Saturday College Football Betting: Odds & Picks for LSU-Florida, 3 Other Games
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: LSU QB Joe Burrow and WR Terrace Marshall Jr.
Every Saturday is a great Saturday with college football. Add a few marquee top 25 matchups into the mix and we could get some real fireworks.
Florida-LSU, Penn State-Iowa and Oklahoma-Texas are just a few of the big matchups we’ve covered in depth from a betting perspective. You can find our favorite CFB bets for Week 7 here.
College Football Odds & Picks for Saturday
Odds as of Saturday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Oklahoma vs. Texas Odds
- Odds: Oklahoma -10
- Over/Under: 76
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
- Location: Dallas, Texas
Getting No. 11 Texas with 10.5 points has been too good of an offer for bettors to pass up. Sixty-seven percent of bettors accounting for 64% of money have backed the Longhorns in what should be one of — if not the most — heavily-bet games Saturday.
This spread wasn’t always listed at 10.5, though. Early in the week, books were down in the 9/9.5 range, but respected money on Oklahoma was enough to move this number to 10.5.
This total is the highest of the weekend at 75.5, but 64% of bets and 67% of money have still hit the over. The number hasn’t made much of a move, bouncing between 74.5 and 76 for most of the week. — Danny Donahue
If You Like Trends…
If you’re a trend player, you like Texas here.
- Tom Herman is 13-3 ATS as a dog
- Texas has covered this game in 6 straight years
- Texas is 10-4-1 ATS against OU since 2005, covering by an average of 4.4 PPG
But I think this game comes down to what DC Todd Orlando does on defense with Texas. And I’ve got some ideas. — Stuckey
Can Texas Get Stops?
Texas has to do something to compensate for a porous pass defense, due to a secondary that has been decimated by injuries.
The Longhorn pass defense ranks 126th in passing yards per game and 122nd in passing down sack rate. They’ve also allowed 67 passes of 10-plus yards, which ranks in the bottom 10 nationally.
If they don’t switch something up on Saturday, Oklahoma will chunk its way down the field at will.
I think Texas needs to bring immense pressure, especially from the edge to blow up the read option. Remember that Oklahoma lost a ton of talent along the offensive line from last year.
The offensive line has held up so far but against significantly inferior competition. Plus, the Sooners might be without both starting tackles in Erik Swenson, who started the first four games at LT before sitting out against Kansas, and Adrian Ealy, who started the first three games.
Texas has to take advantage and pressure Jalen Hurts into mistakes. — Stuckey
Can We Trust an Improved Sooners Defense?
On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma has looked better on defense this season, but I’m not sure we can trust our eyes yet as the Sooners haven’t played anybody.
I think Texas will be able to move the ball fairly easily with Sam Ehlinger and his dangerous receiving corps that will now add Collin Johnson to the mix.
Texas leads the nation in third down conversion percentage at 56.58% and has been dynamite inside the red zone.
One other factor to keep in mind is Oklahoma penalties, which have been an issue so far this year. The Sooners are tied with Miami for second most penalty yards per game (91.2). Only Tulsa is worse.
Both offenses should have a ton of success but the total looks about right. From a side perspective, I’d play Texas if I knew it was going to relentlessly bring pressure instead of sitting with 8 back to compensate for the secondary injuries.
Therefore, I will most likely wait to bet this game live based on what I see. — Stuckey
Can Texas Stop the Read-Option?
Plenty of other handicapping content will focus on Jalen Hurts’ raw numbers.
Whether Jalen Hurts is a better passer since his time at Alabama or not, one constant remains — any defense with long, athletic defense ends can take the read option away.
It’s the reason Clemson had so much success in stopping the former Alabama quarterback. Any team with decent defensive ends will keep Oklahoma scoring down.
Jalen Hurts' fake was so smooth 😮 pic.twitter.com/EJ2QATa9pY
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 5, 2019
Texas doesn’t have that. The Longhorns are 98th in sack rate and specifically 122nd on passing downs sack rate. Neither of their ends had an impact against LSU and Joe Burrow, and the same is expected against Jalen Hurts.
It should be worth noting that Oklahoma played without their starting offensive tackles against Kansas, like Stuckey mentioned, and that could be a factor if they remain out.
Although Kansas recorded just a single sack, the read-option from Hurts is what keeps this offense so dynamic. — Collin Wilson
Texas Can’t Expose OU’s Flaw
The biggest weakness of the Sooners so far is allowing explosive runs. Texas Tech, Kansas and UCLA all broke off big plays against Oklahoma, but Texas has not shown an ability for explosive runs.
Keaontay Ingram averages just 4.7 yards per carry and has not had an explosive run since a season long 26 yard rush against Rice in Week 3.
Both teams will have plenty of offensive success with multiple explosive plays.
