Saturday’s Best College Football Moneyline Underdogs to Bet in Week 15

Saturday’s Best College Football Moneyline Underdogs to Bet in Week 15 article feature image
Credit:

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Will Rogers.

Each week on The Action Network Colleges Podcast, Collin Wilson and I pick our two favorite moneyline underdogs for each Saturday’s college football slate.

We have gone into the black for the season, so it’s now or never in a season that’s winding down. For Week 15, we have gone with two juicy primetime underdogs for Saturday that can hopefully each get us to the window.

  • 2018-19: 29-47 +4.00 units
  • 2020: 8-18 -1.7 units

If you’re feeling lucky, a moneyline parlay of both pays 12.5-1 odds.

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Stuckey: Mississippi State +200

  • Spread: Auburn -6.5
  • Over/Under: 49
  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 12
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Location: Starkville, MS

First off, this is a terrible situational spot for Auburn. After a disappointing 5-4 season, the Tigers will travel to StarkVegas for their regular-season finale. This screams flat spot after games against top-five opponents (Alabama, Texas A&M) in back-to-back weeks.

Meanwhile, Mississippi State has had an extra week of preparation and rest after having a bye last weekend. This game simply means more to the Bulldogs.

Plus, Mike Leach’s offense has looked much better over the past two games with Will Rogers under center. Against Georgia and Ole Miss, Rogers threw for a combined 776 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The freshman, who ran the Air Raid in the high school and was personally recruited by Leach, is just much more comfortable running this offense than transfer KJ Costello. The Stanford transfer threw only one touchdown with eight interceptions over his final four games of action before losing his gig to Rogers.

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO VIEW THE MATCHUP MATRIX

I don’t think Rogers will have any issues moving the ball against a very poor Auburn defense that has just never found its footing in 2020 after losing so much talent along the defensive line and in the secondary.

The Tigers’ 4-2-5 defense has excelled at taking away the big play, but that doesn’t mean much against Mississippi State’s offense. More importantly, Auburn ranks 114th in Passing Success Rate. That could spell trouble for Gus Malzahn’s bunch.

Also, not only are the Tigers not getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks (77th in Sack Rate), but the undersized defensive line has been pushed around all season. Auburn’s defensive front ranks outside the top 100 in Line Yards, per Football Outsiders.

Auburn simply can’t get off the field, ranking 123rd of 127 FBS teams in opponent third-down conversion rate at 54.6%. That comes one year after allowing teams to only convert on only 30% of third-down attempts.

It’s also worth noting that Bo Nix has really struggled away from home throughout his career:

  • Home: 10-2 record 15 touchdowns, one interception
  • Road/Neutral: 4-6 record 11 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
[Bet the Mississippi State moneyline now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

 Wilson: New Mexico +350

  • Spread: Fresno State -12
  • Over/Under: 60
  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 12
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1
  • Location: Albuquerque, NM

Let’s get a little crazy.

At this point in the season, it’s important to take the temperature of teams to gauge which one will remain focused vs. which ones will start to look forward to rejoining their family for Christmas. For example, here are some noteworthy news items that could inform us of the mental state of a few teams:

  • Virginia has made Virginia Tech its last game
  • LSU has self-imposed a bowl ban
  • Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield is backtracking from an interview with South Carolina

No program will openly admit it has checked out, but some prime candidates include Kansas State, UNLV and Arizona — all of which are on losing streaks of four or more games.

When trying to evaluate the mindset of a coaching staff and players heading into these final games, first-year coaches will more than likely still really value getting positive results out of their team. Enter New Mexico under first-year head coach Danny Gonzales, who notched his first victory with the Lobos in Week 14 with an upset over Wyoming.

The Lobos won that game using quarterbacks that began the season at No. 4 and No. 5 on the depth chart in Isaiah Chavez and Connor Genal. Neither quarterback did much against Wyoming’s solid defensive front.

However, running back Bobby Cole ran for 131 yards at six yards per carry against a defense that prides itself on being one of the best run-stopping units in the Mountain West. Wyoming stuffed just 14-o- 50 rushing attempts from the Lobos.

Defensive coordinator Rocky Long, previous head coach of San Diego State, also may have the defense headed in the right direction. Growing pains were expected early on with a scheme change after shortened spring and summer preparation. However, last week, the team held Wyoming to 2.4 yards per play on third downs with a 9% Success Rate.

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO VIEW THE MATCHUP MATRIX

Fresno State does have advantages in the advanced stats and the point spread is close to where I project it, but it has been a trying season for the Bulldogs. New head coach Kalen DeBoer has dealt with a bevy of issues in 2020 that started with the Fresno’s facilities being locked down. As a result, the Bulldogs were not prepared in their opening season loss to Hawaii.

Last week’s loss to Nevada may also cause some hangover effects here, Plus, star running back Ronnie Rivers is questionable. The Bulldogs imploded against the Wolf Pack, turning the ball over three times and allowing 15 yards per play on third downs in the third quarter.

I think it’s worth taking a shot on the moneyline with the underdog in a game featuring two teams that may come in with polar opposite mental states.

[Bet the New Mexico moneyline now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]
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