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College Football Odds & Early Bets for Week 11: 2 Picks for Arizona vs. UCLA, Kent State vs. Bowling Green

College Football Odds & Early Bets for Week 11: 2 Picks for Arizona vs. UCLA, Kent State vs. Bowling Green article feature image

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Bowling Green quarterback Matt McDonald.

Week 11 of the college football season is here, and we are headed into the stretch run with the College Football Playoff picture still needing to be sorted out after a huge Saturday of upsets.

We all know the college football market moves a lot over the course of the week. Money pours in all over the place from the time lines open on Sunday afternoon until kickoff on Saturday. Week 11 is no exception.

Like any other sport, it's paramount to get the best price possible when betting on college football.

For example, a -6.5 favorite could move to -7.5 on Saturday morning, and then you run the risk of that team winning by one of the most likely outcomes — a seven-point victory — and you just lost your bet. It could have all been avoided if the bet was locked in at -6.5 on Monday morning.

I'm here to help you navigate the market by providing a few lines I'm buying right now —  or other lines that I'm waiting to buy later in the week.

The hope for this piece is to beat the market, get the best price possible, and in the long run, save you some money with closing line value. To do that, we'll utilize our Action Network PRO projections, ESPN's SP+ and my own projections to create a consensus.

You hear all the time, "Process over results." The best way to know if the process is working is by closing line value (CLV), meaning how many points did you beat the closing line by?

I'll be keeping track of exactly how many points we've beaten the market by in recent weeks:

Week 7

  • Toledo -7.5 → -7.5 closing line
  • North Texas -5.5 → -6.5 closing line

Week 8

  • Virginia +3.5 → +2.5
  • Pittsburgh +1.5 → +1.5 closing line

Week 9

  • East Carolina +3.5 → +3 closing line
  • Marshall -1.5 → -2.5 closing lineWeek 10
    • Syracuse +3.5 → +3.5 closing line
    • New Mexico +15.5 → +14.5 closing line

Now, let's dive into the Week 11 slate.

Kent State vs. Bowling Green

Wednesday, Nov. 9
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Kent State Odds
-110o / -110u
Bowling Green Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Kent State vs. Bowling Green Projections

Bowling Green -0.6Bowling Green -1.8Bowling Green -1.4

Let's start with an early bet for some MACtion. Should Kent State really be favored on the road on Wednesday?

Bowling Green did only beat Western Michigan, 13-9, last Wednesday, but the Falcons turned the ball over three times, including one at the goal line.

The BGSU offense has somewhat struggled this season, as it's averaging just 4.7 yards per play and ranks 96th in EPA/Play, but the Kent State defense is quite awful.

The Golden Flashes rank 125th in Success Rate Allowed, 124th EPA/Play Allowed and allow 6.3 yards per play. They just played a quite terrible Ball State offense last week and gave up 5.5 yards per play.

The main problem with the Kent State defense has been its secondary. The Golden Flashes are 125th in Passing Success Rate Allowed, 124th in EPA/Pass Allowed and 110th in terms of a coverage grade, per PFF.

Bowling Green quarterback Matt McDonald has seen a lot of improvement this season. He's averaging just 6.6 yards per attempt but owns a 77.4 PFF passing grade and 16 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions.

Image via PFF.

So, Bowling Green should be able to move the ball through the air, as winds are projected to be under 10 MPH.

Kent State's offense had been effective since conference play began, but it hit a roadblock on Tuesday against Ball State, as it were gained just 4.5 yards per play and scored only 20 points.

The Golden Flashes do have a decent rushing attack that's averaging 4.4 yards per carry and ranks top-50 in Rushing Success Rate and EPA/Rush. However, Bowling Green sits 14th in the country in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.

That means the game is going to be in the hands of Kent quarterback Collin Schlee, who has had two less-than-desirable performances in his last two games. He posted a 48 PFF passing grade against Toledo and then averaged just 4.5 yards per attempt against Ball State last week.

All three projection models have Bowling Green projected as a favorite, so I'd grab the Falcons at +2.5 before it moves.

Pick: Bowling Green +2.5

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Arizona vs. UCLA

Saturday, Nov. 12
10:30 p.m. ET
Arizona Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Arizona vs. UCLA Projections

UCLA -20.5UCLA -23.4UCLA -27.6

UCLA is in a massive look-ahead spot with USC on deck, but it first has to take care of business against one of the worst defenses in the Power Five.

Arizona's defense is an abomination to football. The Wildcats cannot stop anybody.

They just went to Salt Lake City and got their doors blown off by Utah, allowing 45 points and 5.7 yards per play — and that was a good game for them.

Arizona is allowing 6.8 yards per play while ranking dead last in Success Rate Allowed and EPA/Play Allowed.

Chip Kelly's offense ranks third in Success Rate and 10th in EPA/Play while averaging 7.2 yards per play.

Most of its success though has come on the ground with Zach Charbonnet, who has been one of the best running backs in the country this season. Charbonnet is averaging a whopping 7.6 yards per carry, 4.5 yards after contact per carry and owns a 91.6 PFF rushing grade.

It also helps that he's running behind one of the best offensive lines, as UCLA ranks first in Offensive Line Yards and fourth in run-blocking grade, per PFF.

UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet breaks free for his third rushing TD 😤

(📍 @NavyFederal)

— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 30, 2022

Arizona is literally the worst run defense in the country. The Wildcats sit 130th in Defensive Line Yards, dead last in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 130th in EPA/Rush allowed.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is very good in the short passing game but tends to struggle when he has to attack a secondary. He's averaging 8.4 yards per attempt, but his average depth of target is only 6.2 yards, which is why UCLA is 93rd in passing explosiveness.

However, he does have the Bruins at second in Passing Success Rate and 10th in EPA/Pass. Arizona ranks 130th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 123rd in EPA/Pass Allowed, so this UCLA offense should be able to move the ball at will.

I think the perfect word to describe Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura would be "volatile." He's had some outstanding games, but boy, is he reckless with the ball in his hands.

He does have 20 big-time throws and 22 touchdown passes, but the fact that he has only eight interceptions is quite astonishing because he has 20 turnover-worthy plays this season, the second-most in college football.

Image via PFF.

The UCLA secondary has the 36th-best coverage grade in the country and ranks 10th in explosive passing allowed. So, if de Laura decides to chuck it up for grabs, he's way overdue for a multi-interception game.

Arizona does have a solid advantage in the run game, as it's eighth in Rushing Success Rate. But the reality is if it falls behind and gets into a high-scoring affair with UCLA, it's going to have to throw the ball more often.

All three projection models have UCLA projected over -20, so I would grab UCLA at -18.5.

Pick: UCLA -18.5

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