Saturday College Football Odds & Picks: Collin Wilson’s Favorite Bets for USC vs. UCLA, Plus 2 More Week 15 Games

Saturday College Football Odds & Picks: Collin Wilson’s Favorite Bets for USC vs. UCLA, Plus 2 More Week 15 Games article feature image
Credit:

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: USC Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis (9).

  • We're one week away from conference championship week, but that doesn't mean Week 15 should be overlooked from a betting perspective.
  • Collin Wilson nailed down three games in which he sees betting value, including Alabama vs. Arkansas, Utah vs. Colorado, and USC vs. UCLA.
  • Check out all of Collin's breakdowns, plus betting picks for each of the three games below.

The end of the college football season is near.

As we enjoy this final regular-season week of the weird 2020 season, we can look forward with excitement for championship weekend followed by a bowl season that will be unlike any other.

Looking back at Week 1, this never seemed certain. We hoped to get to this point back when Austin Peay took on Central Arkansas on opening night. Now, we’ve made it.

That’s the beauty of college football. Anything can happen, even if we don’t expect it.

Now, with Week 15 on the schedule, three games made their way onto my betting card, including the clear-cut top team in the country and two Pac-12 squads trying to keep their undefeated seasons alive.

Let’s dive in.

Check out the Action Network Power Ratings for all Week 15 games and follow me on the Action App for the latest updates.


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My College Football Betting Card for Week 15

Here’s a rundown of my favorite betting spots on Saturday’s slate of games:

Kickoff Time
Matchup
12 p.m. ET
Alabama vs. Arkansas
12 p.m. ET
Utah vs. Colorado
7:30 p.m. ET
USC vs. UCLA

All listed odds have been updated as of Friday morning and via DraftKings. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown 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.


CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Kickoff Time
Matchup
12 p.m. ET
Alabama vs. Arkansas
12 p.m. ET
Utah vs. Colorado
7:30 p.m. ET
USC vs. UCLA

#1 Alabama vs. Arkansas

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 15
Alabama Odds -32.5 [BET NOW]
Arkansas Odds +32.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline N/A
Over/Under 68.5 [BET NOW]
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
(Photo Credit: Kelly Chase/Collegiate Images/Getty Images).

Alabama looks to cap off an undefeated conference slate and remain on track for a perfect season for the first time since 2009 on Saturday when it faces Arkansas.

The Crimson Tide roll off of two intense rivalry covers against Auburn and LSU. Nick Saban has Alabama at 7-2 against the spread this season, with both of those cover losses on the road.

No matter what happened against Missouri and what happens against Alabama, this is a successful season for Arkansas. Head coach Sam Pittman has won three conference games in his first season against a Sagarin strength of schedule that ranks second in the country.

The Razorbacks have not won three conference games since 2016, and an SEC officiating mistake against Auburn may have kept Arkansas from a high-profile bowl game.

Alabama Crimson Tide

When asked about Alabama, the head coach of Arkansas had nothing but praise. Pittman is considered one of the elite offensive line and recruiting coaches in the country.

He’s responsible for the success at Arkansas during the good years for Bret Bielema and for the Georgia offensive line in its last three campaigns. Pittman knows a thing or two about an offensive line, and when asked about the Crimson Tide, remarked, “Their offensive line is the best in college football.”

Ranked in the top 20 in pass and run blocking by Pro Football Focus, three of the Tide’s starters will play in the NFL next year.

Besides a victory over Arkansas, there are individual goals for Alabama before its SEC Championship game against Florida.

Mac Jones is in a tight race with the Gators’ Kyle Trask for the Heisman Trophy. Jones trails Trask by 11 in the touchdown category, but consider the gap in passing attempts, which sits at 64. Jones trails Trask in total passing yards by just 131, but dominates in adjusted completion percentage at 82.4%.

That number leads all FBS quarterbacks with a minimum of 200 dropbacks.

The unsung hero of the Alabama season has been its defense. The Defensive Passing Success Rate of 27th and coverage grade of sixth in the country is an element that had been missing from previous Crimson Tide teams. Cornerback play has been some of the best in the nation, as Malachi Moore, Josh Jobe and Patrick Surtain II have a combined 135 targets and have allowed just two touchdowns with 19 pass breakups.

 


Arkansas Razorbacks

Feleipe Franks’ injury was kept under wraps until a few hours before kickoff last week.

Redshirt freshman KJ Jefferson took over the reins after having 31 pass attempts under Chad Morris in 2019. The Razorbacks have been one of the fastest teams in the nation under offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, but against Missouri, that mark was two seconds faster at 18.9 per play.

