College Football Odds & Picks: 4 Afternoon Best Bets, Including Alabama vs. Auburn, Oregon State vs. Oregon
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Alabama’s Will Anderson (31) and the Crimson Tide.
- Saturday's Week 13 college football slate rolls on as we turn our attention to the afternoon games.
- Our staff has four best bets for this kickoff window, including picks for Auburn vs. Alabama and Oregon vs. Oregon State.
- Check out all four best bets for Saturday afternoon's college football games below.
It's time to turn our attention to the afternoon slate on this Rivalry Week college football Saturday.
Our writers have four best bets from this kickoff window, including the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama and an in-state rivalry between Oregon and Oregon State.
So, whether you're looking to back a favorite, an underdog or a powerhouse in the first half, we have you covered.
Read on for all four of our best bets for this afternoon college football slate, and be sure to check out our other picks for the day's noon and afternoon 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 slate of 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.
Auburn vs. Alabama
I think Alabama is going to wipe the floor with Auburn on Saturday. And to be completely honest, my take isn’t entirely analytically-driven.
Given that an SEC Championship and playoff appearance are out of the Crimson Tide’s reach, I think Bryce Young and Will Anderson will have their respective units ready to make this a statement win and leave their mark, as this is likely their last game for the University of Alabama.
Saban said earlier this week that his heart hurt to have former players come back and question the toughness and character of this year’s squad. I expect the veteran players on this roster to take this to heart and answer the bell.
It’s incredible to say that a 9-2 season with two losses coming by a combined four points is wildly disappointing, but given the hype that surrounded this team in the preseason I believe it’s a fair statement.
Despite being out of the postseason playoff hunt, Alabama showed quite a bit of heart against Ole Miss. It would have been very easy for this squad to have given up on the season, but it fought back and came away with a win in Oxford.
This game is a massive mismatch on both sides of the ball, and I expect the Tide to come out and bury the Tigers early.
The fans at Bryant-Denny will be wanting a dominant win to wipe the bad taste from the last-second losses to LSU and Tennessee from their mouths, and the Crimson Tide will give it to them.
Oregon vs. Oregon State
By Cody Goggin
This weekend, Oregon and Oregon State will meet in the biggest matchup between these two in-state rivals in quite some time.
Oregon State has currently climbed to No. 21 in the College Football Playoff rankings, which is a huge improvement on where this program was just a few years ago.
Oregon would lock up its spot in the Pac 12 Championship Game with a win or a loss by Washington.
Bo Nix was banged up heading into last week’s matchup against Utah, but the Oregon defense was able to turn it on and keep the Utes in check. It seems like Dan Lanning’s defense is starting to find its footing towards the end of the season.
There are a couple of matchup advantages that I think the Ducks have in this game. Oregon runs at the 45th-highest rate in the country and ranks first in Success Rate and second in PPA on rushes.
Meanwhile, Oregon State’s weakness on defense is its rushing game, ranking 86th in Success Rate, 112th in PPA and 103rd in Rushing Explosiveness Allowed.
The Ducks’ passing defense has struggled the most for them this season, but their rushing defense has been fairly average. However, Oregon State has a run-heavy attack, rushing at the 17th-highest rate in the nation.
Oregon State already has a talent disadvantage in the game, but it also doesn’t match up well in the right places or schematically.
Although this game is in Corvallis and the Beavers will be trying to ruin their rival’s conference championship chances, I think that Oregon will be able to cover this spread and set up its matchup with USC next weekend.
UTEP vs. UTSA
I faded the UTSA Roadrunners last season in this exact same situation.
One week after clinching a home game for the Conference USA Championship, UTSA played a five-win North Texas team fighting for bowl eligibility. The Mean Green won in blowout fashion after UTSA sat starting quarterback Frank Harris and other players during the second half.
The same thing has played out this season after the Roadrunners clinched everything last week. Meanwhile, the five-win UTEP Miners need to win in order to lock up a second consecutive bowl game appearance. That accomplishment would be very meaningful to the UTEP program.
In addition to the motivation mismatch, UTSA could bench a few key players or go with a vanilla offense that doesn't show much while limiting Harris' runs. The staff also probably spent most of the week preparing for the conference championship.
The road team has historically dominated this head-to-head. UTEP is 0-5 ATS at home against UTSA but 3-1 ATS in San Antonio, including a pair of outright victories as double-digit underdogs.
Louisiana vs. Texas State
After reaching a bowl in all four seasons under Billy Napier, Louisiana (5-6) needs a win to keep its bowl streak alive in the first season under head coach Michael Desormeaux. The Ragin’ Cajuns have gone 7-2 in bowl games, indicating that they take them seriously and actually care about playing in them.
Texas State is one of the worst teams in the Sun Belt and one of the worst offensive teams in the country. It’s dead last in the conference in yards per play.
It struggles to pass the ball, and Layne Hatcher has 19 turnover-worthy plays this year, the ninth-most in the country. The Bobcats also have just eight rushing touchdowns all season, and only four teams have fewer.
Louisiana’s defense has been solid against the pass all season, and Georgia Southern is the only team to throw for over 250 yards against it in the last eight games. Texas State throws the ball at the 22nd-highest rate in the country, but it ranks just 123rd in Success Rate.
After struggling to run the ball early in the season, the Ragin’ Cajuns have really gotten the running game going with over 200 yards on the ground in three of the last four conference games.
Quarterback Chandler Fields has split time with Ben Wooldridge all season, but now Wooldridge is hurt so Fields has the keys to the offense. He has the highest big-time throw rate in the Sun Belt.
Last year’s Louisiana team was one of the most experienced in the country. This year, it ranked just 114th in returning production. It has taken time, but it’s improved throughout the whole season.
In the first five games of the season, the Cajuns averaged 327 yards per game on offense and allowed 370 yards on defense. In the next five games, it averaged 410 yards per game on offense and allowed just 338.
This team has gotten better as the season has progressed with a new roster and new coaching staff. I think this team full of underclassmen still cares about making a bowl game and finishing out the season strong.
Back Louisiana to take care of business here.