Kramer: Bettor's guide to Week 11 in college football

By Adam Kramer  (VSiN.com) 

November 7, 2022 06:07 PM
USATSI_19243096

We criticized the way he said “family.” We made fun of the way he danced. We have seen him turn a color purple we didn’t know existed on the sideline while yelling at anyone within range.

Brian Kelly isn’t exactly near the top of the list of college football’s most likable coaches -- and that’s putting it mildly. But the man can coach, and he showed us once again on Saturday.  

In his first season at LSU, Kelly took down mighty Alabama in the greatest environment the sport has to offer. Heck, he even cried real human tears afterwards.

The Tigers beat Alabama as 13.5-point underdogs at home. LSU did so emphatically, converting a two-point conversion in OT for a massive walk-off win. (Also, somehow the over cashed despite zero first-quarter points. I am thankful for that.)

Now, we have a bit of a mess on our hands though -- and I say that in the most enthusiastic way. Throw in a loss from No. 4 Clemson, and the College Football Playoff has been completely reshaped.

TCU and the Pac-12 were the huge winners from Saturday. Alabama’s loss puts the Crimson Tide on life support to make the playoff. TCU (35/1 to win the title) and Oregon (25/1) were given enormous boosts as a result.

Tennessee, meanwhile, was given new life. Although the Vols were dominated by Georgia, Tennessee is still 16/1 to win the national title and very alive to make the postseason despite the outcome. They have LSU and Notre Dame to thank for that.

And then there’s LSU, which now controls its own destiny in the SEC West. The Tigers, which were gifted a No. 10 ranking by the CFP selection committee last week, backed up that surprising confidence with a win that could reshape that program.

The Tigers are now 40/1 to win the title, and they’re guaranteed to make the playoff if they win out. Oh, how things have changed since LSU lost to Florida State in the opener. The team has confidence, and Jayden Daniels (20/1 to win the Heisman) is playing like one of the best QBs in America.

As for the picture as a whole … well, the massive shakeup finally arrived. Three of the nation’s top six teams have fallen, and now we will move forward with the new normal.  

Let us embrace the weird.

The Appetizer: Football Tidbits and Observations

  1. Let’s talk about the Heisman, because we have some sizable movement as well

 

Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, despite really struggling in the wind against Northwestern, is the favorite once again (+180). Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker (+280) is right behind after the loss to UGA. After another huge performance, Caleb Williams (+700) has quietly closed the gap. Oh, and Oregon QB Bo Nix, fresh off another huge game, is now +800 to win the award. Nix, who threw a touchdown, ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent weeks. He could be a factor for the award, as could Georgia QB Stetson Bennett (+1600). One thing is certain; this is still pretty very wide open entering the homestretch, and there’s still value on the board.

  1. What do we do with Ohio State?

On one hand, I live about 30 minutes from Northwestern, and I cannot imagine playing football in that kind of wind. I struggled to walk into a Target that morning; I can't imagine playing a football game. On the other hand, seeing a 37.5-point favorite look pretty much inadequate for an entire afternoon can’t help but set off a few sirens. I’m very curious to see how the College Football Playoff selection committee reacts to this one.

  1. Tulane is having a pretty magical football season

Outside of the loss to Southern Miss earlier in the season, which looks plenty peculiar now, the Green Wave has been perfect. I bet against Tulane against Tulsa this weekend, and that proved to be a mistake. The Green Wave covered the 6.5-point spread, and Tulane is now 8-1 ATS this year. 

  1. Miami is having a pretty horrific season

We covered this before, but it’s tough not to highlight how bad it has gotten. The Hurricanes lost 45-3 to Florida State at home, redefining rock bottom. The Hurricanes were 6.5-point underdogs, and they needed a lot more points than that. Miami has not covered a spread since Week 1.

  1. Hugh Freeze is a tremendous football coach

You can Google him, if you need to, to figure out why this statement needs to be said that way. Liberty held on to beat Arkansas outright as a 14.5-point underdog. The Flames have lost just one game this year, which was a one-point defeat at Wake Forest. Now, the question turns to Freeze’s future. Although he just signed a lucrative deal to stay at Liberty, interest in Freeze, despite his history, could build. Auburn makes a lot of sense.

  1. SMU and Houston broke college football

I’m not sure how else to say it. The Mustangs beat the Cougars 77-63, covering the 3.5-point spread. This was the record for the most points ever scored in regulation. Oh, and the two quarterbacks, Clayton Tune and Tanner Mordecai, combined to throw for 16 touchdowns and scored 18 touchdowns combined overall. That is not a typo. If you bet the under, well, essentially both individual teams hit the over.