Both Oklahoma and Texas rank outside the top 100 opponent red zone scoring percentage on defense, leaving no statistical reason to take an under.
Ultimately, the Sooners have the more explosive offense and a much improved defensive secondary.
The Action Network power ratings make this game Oklahoma -10.5, leaving no value in the current market.
Personally, I will be playing this live if the -9.5 does not pop before kickoff, but I will be looking to take the Oklahoma side. — Collin Wilson
Collin’s Pick: Oklahoma -10.5
Alabama at Texas A&M
- Spread: Alabama -17
- Over/Under: 61
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
- Location: College Station, Texas
Are the Sharps Fading Alabama?
The public is — shocker — all over Alabama in this one. In what’ll be one of the five most heavily-bet games this weekend, Bama is taking on 74% of bets as a 17-point favorite. The actual money, however, has been a bit more balanced, with 40% landing on A&M.
With bigger bettors and public bettors in disagreement, this line has seen both sides of the key number of 17 throughout the week, but has yet to make a significant move.
If it’s possible, the movement on the total has been even more boring, sticking right around its opener number of 61. But even the lack of movement is slightly telling, considering 63% of bets and 70% of money has hit the over. — Danny Donahue
Collin Wilson: Read Between the Lines
One way to grow as a bettor is to figure out what seemingly small details tell a more important story.
Texas A&M closed as 16-point underdogs on the road at Clemson and the Aggies got in the backdoor with a last-minute touchdown.
One month later, Alabama is a 17-point favorite in College Station.
Considering there are just a few points separating Clemson from Alabama in our Action Network Power Ratings, it is safe to assume that Alabama is probably overrated on the road in this spot.
The Aggies have had the better defense to this point, allowing less than 300 yards per game and boasting a similar opponent yards per play against a much tougher schedule. The Action Network projects this line at Alabama -13.5, but do the Aggies have a chance to pull the upset?
Alabama ranks top-10 in offensive success rate and explosiveness against a weak schedule that includes Duke, New Mexico State, South Carolina, Southern Miss and Ole Miss.
The Crimson Tide have yet to face a defense like Texas A&M. The Aggies were able to contain Trevor Lawrence and allowed just 106 yards against Auburn and Bo Nix.
The Aggies rank 30th in line yards and 33rd in stuff rate which means that Texas A&M should get a few stops in standard rushing downs, but stopping Alabama in the air is something else entirely.
Texas A&M ranks 93rd in sack rate, so the pressure will be on the back 7 to keep Tua Tagovailoa in check. Texas A&M ranks 23rd in the nation against the passing explosiveness, allowing just four passes to go over 20 yards this season. That should help to cover an inflated spread.
Alabama has given up a handful of chunk rushes this season, but the Aggies don’t fit the profile of a team that should take advantage of that flaw. A cover — and an outside chance of a win — for the Aggies will likely fall on the shoulders of quarterback Kellen Mond, who has just 110 rushing yards this season with a long of 18 yards.
If Mond can raise his level to where it was last season, the Aggies will have a chance to make this thing pretty interesting. The market will likely steam Alabama up until kickoff, so keep an eye on the market, but I like A&M at the key number of 17 or above.
The Pick: Texas A&M +17
Stuckey: Where Does A&M Have the Edge?
I couldn’t agree more with Collin. I think his projected line of -13.5 is spot on, so the value is with Texas A&M and I jumped on the Aggies at +17.5 earlier in the week.
Auburn closed +4 at Texas A&M just a few weeks ago. If we accept that line was efficient, it assumes Alabama is three touchdowns better than Auburn on a neutral field. Not in my book, even after making adjustments for both teams over the past few weeks. I still only have Alabama as about 17 points better than Auburn on a neutral field.
Alabama is one of the best teams in the country, but it isn’t without flaws. The interior of the offensive line and the front 7 of their defense stick out to me. Both of those units lost a ton of talent to the NFL and this is the first real test for this offensive line.
Alabama’s run defense has been shaky in its first two conference games, allowing 400 total yards (4.8 yards per carry). That’s worrisome but A&M’s offensive line has struggled to generate a push and running back Jashaun Corbin is injured.
I do think Mond can keep drives alive with his legs on designed runs in addition to his own scrambles when he can find anything downfield.
On the other side of the ball, when you talk about Alabama’s offense, it all starts with Tua and the most explosive receiving corps in the country, led by DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs.
Texas A&M won’t shut down the elite Tide receivers but its secondary has actually played pretty well this year (5.6 yards per pass attempt, 7th in the nation).
This unit held Bo Nix to 100 yards and kept Trevor Lawrence and his elite receivers in check on the road. Tua will get his chances but the A&M secondary has the talent to compete. I also expect Mike Elko to scheme up a game plan full of pressure.
