Saturday College Football Odds & Picks: Our Best Bets for Buffalo vs. Kent State, Indiana vs. Maryland, Other Noon Kickoffs

Saturday College Football Odds & Picks: Our Best Bets for Buffalo vs. Kent State, Indiana vs. Maryland, Other Noon Kickoffs article feature image
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G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Cross.

  • Get your Saturday off on the right foot by checking out our college football staff's best bets for today's early games.
  • From Saturday MACtion to an Indiana-Maryland matchup, our staff has you covered.
  • Check out all four of their betting picks complete with analysis below.

Editor’s Note: Saturday’s UTEP vs. Rice game has been canceled.

To all you early-bird bettors out there hoping to get ahead of Saturday’s noon action so you can enjoy betting on Friday Night Lights in peace, we tip our proverbial cap.  And to those night owls fumbling through the morning after staying up to sweat Friday night’s Oregon vs. Oregon State rivalry game deep into the late-night hours, we’re right there with you — and we’re also here to help.

Our staff has broken down the odds and highlighted their favorite betting positions for the Week 13 Saturday college football slate. Starting with the noons, we’ve got you covered with our favorite bets for the noon and post-noon Saturday college football 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 Afternoon? Freely navigate between both kickoff windows by using the bar below:

Afternoon 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 six games. This column focuses on “The Noons” and includes our staff’s three favorite bets for the slate-opening games, beginning at noon ET.

“The Noons”

Click any of the noon 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 Afternoon Best Bets columns.

 

Kickoff Time
Matchup
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Indiana vs. Maryland
[CANCELED]
UTEP vs. Rice

“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)


All odds have been updated as of Friday afternoon.


CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Indiana vs. Maryland
[CANCELED]
UTEP vs. Rice

Kent State vs. Buffalo

by Michael Calabrese

Kent State Odds +7.5 [BET NOW]
Buffalo Odds -7.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +195 / -265 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 67.5 [BET NOW]
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV CBS Sports Network
(Photo Credit: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kent State was a major beneficiary of the COVID-19 schedule reshuffling. Instead of suffering through an opening slate that included road trips to three Power Five schools, including Alabama, the Golden Flashes were gifted with an opening slate of Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, and Akron. I had high expectations for Sean Lewis’ offense against that “gauntlet,” but it has blown past any reasonable projections. Through three games, Kent is leading the nation in points per game (52.7) and ranks in the top 10 in the following offensive metrics:

  • Yards Per Game (616, first)
  • Rushing Yards Per Game (299, first)
  • Points Per Play (.632, fifth)
  • Third-Down Conversions (61.9%, second)

The Flashes can beat you through the air or on the ground, making them an incredibly difficult team to corral. Buffalo, meanwhile, is a one-man show. Jaret Patterson is averaging 7.2 yards per carry despite facing seven- and eight-man boxes with regularity. If you put weight in Pro Football Focus‘ analysis, the compact scatback is running his way toward a first-round NFL Draft evaluation. He’s that good. 

You won’t confuse Kent’s run defense with the ’85 Bears, but it’s considerably better than the Bowling Green unit that was gouged for 301 by Patterson last week. I foresee the Golden Flashes bending considerably but not completely breaking. That should be enough to hold Patterson under 150 yards while keeping Buffalo under 35 points. In that scenario, +220 odds with one of the nation’s best offenses is a play I can get behind.

Pick: Kent State moneyline +220.

[Bet the Kent State moneyling now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

 

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Indiana vs. Maryland
[CANCELED]
UTEP vs. Rice

Kent State vs. Buffalo

by Darin Gardner

Kent State Odds +7.5 [BET NOW]
Buffalo Odds -7.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +195 / -265 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 67.5 [BET NOW]
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV CBS Sports Network
(Photo Credit: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

This game features two of the top seven teams in terms of Offensive Success Rate, with Kent State sitting at second in the nation and Buffalo at seven. Each team has been explosive to this point as well. Buffalo ranks second nationally in points per play, and Kent State is just behind it at fifth. The Golden Flashes have scored at least 60 points in both of their past two games, while the Bulls have yet to be held under 40 points on the season. 

Kent State plays with tempo and currently sits at third in the nation in plays per game. Buffalo has been slow so far but has also been playing with massive leads. Buffalo’s margins of victory this year have been 19, 32, and 25 points. When you are sitting on big leads, there is no reason to play with tempo. Over the course of 2019, however, Buffalo ranked 34th in plays per game. This matchup should be much closer than Buffalo’s first three games of the season.

Buffalo and Kent State also have two of the best quarterbacks in the group of 5. Kent State quarterback currently ranks 3rd nationally in Expected Points Added per play among quarterbacks behind only Mac Jones and Trevor Lawrence. Meanwhile, Buffalo quarterback Kyle Vantrease is PFF’s third-highest graded quarterback in the Group of Five. 

On defense, Buffalo has faced Northern Illinois, Miami (Ohio), and Bowling Green. Those offenses all rank 115th or lower in SP+. Kent State has faced two of the three worst offenses in the country in terms of SP+, as well as Eastern Michigan, which ranks 114th. Both of these defenses have yet to face an offense with a pulse.

