College Football Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top 5 Picks for Saturday Afternoon, Including Louisville vs. Boston College (October 23)
Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Louisville Cardinals defensive back Greedy Vance (21).
- It's been a great day of college football so far, but we're nowhere close to done.
- Our staff broke down five games for the afternoon slate, including Boston College vs. Louisville and Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State
- Check out all of our top picks for the afternoon kickoff window below.
While it was a great start to this beautiful college football Saturday, it’s not over yet. Not even close.
The afternoon action heats up with a Big 12 battle between undefeated Oklahoma State and Iowa State in Ames at 3:30 p.m. ET, along with Colorado vs. Cal in the Pac-12 and Rice vs. UAB in Conference USA.
More games oozing with betting value kick off 30 minutes later when Malik Willis and the Liberty Flames take on DeAndre Torrey and the North Texas Mean Green while two solid passing offenses in Louisville and Boston College go to battle in the ACC.
Read on to find our five favorite bets for the afternoon window, and don’t forget to check out our best bets for the day’s other kickoff windows.
Saturday College Football Best Bets for Week 8
Our Top Picks for Saturday Afternoon
The set of college football team logos below reflects each of our college football staff’s best bets for games kicking off from 3:30 to 4 p.m. ET.
Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific pick discussed in this article.
Check Out All of Our Staff’s Best Bets for Week 8
Looking for more of our college football staff’s top picks for Week 8? Check out our best bets for each of Saturday’s three kickoff windows:
No. 8 Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State
A lot on the line in the Big 12 this week when Oklahoma State and Iowa State square off in Ames.
Iowa State is playing with a chip on its shoulder after a sluggish September, while the Cowboys are still perfect in what has been a magical 2021 season so far.
In my opinion, these are far and away the best two defensive units in the conference. Iowa State currently ranks third in total defense in the country as the Cyclones have really hit their stride over the past couple of weeks. Mike Rose anchors this unit in the middle, but there are dynamic players at all levels of the defense.
Oklahoma State has a veteran group that has been unbelievable at getting off the field on third down so far in 2021. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has done a magnificent job in putting his guys in position to make plays. A great example of this is the coverage disguise he drew up last week against Texas, which led to a Jason Taylor pick-six that completely turned the game around.
In addition to the dominant defenses both teams have, I like the under in this game for a couple of other reasons.
Both coaches understand the importance of time of possession, and neither wants to move particularly fast. I think you will see long, methodical drives since both defenses are very good at limiting big plays.
Lastly, I think you will see both offenses have to settle for a lot of field goals when they do get into opponents’ territory. The Pokes have really struggled in finishing drives, and Iowa State’s stingy defense thrives in the red zone.
As much as the offense has struggled at scoring touchdowns, Oklahoma State has done a great job of keeping offenses out of the end zone. Brock Purdy loves to use his legs around the goal line, but the Cowboys have the defensive front to spy him and keep him contained.
I look forward to sitting back and watching a good old-fashioned slugfest between two veteran teams. Give me the under at 47, and please, no overtime!
Pick: Under 47
Rice vs. UAB
By Shawn Burns
After showing progress during a shortened 2020 season, Rice entered this season with confidence and the hope of reaching its first bowl game since 2014.
Unfortunately, the momentum disappeared quickly with losses to Arkansas, Houston and Texas. These are all obviously respectable games to lose, but the Owls only scored 24 combined points. Against FBS competition, the Owls have been anemic at fewer than 10 points per game.
Rice has played three quarterbacks who have combined for three touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Owls have the 116th-ranked passing offense and are 121st in the country in total offense. They were shut out 45-0 last week against UTSA and now must travel to UAB to play the team with the top defense in the conference.
UAB destroyed Southern Mississippi last week, and the Blazers defense allowed 107 total yards and only 32 yards passing. UAB is a physical and aggressive defense that allows 3.25 yards per rush and only 19 points per game.
