College Football Odds, Picks & Predictions: 5 Best Bets for Saturday Evening’s Games
Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: Xavier Thomas (Clemson)
- Our staff dives into the college football Week 10 evening slate, including three bets on Clemson vs. Notre Dame.
- But don't forget about Texas vs. Kansas State and a key AAC clash.
- Read below to help formulate your own card.
College football’s Week 10 rolls on with some intriguing matchups as part of the Saturday evening slate.
That includes a key Big 12 matchup between Texas and Kansas State, an AAC tilt featuring Houston and SMU and Clemson vs. Notre Dame.
Our staff provides their best bets for all three of these games, getting you set to complete your Saturday evening betting card.
Week 10 Saturday Evening College Football Best Bets
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.|
Texas vs. Kansas State
It appears I’m going against the grain with some of my colleagues/the public on this one, which I’m just fine with.
Where do I see the Wildcats having the advantage in this matchup? Inside the 40s and on the ground.
Kansas State has a better points-per-opportunity rating (Finishing Drives on graph) than Texas on both sides of the ball.
In addition, I expect Kansas State’s defense, led by Felix Anudike-Uzomah to force a few turnovers this weekend and for the Wildcats to win the turnover battle overall.
Some may point out that the Longhorns’ rush defense has been stellar all year, which is a decent point.
However, they haven’t exactly played the most competent rushing offenses thus far, with their most competent opponent being the Alabama Crimson Tide, who ran over Texas with 160 yards on the ground.
In my opinion, this Wildcats team will break off a lot of big plays on the ground. Kansas State ranks second in rushing play explosiveness, while Texas is 97th in rushing play explosiveness allowed.
I think this game should be closer to a pick’em, and I’ll gladly take the plus money on Kansas State while it’s still available. I’m looking for the Wildcats to keep the ball on the ground and out of the hands of the Longhorns.
Add in a few Texas turnovers (great recipe name), and you’ve got yourself a small upset.
Pick: Kansas State ML (+120) (Play to +110)
Houston vs. SMU
Houston came into the season with hopes of an AAC Championship and even a possible New Year’s Six bid. While it stumbled a bit and that hope is gone, it’s still 5-3 on the year and 3-1 in conference play this season.
The Cougars’ only conference loss was to Tulane by three in overtime despite out-gaining the Green Wave by over 100 yards.
But they have now won three in a row.
In his fifth year, quarterback Clayton Tune is absolutely locked in right now. He has 21 touchdowns this year with just four interceptions. Over the last three games, he’s averaged 338 yards with 12 touchdowns. He has been named the AAC Offensive Player of the Week in his last three games.
SMU’s veteran quarterback Tanner Mordecai didn’t play last week after suffering a concussion, and his backup broke his collarbone last week.
Mordecai is expected back, but since Sonny Dykes and Garrett Riley left for TCU (and now have the most explosive offense in the country), this offense hasn’t been the same.
Last season, Mordecai threw 39 touchdown passes with a 68% completion percentage. This year, he’s thrown just 16 touchdowns, and his completion rate has dropped to 60%. The Mustangs still have some explosiveness, but rank just 83rd in Success Rate.
They struggle to run the ball, and Rashee Rice is their entire offense. He has 62 catches this season, and the next closest receiver has just 17. He’s a stud, but the Mustangs are very one-dimensional.
Houston will match him with cornerback Art Green, who at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds is able to size up Rice. He has allowed less than 40 yards per game against him and has yet to allow a touchdown catch.
On the other side, Houston has its own stud receiver in Tank Dell who can match Rice for big plays and key catches. The Cougars are a little deeper, though, with players like KeSean Carter and Samuel Brown also serving as good options.
Running back Ta’Zhawn Henry could return from injury this week, but freshman Stacy Sneed has also come on strong in the last two weeks.
Houston’s defense isn’t great, but neither is SMU’s. The Mustangs don’t get any pressure, and Tune should have all day to pick apart this defense. Pressure is the only thing Houston does well on defense, which probably isn’t great for a quarterback coming off a concussion.
The Cougars grade out as the best pass rush in the country, and the way Tune is playing right now, he is the better quarterback and I trust this offense more. I actually think Houston wins this game, so I will gladly back it catching over a field goal.
