NCAAF Best Bets | Saturday Afternoon Picks, featuring Ohio State vs. Indiana (Sep. 2)

NCAAF Best Bets | Saturday Afternoon Picks, featuring Ohio State vs. Indiana (Sep. 2) article feature image

Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord.

  • The afternoon slate of Week 1 features two potential title contenders in Ohio State and Texas.
  • The Buckeyes face off against Indiana while the Longhorns duel in-state competitor Rice.
  • Our staff has three best bets for the afternoon slate on Saturday, including two for Ohio State.

Welcome to Week 1 of the college football season.

We have you covered for three separate windows (noon, afternoon and night), but this article focuses on our three best bets for Saturday afternoon's slate — including Ohio State vs. Indiana and Rice vs. Texas.

Dive in below for the best college football odds, picks and best bets for the 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff window.

NCAAF Best Bets · Saturday Afternoon

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football betting staff is targeting from Saturday afternoon's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
3:30 ET
3:30 ET
3:30 ET
Specific betting 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.

Ohio State vs. Indiana

Saturday, Sept 2
3:30 ET

Ohio State -29

By Mark Harris

No. 3 Ohio State kicks off the 2023 season with a conference road game as the Buckeyes head to Bloomington for a matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers.

The line is hovering around -30 in favor of Ohio State, and the Buckeyes are definitely capable of covering.

Quarterback Kyle McCord gets his first chance to start on Saturday, and like any recent OSU quarterback, he’ll have the benefit of playing with amazing skill talent.

TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams and Dallan Hayden headline the backfield for the Buckeyes, and McCord will have plenty of receiving options at his disposal with Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and Cade Stover all back in scarlet and gray.

Even if McCord shows some inexperience in his first start, he has a ton of room for error with these guys on the field.

The last time we saw this offense it hung 41 points (almost 44) on Georgia in the College Football Playoff. Sure, C.J. Stroud is gone, but McCord should still be able to put up points against an Indiana defense that allowed 33.9 PPG and ranked 86th in defensive EPA in 2022.

I wouldn’t expect the offensive approach to be much different if/when backup quarterback Devin Brown plays because Day may want to see how he performs in live action.

Meanwhile, Indiana head coach Tom Allen still hasn’t announced who will be the Hoosiers’ starting QB between Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby.

Neither quarterback has much college game action, and they’ll have to deal with a loaded Buckeyes defensive line that features JT Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer.

Ohio State had six wins by 30 or more points last year — including a 56-14 smackdown of Indiana — and I think it’ll start the 2023 season with another massive blowout win.

Pick: Ohio State -29 (Play to -30.5)
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Ohio State TT Over 44.5

By Thomas Schlarp

New quarterback, no problems.

Kyle McCord makes his first start for Ohio State, but that won’t really be much of a problem with the Buckeyes returning almost every single skill position player.

Outside of the best receiver in college football — Harrison Jr. — and just a loaded room of pass catchers, the Buckeyes also have the one-two attack of Henderson and Williams, who helped Ohio State average 5.4 yards per carry in 2022.

Something you usually have to worry about in blowouts — which this game will be — is pulling the starting quarterback in the second half and seeing a precipitous drop-off in scoring.

Ohio State, however, still wants to see what it has in both McCord and backup Brown, so I’m expecting the Buckeyes’ offense to remain pedal to the metal for all four quarters.

The reason I’m staying away from the total for both sides is because of how poorly I expect Indiana’s offense to perform. The Hoosiers only scored 14 points against Ohio State last year, but this year could be even worse, as they break in redshirt freshman Jackson at quarterback.

Indiana’s pace, along with a lot of three-and-outs, means the Buckeyes’ offense will have plenty of opportunities to score.

Ohio State eclipsed this number seven times last season — including against Indiana — and I see no reason for it not to score in the high 40s again.

Pick: Ohio State TT Over 44.5 (Play to 45)

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Rice vs. Texas

Saturday, Sept 2
3:30 ET
1Q Over 13.5 Points

By Alex Hinton

In a week filled with large spreads, I’m looking to get in and out with this bet.

Texas has playmakers everywhere with Xavier Worthy, Ja'Tavion Sanders, Jonathon Brooks and Keilan Robinson returning, along with newcomers AD Mitchell and Cedric Baxter.

The Longhorns can strike quickly and in a variety of ways. A preferred method for quarterback Quinn Ewers is taking vertical shots to Worthy — even when they’re not always effective.

Ewers and Worthy connected on just 39% of their attempts on deep passes last season, though Ewers was battling a shoulder injury he suffered against Alabama for much of the season.

Mitchell will add another vertical threat, as well as a big target in the red zone

With another year of experience in Texas’ system, Ewers should be improved and help the Longhorns start fast.
Texas could score 14 points in the first quarter and clear this line on its own. That’s before accounting for any points from Rice, which could contribute a field goal or touchdown as well.

Additionally, a big return on the opening kick or turnovers leading to short fields could lead to quick points to help get over this total.

Pick: 1Q Over 13.5 Points (-112) | Play to -120

More of our NCAAF Staff's Best Bets on Saturday

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