Welcome to Week 11 of the college football season.
Each week, our VSiN experts will combine to give their best bets on select games.
We had a 4-4 showing in Week 9 and we’re looking to get on the plus side in Week 11. Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Wednesday night. Go to VSiN.com for Betting Splits and live odds across the college football market.
Season record: 45-49-1
Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET
Adam Burke: Jake Haener may be the most impactful player to return from an injury in college football this season. In two games since coming back, the Fresno State quarterback has thrown for 721 yards and completed over 78% of his passes in wins against San Diego State and Hawaii. He had three touchdowns against the Aztecs and four against the Rainbow Warriors. Backup Logan Fife had two touchdown passes in four starts and a relief appearance.
Haener and the Bulldogs draw a UNLV team that simply won’t be able to keep pace. After starting 4-1 (with a close loss at Cal as the only blemish), the Rebels have dropped four straight and have been outscored 140-45. Doug Brumfield returned last week against San Diego State but was largely ineffective except for a 70-yard pass that accounted for nearly 34% of his passing yards for the game. He threw two picks and was sacked three times.
Marcus Arroyo isn’t a very good coach and teams have adjusted to everything the Rebels are doing. Based on the final scores, UNLV hasn’t been able to adjust back. My line on this game is Fresno -12 and Haener should have the opportunity to put on a show at Allegiant Stadium. The Rebels won’t be able to keep up.
Pick: Fresno State -9.5
Saturday, Noon ET
Adam Burke: The wind isn’t going to be as extreme as it was last week around the Big Ten, but several passing offenses are going to struggle. One such offense is Purdue. The Boilermakers only managed 255 yards of offense last week against Iowa as the winds swirled in West Lafayette. With gusts in the 20-25 mph range expected in Champaign for this week’s rivalry game, Illinois’ strong rushing attack should be better suited for the conditions.
Purdue has dominated this rivalry, winning five of the last six and 13 of 17, but this is the Illini’s best season in quite some time and Bret Bielema’s team should be focused after last week’s loss to Michigan State. That setback tightened up the Big Ten West, but a win over Purdue after earlier wins over Wisconsin and Iowa would give the Illini a cushion before a likely loss to Michigan next week.
Illinois was a right-side loser last week. The Illini outgained Michigan State by nearly 150 yards. Illinois was just 1-of-6 on third down and had other self-inflicted wounds. Losing to this version of Michigan State looks bad, but Illinois deserved a better fate. The full body of work is why Illinois is laying nearly a touchdown here and this line is pretty telling. Personally, I have it Illinois -8, so I’ll lay the number with the second-ranked defense in the nation by yards per play and the wind providing a helping hand.
Pick: Illinois -6.5
Saturday, Noon ET
Wes Reynolds: LSU pulled the upset over Alabama by going for two and converting in overtime last weekend. Now the Tigers take to the road for an early Saturday kick-off in Fayetteville against an Arkansas team that lost outright at home as over 14-point favorites to Liberty.
Arkansas ranks 10th in the nation for rushing offense averaging 233.3 on the ground per game, which is very attractive for an underdog that can run the ball and control the clock.
Hogs head coach Sam Pittman is 12-6 ATS as an underdog at Arkansas.
This is the vintage buy-low, sell-high spot on LSU. Granted, Brian Kelly’s squad has improved throughout the season. However, this is a team that was fortunate to get by Auburn last month and might be feeling themselves a little bit after that massive win over Alabama.
Pick: Arkansas +3.5
Saturday, Noon ET
Wes Reynolds: Last week, it was Auburn in the first game after the coach got fired. This week, it is South Florida. Head coach Jeff Scott was relieved of his duties after a 4-26 record with the Bulls. Special teams coordinator Daniel Da Prato takes over as interim coach and linebackers coach Ernie Sims takes over as defensive coordinator after Bob Shoop was also let go.
On the surface, this matchup looks like a cakewalk for SMU considering they scored 77 vs. Houston last week. In fact, SMU and Houston combined for 140 points, setting the all-time FBS record for combined points in regulation. Meanwhile, South Florida gave up 54 points at Temple.
Nevertheless, this is not the best spot for SMU having beaten its AAC rival and having a big game with 8-1 Tulane on deck.
Starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon was lost for the season a couple weeks ago, but Katravis Marsh, while not the runner of Bohanon’s caliber, is a more capable passer especially with bigger chunk plays down the field. Bohanon only had six touchdown passes in seven starts while Marsh has six already in basically two and a half games. Marsh also averages 7.9 yards per pass as opposed to Bohanon’s 6.7 and has a rating of 144.3 to Bohanon’s 117.9.
