College Football Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Favorite Bets for Week 11

College Football Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Favorite Bets for Week 11 article feature image

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Fred Holly III

Sometimes, we like to poke fun at ourselves for betting the worst games on the board.

Yeah, it’s going to be one of those weeks again, starting with none other than Northwestern.

Our experts were hard at work all week compiling their college football best bets, and each boiled down a stellar card to just one play. Unfortunately, none of them came up with anything on Alabama-LSU or Penn State-Minnesota.

Without further adieu, here are our staff’s favorite college football picks for Week 11.

College Football Picks, Week 11

Odds as of Friday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Stuckey: Northwestern -2

  • Odds: Purdue at Northwestern -2
  • Total: 39
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: Big Ten Network

Purdue is down to fourth-string, walk-on quarterback in windy conditions in Evanston. That’s not good against a Northwestern defense I still have as a top 20 unit, especially considering Purdue can’t run the ball at all (second worst in nation in yards per rush ahead of only Akron).

The Northwestern offense is beyond ugly but can score enough on this Purdue defense to get it done.

Trust in the best unit on the field: Northwestern’s defense.

Pick: Northwestern -2 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Kyle Miller: Illinois/MSU Under 45.5

  • Odds: MSU -14.5 vs. Illinois
  • Total: 45.5
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: Fox Sports 1

This game is simple for me. Illinois’ points per play numbers are massively over stated because their defense leads the country in forced turnovers and defensive touchdowns. The Illini rank just 108th in the nation in yards per play and just 91st in explosive play percentage.

Everyone knows that Michigan State has one of the stingiest defenses in the entire nation but a bad offense. Illinois’ defense plays best against pro-style offenses like the one Michigan State runs, so I don’t expect the Spartans to have a big day offensively.

In the trenches, the offensive line/defensive line scores are 82/11 and 85/38 respectively. The defenses are going to rule the day in that respect.

Even more, Michigan State’s starting center and a key receiver are out for this game and the weather is shaping up to be quite windy in East Lansing.

Pick: Under 45.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Danny Donahue: Texas -7

  • Odds: Kansas State at Texas -7
  • Total: 57
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

As much of my betting strategy centers around what the market tells me, I generally find myself backing underdogs — the teams that public bettors want no part of. But just because dogs are my most common bets, doesn’t mean they’re my favorites.

(I’ll see myself out).

Contrarian favorites have been moneymakers in college football, and Texas fits the bill to a tee this weekend. The Longhorns’ 32% backing has generated 42% of money to this point, meaning they’re drawing action from bigger, probably sharper, bettors — a spot that’s created a ridiculous return in our database.

Granted, the sample is small as we’ve had access to money percentages for only the past few years. But with a sound theory and the line movement (-5.5 to -7) serving as further proof of sharp action, I’ll happily fade the K-State hype and lay seven points.

Pick: Texas -7 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Collin Wilson: Texas -7

  • Spread: Texas -7
  • Over/Under: 58
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

I just cannot get enough of Texas. Our Action Network projection sits at -8.5, prompting a play in the Action Network App at -5.5. I would still play this to the projected number because of key statistical areas that give the Longhorns the advantage.

Off consecutive victories against Oklahoma and Kansas, the Wildcats entered the College Football Playoff rankings at 16. Texas head coach Tom Herman comes off a much needed bye week to improve the health of his roster. That is great news for Sam Ehlinger, who may be able to expose the Wildcats’ greatest weakness.


The Kansas State defense is 78th in opponent rushing success and 119th in opponent rushing explosiveness. While Texas is not the most explosive team on the ground, it ranks second in first downs and third in third down conversions because of Ehlinger’s ability to leave the pocket.

The Wildcats benefited from several Oklahoma miscues in a game they would win just 35% of the time, while Kansas was unable to expose the Kansas State rush defense. Texas is in a prime position to take advantage of a Wildcats defense that is 130th in opponent red zone scoring. Kansas State has yet to stop any team from scoring once they reach the red zone, and that is an issue against a team that specializes in rushing for first downs.

Pick: Texas -7 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Steve Petrella: SJSU 1H Moneyline (+200)

  • Odds: San Jose State at Hawaii -8
  • Total: 76.5
  • Time: 11 p.m. ET
  • TV: Facebook

If you love betting Hawaii games but also value your sleep, boy do I have the bet for you.

This is a concept I’ve repeatedly gone back to this season — taking first-half underdogs on the moneyline in games with high totals. The higher the total, the better, in fact.

Games with high totals have more variance. And the idea is that the underdog has a better shot of making things weird in the first half, while the favorite eventually gets itself together, takes care of business in the second half and wins the game.

In these spots, I like to take teams with quarterbacks I can trust, and San Jose State’s Josh Love fits the bill. He’s averaged 8.1 yards per attempt with a 17/4 TD/INT ratio and should pick apart Hawaii’s secondary.

The same of course can be said for Hawaii and whichever quarterback the Bows have under center. But getting +200 on a good offense having a halftime lead against a porous defense is something I’ll always be interested in.

And then we can all go to bed at a reasonable hour and not have to sweat the nonsense that will surely come in the second half of this game.

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