Saturday College Football Best Bets: Late-Night Picks for Oregon State vs Washington, Stanford vs Cal
Tom Hauck/Getty Images. Pictured: The Oregon State Beavers.
Saturday Night College Football Best Bets
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There's something special about the late-night games after a full day of college football, and we have a few to dive into here.
Our college football staff broke down three evening games on Saturday's slate and came through with picks for Stanford vs. Cal, Oregon State vs. Washington and Utah State vs. Boise State.
Check out all three breakdowns for our Saturday night college football best bets below — and be sure to take a peak at our top picks for Saturday's noon and afternoon kickoff windows as well.
Cal vs. Stanford
Cal picked up its biggest win of the season last week, taking down Washington State, 42-39, at home. It was the Golden Bears’ first win since September.
Therefore, I’m expecting a letdown performance here.
Meanwhile, Stanford should bounce back after being obliterated by Oregon State 62-17 last week. Playing in Corvallis is tough, so I don’t blame the Trees.
Before that toughie, the Cardinal were playing better. They covered the number in three of the four prior games, including posting a nine-point loss to Washington as 27.5-point ‘dogs and a three-point loss to Colorado as two-touchdown ‘dogs.
The most notable result from that stretch was a three-point road win over Washington State.
If Cal beat Wazzu by three at home, and Stanford beat Wazzu by three on the road, then by using the transitive property, why are we giving the Trees a touchdown at home to the Golden Bears?
In the offseason, Stanford went through a complete rebuild, with former FCS Sacramento State Hornets coach Troy Taylor taking over a wholly gutted program. Taylor had only six returning starters and ranked 131st in experience entering the year.
However, Taylor is a good coach. So is first-year defensive coordinator Bobby April, the former linebackers coach at Wisconsin. I liked the Hornets offensive scheme and Wisco defensive scheme they were installing.
So, it makes sense that this team would be playing its best football late in the season. It seems like they are, so I think Stanford’s a tad undervalued.
Our Action PRO Model thinks it is, given our internal numbers project Stanford as a five-point underdog here.
So, I’ll take them to keep building momentum here.
Pick: Stanford +7 (Play to +6)
Boise State vs. Utah State
This is one of the many “Eligibowls” being played between 5-5 teams this Saturday. The difference is that Utah State is surging and Boise State is reeling in the wake of firing head coach Andy Avalos.
And just for good measure, Utah State gets to host this pivotal game.
The Aggies are the most profitable home team ATS in the Mountain West dating back to 2012, and they’re 4-1 at Maverik Stadium this season.
Another element trending in their favor is how well they’ve played against quality opponents, albeit in losing efforts. They scored 14 points against Iowa, no small feat, came within one score of undefeated James Madison and nearly upset Fresno State, falling by five.
Those losses have depressed this spread, a game that I believe has the wrong team favored.
Utah State enters with an electric passing attack that's up to 16th in explosives generated through the air. It's scored 73 points in the past two weeks and the receiving corp of of Jalen Royals, Terrell Vaughn and Micah Davis has been getting better each week.
The trio has been unstoppable in its last two games, combining for 33 receptions, 353 yards and four touchdowns.
Boise’s secondary? Not so impressive. The Boise pass defense gives up explosives left and right and is ranked 109th in that department.
Ashton Jeanty is practicing again, but he has a big bulky knee brace. They haven’t said for sure that he’s a go in this game, and without him playing at a high level, I don’t think Boise can keep pace in a likely shootout.
I’ll play USU down to +125 on the moneyline here.
Pick: Utah State ML +164 (Play to +125)
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Washington vs. Oregon State
Trenches. Venue. Spot. Karma.
When all four of these factors line up, a game becomes a must-bet.
I could go into a lot further detail on the several matchup advantages the Beavers have in this game.
To put it simply, Oregon State is the more physical team up front on both sides of the ball. Washington has not faced a rushing attack like it will see in Corvallis.
On Saturday, Reser Stadium will be as pure of an atmosphere as you’ll see this season. One of those environments where you walk in and say “there’s just no way the home team can lose tonight.”
Washington has been on an escape act for weeks now. It can’t stop anybody. The pressure of an undefeated season continues to build, as do the distractions that come with that.
Meanwhile, for the Beavers, it’s senior night and the final home game of the year. It’s a give-everything-you-have spot.
Lastly, Oregon State was completely abandoned. It may not have a schedule to play next year. It may not be able to find 12 games. Teams like Washington and Oregon leaving for greener pastures had a key part to play in that.
The Beavers are still alive in this Pac-12 race. They’re the team destined to win this game.