly.
In yet another parallel storyline, both teams have put their explosiveness on display early in 2020.
The Longhorns rank seventh in plays over 20 yards, while the Sooners sit tied for ninth. To take it a step further, Texas is second in the country with 12 plays going for at least 30 yards. Oklahoma is tied for eighth with nine.
Looking back to last year, the same story persisted.
Oklahoma is certainly a different team now with players like Jalen Hurts and CeeDee Lamb leaving the fold. But, those losses notwithstanding, the 2019 Oklahoma Sooners ranked fourth in explosive drive rate at 29.8%, per Football Outsiders.
Texas, which still has quarterback Sam Ehlinger from last season but lost its leading receiver in Devin Duvernay, finished 13th at 18.1% — still well above the national average of about 12% in 2019.
With Ehlinger, Keaontay Ingram, and Roschon Johnson, Texas can either sling the pigskin or tote the rock to come up with big plays. Oklahoma, meanwhile, should focus on the pass with QB Spencer Rattler leading the conference’s top passing offense.
When it comes to defense, neither team jumps off the page. Oklahoma gives up 314 yards per game, while Texas allows 377.3. The Sooners have also given up at least 37 points in both of their losses, while the Longhorns gave up 56 in an overtime win and 33 in a straight-up loss.
With two explosive offenses and two average defenses, you’re telling me I only need a little more than 35 points from each team?
Let’s kick off our Saturday with some fun.
Stuckey: Tennessee +12.5 (-110) at Georgia
- Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
- Kickoff Time: 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
Give me the Vols, who have won eight straight dating back to last year. The big question with this team remains: Can Tennessee step up and compete with the class of the SEC — the Georgia’s and Alabama’s of the conference — something they haven’t been able to do in recent years. However, I think they’re ready to compete.
Yes, Georgia looked dominant over its past six quarters against Arkansas and Auburn, but the Bulldogs were able to overpower both opponents in the trenches. Arkansas is severely undersized on both lines and Auburn’s brand new offensive line just couldn’t hold up against a very stout Georgia defense that might be the best in the nation.
This week is a different story. For my money, Tennessee boasts the best offensive line in all of college football.With former Georgia Bulldog Cade Mays receiving eligibility to play this season, this unit is now full of houses with five-stars all over the place. This group absolutely bludgeoned Missouri last week, and I think they can do enough to enable Tennessee to move the ball on the ground with the dynamic duo of Eric Gray and Ty Chandler.
On the other side of the ball, I’m still not fully sold on former walk-on Stetson Bennett at QB. It looks like he will get the start again on Saturday. He did look great against Auburn, but the Tigers also had a completely rebuilt secondary. This is a much taller order against a very experienced Tennessee secondary.
In a game that should be very low-scoring with a projected total of 42, catching 14 points was way too tempting for me to pass up in a game that I make about 10. It’s in a dead number zone right now, so wait to see if you can get 13. I certainly like 13 or above but would still play it at 12.5 as it’s a play I like from a qualitative standpoint as well.
Georgia also has a huge game against Alabama on deck which could factor in here.
Reed Wallach: Pittsburgh -6 (-110) at Boston College
- Odds available at Parx [Bet Now]
- Kickoff Time: 4:00 ET
Pittsburgh comes into this one off a surprising home loss to NC State as 14-point favorites and despite being better than the Wolfpack in nearly every box score metric. The Panthers boast one of the nation’s strongest defenses, leading the country in havoc and allowing less than two yards per carry.
This seems like a strong bounce-back spot against Boston College, who surprisingly had a chance to tie the game against North Carolina last Saturday. The Eagles were out-gained 176 to 40 on the ground and were 2-of-5 in the red zone.
This is a tough matchup for BC, who struggled to score against Texas State two weeks ago, and the close loss to North Carolina was a bit of smoke and mirrors. On top of that, the team has allowed 21 tackles for loss through three games, so I expect Pat Narduzzi and his Panthers defense to get into the backfield with ease.
I have more faith in the Pitt defense to show up and continue to cause havoc all over the field than this BC offense that has struggled to find its identity so far. Off a loss, back Coach Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers to get the cover.
I like this up to -6.5.