Situationally, this is the Super Bowl of the Texas A&M season. After high preseason expectations, the Aggies have already dropped two games in the early part of their absolutely loaded schedule. This is essentially their college football playoff game. Expect Jimbo Fisher to pull out all of the stops after the bye and give Alabama countless formation looks.
Special teams could be a potential X-factor, as the Aggies have an enormous edge over the Tide. Texas A&M has one of the best punters in the nation in Braden Mann, who leads a punt unit that ranks in the top 25 in net punting. Meanwhile, Alabama has struggled flipping the field, averaging only 35 yards per punt net, which puts them in the bottom 20.
Freshman punter WIll Reichard may potentially return from a hip injury this week for Bama, which will help a bit as Skyler DeLong has been one of the worst in the country in his place. A&M also has a strong kickoff unit that doesn’t allow many returns. Without turnovers, the Aggies should have a decided edge in the field position battle, which will help level the playing field.
Texas A&M will also have the edge in the kicking department with Seth Small, who is 8-for-10 this year while Bama’s kickers have combined to go 5-9 (Reichard 4-for-7 and Bulovas 1-for-2).
I don’t think A&M can pull off the shocker as Saban should move to 18-0 SU against former assistants (Jimbo was his assistant at LSU) but the Aggies can put a scare into Alabama, especially if it can get an early lead and keep the raucous 12th man involved all game at Kyle Field.
A&M is 5-2 ATS since 2005 at home as a double digit dog, including an 8-point loss against Alabama in 2017 as a 25-point underdog.
The Pick: Texas A&M +17
Penn State vs. Iowa
- Odds: Penn State -3
- Over/Under: 42.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
Odds as of Friday night and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Iowa has claimed its share of victims at Kinnick Stadium over the last decade, and will get another chance on Saturday night when No. 10 Penn State heads to Iowa City.
The Nittany Lions are 5-0 and have looked dominant in the last two weeks, but haven’t really been tested this season.
Is the betting market overvaluing Penn State in this tough spot?
Our Projection for Penn State vs. Iowa
- Spread: Penn State -0.7
- Total: 49
Stuckey: How I’m Betting This Game
There’s just way too much value on the home Hawkeyes to pass up on here.
Penn State has been absolutely crushing teams of late (but who really?) while Iowa lost just last week on the national stage 10-3 to Michigan in one of the ugliest games of the year. That’s fresh on the minds of bettors and I think contributing to value on Iowa.
Last week’s performance against Michigan was an anomaly in many ways for Kirk Ferentz’s bunch: penalties, turnovers and poor offensive line play.
The first can be cleaned up and I don’t expect any issues in that area again. The second falls partly on the shoulders of fourth-year senior quarterback Nate Stanley. I ultimately trust the seasoned quarterback to bounce back here and take care of the football as he’s done his entire career (60 TD to just 16 INT before last week).
The offensive line was also surprisingly a major issue last week when it allowed Michigan to record eight sacks. Bad play-calling played a role, but so did the return of Alaric Jackson at right tackle. Jackson looked slow and rusty in his first game back after missing four straight. I expect him to be much better this weekend.
After all, Iowa has two elite bookend tackles in Jackson and Tristan Wirfs, two potential future first-rounders. That’s a huge luxury against a ferocious PSU front seven that leads the nation in sacks per game.
Also, chew on this fact about that Michigan loss: On the road in the Big House, Iowa finished with 8 penalties, gave up 8 sacks, rushed for 1 total yard and lost the turnover battle 4-1.
Yet, the Hawkeyes had the ball late with a chance to tie in a game it only lost by one possession. That speaks to this elite Iowa defense, led by star defensive end AJ Epenesa and do-everything safety Geno Stone.
The Iowa defense is also now as healthy as its been all year with a number of former starters back in the fold to add depth, especially in the secondary, which should allow Ferentz to play more of his preferred 4-2-5.
Penn State’s numbers all look impressive, but the Nittany Lions haven’t played anyone of note. They have four home wins over Idaho, a depleted Purdue team, Buffalo and Pitt — and were actually outgained in the latter two. Their one road win came against Maryland, who I clearly had rated incorrectly.
This is a big step up for new starting QB Sean Clifford on the road in primetime against a stingy Iowa top 20 pass defense that has already faced two top 20 opponents on the road and held them to a combined 27 points. I don’t expect a so far underwhelming Penn State running game to get much on the ground against Iowa, so it will be up to Clifford in Kinnick at night.
And Kinnick has certainly taken its share of victims in recent years. Iowa has four top five wins over the past decade at home and has only lost one of its last eight home games against top 10 opponents by more than 3 points.
Penn State could easily win this game with its destructive defense and explosive offense but I have this as a true coin flip, so I didn’t hesitate to hit Iowa at +4 and would do the same at +3 or above.
Bottom line: the field goal-plus is just too valuable in what should be a low-scoring game.
