College Football Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets For Arkansas vs. Florida, Michigan vs. Wisconsin, More Saturday Evening Games
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Kendric Pryor.
- It's been a fun day full of college football so far, but it's not over yet.
- Our staff broke down three final games from the evening set and shared a betting pick for each.
- Check out the full analysis for each game below.
It’s been a long Saturday packed to the brim with college football. But it’s not over yet.
After pouring through the odds and stats, our college football experts have come up with picks in three more games to get bettors through the final Saturday night stretch. Because what’s a Saturday betting card without any late action?
If it’s early and you’re a little antsy setting your betting card up perfectly, check out all of our best bets for Saturday, sorted by kickoff time:
- 12:00 p.m. ET | “The Midday Kickoffs”
- 3:30 p.m. ET | “The Afternoon Heat Check”
- 7:00 p.m. ET | “The Late Set”
Saturday College Football Best Bets for Week 11:
Check our top Saturday picks below, each of which comes from one of the following 11 games. This column focuses on “The Late Set” and includes our staff’s three favorite bets for games kicking off at 7:00 p.m. ET or later.
“The Late Set”
Click any of the evening games below to navigate to a specific matchup. Alternatively, click on any of the other eight games among our staff’s best bets to navigate to our Midday or Afternoon Best Bets columns.
- 7:00 p.m. ET | Arkansas vs. (6) Florida
- 7:00 p.m. ET | (11) Oregon vs. Washington State
- 7:30 p.m. ET | (13) Wisconsin vs. Michigan
“I feed my family with this, so don’t play with my money this summer, I’m serious.”
— Aubrey Graham, “Hype”
The Rest of our Best (Bets)
- 12:00 p.m. ET | Army vs. Tulane
- 12:00 p.m. ET | TCU vs. West Virginia
- 1:00 p.m. ET | Illinois vs. Rutgers
- 2:00 p.m. ET | South Alabama vs. (25) Louisiana-Lafayette
- 3:00 p.m. ET | UTEP vs. UTSA
- 3:30 p.m. ET | (20) USC vs. Arizona
- 4:00 p.m. ET | Baylor vs. Texas Tech
- 5:00 p.m. ET | (23) Northwestern vs. Purdue
All odds have been updated as of Friday evening.
Arkansas vs. Florida
|Arkansas Odds||+17 [BET NOW]|
|Florida Odds||-17 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+525 / -770 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||60.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
My university is undefeated against the spread in 2020, which has this alum singing, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re an Arkansas Razorback fan” daily. That tune is rambled universally by Razorbacks fans after victories in any sport, leading to high aspirations on the Hill in Fayetteville.
The biggest news on the Arkansas side is head coach Sam Pittman testing positive for COVID-19, which will keep the coach of the year candidate from traveling to The Swamp.
But, luckily for the Razorbacks faithful, the rest of Pittman’s staff is elite. As a result, there is no reflection in the Arkansas power rating without Pittman because of coordinators Kendal Briles and Barry Odom. Both coaches are responsible for the game plan, execution and halftime adjustments.
Arkansas continues to cover despite deficiencies in every facet. The Razorbacks are outside of the top 100 in rush explosiveness, tackling and special teams. The most explosive player on offense has been Treylon Burks, who averages 6.4 yards after contact on rushing attempts.
Only three players in the country have as many rushing attempts and more yards after contact. Those numbers are even more impressive considering Burks’ primary position is wide receiver.
Will the Gators be able to survive the hangover of defeating Georgia for the first time since 2016? The biggest takeaway stat from the cocktail party was Florida finally showing up on third down, limiting the Bulldogs to two conversions in 13 attempts. A 4-1 Gators team is projected to win the SEC East with a remaining schedule of Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee and LSU.
Florida’s best weapon is tight end Kyle Pitts, who suffered a concussion after a brutal collision against Georgia. Quarterback Kyle Trask leaned on Pitts the most, as the tight end holds a team best in first downs, receiving yards and touchdowns. In 35 total targets this season, Pitts has yet to drop a pass or fumble the ball.
The Florida defense had its best day against Georgia, but the question remains whether or not it can deliver the same level of play for a second week in a row. The Gators still rank outside the top 100 in tackling, coverage and Rushing Success Rate. Florida improved marginally to 85th in opponent third-down conversion rate following its game against Georgia.
The balance in this game hangs on the news of Pitts’ availability. Florida is still very much in the national-title picture, but a loss at any point does not hurt its chances to compete against Alabama for the SEC Championship.
