College Football Best Bets for Week 13: Our Top 4 Picks for Saturday’s Afternoon Slate (Nov. 28)

College Football Best Bets for Week 13: Our Top 4 Picks for Saturday’s Afternoon Slate (Nov. 28) article feature image
Credit:

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Peters.

  • The college football day continues with some of the slate’s top matchups coming via the afternoon kickoff window (3 p.m. ET).
  • Our college football staff broke down four afternoon games, complete with full matchup analysis for each of their picks.
  • Below, find their top betting recommendations, plus updated odds for each of their favorite Saturday matchups.

Alright, so you woke up early (for a Saturday) and got in your noon bets, but by halftime, your moneyline parlay isn’t looking so hot. We’ve all been there, which is likely why you’re here — and rest assured: You’re definitely in the right place for a quick afternoon turnaround.

Our staff has broken down the odds and highlighted their favorite betting positions for the Week 13 Saturday college football slate. From the noons to the post-noon set, we’ve got you covered with our favorite bets for two of Saturday college football’s biggest kickoff windows:

  • 12:00 p.m. ET | “The Noons”
  • 3:30 p.m. ET | “The Midday Heat Check”

Looking for our Best Bets Recommendations for the Noon kickoffs? Check out the link below:

Noon Best Bets
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Saturday College Football Best Bets for Week 13:

Check our top Saturday picks below, each of which comes from one of the following seven games. This column focuses on “The Midday Heat Check” and includes our staff’s four favorite bets for the late afternoon games, beginning at 3:30 or 4 p.m. ET.

“The Midday Heat Check”

Click any of the evening games below to navigate to a specific matchup. Alternatively, click on any of the other four games among our staff’s best bets this week to navigate to our Noon Best Bets columns.

Kickoff Time
Matchup
3:30 p.m. ET
Northwestern vs. Michigan State
[CANCELED]
Boise State vs. San Jose State
4 p.m. ET
Louisville vs. Boston College
4 p.m. ET
Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss

“Premature millionaires, welcome to my realest year / Yeah, I swear that we making a killing here.”

— Aubrey Graham, “Fear”

The Rest of our Best (Bets)


All odds have been updated as of Friday afternoon.



CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
3:30 p.m. ET
Northwestern vs. Michigan State
[CANCELED]
Boise State vs. San Jose State
4 p.m. ET
Louisville vs. Boston College
4 p.m. ET
Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss

Northwestern vs. Michigan State

by Matt Wispe

Northwestern Odds -12.5 [BET NOW]
Michigan State Odds +12.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -670 / +400 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 41.5 [BET NOW]
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
(Photo Credit: Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

They say, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth,” and this year, that gift is Northwestern unders. Northwestern has gone under in all five of its games by an average of nine points per game. 

Since its opening-week 43-point performance, Northwestern has averaged 21.5 points per game. The offense runs the ball on 57.8% of plays, has a Success Rate of 37.7%, and runs a play every 25.37 seconds. But the focus should be on its rushing efficiency since that’s its offensive focus. The Wildcat line produces 2.2 yards per attempt and owns a Stuff Rate of 22.7%. The one benefit to the Northwestern offense is that it reduces the risk of opposing defensive scores, as it allows Havoc on just 16% of plays.

Michigan State’s best offensive performances were 27-point games against Michigan and Rutgers, but it has averaged just 15.2 points per game. The Spartans run a relatively fast-paced offense that runs a play every 22.8 seconds, but they only hold a Success Rate of 34.9%. Their line produces just over two yards per attempt and allows a Stuff Rate of 24.4%. 

These two defenses are built to stop one another. They each have a Success Rate under 40%, a Stuff Rate over 24%, and allow fewer than 2.7 Line Yards per attempt. Northwestern has allowed just 12.6 points per game. Michigan State has allowed 33.8, but Northwestern isn’t the type of team to run up the score. 

Sure, the total is low, but Pat Fitzgerald’s team is built more to win with its opponents in the teens than the 20s. So, look away, click under, and wait for the winning ticket to come in. 

Pick: Under 41.5.

[Bet the Northwestern-Michigan State under at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

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CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
3:30 p.m. ET
Northwestern vs. Michigan State
[CANCELED]
Boise State vs. San Jose State
4 p.m. ET
Louisville vs. Boston College
4 p.m. ET
Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss

Louisville vs. Boston College

by Pat McMahon

Louisville Odds +1.5 [BET NOW]
Boston College Odds -1.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -103 / -118 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 54.5 [BET NOW]
Time 4 p.m. ET
TV ACC Network
(Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Louisville brings its explosive offense up to Chestnut Hill to face Boston College on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles had an extra week to prepare for this contest and were last seen in a high-scoring loss to Notre Dame on Nov. 14 in a game that featured just two punts.

Both teams are capable of hitting the deep ball and have 30+ completions of greater than 20 yards on the year. Louisville also has the fourth-most running plays of 20+ yards this season with 23. On the flip side, both defenses are very susceptible to big plays through the air. Boston College has been one of the worst teams in the country at defending the deep ball, giving up 32 passing completions of more than 20 yards. Louisville’s defense is below the national average in that category as well, surrendering 23 such plays. 

Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham has been inconsistent as a passer and is capable of completing a deep bomb for a touchdown or throwing a pick-six at any moment, both of which are great for an over. The Cardinals’ pass defense has been strong this season, but BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec played well against tough Notre Dame and Clemson defenses. With an extra week of preparation, Jurkovec and his receivers should be able to post a big day against the Cardinals. 

Recency bias may be a factor for the low total here, as three of the last four games these teams were involved in have gone under. However, both teams have been involved in their fair share of high-scoring games this season as well. With the ability of both teams to hit big plays in the passing game and the inability of both defenses to defend them, there should be plenty of points involved in this one.

Pick: Over 55.

[Bet the Louisville-Boston College over now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
3:30 p.m. ET
Northwestern vs. Michigan State
[CANCELED]
Boise State vs. San Jose State
4 p.m. ET
Louisville vs. Boston College
4 p.m. ET
Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss

Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State

by Stuckey

Mississippi State Odds +9.5 [BET NOW]
Ole Miss Odds -9.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +255 / -335 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 69 [BET NOW]
Time 4 p.m. ET
TV SEC Network
(Photo Credit: Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

I’m heading down south to another offense-heavy matchup and taking a shot on Mike Leach in the Egg Bowl.

I started pleading for Mississippi State to go to freshman quarterback Will Rogers after the first few games. KJ Costello just didn’t seem comfortable in the Air Raid offense. Rogers doesn’t have that issue, as he’s very familiar with the Air Raid, having run it in high school and being personally recruited by Leach.

Well, Leach made the change two games ago and was paid off handsomely with a win over Vanderbilt, but more impressively, a competitive loss against Georgia in which Rogers finished 41-of-52 for 336 yards and zero interceptions against one of the best defenses in the country. The offense has seemed to figure some things out and will now go up against a bottom-25 defense in FBS.

Ole Miss certainly has the better offense, but Mississippi State has the superior defense. This one might just come down to a random turnover or a couple of stops. I’ll side with the juicy underdog in a game that should have no shortage of debauchery.

Pick: Mississippi State +9.5.

[Bet Mississippi State now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]
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CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
3:30 p.m. ET
Northwestern vs. Michigan State
[CANCELED]
Boise State vs. San Jose State
4 p.m. ET
Louisville vs. Boston College
4 p.m. ET
Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss

 


[CANCELED] Boise State vs. San Jose State

by BJ Cunningham

Boise State Odds -11 [BET NOW]
San Jose State Odds +11 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -435 / +310 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 58 [BET NOW]
Time 4 p.m. ET
TV FOX
(Photo Credit: Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Spartans made a drastic switch on offense last season by going to a more pass-heavy attack, and so far, it’s done wonders. Arkansas transfer Nick Starkel has been fantastic, averaging 9.2 yards per attempt and leading the Spartans to a ranking of 16th in terms of Passing Success, according to College Football Data. San Jose State returned all of its main targets from last season, so there shouldn’t be any drop-off any time soon.

Boise State has struggled on the defensive side, mainly because it has given up way too many explosive plays. The Broncos are 116th in explosiveness allowed and 121st in explosive passing allowed this season, per College Football Data. That is not going to bode well against Starkel and Company on Saturday.

In its biggest test of the season, Boise’s defense got torched by BYU. It allowed 8.81 yards per play and 12.3 yards per attempt to Zach Wilson. Starkel and San Jose State’s offense will be the best offense it’s seen since the BYU game. Will the Broncos be up for the task on Saturday, or will we see a repeat of the BYU game?

Boise State’s offense has been stellar behind sophomore quarterback Bachmeier, who is averaging 8.6 yards per attempt and has four touchdowns in his three starts on the season. In those three games, the Broncos have scored 40+ points.

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Bachmeier is in a perfect situation to succeed, with all of his targets and top three running backs returning in 2020. Junior wide receiver Khalil Shakir has been a matchup nightmare for opposing secondaries, as he already has 38 catches and six touchdowns on the season.

The running game has struggled at times this season because of their offensive line. The Broncos had to replace four starters on the line. That’s going to be an issue against San Jose State, as the Spartans already have 14 sacks in four games this season.

The defensive side of the ball has improved greatly from last season, as the Spartans are 35th in defensive success rate per College Football Data. They’ve allowed only 4.8 yards per play through their first four games and have excelled versus the run.

Eight of SJSU’s top 11 tacklers are back from 2019, and the Spartans are poised to be one of the best defenses in the Mountain West. They’ve allowed only 3.1 yards per rush attempt so far this season, which is the second-best mark in the Mountain West. They also rank inside the top 35 in Power Success Allowed, Defensive Rushing Success, and explosive rushing allowed. That will come in handy against Boise, which has struggled to run the ball this season at only 3.8 yards per carry.

I only have Boise State projected as -3.25 favorites on Saturday afternoon, so I think there is plenty of value on San Jose State at +12. 

Pick: San Jose State +12.

[Bet San Jose State now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]
CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
3:30 p.m. ET
Northwestern vs. Michigan State
[CANCELED]
Boise State vs. San Jose State
4 p.m. ET
Louisville vs. Boston College
4 p.m. ET
Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss
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