I project this total at 75.6. These have been two of the most efficient offenses in the country, and both teams have gone three weeks without getting tested whatsoever on defense. I expect a decent amount of tempo on both sides as well.

Pick: Over 67.5.

[Bet the Kent State-Buffalo over now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

 

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Indiana vs. Maryland
[CANCELED]
UTEP vs. Rice

Indiana vs. Maryland

by Mike Ianniello

Indiana Odds -12 [BET NOW]
Maryland Odds +12 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -455 / +300 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 64 [BET NOW]
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2
(Photo Credit: Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

The Maryland offense has done a complete 180 after it laid an egg in the season opener against Northwestern. The Terps put up 45 and 35 points in their next two games and averaged 540 yards against Minnesota and Penn State. They now rank second in the Big Ten in total offense.

Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has quickly found his groove and ranks second in the Big Ten in quarterback rating. Tagovailoa’s ability to make plays with his arm and his legs gives him a dangerous ability to extend drives. Maryland converts on third down at the fourth-highest rate in the conference.

Freshman wide receiver Rakim Jarrett exploded against Penn State, going for 144 yards and two touchdowns. The Indiana defense was torched by Ohio State wideouts Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson last week, and this spot sets up nicely for Jarrett to make plays against a struggling secondary.

Maryland ranks second in the country in explosiveness and has shown an ability to make something out of nothing, seemingly turning broken plays into huge gains out of nowhere. The Indiana defense ranks 86th in defending explosiveness.

On offense, the Hoosiers just threw for 491 yards and five touchdowns on the Buckeyes’ defense. For some teams, this could mean a letdown spot is coming. But not for a Tom Allen-led team. The way Indiana was able to hang with Ohio State should give it confidence moving forward, especially for Michael Penix Jr. and the Hoosier offense.

Indiana is averaging 34 points per game, second in the Big Ten, thanks in large part to its pair of stud wide receivers Ty Fryfogle and Whop Philyor. Fryfogle, in particular, ranks sixth in the nation with 128.4 receiving yards per game, and the Hoosiers’ big-play threat averages 20.7 yards per catch.

The Indiana offense completed four passes that went for over 50 yards against Ohio State last week.

Maryland’s defense ranks 114th in the country in total defense, allowing 474 yards per game while lacking the ability to create negative plays, sitting just 103rd in defensive Havoc.

Both of these teams have a quarterback with the ability to keep plays alive with their legs and convert big plays with their arms. These defenses won’t be able to contain the playmakers each team possesses on offense, and this game sets up to be an exciting matchup in Bloomington.

Pick: Over 62.5.

[Bet the Indiana-Maryland over at FanDuel completely risk-free up to $1,000]

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Indiana vs. Maryland
[CANCELED]
UTEP vs. Rice

[CANCELED] UTEP vs. Rice

by Patrick Strollo

UTEP Odds +12 [BET NOW]
Rice Odds -12 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +390/ -530 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 44.5 [BET NOW]
Time 1 p.m. ET
TV ESPN3
(Photo Credit: Tim Warner/Getty Images)

The UTEP Miners (3-4) will face the Rice Owls (1-2) at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas. UTEP was off last weekend due to a COVID-19 postponement against UAB. Rice is coming off of a 27-17 loss to North Texas last weekend.  

Rice has hit the over once this season and hit the under twice, while UTEP has hit the over three times and the under four times.  

This one, though, sets up for the over.

UTEP is allowing 29 points per game this season, while also ranking 40th in FBS in total defense and ranked 58th in the FBS in passing yards allowed. It gives up an average 232.1 passing yards per game. The Miners have allowed 27 touchdowns through seven games this season, with 14 of those coming through the air. UTEP has a defensive Predicted Points Added per play of 0.20, which is worse than the Conference USA average of 0.14. 

Rice is affording opponents an average of 24.3 points a game. It’s ranked 36th in FBS total defense and allows an average of 251 passing yards per game, which is good for 83rd in FBS. The Owls have allowed three passing touchdowns in three contests this season. They hold a defensive PPA per play of 0.13, which is slightly better than the conference average. 

UTEP averages 20 points per game and has an offensive PPA per play of 0.11. Rice scores 27 points per game and has an offensive PPA per play of 0.19. The Miners have scored five passing touchdowns this season, while the Owls have scored all 10 of their touchdowns through the air this season. 

Rice is a pass-first offense and will look to throw the ball whenever possible. UTEP prefers to run the ball, but it does have the ability to move the chains in the passing game. Neither of these teams has a shutdown defense, with passing defense being the weak spot on both teams. I expect both squads to look to the passing game in search of a victory. 

My model has the total at 57 points for this one. Look for both teams to rely on the passing game to exploit the weak passing defenses en route to the over.

Pick: Over 44.5.

[Bet the Indiana-Maryland over at FanDuel completely risk-free up to $1,000]

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Kent State vs. Buffalo
12 p.m. ET
Indiana vs. Maryland
[CANCELED]
UTEP vs. Rice
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