College Football Picks for Saturday: Texas, Auburn Among Our Favorite ‘Favorite’ Bets
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Quinn Ewers of the Texas Longhorns.
- Another college football Saturday means a couple more overdogs.
- Stuckey and Collin Wilson are betting Auburn and Texas on Saturday and explain why below.
- Read on for their full breakdowns of both Saturday college football games.
The college football season rolls on to Week 11 as we approach the home stretch.
You might be familiar with our weekly moneyline underdog article.
Well, we decided last year we needed to show love for the other side by also sharing our two favorite college football favorites, which we talk about weekly on the "Big Bets on Campus" podcast.
We affectionately refer to them as "overdogs," thanks to one of our beloved callers.
After a hot start, we split for weeks while in search of the sweep. Sadly, the brooms found us before we did them last weekend in a winless effort with Arizona winning but failing to cover for me and Air Force losing outright to Hawaii in a stunner.
As a result, our record drops to 12-10 (54.5%) on the season. It's time to finish with a bang.
For Week 12, I'll kick things off with a massive home favorite, while Collin will close up shop with a medium-sized conference road favorite.
Stuckey: Auburn -24
I've gone on record many times stating that this New Mexico State team is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme that simply hasn't been fully exposed.
I will tip my cap to head coach Jerry Kill for getting this roster to the CUSA Championship. Even in one of the worst leagues we've ever seen, eight wins is quite an accomplishment in Las Cruces.
Also, this team has admittedly cost me money the past three times I've faded them after doing so successfully three times to start the season. However, those losses came against three horrid teams in Middle Tennessee, Sam Houston and Louisiana Tech.
None of those results made me change my tune on the Aggies, who were actually outplayed statistically against a horrid LA Tech team and only covered against the Blue Raiders due to a missed 30-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter.
Fortunately, this week, I don't have to worry about a bottom-feeder making a mistake to blow the cover against NMSU, which will take a colossal step up in class against an SEC team after facing absolutely nobody all season.
Per Sagarin's strength of schedule rankings, which include FCS teams, New Mexico State sits at 150th nationally in schedule difficulty. That's almost impossible for an FBS team. For reference, FCS Southern Utah has faced a harder schedule, while fellow league foe Liberty has the next easiest among FBS teams at 133, which speaks to the impoverished state of CUSA football in 2023.
Meanwhile, Auburn has a top-30 schedule difficulty with three of its four losses coming against teams ranked inside the top 30. In comparison, New Mexico State has suffered defeats against Hawaii, Liberty and UMass, which lost by 45 earlier this season in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Additionally, quarterback Diego Pavia, whose legs drive everything for the NMSU offense, is listed as questionable with an injury.
I'd have to imagine Kill would err on the side of caution with any of his even remotely injured players, especially his starting quarterback dealing with a hamstring issue, against an SEC defense.
The Aggies already clinched a bowl berth and a spot in the conference title game, which should be their primary focus.
Even if he does suit up, he may not have 100% mobility.
Plus, Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze has plenty of familiarity with Pavia and this offense from his time with Liberty last season. In this scenario, Kill could also pull Pavia early to avoid re-injury if the Aggies fall behind by a wide margin.
The talent and athletic mismatch in this game is monumental. That alone should eventually lead to a complete blowout, especially since Auburn's offense has finally started to show signs of life under Freeze as most expected as the season progressed.
Some may point out that Auburn could be caught looking ahead to next week's Iron Bowl matchup with Alabama. It's definitely worth mentioning, but in the previous five games against Group of Five or FCS teams in this exact spot on the schedule, the Tigers won each by at least 24 with an average margin of victory of more than 42 points, including two contests against current CUSA schools.
Plus, Hugh Freeze's teams have always thrived as large favorites in the past. Since 2005, he's a sparkling 26-12-1 ATS (73.3%) when favored by more than 14 points against FBS teams, making him the most profitable among over 200 coaches in that role.
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Wilson: Texas -7.5
The Longhorns are running the gambit of the Big 12 schedule, with a stop in Ames coming in Week 12.
Back at full health, Quinn Ewers returned under center against TCU, generating 317 yards of passing with a touchdown and interception. The redshirt sophomore will now take on the 3-3-5 stack personnel of Iowa State, a staple of the Cyclones defense during the Matt Campbell era.
Ewers has seen plenty of the nickel stack set with a light box in Big 12 play, specifically in this game a season ago. In that game, Ewers lit up Iowa State for three touchdowns and no interceptions with just a single turnover-worthy play.
With running back Jonathan Brooks out for the remainder of the season, Ewers should get even more passing attempts, which should benefit the Longhorns in this particular matchup.
Iowa State has quietly put together a very surprising run to bowl eligibility after a number of players were suspended in a preseason gambling investigation. Campbell deserves credit for the job he's done under all of the adversity. It's certainly impressive that the Cyclones are still in the mix for a Big 12 title.
However, I believe those dreams will come to an end on Saturday night.
Ewers should have success through the air and Iowa State's inefficient offense simply won't be able to keep up against a Texas defense that completely takes away opposing ground games.
The Longhorns rank top-10 in Defensive Rushing Success and Stuff Rate while also posting the nation's second-best numbers in third-down defense.
Iowa State running back Eli Sanders has had no juice in creating missed tackles or extra yardage after contact, so it should be third-and-long for Iowa State all night long, which won't end well for Rocco Becht behind a suspect offensive line against this Texas secondary and pass rush.
Becht has struggled to produce efficient drives and explosives against quarters coverage, a package used the most by Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski.
Iowa State should come out with its hair on fire, but Texas simply has too much talent and matchup advantages on both sides of the ball.