College Football Odds & Best Bets: Our Staff’s Top 11 Picks for Week 11 (November 13)
Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10).
- Saturday's college football slate is a good one when it comes to betting.
- Our staff came prepared with 11 best bets for Week 11.
- Check out all 11 picks below, including full breakdowns for each game.
Week 11 College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting on Saturday. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations 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.|
Oklahoma vs. Baylor
Oklahoma heads to Waco fresh off a bye week and sitting unblemished at 9-0 and No. 8 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. You have to think head coach Lincoln Riley is fired up that the Committee elected to slot the Sooners below a pair of Michigan schools that each have a loss.
Meanwhile, Baylor heads back home after a disappointing loss to rival TCU in a game the Bears probably let slip away.
Baylor needs to turn the page quickly, as it’s still alive in the Big 12 race but has to win this weekend to keep its Big 12 Championship hopes alive.
I believe there’s real value in Baylor catching almost a touchdown in this game. The Bears have one of the stiffest defenses that Caleb Williams and this Oklahoma offense have seen thus far.
Baylor has been great in stopping the run all year, and Oklahoma’s offensive attack is heavily dependent on the rushing combo of Williams and Kennedy Brooks.
The Bears come in at 20th in the nation in Defensive Rush Success, and I expect them to be one of the first teams this year that will be able to force Williams to consistently make plays with his arm.
On the other side of the ball, there are some real matchup advantages for Gerry Bohanon and the Bears offense. The Sooner defense has been susceptible to big plays, and they come in at 85th in the country in defending the pass.
An experienced Baylor offensive line should be able to give Bohanon the time he needs to find open receivers against a vulnerable Oklahoma secondary.
Ultimately, I believe there’s a pretty decent chance the Bears win this game outright, given some of the defensive issues the Sooners have. I worry a little bit about Riley having two weeks to game plan for this matchup, but that will not make up for some of the clear matchup advantages Baylor has in this game.
Sic ‘em Bears, and give me +6.5.
Pick: Baylor +6.5
Houston vs. Temple
This time of year with the season winding down and just three weeks left, it’s crucial to try and figure out which teams will continue to fight and which teams could throw in the towel.
Temple looks like a team that has quit. In their last four games, the Owls have been outscored, 180-27. Last week, they lost to East Carolina, 45-3. The week before, UCF pounded them, 49-7. Prior to that, a South Florida team that hadn’t beaten an FBS school in two years beat the Owls, 34-14.
Don’t be surprised if Rod Carey is out of a job before Dec. 1, and don’t be surprised if Houston runs it up here.
Since the team’s Week 1 loss at Texas Tech, Houston has won eight straight games, and quarterback Clayton Tune has 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Tune has a 78.7% adjusted completion percentage, per Pro Football Focus, and is graded as the ninth-best passer of all quarterbacks with at least 150 dropbacks.
The Cougs are 10th in the country, averaging 39.1 points per game. They rank 10th in Finishing Drives and have scored a touchdown on 75% of their red-zone attempts, tied with Alabama for seventh in the country.
As good as Houston’s offense has been, the defense is even better. It’s allowed the fewest yards per game in the AAC and ranks ninth in the country.
Houston ranks eighth in Pass Success Rate on defense and should have no problem stopping Temple through the air.
When Temple tries to run the ball, that plays right into Houston’s strength. Good luck running the ball against this front seven. The Cougars rank seventh in the country in Rush Success and sixth in Line Yards. Opponents are averaging just 2.9 yards per rush.
This front seven is also dominant in passing situations and is ranked as one of the top pass rushes in the country. It ranks 12th in Havoc rate and thrives at getting into the backfield.
Temple’s offense has been held under 300 yards in each of the last four games and is averaging just 6.75 points per game over that stretch.
The Owls rank 116th in Pass Success Rate, 89th in Rushing Success, 97th in Line Yards and 126th in Finishing Drives. Their 18.2 points per game mark ranks 120th in the country.
I think Temple will be lucky to score more than 10 points here, and Houston should be able to name its score on offense.
Back the Cougars to run it up on Saturday.
Pick: Houston -24.5
Houston vs. Temple
Things are clicking in Year 3 of the Dana Holgorsen era at Houston.