While USF is 1-8 this season they have been competitive in some games with better teams. They potentially could have won outright at Florida before falling 31-28 and took Cincinnati to the limit before losing 28-24. The Bulls also lost by two touchdowns vs. Tulane and Houston.
This is a game where you have to hold your nose to bet, but SMU is inflated off scoring 77 last week and USF may follow the pattern of teams giving big efforts the week after their head coaches get fired.
Pick: South Florida +17.5
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Adam Burke: There are a lot of problems with Alabama this season, but matching up against Ole Miss shouldn’t be one of them. Alabama ranks seventh in the nation in yards per carry allowed and this is a run-focused Rebels offense that leans on Quinshon Judkins and others. Jaxson Dart has only thrown 216 passes this season, while Judkins has 180 carries and TCU transfer Zach Evans has 108. Dart has even scrambled 80 times for 473 yards.
Running the football takes time off the clock, especially when explosive plays may be harder to come by against a defense like Alabama’s. In a game of this magnitude, expect Lane Kiffin to rely on what his team does best, and that is running the rock. With the exception of a 448-yard explosion against Vanderbilt, Dart has only passed for more than 215 yards once and that came in a 45-20 loss to LSU when there was a lot of garbage time.
Alabama may still be 12th in yards per play, but the Crimson Tide miss having talent on the outside. After racking up nearly 7.7 yards per play in September, the Tide had 6.45 in October and just 5.74 last week against LSU. That LSU game needed overtime to get into the 60s and the Tide had issues against Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
I think this game stays Under the total of 64.5. We’ve had some barnburners in the past between these teams, but I don’t see the same explosiveness with either offense.
Pick: Under 64.5
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Wes Reynolds: No. 3 Georgia stood tall last week in the matchup against the No.1 Tennessee Volunteers and defeated them 27-13. The Bulldogs defense held the nation’s No. 1 offense to just 289 yards on 75 plays and a 2-for-14 mark on third down. They sacked Hendon Hooker seven times, after having just 10 sacks in the previous eight games. Was Kirby Smart sandbagging all along this season? Perhaps, but it does call into question if even the defending National Champions can put forth that kind of herculean effort in consecutive weeks as the newly minted No. 1 team in the CFP Rankings?
In 2020, Mississippi State nearly upset Georgia in Athens as quarterback Will Rogers went 41-of-52 for 336 yards. Mike Leach’s offense with a quicker and shorter passing game actually can make Georgia’s defensive speed work against themselves. Unlike Tennessee, who goes tempo, tempo and more tempo offensively, Mississippi State actually operates at a much slower and more deliberate pace.
Leach is 17-6 ATS in his career vs. unbeaten foes and is 16-7 ATS as an underdog of greater than 14 points since 2005.
Georgia was shaky on the road last month at Missouri and trailed by 10 points early in the fourth quarter before pulling out a 26-22 victory. This game in Starkville will be Georgia’s first true road game in six weeks.
Pick: Mississippi State +16.5
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Tim Murray: My favorite bet last weekend was Kansas over Oklahoma St. The Jayhawks came out and dominated a banged-up Cowboys squad, 37-16. With the win, Kansas became bowl eligible for the first time since 2008. The fans stormed the field and one of the goal posts was ripped down. Now, the Jayhawks have to turn around and head to Lubbock to face a desperate Texas Tech team.
The Red Raiders have lost four of their last five games and QB Behren Morton is sidelined due to an ankle injury. QBs Tyler Shough and Donovan Smith have been splitting reps this week and head coach Joey McGuire expects both quarterbacks to see action on Saturday night. Maguire also told the media this week, “we know how important this game is.” The Red Raiders are 4-5 and need to win two of their final three games to reach bowl eligibility in Maguire’s first season as the Red Raiders head coach.
The Texas Tech offense is averaging 85.6 plays per game, tops in the FBS. Kansas allows 436.3 yards per game which is ninth in the Big 12. Despite the quarterback uncertainty, I expect the Red Raiders to play one of their best games of the season. Texas Tech is 4-1 SU (3-2 ATS) at home this season as opposed to 0-4 SU (1-3 ATS) on the road. Lastly, it looks like the public is jumping back on the Jayhawks after last week’s win with 66% of the bets as of Thursday afternoon being placed on Kansas. I bought it down to -3 and will roll with the Red Raiders on Saturday.