Pick: Houston +3.5 (Play to +2)
Clemson vs. Notre Dame
Clemson has a chance to return to the College Football Playoff if it can run the table the rest of the way. This is the biggest test the Tigers have the rest of the season, and coming off of a bye week, it will be a pivotal game for Dabo Swinney’s squad.
The bye week will prove to be a massive difference maker, as the Tigers have extra time to prepare for the one-dimensional Notre Dame offense.
Notre Dame’s offense has been reliant on its ability to run the football. The group owns a Rush Rate of 60% — which ranks 13th in the nation — while putting up 4.4 yards per carry.
With two weeks to prepare, the Tigers’ defensive front will shut that down. Clemson’s defense is allowing just 3.0 yards per carry (10th) and an average of 86 rushing yards per game (4th) to FBS foes.
For Notre Dame to win this game, it’s going to require quarterback Drew Pyne to have a monster game.
But over the last three weeks, Pyne has completed less than 50% of his passes, and that’s against sub-par defenses in UNLV and Stanford. He’s averaging less than 200 passing yards per game and has thrown an interception in his last two starts.
This pick is more of a fade on Notre Dame, which I still see as overvalued at this point in the season. Marcus Freeman is 5-3 in his first season as head coach, with embarrassing losses to Marshall (20.5-point favorites) and Stanford (16.5-point favorites).
Meanwhile, Clemson is the only program in the country that has three victories over AP Top 25 teams. It has been battle-tested and has come away with victories of at least six points in every game this season.
That trend continues in South Bend.
Pick: Clemson -3.5 (Play to -4)
Notre Dame +4
Clemson has been escaping left and right all season, and I think that unbeaten run comes to an end on Saturday night in South Bend.
The Tigers have not looked the same as they have in recent years on defense, despite all of the talent they still possess on that side of the ball.
While Notre Dame is certainly not a high-powered offense, the Irish have started to get into a flow led by Audric Estime and a very physical rushing attack.
Neither of these teams move particularly fast, and weather could be a bit of a factor, particularly from a wind standpoint.
It sounds like Swinney will at least initially start DJ Uiagalelei, which I think is doing a favor to Freeman and Notre Dame.
In a game that will likely be lower scoring and highly contested, I show a ton of value to the home team getting four points in what should be a very loud Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday night.
Clemson has been unable to pull away from inferior opponents throughout its ACC schedule, so consider me wary that it’ll be able to do so on the road against a team that has the bodies to match up with it in the trenches.
Give me the Irish catching the four, and I will also endorse a wager on the moneyline in a game Notre Dame can win outright.
Pick: Notre Dame +4 (Play to +3.5)
Notre Dame TT U 20.5
The logic is pretty simple for this one: I have no faith in Pyne.
The sophomore quarterback has replaced the injured Tyler Buchner to mixed results, including failing to throw for more than 205 yards in four of his six starts. Only tight end Michael Mayer has more than 24 receptions on the season.
A lack of a consistent passing threat has made Notre Dame one-dimensional. The Irish have leaned into the run game with great success the past few weeks with a three-back rotation led by Estime.
Notre Dame has averaged 228 yards rushing over the last five games since running the ball 51 times against North Carolina, but none of those opposing run defenses are as good as Clemson.
The Tigers rank seventh in the country, allowing 87.9 yards rushing per game. They had trouble stopping the run the last two weeks against Florida State and Syracuse, but Jordan Travis is a far more dangerous passer that Clemson had to worry about.
Meanwhile, over half of Syracuse’s rushing yards and 80% of its carries came from quarterback Garrett Shrader.
While Pyne is mobile, he won’t be used in nearly the same way to keep the Clemson defense on its toes.
Clemson hasn’t exactly been a passing juggernaut this season either with Uiagalelei. The Tigers’ quarterback has a pretty precipitous drop in performance when under pressure, and the Irish have a top-50 pass rush that’s good enough to pose problems.
Swinney tends to keep it conservative in big games with Uiagalelei, so I expect him to slow things down and lean on the Clemson running game that averages 185.4 yards per game.
Two teams that are going to play conservatively and rely on the ground game means the clock will roll and suppress the score. Notre Dame will be completely one-dimensional, and I have more faith in Uiagalelei to hit one or two big plays than I do Pyne.
This will be a defensive battle for both parties, but I’m more confident in Clemson stalling the Irish than vice versa.