The Cougars are ranked No. 17 in the nation and have won eight straight games after dropping their season opener to Texas Tech. Houston is 5-4 against the spread this season but has performed well on the road, going 4-1 against the number when playing away from John O’Quinn Field.
The Action Network’s Road Streak PRO System has been activated for this matchup given the Cougars’ success on the road this season.
A win here would be Houston’s fourth consecutive AAC road victory. Houston has its eye on a conference championship appearance, and a win on Saturday will guarantee the Cougars’ place in the AAC Championship against Cincinnati.
The Houston offense is perfectly balanced between the rushing and passing game with a split of 50% between the two. The Cougars have the weapons at both running back and wide receiver to justify a dual-pronged approach.
Last week against South Florida, Houston had multiple 100-yard rushers and multiple 100-yard receivers for the first time in school history.
Weapons are plentiful for junior quarterback Clayton Tune, who is completing over 70% of his passes on the season. Tune has thrown for 19 touchdowns to just six interceptions through nine games.
The Temple Owls are 3-6 on the season but only 1-4 in conference play. The Owls have struggled mightily on defense this season. The permeable defense ranks 121st in scoring defense, surrendering 36.8 points per game.
Things haven’t been much better on the opposite side of the pigskin, where Owls are scoring only 18.2 points per game, tied for 120th in the nation.
Meanwhile, Houston’s electric offense ranks in the top 10 in scoring offense, registering 39.1 points per game. Defensively, the Cougars are again in the top 10, allowing only 299.9 yards per game.
The difference between the two teams becomes even more stark when comparing the Success Rates of the two offenses and defenses.
Based on a combination of traditional and advanced statistics, my model is projecting the Cougars as 34.85-point favorites. This is a big number to lay, but the Cougars have the offensive weapons to cover in addition to a stout defense.
Houston has been at home on the road this season and shouldn’t have a problem putting away the Owls. Lay the 24.5 points in Philly.
Pick: Houston -24.5
Georgia State vs. Coastal Carolina
Let me start off by saying Grayson McCall has been incredible this season, leading all quarterbacks in EPA. With him in the lineup, I make Coastal about a 17-point favorite here.
So, why am I taking Georgia State +10.5 as my best bet? Well, McCall isn’t playing due to an injury, and I have him worth about 10 points to the spread — about as high as you’ll find.
Coastal has arguably been a top-five offense this season with McCall even adjusting for schedule.
Yes, Coastal covered last week with Bryce Carpenter at quarterback, but that came against a free-falling Georgia Southern team. Plus, that game was 0-0 late in the first half (in a monsoon) before Coastal scored 21 points after two GaSo fumbles in its own territory followed by a blocked punt touchdown. Twenty-one points in a flash because of Georgia Southern mistakes, and game over.
I could be way off with my McCall assumption, but there are other things I like here.
Georgia State should come in highly motivated for this game. Not only is it still chasing bowl eligibility, but it’s talked all week about avenging an absolutely embarrassing 51-0 home loss at the hands of the Chants last year.
I also think the Panthers will have success on the ground against a Coastal front I think can be had in that department.
And it’s not like Coastal has looked overly impressive against the competent teams it’s played. The Chants barely beat Buffalo — which I have outside the top 100 — by three on the road, snuck by Troy at home by seven and lost at Appalachian State.
Here are the other teams they defeated:
- The Citadel
- Louisiana Monroe
- Arkansas State
That’s an FCS team and four of the six worst FBS teams in my latest power ratings. Yikes.
Maybe I’m wrong about McCall’s replacement value, but I’m willing to pay to find out by backing what should be a highly motivated Georgia State team with some decent on-field advantages.
Pick: Georgia State +10.5
Boston College vs. Georgia Tech
By Doug Ziefel
We saw last week just how different this Boston College offense is with its leader, quarterback Phil Jurkovec, on the field.
Jurkovec returned from injury for the “Red Bandana Game” and sparked the offense as he led the Eagles to an upset win over Virginia Tech. His ability as a dual-threat option at 6-foot-5 and 226 pounds makes him hard to tackle once he gets a full head of steam.
Now, Jurkovec and his crew head to Atlanta, where they will face a vulnerable Georgia Tech defense.
The Yellow Jackets are 112th in the nation in yards allowed per game. The majority of that comes through the air, as they have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 67% of their passes, which is 114th amongst FBS teams.
On the other side of the ball, the story is quite the opposite. The Eagles have been stout on defense this season.
