Week 11 College Football Best Bets | Our Staff’s Top Picks for Saturday Night
Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The San Diego State Aztecs football team.
Week 11 in college football isn’t over just yet.
So, dive in below and formulate your college football betting card for Saturday’s evening slate with our four top picks.
Week 11 College Football Best Bets for Saturday Night
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one 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.|
Southern Miss vs Coastal Carolina
By Dan Keegan
Coastal Carolina opened as an -11.5 favorite, but the line has plummeted to -4.5 at some shops with news that stud quarterback Grayson McCall would be out for the rest of the regular season.
This is a boon for would-be Coastal backers because the Chanticleers still hold matchup advantages against Southern Miss. Backup quarterback Bryce Carpenter is experienced and an excellent runner, and Jamey Chadwell still has a creative offensive scheme that will be productive against Southern Miss’s slumping defense.
The Golden Eagles have not been sharp on defense recently – they were just blown out at home by a Georgia State team that killed them on the ground, especially with a mobile quarterback (142 yards from Darren Grainger in the win).
Southern Miss is not built to exploit Coastal’s defense, which has actually improved recently. The Eagles have no passing attack to speak of and prefer to run the ball with running back Frank Gore Jr.
But since its bye week, Coastal’s front seven completely shut down Khalan Laborn of Marshall and App State’s two-headed rushing attack. While Coastal is vulnerable in the secondary, Southern Miss doesn’t even have a starting quarterback.
Southern Miss’ passing offense is 115th in EPA.
McCall is a huge loss, but Coastal will be able to run the ball, and Carpenter will be a big reason why. This will be Carpenter’s 12th start in his five years at Coastal. He has averaged 5.7 yards per carry on designed runs for his career as charted by PFF, and he should have a good day on Saturday.
The loss of McCall is a huge deal for Coastal’s postseason hopes. But in this matchup, it won’t matter, except for giving us a friendlier number. I’ll take Coastal at -4.5 and would play it to -6.
TCU vs Texas
By Alex Hinton
Texas has hosted LSU and Alabama in Austin in recent years, but on Saturday, it may have its biggest conference home game in over a decade.
Texas is up to No. 18 in the College Football Playoff rankings, but No. 6 in SP+ rankings. Texas is brimming with playmakers, led by running backs Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson, wide receiver Xavier Worthy and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders. Quarterback Quinn Ewers is still growing in his first year as a starter, as well.
Texas is tied for second place in the Big 12 with a 4-2 conference record. However, it would be in an even better position (perhaps in the CFP race) if it could close out games better.
Texas has had a second-half lead in each of its three losses this season. Texas was up six on Alabama in the fourth quarter, but I won’t knock it too much for losing that one.
However, the Longhorns blew 14-point leads to both Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Even in wins, Texas led Iowa State 17-7 and lost the lead before winning 24-21. It also led Kansas State 31-10 at halftime and had to hold on to win 34-27 last week.
Dating back to last season, Texas has lost four consecutive games in which it led in the second half.
Texas is still in control of its own destiny to reach the Big 12 Championship. However, it could be undefeated and tied for first place if it had held on against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
On Saturday night, it will host TCU, the team that is in first place.
TCU is 9-0 overall, 6-0 in the Big 12 and up to No. 4 in the College Football Playoff Rankings. However, TCU trailed by 17 points in consecutive weeks against Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Last week, it fell behind 10-7 to Texas Tech in the first half before rallying to win 34-24.
TCU has shown resiliency and that it’s never out of a game. It also helps having one of the most explosive offenses in the country.
The Horned Frogs are fourth in the FBS in scoring offense (43.1 PPG), fourth in total offense (508.7 yards) and are tied for first in yards per play (7.4).
Despite not beginning the season as the starter, Max Duggan has emerged as a Heisman candidate. He has thrown for 2,407 yards, 24 touchdowns, just two interceptions, is completing 66% of his passes and has also ran for 282 yards.
His top wide receiver is Quentin Johnston, who has 42 receptions for 650 yards and four touchdowns. Johnston left last week’s game early and he’s questionable this week.