The Blazers play a methodical style of offense that wears down a defense, and they run the ball on over 60% of their offensive snaps. Their quarterback play has been inconsistent, but they have a strong group of running backs and a talented group of tight ends and receivers.
Rice allows 38 points per game which is 126th in the country and gave up 261 yards on the ground last week to UTSA. The Owls now must face another strong and physical UAB rushing attack. This is a challenging scheduling spot for Rice, and the Blazers will cruise if they play a clean game.
Pick: UAB -22.5
Colorado vs. Cal
Colorado ranks ninth nationally in rush rate (66.3%), but that is more because it is afraid of letting freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis throw the ball instead of a strong rushing attack.
Lewis has started all six games this season and has recorded a QBR of 46 or lower in all six — for reference, QBR is on a scale of 1-100 on which 50 is average.
The problem for Lewis and Colorado is that in three Pac-12 games, the Buffaloes have rushed for a combined 3.11 yards per carry. Their offensive line ranks 110th in Rush Success Rate and 103rd in Line Yards.
The Colorado offense has been a trainwreck this season and although it did beat a hapless Arizona team without its only capable starting quarterback 34-0 last week, the Buffaloes were only up 6-0 at halftime and got two non-offensive touchdowns to make the score look more lopsided than it actually was.
This Cal offense, which ranks first nationally in Line Yards, should have enough success running the ball against Colorado to win this game comfortably. If Chase Garbers doesn’t turn the ball over, this could be a rout.
Expect the Golden Bears to come out fired up at home and get their first win over an FBS team this week.
I love Cal -8 on the spread and will gladly bet this down to -13.5. While I will be betting Cal on the spread, I also like the value on the alternate spread -13.5 at +175 since I don’t see Colorado putting up much more than 10 points in this matchup.
Pick: Cal -8
Liberty vs. North Texas
By Matt Wispe
The wind will be blowing heavily during this matchup, with forecasts calling for crosswinds of about 15-16 mph throughout. In games where the average winds are over 13 mph, games go under 56.5% of the time.
Liberty runs the ball on 58% of its offensive plays, which has led to its pace of 29.3 seconds per play. The Flames are also coming off of a shocking loss to Louisiana Monroe, which featured three interceptions by quarterback Malik Willis.
Combine that with the expected weather conditions, and it appears likely that the Flames will run the ball often to limit mistakes.
North Texas plays with a fair amount of pace at 21.7 seconds per play, but its 37.4% offensive success rate holds back its offense and is a big reason why it ranks 106th in points per game.
In addition to both of these offenses keeping the clock on the move, both defenses have held opponents to an average success rate under 40%.
Because of the strong defenses and both offenses likely to lean on the run, a total of 60.5 is an ideal under play.
Pick: Under 60.5
Boston College vs. Louisville
By Doug Ziefel
Each of these two programs enter this matchup coming off two consecutive losses, though Boston College’s blowout loss to NC State has created some overreaction in the market.
Louisville may have a very dynamic offense led by Malik Cunningham, but its downfall has been on the other side of the ball.
This Cardinals defense is 120th in opponent yards per game, 102nd in yards per play and 104th in points per game. Those bottom-tier rankings are primarily due to Louisville’s issues in pass defense. Boston College only throws the ball about 44% of the time, but any play-action pass could lead to a big play in this game.
Conversely, the Boston College defense should be able to get plenty of stops against Louisville. One area this Eagles unit thrives in is getting off the field on third down. Not allowing the Cardinals to extend drives will be key since it’ll give BC ample opportunities to put points on the board.
One last area that may help Boston College tremendously is in the amount of flags on the field. The Cardinals average seven penalties per game, amounting to nearly 70 yards, which is 112th in the nation. Boston College has to take shots in this game because it could easily gain yards whether the pass is completed or not.
Our PRO Projections have Louisville as only a 2.9-point favorite. There was a lot of value when this number opened, and there’s still value as the number is hovering around 5.5. I got it early in the week at 6.5 but would play it all the way to +4.
This game is going to be tight, and the backdoor will be open for the Eagles.