This unit has held opponents to an average of 21 points per game, and unlike its opponent, the Boston College secondary has been great. It ranks sixth in opponent passing yards allowed and has limited quarterbacks to just a 57% completion percentage.
The Eagles defense has been outstanding in two key situations this year. They are 20th in opponent third-down percentage and 19th in opponent red-zone scoring percentage.
It’s these situations that are critical for Boston College to create and build momentum as its defense will be off the field and points will be left off the scoreboard.
Boston College will be able to move the ball behind Jurkovec’s thundering runs, and we may even see him air it out a bit against this suspect Yellow Jacket secondary.
As long as BC can contain the run game and string together stops, it’s very live dogs in this one. It even deserves a little moneyline sprinkle if you can find it at plus-money.
Pick: Boston College +2
Boston College vs. Georgia Tech
By Shawn Burns
After his team struggled in his absence, Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec made his return last week in the win over Virginia Tech following a hand injury early in the season.
It wasn’t a vintage Jurkovec performance, but he ran for a score and made a few key throws in the win. The Eagles are now 5-4 and will become bowl eligible with a win over Georgia Tech.
Jurkovec was clearly rusty against Virginia Tech, and after a full week of practice, look for him to be much more comfortable against a Georgia Tech defense that has struggled all season.
The Yellow Jackets are ranked 87th in scoring defense, 110th in passing defense and 111th in third-down defense.
Georgia Tech has scored at least 30 points in four of its past six games and averages 176 yards rushing per game.
It’s unclear who will start at quarterback for GT. It will either be Jeff Sims or Jordan Yates, but both are dual-threat quarterbacks who can create plays in the passing game and on the ground.
Running Back Jahmyr Gibbs is one of the most electric players in the country, and the Jackets have three backs who average over five yards per carry.
Boston College struggled defensively against Louisville and Syracuse, which also have mobile quarterbacks and strong rushing attacks.
Jurkovec is a legitimate NFL prospect, and I expect him to have a big game against a struggling Georgia Tech defense. At the same time, the Yellow Jackets have the skill position players to give Boston College fits defensively.
This will be a high-scoring matchup Saturday afternoon in Atlanta.
Pick: Over 54
Miami vs. Florida State
The Florida State offense has been steadily improving with Jordan Travis under center. Now, Travis didn’t play last weekend against NC State, but Travis is averaging 7.7 yards per attempt and has a 72.3 passing grade this season, per PFF.
However, the strength of the Florida State offense has been its rushing attack. The running back tandem of Jashaun Corbin and Treshaun Ward is averaging a whopping 6.9 yards per attempt.
That has led the Florida State rushing attack to a ranking of 28th in EPA/Rush, 18th in Offensive Line Yards, and seventh in rushing explosiveness.
It will be able to run the ball all over Miami’s front seven that’s allowing 4.3 yards per rush and ranks outside the top 70 in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, rushing explosiveness allowed, and EPA/Rush allowed.
The Miami offense had to make a switch at quarterback with D’Eriq King being out for the season. However, Tyler Van Dyke has been really good in his five starts, averaging 9.6 yards per attempt with a 73.4 passing grade, per PFF.
However, this game is likely going to be on his shoulders because the Hurricanes’ run game has been absent all season, mainly due to struggles on the offensive line.
Miami ranks 87th in Rushing Success Rate, 127th in Offensive Line Yards, 128th in Stuff Rate Allowed, and 106th in EPA/Rush.
The strength of the Florida State defense is in its front seven, as the Seminoles are allowing only 4.0 yards per carry and have the 15th-best run defense grade, per PFF.
I have Florida State projected as a -2.3 favorite, so I think there’s some value on the Seminoles at +3.
Pick: Florida State +3
Maryland vs. Michigan State
Michigan State is coming off a clunker of a loss to Purdue after riding the high of beating in-state rival Michigan — a win that put it in sole possession of first in the Big Ten.
This makes its showdown with Ohio State next week even more vital, as it’s a must-win if it wants to keep its Big Ten Championship hopes alive.
But before that showdown, the Spartans have to go against Maryland first. In a potential look-ahead spot, this matchup brings some betting intrigue.
Maryland is in the middle of a rebuild, one that’s seeing some modest success after years of being in the basement of the Big Ten.