While the passing attack may not be as polished without Franks under center, Jefferson is a dynamic runner who created five missed tackles and recorded 44 yards after contact against Missouri. Look for Arkansas to stay in a ground-based attack against Alabama while using plenty of presnap motion for Treylon Burks and Trelon Smith to get touches.

The bigger news from the Missouri game was the absence of multiple defenders in the Tigers’ comeback. Grant Morgan, the third-leading tackler in FBS, left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. Starting cornerback Montaric Brown also suffered an injury as the Razorbacks’ two-touchdown lead collapsed in Columbia.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Arkansas may not be able to put up any resistance in the fight against the domination Alabama has put on the college football world.

There are two key injuries on the Razorback side that are worth monitoring. Both Feleipe Franks and Grant Morgan are leaders on each side of the ball, but the defense does not have the luxury of a KJ Jefferson-type backup. Both players have a “wait and see” injury, per Pittman. Franks was practicing on Monday, but Morgan is dealing with an MCL sprain in the knee, which generally takes six weeks for recovery.

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO VIEW COLLIN’S MATCHUP MATRIX

Alabama should not be interrupted in its quest to obtain a victory and get Jones his passing numbers, especially with a Razorback linebacker unit missing one of the best tacklers in the nation. Even with the famous Jefferson Pilot timeslot of 11 a.m. CT, the Crimson Tide should score the bulk of their points in the first half.

There’s consideration for Arkansas in the full game, as there’s mutual respect between Pittman and Saban. As pathetic as Razorback football has been in the Bielema and Morris tenure, Alabama has covered in Fayetteville only twice in its past six trips.

This is just not a division matchup in which Saban feels he needs to drive home a point against an opposing coach. Alabama has kept its first-team defense in the game until the last snap in blowouts of Auburn and LSU, but the expectation is that no starter on either side of the ball will be in the game during the second half. The Tua Tagovailoa late injury in a blowout of Mississippi State may still be fresh on the mind of Saban.

This game should be filled with points early, but look for a resilient Arkansas squad to keep fighting until the last snap. Pittman will have the Hogs in the Gator or Texas Bowl, per Brett McMurphy, and the team has shown no quit at any point this season. The first-half over is based on Jones getting his Heisman numbers, but look for Arkansas live when that number climbs north of five touchdowns.

Pick: First-Half Over 37 or better.

[Bet the Alabama-Arkansas first-half 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
Alabama vs. Arkansas
12 p.m. ET
Utah vs. Colorado
7:30 p.m. ET
USC vs. UCLA

Utah vs. No. 21 Colorado

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 15
Utah Odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Colorado Odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +110/-134 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 47.5 [BET NOW]
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV FOX
(Photo Credit: Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Both Colorado and Utah have represented the South Division in the Pac-12 Championship game in three of the last four years.

Sadly, the Buffaloes might finish their season undefeated and not participate in the title game. Colorado has had two games canceled due to COVID-19, one of which was against undefeated USC. But Colorado still has plenty to play for in finishing 4-0 in head coach Karl Dorrell’s opening season.

As for Utah, head coach Kyle Whittingham dealt with a roster that was last in returning production on the 2020 season. The Utes obtained their first win against Oregon State last week, limiting the Beavers to zero explosive drives.

Utah Utes

The days of Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss are over, but that has made room for Ty Jordan. The freshman put up 167 yards against Oregon State, averaging 6.2 yards per rush, and now averages 4.3 yards after contact.

While Jordan has led Utah to a top-25 ranking in Rushing Success Rate, the quarterback play of South Carolina transfer Jake Bentley has not been as successful. In three games, the Utes have just two passes that have exceeded 30 yards. Not all of this can be blamed on Bentley, as the offensive line ranks 121st in grading, per Pro Football Focus. In 94 dropbacks, Utah has allowed pressure in over half of the attempts at 48.


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Colorado Buffaloes

The Buffaloes’ hire of Dorrell was considered an odd pick. An NFL assistant for the majority of the past 13 years, Dorrell had not been a head coach since 2007, when he was at UCLA.

Colorado now fields a defense that is fourth overall in Success Rate and fifth in defensive Havoc. Defensive coordinator Tyson Summers had bounced around his career from Georgia, UAB and was fired as the Georgia Southern head coach in 2017 after an 0-6 start.

Colorado had one of the worst returning production ranks on offense to start 2020. The loss of Laviska Shenault should have limited the highlights of the offense, but senior Sam Noyer has had moments of brilliance.

Noyer is a true dual-threat quarterback with 148 rushing yards coming on designed plays and just 39 coming from scrambles. Colorado is a run-first team with a 65% rushing ratio, which is good news for an offense that ranks top-20 in Power Success Rate.