Pick: Texas Tech -3 (-120)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Wes Reynolds: After a 92-yard kickoff return touchdown, Auburn trailed 24-3 at Mississippi State midway through the second quarter last weekend. Nevertheless, the Tigers did not quit under interim coach and former Auburn great Cadillac Williams and scored 19 unanswered points to take a lead before eventually falling 39-33 in overtime.
More than likely, Williams is not the long term answer for Auburn as head coach, but his enthusiasm was infectious and his players are clearly playing hard for him.
On the other side, Texas A&M looks to be ready to end a disappointing season as the Aggies have now lost five in a row. They have had player suspensions and had at least a dozen players miss last weekend’s 41-24 loss vs. Florida due to the flu.
The Aggies allowed Florida to run for just under 300 yards (291) on the ground. Auburn, under new starting quarterback Robby Ashford, has added to its running game as they ran for 256 (5.6 ypc) last week at Mississippi State.
Pick: Auburn -115 ML
Tim Murray: Auburn heads into Saturday night on the Plains riding a five-game losing streak. The Tigers fired head coach Bryan Harsin last week and RB coach (and former Auburn RB) Cadillac Williams took over on an interim basis. Last weekend, in Williams’ first game as the interim head coach, Auburn rallied from a big deficit, but came up short. Following the game, Williams passionately addressed his team:
Similar to Auburn, Texas A&M enters Saturday night riding a five-game losing streak. The Aggies were without QB Connor Weigman last week due to the flu and Texas A&M was outscored 21-0 in the second half in the 41-24 loss to Florida in College Station. At this point, with rumors swirling about Jimbo Fisher’s job status, you have to wonder about the “care factor” of the Texas A&M players right now. The Aggies opened the season ranked No. 6 in the AP poll and are currently 3-6. Auburn, on the other hand, showed life last week on the road against Mississippi State. I expect to see an inspired effort on Saturday night from the Tigers playing for Cadillac Williams.
Pick: Auburn ML (-115)
Saturday 7:30 p.m. ET
Murray: Oddsmakers must have made a mistake (like the College Football Playoff Committee last week). How can 9-0 TCU be a touchdown underdog against three-loss Texas? What Sonny Dykes has done in his first year at TCU is remarkable. The Horned Frogs went 5-7 last year and now are ranked fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings. Now, the target is on their back. The ride to 9-0 has been wild. TCU was trailing Texas Tech, 17-13, entering the fourth quarter last week before pulling away for a 34-24 victory. Two weeks ago, TCU beat West Virginia, 41-31, and covered the spread courtesy of a fourth down touchdown pass with 20 seconds to play. Against Kansas State, the Wildcats led 28-10 in the second quarter but TCU emerged 38-28. In that game, QBs Adrian Martinez and Will Howard got hurt for Kansas State. The following quarterbacks have been hurt facing TCU this year: Martinez, Howard, Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma), Jalon Daniels (Kansas), and Behren Morton (Texas Tech).
Texas RB Bijan Robinson is an elite running back. Robinson rushed for 209 yards last week against Kansas State and is sixth in the country with 1,129 rushing yards. Robinson has forced a FBS-best 68 missed tackles this season. TCU is 71st nationally in rush defense allowing 145.9 rushing yards per game. On the defensive side of the ball, Texas will certainly have its hands full with an explosive TCU offense but former TCU head coach, Gary Patterson, should help. Patterson is a special assistant on the Texas staff. TCU WR Quentin Johnston, a likely first round pick, rolled his ankle this past weekend against Texas Tech and did not record a catch. Johnston is expected to play against Texas but if is not 100% that could be an issue for the Horned Frogs. Against Kansas and Oklahoma State, Johnston combined to haul in 22 catches for 386 yards and two touchdowns.
According to ESPN’s Chris Fallica, Texas being a seven-point favorite is the largest spread ever for a team with three losses or more against a 9-0 or better team. Since 1979, there have been six times of a team with at least three losses being a favorite over a team 9-0 or better in the regular season but zero were favored by more than a field goal. The betting public certainly feels like oddsmakers have made a mistake. 73% of the bets on VSiN’s betting splits page are on TCU.
I do think Texas will take care of business but the Longhorns have had an issue closing games (i.e. 41-34 loss to Oklahoma State). Instead of laying 7, I paired the Longhorns with Florida State in a moneyline parlay. The Seminoles are rolling right now and yes, they are coming off a dominating victory over rival Miami but I believe Florida State should handle a struggling Syracuse squad. The Orange have lost three in a row and are dealing with a number of injuries.
Pick: Texas/Florida St. ML parlay