The Action Network projection is dead on with the current market, but any steam on the Florida number with or without Pitts will require a small play on Arkansas leading up to kick.
Dan Mullen commented that the “mental toughness and mental attitudes” from Arkansas do not show up in the stat line. This is apparent with Arkansas, which ranks in the bottom half of almost every offensive statistical category.
If there is an angle on this game, it is the full-game under. The Pace Report projected a total of 58 points, with Florida running a tempo that is 88th in the country. The Gators would take a hit as a pass-first offense without Pitts, while the Arkansas defense is top-20 in coverage and Defensive Finishing Drives.
Pick: Game total Under 62
Oregon vs. Washington State
|Oregon Odds||-13.5 [BET NOW]|
|Washington State Odds||+13.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+400 / -560 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||58 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:00 p.m. ET|
Although it was only one game, it looks like the Oregon offense will be fine without Justin Herbert. The upgrade at offensive coordinator with Joe Moorhead is a big reason why.
Oregon averaged 7.5 yards per play against Stanford, and its one-game sample size has the offense sitting at fifth in Expected Points Added (EPA) and second in success rate. Quarterback Tyler Shough showed that he is a threat with both his arm and his legs, as he averaged 8.7 yards per pass attempt and added 11 carries for 85 yards on the ground.
Oregon was expected to have one of the best defenses in the country this year, but it certainly did not show that kind of potential against Stanford. Against an offense that was missing its starting quarterback and top receiver, the Ducks allowed Stanford to cross the Oregon 40-yard line 10 times. Oregon’s defensive performance looked much better on the surface because Stanford’s kicker missed all four of his field-goal attempts. The Oregon defense currently sits at 95th in EPA per play.
Washington State underwent a lot of offseason changes, including a new head coach and starting quarterback. After game one, Cougars fans have to be excited about what freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura showed on the field. He currently ranks first among all Pac 12 quarterbacks in his Pro Football Focus grade, and seventh in the country among quarterbacks with at least 40 snaps. Washington State’s offensive performance against Oregon State currently has it sitting at 13th in the country in EPA per play and 20th in success rate.
Washington State definitely struggled on the defensive side of the ball in 2019 (124th in EPA per play), and it seems to be continuing that trend in 2020. Against an Oregon State team that was breaking in a new quarterback, the Cougars allowed a 53% success rate and allowed QB Tristan Gebbia to complete 70.8% of his passes. Currently, the Cougars rank fourth worst in success rate allowed.
I project the total at 64.5, so this line of 58 definitely sticks out as value to me. I’m not sure key numbers on totals even exist anymore with this wild season, but getting anything under the number of 59 (eight touchdowns and a field goal) looks pretty good to me.
Pick: Over 58
Wisconsin vs. Michigan
|Wisconsin Odds||-4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Michigan Odds||+4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-200 / +170 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||52.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
When this game hit the board with Michigan installed as a 3-point favorite, the general reaction from the public ranged from out-and-out confusion to suspicion.
The opening point spread was reflective of Wisconsin’s quarterback situation, which earlier in the week looked dire. Then Graham Mertz was cleared to play and the spread swung by 7.5 points in favor of the Badgers. Generally speaking, a touchdown swing that’s triggered by the availability of a quarterback is on the outer limits of a reasonable range, but Mertz is worth more than that in this matchup.
The highest-rated quarterback recruit in the history of Wisconsin football was absolutely flawless in his debut against Illinois, connecting on 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns. Simply put, Wisconsin has been missing this level of quarterback play since Russell Wilson in 2011.
Prior to Mertz securing the starting role, Wisconsin had already proven to be one of the safest bets in college football when favored on the road. Since 2016, the Badgers are 12-3 against the spread (ATS) when traveling as a road favorite. No team has more wins ATS as a road favorite during that time span.
If Mertz’s availability and UW’s historical performance ATS doesn’t grab you, how about Michigan’s non-existent running game? According to our Matt Wispe, the Wolverines are generating just 2.56 Line Yards per attempt, and Michigan backs have been stuffed on 25% of attempts. This isn’t something that will be cleaned up against a Wisconsin defense that finished sixth against the run last season and returned 81% of its defensive production (17th).
Once Joe Milton and the Wolverines are forced to abandon the run, the prospect of a Badger runaway becomes more realistic. I would play UW up to 6.5 at -110 odds and will be playing them on the alternate line at -13.5 (+245).
Pick: Wisconsin -4.5