Stuckey’s Pick: Iowa +3 or better
Florida at LSU
- Spread: LSU -13.5
- Over/Under: 56
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Florida at LSU Odds Movement
Based solely on the matchup, you might expect to see the public backing No. 5 LSU at home over the seventh-ranked Gators. A 13.5-point spread, however, has bettors thinking twice. In fact, bets on this game are split right down the middle.
LSU has generated a slightly higher percentage of money (59%), which had this spread up to -14 for a short time before returning within the two-touchdown mark. — Danny Donahue
Collin Wilson: Where Will This Game Be Decided?
The way Florida’s victory over Auburn played out last weekend could not have been any better for bettors looking to play this Saturday’s marquee game.
The Gators limited Bo Nix in a game that featured plenty of defensive havoc, but thanks to poor tackling from Auburn, Florida was able to turn a couple of explosive plays to earn the victory.
Auburn’s offense was not ready for Florida’s speed on defense, but the tables may get turned on the Gators in Death Valley. The big plays from Florida made up for their subpar run game, which ranks 113th in line yards and 125th in power success rate.
The explosive plays should be tougher to come by against LSU, who rank inside the top-25 in opponent pass completion percentage.
The Tigers are a complete team, with top-10 yards per play numbers on both sides of the ball, but the offense has been the key component to LSU’s strong start, as Joe Burrow has led them to a top-10 success rate.
It will be Strength vs. Strength on Saturday, though, as Florida boasts some of the best success rate numbers in the country on defense. When opponents do beat the Gators, it is through the air. Florida ranks 78th in preventing big pass plays (20 yards or more).
That could pose a problem against Burrow and LSU’s high-flying offense as the hiring of Joe Brady as pass-game coordinator may be the best position upgrade in college football. Brady has turned an offense that lived off a collection of three-yard rushes and a cloud of dust into one of the most explosive air attacks in the nation. Only Alabama has had more passing plays go for 20-or-more-yards than the Tigers.
Our projected spread for this game is LSU -13.5, so this number is justified. That being said, LSU has better havoc and explosiveness numbers and they should benefit from a raucous crowd.
The Pick: LSU -13 or better
Stuckey: Which Team Is Overrated?
This game comes down to two questions: Is the market overvaluing the Tigers’ new offensive scheme and success? And are we undervaluing this Florida defense?
LSU has yet to play a pass defense with a pulse this year. From a yards per attempt perspective, the best pass defense LSU has faced this year is Utah State, which ranks 71st in the country. Its other three opponents, excluding FCS Northwestern State, all rank in the bottom-20 nationally. All four FBS opponents rank outside the top 100 in passing yards allowed per game. Florida ranks 19th.
Burrow looks like a different quarterback this season and the LSU scheme is much more explosive but regardless, the Tigers have yet to face a pass defense of the caliber of Florida, which is now as healthy as it’s been all year.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will send pressure from all over and can play multiple looks on the back-end with his excellent secondary. Florida’s defensive line is a strength, ranking fifth in sack rate, and second nationally in QBR allowed. The Gators also sit second in the country in passes deflected and first in interceptions. This defense can cause havoc as well as any in the country.
I know Burrow leads the nation in a few categories when under pressure this year but the sample size is small and volatile. And if LSU, which has struggled to establish a running game so far this year, becomes one-dimensional, I think it plays right into Florida’s hands.
As good as this Florida defense is, LSU’s elite offense will still put up points, so Florida’s second-string quarterback Kyle Trask will have to answer some big questions under the lights in Death Valley.
The load will be heavy on Trask, as I don’t expect the Gators to have any success running the ball. After having to replace four starters, the offensive line has been one of their biggest weaknesses. They even struggled to generate a push against Towson in the first half.
Not surprisingly, per Football Outsiders, the Gators OL ranks 125th in Power Success Rate (runs on 3rd or 4th and short that achieved a first down) and will be going up against an LSU defense that ranks first in the nation in that department.
That likely means that Dan Mullen will have to use short passes and misdirection as his rushing attack and Trask will have to make accurate throws downfield without making mistakes against a very talented secondary. It remains to be seen if he’s up to the task but the weapons are there.
It’s not going to be easy, but the narrative of “Death Valley at Night” is somewhat blown out of proportion from a betting perspective. Yes. it’s one of the best atmospheres in college football and the crowd is certainly a factor but everyone knows it.
Blindly betting on LSU because “the Tigers are playing on Saturday night in Death Valley” isn’t going pay the bills. There’s a reason LSU is only 34-40 ATS at home in primetime games since 2005.
All in all, I think Florida has value here and I make this line closer to 10. However, I do have to account for the fact that Florida won’t be able to run the ball and nobody knows what to expect from Trask in this setting.
That said, if this line gets to 14 or especially 14.5, I’ll have to take a chomp out of the Gators.
The Pick: Florida +14 or better