His status is important to the handicap, as he’s the best receiver in the Big 12 and a projected first-round pick. If he’s in, TCU will have every chance to win this game.
It will also be able to lean on running back Kendre Miller, who has 1,009 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
DraftKings offers a market called “Halftime/Full Time” in which you select a first-half winner and a full-game winner. It is also known as “Double Result” if you are familiar with NFL betting on FanDuel.
Texas is a team that likes to start fast and jump on opponents. It has scored 203 of its 325 points this season in the first half. I expect the Longhorns to take the lead into halftime.
TCU has scored 193 of its 388 points, roughly half, in the second half and has come from behind in the last three weeks. Given the trends of these teams, I could certainly see Texas winning the first half, but TCU winning the game. DraftKings is offering +900 for this to happen.
This is a play I will sprinkle on as I do think Texas is correctly favored. However, as good as Texas is, it rarely controls a game from start to finish. I expect Texas to give TCU a chance to get back in the game.
That means Texas-TCU Double Result will have a chance of hitting and is well worth the price.
Additionally, DraftKings is offering a value on this play. If you built out Texas first-half winner and TCU moneyline in a same-game parlay, the price is +870 on FanDuel.
Pick: Halftime/Full Time +1700 (Via DraftKings)
I’m not sure what the reasoning is behind Texas being a 7.5-point favorite over TCU, aside from the fact that this game is in Austin, Texas.
Why do I anticipate this being a close game?
Number one is TCU’s pace of play and Success Rate on offense. So far this season, TCU’s offense has followed the Georgia Bulldogs’ blueprint of “extremely slow, yet highly effective.”
The Horned Frogs rank 117th in seconds per play and 36th in Success Rate. This means they churn clock and keep the ball moving, which historically has been a recipe for keeping games close (in this case, within one score).
Another reason I am optimistic TCU can keep it close if not win outright? The erratic play of Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers so far this season. Ewers ranks 89th in offensive grade, according to PFF (among QBs with 75 or more dropbacks).
Why is this? He has just not been accurate, rating 130th in adjusted completion percentage.
I expect the Horned Frogs to have a successful day moving the ball and capitalize on a few mistakes made by Ewers. I understand that a lot of times betting on teams that theoretically should be the favorite (due to record or ranking) is a square play, but I really can’t see a reason Texas is a 7.5 favorite.
San Jose State vs San Diego State
As solid as this San Diego State defense has traditionally been, it’s not as top level as it has been recently, and it has struggled to defend the pass this season.
The Aztecs rank just 79th in the country in Passing Success Rate on defense and now have to face a team that throws the ball a ton.
Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro has been much better at cutting out the mistakes that plagued him at Hawaii. He has just two interceptions this season – with 11 touchdown passes – and is averaging 278 yards per game through the air, which leads the Mountain West.
The best weapon the Aztecs have at getting after the quarterback is Jonah Tavai, but the Spartans are 12th in the country in pass blocking and Cordeiro is able to use his legs to escape when needed.
All San Diego State wants to do on offense is run the football, but it hasn’t had much success at it this season. This San Jose State defense is elite at defending the run. It’s 22nd in the country in Success Rate and ranks 14th in Stuff Rate.
The two edge rushers for the Spartans have made life miserable for opposing backfields this year. Viliami Fehoko and Cade Hall lead a defense that ranks 13th in the nation at creating Havoc. Fehoko leads the Mountain West with 14 tackles for loss and has seven sacks.
As a team, it leads the conference in sacks and ranks top-10 in the country.
San Jose State has scored at least 28 points in five of its last six games and should be able to reach that mark again against a San Diego State team that has struggled against the pass.
If the Spartans do reach that mark, San Diego State would need to score over 25 points to cover this spread, something it’s done just once all season against an FBS opponent.
Expecting the Aztecs to do that against the best defense in the conference that has excelled at stopping the run seems unlikely. Look for the Spartans to stay alive in the Mountain West title picture with a big win over San Diego State here.