This is in part due to quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, who has taken the next step up in his development. He has led the Terps to a Pass Success ranking of 22nd, one that is sure to shred the MSU secondary.
If the offensive line can hold off Michigan State’s top-10 pass rush, then Tagovailoa will have plenty of opportunities to attack a poor Def. Pass Success unit.
Thirteen points is a large number for MSU to cover, especially when a bulk of its game plan will be focused on the run game. Maryland has a weak rush defense, one that Heisman candidate Kenneth Walker III will look to exploit.
If it goes run heavy as expected, that will bleed the clock all game. If Maryland can stop Walker from busting out a big play, it should find itself within the number all game.
We also potentially have a spot in which MSU calls off the starters late in the game to prepare for OSU, giving us any backdoor chances we may need.
I played Maryland +13 and would play this no less than +10.5.
Pick: Maryland +13
South Carolina vs. Missouri
South Carolina’s daunting pass rush made life miserable for Florida last weekend. Will it matter versus Missouri?
The Tigers have one of the best running backs in the country in Badie, who owns the third-best Yards per Team Attempt (2.11) in the country for draft-eligible prospects. He’s also responsible for more than 3/4 of the production out of Missouri’s backfield.
The Gamecocks give up close to five yards per pop on the ground this season and have watched that number balloon to 5.8 over the last three. They’ve allowed a grand total of five rushers to pass the century mark this season.
Missouri’s ceiling might be capped in 2021, but Badie’s chasing history: He only needs a couple hundred more yards to shatter the school’s single-season record.
He’ll be the workhorse Saturday in a game he should effortlessly crush this number.
Pick: Tyler Badie over 85.5 rushing yards
NC State vs. Wake Forest
By Alex Hinton
NC State and Wake Forest will meet in Winston-Salem in what will be a huge game in determining the winner of the ACC Atlantic. I think this is a situation in which the wrong team is favored.
NC State is 23rd in SP+ ranking, while Wake Forest is 34th. NC State and Wake Forest are both capable of putting a ton of points on the board, but NC State has the better defense in this game.
The Wolfpack are sixth in scoring defense while ranking third in both standard down Success Rate Allowed and Rushing Success Rate Allowed. Conversely, Wake Forest is 76th in scoring defense, 109th in Passing Play Success Rate Allowed, and 112th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.
While this will likely be a high-scoring game, I trust NC State to get more stops when it needs to.
This line opened at +2.5 and has slowly been drifting in favor of NC State, which is currently +1 on DraftKings. While you could simply take NC State to cover, you would only take it to cover one point if you think it will win the game outright.
Taking the Wolfpack as a short favorite on an alternative spread maximizes the value. You could take +1 at -110 or -2.5 at +130. If you’re feeling really bold, you could take the alternative up higher in NC State’s direction.
However, I like the Wolfpack to at least win by a field goal.
Pick: NC State -2.5 (+130)
Nevada vs. San Diego State
Nevada opened as a one-point underdog, but that number quickly shot up to three for Saturday’s matchup against San Diego State.
The Aztecs are 8-1 on the season and currently tied with Nevada for the top spot in the Mountain West West Division.
San Diego State has leaned on its defense that has allowed just under 17 points per game this season. But it’s had the 119th-easiest schedule through nine weeks in the season, according to PFF.
The Aztecs snuck by San Jose State, Air Force, and Hawaii with one-score victories.
San Diego State matched up against its first true passing threat in Fresno State two weeks ago, a game it lost, 30-20. The defense allowed over 300 passing yards and 7.1 yards per pass attempt. This week, the Aztecs welcome the top passing attack in the Mountain West in Nevada.
Quarterback Carson Strong is averaging over 350 passing yards per game while putting up 7.8 yards per passing attempt. He’s tossed 25 touchdowns on the season and completed over 70% of his pass attempts this season.
The Wolf Pack are scoring over 36 points per game and averaging nearly 450 total yards per game.
San Diego State has been playing its games at Dignity Health Sports Park while its own stadium is slated to be finished for next season. In the home loss to Fresno, there was a crowd of only 11,000 people, and it was rumored the majority of them were supporting Fresno State. It will be a similar situation in this matchup. It won’t feel like a home game for SDSU.
San Diego State won’t be able to keep up offensively, and the Aztecs’ true colors are going to be shown late in the season as the competition finally stiffens.