College Football Odds, Picks: 7 Evening Best Bets for Tennessee vs Florida, Vanderbilt vs UNLV, More
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: The Florida Gators.
- Now that college football Week 3's afternoon games have kicked off, we turn our attention to the evening slate.
- Our NCAAF writers have a number of best bets for Saturday evening, including picks for Tennessee vs Florida, Vanderbilt vs UNLV and more.
- Read on for all seven college football best bets for Saturday evening.
It's been a fun day of college football so far, but it's not over yet. In fact, it's far from over.
Our NCAAF crew came through with seven best bets for Saturday evening, including picks for Tennessee vs. Florida, Vanderbilt vs. UNLV, San Jose State vs. Toledo, South Alabama vs. Oklahoma State, Bowling Green vs. Michigan and more.
So, as the night begins to wind down, let's keep the vibes high — and hopefully add some more green dots to our profiles in the Action Network App.
But the night isn't over quite yet — so be sure to check out our late-night best bets, which include a couple of picks for Coach Prime's first in-state showdown against Colorado State.
Saturday Evening College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football betting staff is targeting from Saturday evening's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Specific betting 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.
Tennessee vs. Florida
Josh Heupel and the Tennessee Volunteers aren’t the same team they were from a year ago.
This offense is not nearly as explosive as it was with Hendon Hooker at the helm and Jalin Hyatt running downfield.
This year, Joe Milton and company rank 69th in Offensive Pass Success Rate, while the Florida defense ranks 43rd in Defensive Success Rate against the pass.
The Vols didn’t necessarily blow out Austin Peay last week, as many would’ve thought. The offense didn’t seem to click, only scoring 30 points after averaging 46 points per game a year ago.
The Gators haven’t had a good run this year after a disappointing road loss at Utah, but they had a good response during their home opener against McNeese State.
While I still don’t trust this Florida offense with newcomer Graham Mertz at the helm, I do trust this Florida defense that held top-25 Utah to 24 points on the road.
I expect Florida’s defense to prove to be much tougher in Gainesville and keep Tennessee’s offense at bay.
Ultimately, I think the Florida offense can do enough to keep pace with a Tennessee offense that should struggle against a Florida defense that ranks seventh in Defensive Success Rate.
Vanderbilt vs. UNLV
By Cody Goggin
Home underdogs are out in full force this week. However, there’s a road favorite that I’m looking to back here.
Vanderbilt is traveling out to Las Vegas to take on UNLV in an interesting non-conference matchup.
Things haven’t been good for UNLV so far this season. It was able to beat a middling FCS team in Bryant, 44-14, despite the Bulldogs matching the Rebels in yards per play and EPA per play while demolishing them in Offensive Success Rate.
Bryant posted an 88th-percentile Success Rate while UNLV had a 27th-percentile Success Rate. The main difference in this game was UNLV getting +7.85 EPA from special teams. Meanwhile, Bryant was at -12.95.
Michigan made easy work of UNLV last weekend, but that was to be expected. The Rebels lost 35-7, but SP+’s postgame win expectancy had it as a 44.3-point loss for UNLV.
UNLV currently ranks 92nd in Offensive Success Rate and 82nd in Finishing Drives. Defensively, the Rebels are 107th in Success Rate, both against the pass and against the run.
Vanderbilt has been a much better team all around this year. It ranks 45th in Offensive Success Rate and 86th in Defensive Success Rate. The Commodores pass at the 28th-highest rate in the country and are 54th in Passing Success Rate.
This will be an issue for the UNLV defense, which is 125th in passing PPA allowed.
Using postgame win expectancy, Vanderbilt potentially should’ve beaten Wake Forest last week, which would’ve made it 3-0. Instead, the Dores sit at 2-1 and have moved up to 80th in SP+.
I don’t fully trust Vanderbilt’s defense yet at this point, but the UNLV offense is not worrying me, to say the least. The Commodores will be able to do enough on offense against a putrid UNLV defense to cover this spread on the road.
San Jose State vs. Toledo
Toledo almost came away with a win at Illinois in its opener, while San Jose State has been beaten badly by two Pac-12 schools to begin its season.
Toledo is the favorite to win the MAC this year, and you can see why; the Rockets returned star quarterback Dequan Finn, top running back Jacquez Stuart and their top two wideouts, Jerjuan Newton and Devin Maddox.
Finn is an electric dual-threat quarterback who didn't put up great passing numbers last year. He held a PFF passing grade of 69.8 and averaged 7.1 yards per attempt, but he put up 6.1 yards per carry, 25 missed tackles and 24 runs of more than 10 yards.
If that wasn't enough for opposing defenses, they also have to defend Stuart, who averaged a whopping 5.7 yards per carry on 134 attempts.
The thing is: both Finn and Stuart put those numbers up behind a below-average offensive line that ranked 90th in Offensive Line Yards.
Head coach Jason Candle went out and grabbed three Power 5 offensive linemen from the portal, and coming into this season, the Rockets have 94 starts across their line.
It immediately showed up, as they averaged 3.5 Line Yards rush against a good Power 5 front seven. For reference, they averaged just 2.9 Line Yards per carry last year.
SJSU QB Chevan Cordeiro was pretty poor in the opening two games against the Trojans and Beavers. He averaged just 5.0 yards per attempt with a 64.8% adjusted completion percentage and a 57.8 PFF passing grade.
The Rockets finished 12th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 14th in EPA/Pass Allowed in 2022.
