College Football Odds & Picks: Our Favorite Bets for UCLA-Stanford, Navy-Air Force & Ole Miss vs. LSU
Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images & Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured, from left: Elijah Moore (8) and Dorian Thompson-Robinson (7).
- Conference championship games aren't the only games with betting value on this fine college football Saturday.
- In addition to the conference championships, our staff found value in LSU-Ole Miss, Air Force vs. Army, and Stanford vs. UCLA.
- Check out each individual betting pick below complete with full analysis.
Saturday isn’t only for conference championships.
There are a number of other games on the slate that offer betting value throughout the day, including Ole Miss vs. LSU, Air Force vs. Army, and Stanford vs. UCLA.
Our college football staff broke down four bets from those three games and shared a betting pick for each.
Check out each pick complete with full analysis below.
Our Staff’s “Best of the Rest” Best Bets
Ole Miss vs. LSU Odds
LSU had an unbelievable upset win against Florida last week but this is a great spot to expect the other shoe to drop (see what I did there?).
Even in that victory over Florida, LSU was outgained 609-418 and had the lowest postgame win expectancy of any victorious team all year. Coming off an emotional win, I think the Tigers return to form — a form that’s been pretty bad all year.
Ole Miss has been off for two weeks after their win against Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss ranks 19th in offensive Success Rate this season and should have no problem throwing the ball all over this LSU defense.
This Ole Miss offense, led by quarterback Matt Corral and wide receiver Elijah Moore (leads SEC with 149.1 receiving yards per game), has had success all season and have experience playing together.
The LSU offense ranks just 57th in Success Rate and has already had star receiver Terrace Marshall and tight end Arik Gilbert opt out of the season, and is starting a third-string quarterback. Every point scored by LSU against Florida was by a freshman or sophomore.
I’ll take the experience with Ole Miss here and fade LSU off an emotional win it didn’t really deserve.
Who doesn’t want to have some fun on the final day of the regular season by taking the highest over of the year?
LSU’s offense has struggled for most of the season, but the Tigers seemed to have figured something out against Florida last weekend, as Miles Thompson dropped three touchdowns on the Gators defense.
He’s going to have an even easier time against Ole Miss’ secondary, which is one of the worst in the SEC, allowing 8.5 yards per attempt. In fact, Ole Miss can’t stop anything on defense as they are allowing 6.9 yards per play. That’s second-to-last in the SEC behind, yes you guessed it, LSU.
Bo Pelini’s defense has been downright putrid this season. The Tigers are allowing 7.0 yards per play, rank 108th in defensive success rate, and 95th in explosive plays allowed, per College Football Data. Their weakness is against the pass, as they are allowing the fourth most yards per pass attempt in college football at 9.8 yards.
That’s going to be a major issue on Saturday, because Lane Kiffin’s offense has been chucking the ball all over the yard this season. Outside of Mac Jones and Zach Wilson, quarterback Matt Corral has the highest yards per pass attempt in college football. Corral is averaging a ridiculous 10.8 yards per attempt as the Rebels passing attack has been top 10 in passing success rate this season. They should be able to absolutely torch LSU’s secondary.
This game is going to be the definition of a track meet and may come down to who has the ball last. I have 89.78 points projected for this game, so let’s have some fun and take over 78 points.
Air Force vs. Army Odds
While Air Force’s raw offensive numbers may not jump out, the Falcons rank 11th in predicted points added behind an always-effective triple option. The Air Force defense is stout, ranking eighth in FBS total defense, allowing only 306 yards per game. Air Force’s defensive PPA per play is 0.08, which ranks 23rd nationally.
Coming off of a shutout victory over Navy, Army is ranked 3rd in FBS total defense, allowing only 272.1 yards per game; and it’s not just because the Black Knights face fewer plays. They have a defensive PPA per play of 0.01 to rank seventh in FBS. This Army defense is aggressive, generating havoc on 20.6% of plays, ranking 14th nationally.
Army’s defense is good, but the offense really isn’t. The Golden Knights rank 112th in total offense and 50th in PPA. So like Air Force, the efficiency is better than the raw output.
Air Force comes into West Point with the better offense as evidenced by their superior offensive PPA per play. Army has a slight edge among the two defenses. My model has Air Force as 7.69 point favorites, so lay the points and look for Air Force to win the line of scrimmage battle in the second half of the game.
Stanford vs. UCLA Odds
by Pat McMahon
This will be the last game of the season for both sides, as the two schools announced they are opting out of bowl games. With how these offenses are playing down the stretch, we can expect a fun finale.
Davis Mills missed Stanford’s opener against Oregon and the offense struggled, but it’s been much more productive in his return to the lineup. Mills has played his best football in the last two weeks, passing for 544 yards and scoring four total touchdowns with no turnovers in victories over Washington and Oregon State.
The Cardinal hasn’t experienced a ton of success on the ground this season, and will likely lean heavily on Mills and the passing game to move the ball against a vulnerable UCLA secondary.
The Bruins have plenty of offensive firepower and should get whatever they want against a weak Stanford defense. Dorian Thompson-Robinson leads a balanced UCLA attack that can beat you on the ground or through the air.
They’ve been especially impressive running the ball, putting up 220.5 yards per game on the ground on just under 5.0 yards per carry. Stanford has been terrible against the run, surrendering 5.4 yards per carry on the season. Look for the Bruins to gash Stanford on the ground early while Chip Kelly mixes in some deep shots downfield.
Both teams have capable quarterbacks and both defenses have struggled from preventing explosive plays all season. The Bruins will play fast and should put some points on the board quickly. Mills and the Cardinal offense have found a groove and I suspect they’ll keep up with the Bruins. We’re in for a shootout in Pasadena and this total isn’t set high enough.