BJ Cunningham: Navy +3.5 (-110) vs. Temple
- Odds available at Parx [Bet Now]
- Kickoff Time: 6:00pm ET
Anthony Russo is back for his senior season at quarterback for the Owls. His efficiency went down from his sophomore season, throwing for only 6.8 yards per attempt in 2019. That downturn caused the Owls to drop to 80th in passing success last season. Temple also never really developed a run game last year, ranking 69th in rushing success and carrying the ball for a measly 3.6 yards per carry.
The Owls return three of their starters on the offensive line, but they will have to deal with the loss of their best lineman Matt Hennessy to the NFL. Without improvements on the offensive line, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to improve their run game in 2020.
The defensive side of the ball is where Temple is going to have issues in this game. The Owls lost their best defensive lineman Quincy Roche, their three starting linebackers, and their two best starters in the secondary from last season. Replacing all of those positions, while also trying to prepare to stop the triple option, is a nightmare scenario for Rod Carey and the Owls coaching staff.
Navy’s struggles against Air Force on offense last weekend can be chalked up to the absence of starting quarterback Dalen Morris. The offense will no doubt improve with Morris back under center on Saturday. Morris’ return is especially beneficial for Jamale Carothers, who rushed for a whopping 6.6 yards per carry in 2019 and is a dangerous weapon at fullback for the Midshipmen.
Temple has only been practicing for less than a month, so I think Navy’s defense will be able to figure out some of their issues on Saturday. I’ll back Navy to rebound as a home dog on Saturday.
Mike Calabrese: Clemson-14 (-110) vs. Miami
- Odds available at PointsBet [Bet Now]
- Kickoff Time: 7:30pm ET
Coaches generally like to avoid suffering the same fate that “Big Game” Bob Stoops endured during his career. Stoops started off hot in big games at Oklahoma, earning the nickname, before it became a bit of a punchline.
Dabo Swinney has been an excellent big game coach for the better part of five years; yet, the pressure doesn’t seem to stick to him or his program. During Swinney’s tenure, Clemson is 31-18 against ranked opponents SU, and 29-20 ATS. But the x-factor in this game is Trevor Lawrence. The future top-five NFL draft choice is a sterling 6-1 ATS when facing ranked opponents.
It can be hard to pinpoint a team’s motivation, or lack thereof, but it’s clear to me that Clemson has been going through the motions against middling to lowly opponents. After posting an absurd 11-4 record ATS last season — with a massive target on their back, might I add — the Tigers have limped out to an 0-3 start at the betting window. That will change Saturday night in Death Valley.
Yes, Miami is far more competent on offense with D’Eriq King running the show, but the Hurricanes have yet to face a game-changing defensive front like Clemson’s. The Tigers defense is averaging nine tackles for loss, 4.3 sacks and 5.7 passes defended per game — each of which ranks top 15 nationally.
The Clemson defense will force Miami to put the ball in the air, and it has the chops to rein in a dual-threat QB like King. After all, Brent Venables’ defense put Bryce Perkins in a vice grip and forced Justin Fields into critical mistakes down the stretch in 2019.
Once Clemson has Miami on the ropes, I’ll bank on arguably the greatest backfield in ACC history lowering the boom in the second half and covering comfortably.
Darin Gardner: Mississippi State at Kentucky Over 57.5 (-110)
- Odds available at BetMGM [Bet Now]
- Kickoff Time: 7:30PM ET
Hurricane Delta is going to affect a lot of football games in this region of the country, but as of this writing, it does not look like it will play a big factor in Lexington. Forecasts are calling for some rain, but maximum wind gusts are only supposed to be in the 10 mph range.
One reason why I like this over is the combined pace of play. Mississippi State ranks ninth in the country in plays per game, while Kentucky ranks 21st. The Bulldogs also like to air it out with Mike Leach’s air raid offense, and they currently rank first in passing rate at 75.9%.
There are 74 teams that have played a game in college football this season, and 73 of those 74 teams rank higher than Kentucky in passing success rate allowed on defense. The Wildcats also rank 73rd in expected points added (EPA) in pass defense and rank 63rd in points per play allowed. Put simply, Kentucky’s defense is having major problems with both efficiency and explosiveness.
On the other side of the ball, Kentucky has been very efficient, ranking 10th in success rate and 14th in havoc allowed. Mississippi State ranks in the middle of the pack in defensive success rate but has faced a completely rebuilt LSU offense and a bad Arkansas offense. In 2019, the Bulldogs defense ranked 100th in success rate and 110th in yards per play, so their current metrics may be somewhat inflated to open the season.
I project this total at 65.1, so I see ample value on the current line.