College Football Odds, Picks: 3 Afternoon Best Bets, Including Western Kentucky vs. Auburn & More
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Joey Beljan (89) and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
- Auburn vs. a Group of Five team. A C-USA battle. And a Big Ten duel.
- We have three best bets for the three games listed above as part of the Week 12 college football afternoon slate.
- Dive in below and formulate your own betting card.
It’s time to turn our attention to the afternoon games on this massive Week 12 college football slate.
There are plenty of solid matchups in this kickoff window, and our staff hand-picked three best bets to kick it off the right way.
First, we’ll hope Charlotte can make Stuckey happy with a cover as a short underdog against Louisiana Tech. Then, we’ll back two more short dogs — one on the spread and one on the moneyline — in Western Kentucky vs. Auburn and Iowa vs. Minnesota.
Read on for all three best bets for Saturday afternoon — and be sure to check out the rest of our staff’s best bets for Saturday’s early and evening college football games.
Saturday Afternoon College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from Saturday’s slate of afternoon games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|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.|
Louisiana Tech vs. Charlotte
One last trip to Club Lit.
It’s the regular-season finale for Charlotte after an extremely tumultuous season. Last week, it got us a cover at Middle Tennessee in a game it should’ve won if not for two non-offensive touchdowns for MTSU.
The defense has improved marginally since head coach Will Healy’s dismissal due to scheme simplification and a few personnel changes. It still has one of the five worst defenses in the country, but so does Louisiana Tech.
In a battle of two capable offenses against putrid defenses, I’ll happily take the home dog with the better offense since Louisiana Tech won’t have starting quarterback Parker McNeil. He’s been a bright spot for the Bulldogs this season.
Backup quarterback Landry Lyddy significantly lowers the explosiveness potential of the offense. In his two starts, Louisiana Tech lost outright at Florida International and got blown out by UTSA, 51-7.
It’s also not a great spot for the Bulldogs, who lost any shot at bowl eligibility last week. Now, in between games against UTSA and UAB, it will travel east to face lowly Charlotte.
Meanwhile, I’m not concerned about motivation for the 49ers. They have a number of key seniors playing in their final game after joining the program in 2018. It’s also another audition for the staff for future jobs either under newly-hired head coach Biff Poggi or elsewhere.
Over the past two seasons, Louisiana Tech is 0-4 ATS as a road favorite, failing to cover by 13 points per game. All four actually came against conference opponents in outright losses.
Western Kentucky vs. Auburn
Western Kentucky came up short to two Big Ten opponents last year and nearly tripped up Indiana earlier this year. I think the Hilltoppers get the win at Jordan-Hare this Saturday, but getting 5.5 is pretty cool, too.
The Hilltoppers are one of the most undervalued teams in the country – again. They’re 8-3 against the spread and because the defense has played so well, they’re also 8-3 to the under.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Auburn team that can only run the ball come out flat after notching Cadillac Williams’ first win last week.
Western Kentucky is an efficient passing offense going up against an Auburn defense that not only has generated just three takeaways, but is also letting teams finish off drives. It’s a terrible recipe against a spread offense that’s diced opponents up to the tune of the fourth-best passing unit.
With +5.5 in your back pocket, you’re getting 3 and 4 on a team that’s played a ton of lower-scoring games. Sign me up.
Iowa vs. Minnesota
Spencer Petras has been bad this season, but it’s not like he’s been terrible in every single game. He put up a PFF passing grade above 82 and averaged over 7.2 yards per pass attempt against Rutgers, Michigan and Northwestern.
However, the reason Iowa’s offense has struggled is not because of Petras. Iowa’s biggest Achilles’ heel has been the offensive line.
The unit ranks 130th in pass blocking and Petras has been under pressure on 37.8% of dropbacks, which is the eighth-highest mark in college football for quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks.
The good news for Iowa is Minnesota has no pass rush to speak of, so Petras may actually have some time to throw.
Iowa’s run game has come alive in the past few weeks with the emergence of freshman Kaleb Johnson. Johnson has averaged 6.1 yards per carry in the last three games and ran for 200 yards against Purdue a few weeks ago.
Tanner Morgan didn’t play in Minnesota’s win over Northwestern last weekend, but it didn’t seem to matter, as the Gophers ran the ball for 302 yards and four touchdowns.
Morgan is questionable to play on Saturday, but the sentiment is that he’s played his last game for Minnesota after suffering his second concussion of the season.
That means it will most likely be freshman Athan Kaliakmanis under center. Kaliakmanis has not been effective as a passer this season. He started games against Penn State and Northwestern and had under a 63 PFF passing grade in both starts.
However, Minnesota is one of the most rush-heavy offenses in the country, carrying the rock on 67.6% of offensive plays, which is the highest average for a non-triple option offense in the country.
That will be no problem for the Iowa defense, as the Hawks are allowing only 3.4 yards per carry while ranking eighth in Defensive Line Yards, first in Rushing Explosiveness Allowed and fourth in EPA/Rush.
So, if Minnesota can’t run the ball against one of the best front sevens in football, it will be forced to throw the ball more than it wants in expected 16 mph winds against the best secondary in college football.
I love the Hawks to win this game outright against a backup quarterback.