Betting Analysis & Pick

There’s a chance that we haven’t seen Utah’s best play after breaking in new players and dealing with COVID-19 for much of the season.

There was a breakout against Oregon State, with a 60% Success Rate in standard downs for an average of 5.84 yards per attempt. Sustainable drives were lacking for the Utes, but they notched 54% in two-plus first down drives against the Beavers, a category in which the national average is 41%.

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO VIEW COLLIN’S MATCHUP MATRIX

Will the Utah defense have enough to deal with the dual-threat capabilities of Noyer?

Oregon State backup Chance Nolan had 13 rushing attempts for 36 yards, but a long of 28 yards deserves a deeper look. In three designed runs, Nolan went for 27 yards with four avoided tackles. This suggests that Noyer should have plenty of success in designed quarterback runs.

As for the market, the threat of wind, snow and fog may make this game a beautiful watch on Saturday afternoon. These are two rush-heavy offenses, so the weather should not affect either team’s ability to get into scoring position.

The fog in the Oregon-Oregon State game led to 79 total points and should have no bearing on two squads with explosive running options. The Action Network Pace Report makes this game 53, while our Power Ratings have Utah favored.

The market should continue to steam the total down with the combination of weather and Colorado’s defensive numbers. Grab an over ticket and expect Utah to challenge the Buffaloes’ undefeated season.

Picks: Over 49.5 or better | Utah +2 or better.

[Bet Utah and the Utah-Colorado 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
Alabama vs. Arkansas
12 p.m. ET
Utah vs. Colorado
7:30 p.m. ET
USC vs. UCLA

No. 15 USC vs. UCLA 

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 15
USC Odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
UCLA Odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -132/+110 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 62.5 [BET NOW]
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ABC
(Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images).

This will be the 90th meeting of the battle for the Victory Bell, as USC leads the series against UCLA by a 42-32-7 margin.

UCLA has played five games in this shortened Pac-12 season, with its most recent victories over Arizona State and Arizona. The Trojans are undefeated after four games and rank 15th in the latest College Football Playoff standings.

USC Trojans

Clay Helton’s seat may have cooled during the pandemic for one simple reason. His change made at defensive coordinator is paying dividends. The Clancy Pendergast era left the Trojans outside of the top 100 in plenty of categories, but the Todd Orlando era is off to a great start. USC ranks 16th in pass coverage while putting up a serviceable rush defense.

The USC offense had been under a microscope after navigating rough waters through the first two games. After returning to national average levels in Success Rate against Utah, the Trojans soared against Washington State on Sunday night college football.

Kedon Slovis led an attack that had saw seven passes go over 15-yards and a 53% Success Rate on passing plays. The Air Raid offense took a month to get in rhythm, but the results are now sustainable. Slovis finished the Cougars with five touchdowns and hitting nine different receivers during the game.


UCLA Bruins

Through five games, the Bruins have lost two games by a combined nine points. Chip Kelly managed a victory against Arizona without starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The junior returned to action in a victory over Arizona State, throwing for an efficient 75% while accumulating two touchdowns.

The UCLA defensive front has applied pressure to Pac-12 quarterbacks this season, ranking top-15 in the nation. The biggest contributor to the Bruins’ defensive turnaround is Osa Odighizuwa. The senior has produced a team-high nine quarterback hurries and five sacks.

Betting Analysis & Pick

This spot may feel similar to last season, as UCLA catches USC when the Air Raid is clicking. In 2019, Slovis threw for 515 yards and four touchdowns. The Bruins have improved against the pass this season, a result of bringing in the 4-2-5 scheme with defensive backs coach Brian Norwood.

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO VIEW COLLIN’S MATCHUP MATRIX

Odighizuwa and the rest of the UCLA defense should put pressure on Slovis, but the Trojan quarterback has been excellent so far this season. The sophomore has a higher adjusted completion percentage when blitzed versus no blitz. Slovis’ two interceptions on the season came on downs when the defense did not bring pressure.

College fantasy football leagues should take note of USC’s missing rush defense, ranking 115th in defensive rush explosiveness. Thompson-Robinson and the rest of the Bruin offense should break big runs against a Trojan defense that ranks 101st in tackling.

The biggest handicap is UCLA’s ability to stop the USC passing attack. Defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro was torched last season in a different scheme, but the implementation of a 4-2-5 may not help against USC.

Generally, the 3-3-5 scheme is a great formation with eight pass defenders. UCLA will pressure Slovis,  but that’s a situation in which the quarterback has excelled.

Pick: USC -2.5.

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

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