They return everybody in that secondary and are once again stacked in their front seven, so it's going to be a long day for the Spartans’ offense.
I have Toledo projected at -13.1, so I like value on the Rockets at -7
South Alabama vs. Oklahoma State
By John Feltman
If the Jaguars were fully healthy, I'd be courageous enough to predict an outright win. However, I still think this veteran group is being undervalued by the market.
Running back La'Damian Webb is still recovering from surgery, but he compiled gaudy numbers last week in just seven carries, rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
I expect him to continue to get more work as each week passes, especially considering Braylon McReynolds is now out for the "foreseeable future."
We've also reached the top of the market for this Oklahoma State team, as this squad is still rotating between 3 quarterbacks in Gunnar Gundy, Alan Bowman and Garret Rangel.
I realize the defense has stepped up this season, but I still see a lot of flaws in this secondary.
The Jaguars defense is nothing to write home about, but they actually rank inside the top 15 in Defensive Rushing Success Rate. That’s all the Pokes want to do on offense, especially considering they still don't have a solidified starting QB.
Now, these injuries to South Alabama can hurt them, especially at their skill positions. However, I think this team is deep enough and this is a crazy market overreaction to its loss to Tulane earlier this season.
Jags QB Carter Bradley needs to limit his turnovers in this matchup, and if he's able to do that, I have full confidence that they'll be able to shred this Pokes secondary. Bradley is completing 75% of his passes thus far, and even if he's not sharp, I think they can break some runs against this Pokes front.
If Webb is still limited, Ole Miss transfer Kentrel Bullock should be capable of receiving the majority of the carries.
I’m a bit concerned about the Jags’ wide receiver injuries, but I still think this team brought in enough transfers who are more than capable of filling in.
This line is a flat-out joke, and it's very interesting to see all of the Pokes love in the market. I'll take my chances with the Jags, who have an underrated amount of depth.
Louisiana vs. UAB
By Doug Ziefel
This is a coin-flip matchup, and with the way these two defenses have looked thus far, it very well could come down to who gets the ball last.
However, the Ragin' Cajuns have two things that will help them upset Trent Dilfer's UAB Blazers.
From a matchup perspective, neither offense will face much resistance. However, these teams' styles may contrast a bit.
UAB has shown a tendency to air it out under Dilfer, and fortunately for the Blazers, they get to face a Louisiana defense that’s given up multiple explosive plays thus far, even if the Cajuns have a solid pass rush.
On the other side, Louisiana is a bit more balanced, but its offensive line will be the key to it controlling this game. The Ragin' Cajuns are 29th in Offensive Line Yards versus a UAB line that's 108th, so they’ll be able to run the football.
On top of that, they have been tremendous in pass protection, not having allowed a sack this season. It also helps that UAB hasn’t gotten a sack defensively, either.
Louisiana will have the ability to shred UAB’s secondary (130th in completion percentage allowed) while maintaining possession and keeping the UAB offense off of the field.
Back the Ragin' Cajuns to pull off the upset.
James Madison vs. Troy
This is a great spot to back an experienced Troy team looking to bounce back after losing to Kansas State on the road, 42-13.
In addition, this is a textbook letdown spot for a James Madison team coming off a thrilling victory over Virginia last week. The Dukes found the end zone in the final minute to pull off a 36-35 win.
Offensively, look for Troy to utilize its six returning starters to create explosive plays against a James Madison defense that ranks 125th nationally in explosiveness allowed. Through two games, the Trojans rank 17th nationally in offensive explosiveness, which has led to an average of 30.5 points per game.
Although Troy has struggled on the defensive side of the ball — 81st nationally in Defensive Success Rate — I believe this unit has the pieces to continue to improve under head coach Jon Sumrall.
This success can already be seen in the Trojans' ability to prevent big plays. Troy ranks 43rd nationally in passing down explosives allowed. This ability to prevent explosiveness will likely be the difference given Troy’s ability to create explosive plays of its own.
I will gladly back the Trojans under a field goal, as they have the experience necessary — 30th nationally in Net TARP — to capitalize on a great situational spot.
Bowling Green vs. Michigan
By Alex Hinton
While the sample size is growing larger with more games, it’s obvious that the new clock rules have had an effect on college football totals. However, what I have noticed is that teams that operate at a more methodical pace are impacted even more.
Enter Michigan, a program that operates more like an NFL team in its preparation, tempo and playing style.
Michigan is averaging 22 points per game in the first half this season. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has taken Michigan’s passing game to another level this season, but Michigan has mostly scored on long, methodical drives.
That’s because the team ranks 40th in Explosiveness, particularly 98th in Rushing Explosiveness.
Michigan’s running game will be fine, but at the moment, it’s content staying vanilla while letting McCarthy feast on overmatched opponents.
Michigan will face a Bowling Green team that’s averaging 31 points per game through its first two. However, that came against Liberty and Eastern Illinois.
Michigan has allowed 10 points through its first two games, but not one in the first half. Michigan is 10th nationally in limiting Explosiveness this season and fourth in defending Passing Explosiveness.
The Wolverines racked up five sacks last week and their defensive line should have similar success against Bowling Green.
The Wolverines also have familiarity with BGSU quarterback Connor Bazelak, who was at Indiana last season.
Bowling Green may not score in the first half. Michigan may hit a few more big plays this week, resulting in quicker scores. However, that’s what makes this line key. If Michigan is up 28-0 at halftime, then this total will remain under.
FanDuel has this total at 28.5, so I will take the extra point at better odds on DraftKings.