College Football Odds & Picks: Our Afternoon Best Bets, Including Ole Miss vs. Alabama, Iowa vs. Wisconsin
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.
- We shift our attention to the Week 11 afternoon slate, as a number of stellar games await kickoff.
- We have best bets for four key games, including Alabama vs. Ole Miss, Wisconsin vs. Iowa and Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State.
- Check out all four Saturday afternoon best bets below.
The Week 11 noon college football slate is solid, but now we turn our attention to the afternoon.
Our staff came through with four more picks for this kickoff window, and we’re expecting plenty of points. Of our four best bets for Saturday afternoon, three of them are locking in an over.
So, if you like rooting for offense, you came to the right place.
Read on for all four of our college football best bets for Saturday afternoon, and be sure to check out the rest of our top picks for the noon and evening kickoff windows.
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 afternoon’s 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.|
Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State
By CJ Vogel
I will gladly take the extra point and a half, but in reality, this bet is basically just an Iowa State moneyline bet.
The health of Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders is absolutely the most important factor about this game, and should he be able to play, things change quite a bit.
However, with where things stand currently, the best play of the week is for Iowa State to leave Stillwater with a win.
Oklahoma State trotted out true freshman Garret Rangel last week against Kansas in a 37–16 loss in Lawrence. Kansas does not necessarily have a top defense (112th in the country in total defense, whereas the Cyclones rank 10th).
Through the air, it gets even worse for Rangel looking to the week ahead. Kansas ranks 122nd in passing yards allowed this season, whereas Iowa State sits right outside the top 10 at No. 12.
Rangel’s three interceptions against Kansas are a big indicator he struggles reading defenses, and it’s safe to assume those struggles will rear their head once more when facing an actual defense.
The Pokes must win this game for any hope at reaching the Big 12 Championship, but the number of key contributors still sidelined, as well as the lack of talent at the quarterback position lead me to believe it’s going to be Matt Campbell leaving Stillwater with a win.
Louisiana Tech vs. UTSA
Louisiana Tech got its offense back on track last weekend, beating Middle Tennessee by a score of 40-24 after losing in double overtime to FIU the week before.
The key for Louisiana Tech’s offense is starting quarterback Parker McNeil, who returned from injury and played an outstanding game against Middle Tennessee by throwing for three touchdowns and averaging 8.6 yards per attempt.
McNeil is a big-time boom-or-bust quarterback, as he’s averaging 8.9 yards per attempt. Louisiana Tech ranks just 84th in Passing Success Rate, but it sits 11th in Passing Explosiveness.
In fact, McNeil is averaging 9.6 yards per target with a 96.3 PFF passing grade on passes over 20 yards in the air.
That’s huge in this game because UTSA is incredibly vulnerable to giving up explosive plays in the passing game, ranking 117th in Passing Explosiveness Allowed.
On top of that, the Roadrunners have the ninth-worst tackling grade in the country, per PFF.
On the other side of the ball, UTSA quarterback Frank Harris is one of the most dynamic Group of Five quarterbacks. Harris owns an 89.0 PFF passing grade, while averaging 9.2 yards per attempt and throwing 21 touchdowns compared to just six interceptions.
He’s also a threat on the ground, averaging 6.4 yards per carry with 21 runs that have gone at least 10 yards.
Louisiana Tech’s defense, meanwhile, has been horrible all season long. It allows 6.4 yards per play (122nd in FBS) and ranks 107th in EPA/Play Allowed.
The main problem has been its struggles against the run. The Bulldogs rank outside the top 100 in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, EPA/Rush Allowed and Defensive Line Yards. They also have the fourth-worst tackling grade in college football, per PFF.
UTSA boasts a really solid rushing attack that ranks top-25 in both Rushing Success Rate and EPA/Rush, along with also a top-10 mark in Offensive Line Yards and Stuff Rate Allowed.
The Roadrunners play at a lightning-fast pace, running a play every 22.56 seconds, which ranks 13th in the country.
On the other side, Louisiana Tech plays at an above-average pace, running a play every 24.6 seconds.
I have 84.1 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 68.
Wisconsin vs. Iowa
Your eyes do not deceive you. This is a real thing. We’re really taking the over in an Iowa game.
The Hawkeyes offense has been an absolute juggernaut (in Iowa terms) in the last two weeks, scoring 33 and 24 points, respectively, against Northwestern and Purdue.
Sure, these aren’t the two best defenses in the Big Ten, but if nothing else it has restored some confidence in Spencer Petras and running back Kaleb Johnson, the latter of whom has 293 yards rushing in the last two games.
Wisconsin’s offense has looked improved under Jim Leonhard. The Badgers are scoring 32 points per game in four games under Leonhard, up from 15 points per game in the three games played against Power Five opponents under Paul Chryst.
The matchup to watch will be Braelon Allen versus Iowa’s run defense.
The Hawkeyes rank eighth in the country, allowing just 92.8 rushing yards per game, but Allen has already had success against defenses of similar strength. Wisconsin has faced three teams ranked in the top 25 of run defense this season, and Allen rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown in two of them.
The Badgers have tinkered with their offensive line the last four weeks and seem to have finally found the best option. While Graham Mertz had a burn-the-tape type game last week against Maryland, he has thrown nine touchdowns and just one interception under Leonard, while Allen has rushed for 100 yards in all four of those games.
This is going to be your typical Big Ten slobberknocker, but the bar to clear is so low. By no means are Wisconsin’s secondary or pass rush elite, and I think Petras could find some success.
Mertz is a hit-or-miss quarterback, but we’re just asking for one or two big plays from him and Allen. This game probably finishes something like 20-17, so I’m comfortable taking the over.
Alabama vs. Ole Miss
By Alex Hinton
Alabama head coach Nick Saban will have another matchup with a former assistant when he duels with Lane Kiffin and the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday.
Kiffin’s offenses have always given Saban a bit of trouble, and this year Saban does not have one of his best defenses.
In three conference road games, the Crimson Tide are giving up 36.6 points per game. Run defense has been the culprit, as Alabama has allowed at least 180 rushing yards in all three games. It will have to deal with an Ole Miss offense that ranks third in the country with 267.4 rushing yards per game.
Ole Miss freshman Quinshon Judkins is coming off a 200-yard day at Texas A&M and he already has over 1,000 rushing yards on the year, along with 13 touchdowns. His backfield mate Zach Evans has 680 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
The Rebels average 37.4 points per game.
Ole Miss is also going to have trouble stopping Alabama’s offense. Ole Miss ranks 63rd in the FBS with 222.2 passing yards allowed per game. Alabama may have two losses, but it still has Bryce Young, arguably the best quarterback in the country. Young has 19 touchdown passes to just four interceptions.
Ole Miss has also allowed over 400 yards in each of the last five games and 250 rushing yards in three of them. The Rebels will have a hard time containing Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who has 771 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Additionally, recent history in this series sides with the over. The over has hit in five of the last seven meetings and there have been 65 points scored in six of the last meetings.
The lone exception was last season, which still had 63 despite an awful first half from Ole Miss. There should be 65 points on the board on Saturday afternoon.