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College Football Odds, Picks: 3 Afternoon Best Bets, Including Washington State vs. Fresno State, Oregon State vs. Florida

College Football Odds, Picks: 3 Afternoon Best Bets, Including Washington State vs. Fresno State, Oregon State vs. Florida article feature image
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Ali Gradischer/Getty Images. Pictured: Walker Riney (23) and the Oregon State Beavers.

  • The college football bowl slate is loaded on Saturday with six FBS games scheduled throughout the day.
  • Our staff came through with three best bets for Saturday afternoon's games, including picks for Washington State vs. Fresno State and Oregon State vs. Florida.
  • Check out our college football best bets for Saturday afternoon's bowl games below.

The Bahamas Bowl and Cure Bowl are behind us, which only means one thing: Bowl season is starting to ramp up. Saturday brings with it six FBS showdowns on the slate, beginning at 11 a.m. ET and running through 9:15.

Our staff is ready to jump on these games beginning in the afternoon with the only Power Five vs. Power Five matchup on the docket in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Following that showdown between Florida and Oregon State, we turn our attention to the LA Bowl between Fresno State and Washington State, where the Group of Five Bulldogs enter as short favorites.

Our staff broke down both games below and shared their best bets for each. Read on to see how we’re betting these afternoon games — and be sure to check out our picks for Saturday evening’s bowls.


Saturday Afternoon College Football Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the bowl matchups that our college football staff is targeting from Saturday afternoon’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

Game
Time
Pick
2:30 p.m. ET
Oregon State -9
2:30 p.m. ET
Oregon State TT Over 31.5
3:30 p.m. ET
Fresno State -3
Specific bet 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.

Florida vs. Oregon State

Saturday, Dec. 17
2:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Oregon State -9

By Thomas Schlarp

Bowl season often boils down to available personnel. The cliche, “Who wants to be there more?” exists for a reason. And leading into the Las Vegas Bowl, Oregon State has a clear advantage in that department over Florida.

The Gators need a win to avoid consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1978-79 and will be without the services of three of their best players. All-American offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence, defensive captain Ventrell Miller and starting quarterback Anthony Richardson have all opted out in order to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Florida’s offense is powered by a run game that ranks 16th in the country with over 200 yards per game. Richardson is a big part of the ground game, rushing for 654 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

Oregon State’s defense ranks just 82 in Rush Success this weekend, but with Jack Miller making his first career start under center for the Gators, and receiver Justin Shorter — Florida’s leading receiver in yards per game — electing to sit this one out, the Beavers will be able to devote plenty of attention to running backs Montrell Johnson and Trevor Ettiene.

Then there’s Oregon State, which enters the game on a high as winners of six of its last seven, including an upset win over rival Oregon in the regular-season finale.

The Beavers’ ground game is just as effective as Florida’s, but Oregon State will actually have all three of its All-Pac-12 offensive linemen active for this game.

The Gators defense sits 96th in Defensive Rush Success and will be challenged by Damien Martinez, one of the more explosive running backs in the nation.

Compounding matters, Florida’s run defense takes a massive step backward without Miller. Florida allows 5.4 yards per carry without Miller, up from 4.1 when he does play. The Beavers offense is physical, and we’re going to see just how badly Florida’s defense actually may or may not want to be there.

The Gators struggled to consistently move the ball this season with all of their offensive stars present, and I think they’re going to have difficulties staying within single digits of the Beavers.

Pick: Oregon State -9 (Play to -10)


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Oregon State Team Total Over 31.5

By Action Analytics

One of the biggest mismatches of the weekend will be Oregon State’s offense vs. this Florida defense.

To start, the Gators rank 97th or worse in every defensive “Five Factors Category,” while the Beavers enter in the top 25 in Success Rate, Havoc Allowed and Points per Opportunity on offense.

Of course, potential first-round pick Anthony Richardson not playing will hurt this Florida team, and this will lead to a less explosive and less successful Gators offense.

Keep in mind, this Oregon State defense is good enough to shut down Florida’s offense with Richardson. Without him, I expect a lot of quick drives and good field position for Oregon State.

This may also be a classic case of “who wants to be there more,” with the Beavers wrapping up one of the more successful years in recent memory and looking to build momentum for next season.

Meanwhile, with his star QB out, Billy Napier may already be looking toward the 2023-24 season.

Because of quick Florida drives, solid Oregon State field position and a mismatch between the Beavers and Gators when Oregon State has the ball, I expect the Beavers to put up a ton of points this weekend.

Pick: Oregon State Team Total Over 31.5



Fresno State vs. Washington State

Saturday, Dec. 17
3:30 p.m. ET
ABC
Fresno State -3

By CJ Vogel

Fresno State quarterback, Jake Haener, has been highly impactful for the Bulldogs’ point spread this season. Since returning from injury and starting in six games, Fresno State has scored an average of 37.2 points per game.

However, the team’s success isn’t solely reliant on Haener’s performance, as running back Jordan Mims has rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored 16 touchdowns, while receiver Jalen Moreno-Cropper also has over 1,000 yards receiving with five scores.

The Cougars, meanwhile, struggled defensively in their final regular season game against Washington by allowing the Huskies to rack up 703 yards of offense, including 485 passing yards from quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

While the Cougars have a strong offense, the Bulldogs defense has allowed just 30 points in their last three games.

Despite being a Mountain West team facing a Pac-12 opponent in the LA Bowl, Fresno State should not be underestimated, as it has proven to be competitive against top teams. I would recommend betting Fresno State at no more than -3.

Pick: Fresno State -3 (Play to -3.5)


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