  1. Here's my guess on what the selection committee does with the CFP Rankings on Tuesday.

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. Michigan

4. Tennessee

5. TCU

6. Oregon

I could see Michigan and Ohio State swapping. I could also see TCU jumping Tennessee. We shall see.

The Buffet: The Five Best Games of the Weekend

(Please note: All games below use the AP Poll to identify ranking to signify movement from the week prior.)

1. No. 18 Texas (-7, 65.5) vs. No. 4 TCU

The unbeaten No. 4 team in the AP Poll is getting a touchdown, at least very early on in the week. That seems noteworthy considering how good TCU has been. Still, it's a highwire act. The Horned Frogs (barely) covered the 8.5-point spread against Texas Tech, coming from behind (again) to do so. As we enter Week 11, TCU has only lost one time against the number. The come-from-behind formula is noteworthy when you consider the opponent. Texas has gotten into a rhythm of giving up leads in the second half, and it nearly did it once again last week against Kansas State. The Longhorns held on, and they also covered the three-point spread. This week, the oddsmakers are showing Texas a ton of respect at home. A fascinating matchup in so many ways.

2. No. 10 Alabama (-11.5, 63.5) at No. 11 Ole Miss

One can’t help but start with motivation. For Alabama, a team accustomed to competing for national championships, this feels like the spot for a potential letdown. After losing outright at LSU as a double-digit favorite, the path to the playoff is much more complicated than it used to be – and that's probably being nice. Motivation, however, is a difficult element to handicap. Ole Miss, meanwhile, is coming off a bye. The Rebels will also be at home, although this requires some context. This year, Ole Miss is 1-4 ATS when playing in front of the home crowd. The rushing attack has been exceptional, but will it work against Alabama? Lane Kiffin is licking his chops for this one. 

3. No. 6 Oregon (-12.5, 69.5) vs. No. 24 Washington

If you’re looking for a break-the-scoreboard football game in the Pac-12, look no further. Oregon has the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense; Washington comes in at No. 13. There will be points, likely a great deal of them. The concern for Washington, however, is the road trip. The Huskies are 1-2 on the road and winless against the spread in those games. They haven’t been blown out playing away from the home crowd, but the results are what they are. The total, of course, is robust, and it might continue to grow. It feels like Bo Nix’s Heisman campaign is about to get another sizable bump after a huge game and win.

4. No. 7 LSU (-3, 62) at Arkansas

No football game hits the hangover siren quite like this one, and the point spread, if it stays like this, is going to generate a wave of public interest. On one side, LSU just took down mighty Alabama as a huge underdog. On the other, Arkansas just lost to Liberty as a massive favorite. The overreactions will be sizable on both sides. The Hogs have had a strange year, and the latest loss as more than a two-touchdown favorite certainly makes it stranger. But this also feels like a potential perfect spot for Arkansas given the emotion surrounding LSU’s victory. I am really curious to see what this line does throughout the week, but there’s a home team lean early.

5. No. 16 Tulane (-1.5, 51.5) vs. No. 22 UCF

We already talked through Tulane’s incredible work against the spread, although UCF will certainly provide a test in many ways. The Golden Knights haven’t been as good against the number, although they have been excellent of late. UCF has covered the spread in four of the last five, doing so with a surprising bit of balance on the offensive and defensive side. Tulane has also been extremely balanced, and this should be a test for both sides. Home field will certainly provide a boost for Tulane, although UCF is the more explosive team. The road team is going to be live in this one.

Last Call: Parting Shots on Other Games of Note

No. 12 Clemson (-7, 52) vs. Louisville

What does Clemson have as a follow up to that dreadful showing at Notre Dame? We shall see. Louisville has covered the spread in four straight, and the Cardinals have a ton of momentum at the moment.

No. 1 Georgia (-16.5, 52) at Mississippi State

Will Georgia also have a football hangover? If so, perhaps Mississippi State can keep this one tight. The issue is that Mike Leach's team has regressed a great deal in the past five weeks.

Wake Forest (-3.5, 76.5) vs. No. 15 North Carolina

If you like points, this game is for you. Sam Hartman vs. Drake Maye is a hugely compelling QB matchup. Also, I really like the Demon Deacons at first glance. 

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PRO TIPS

The Greg Peterson Experience: In NBA and college hoops, place more value on teams that emphasize low post defense. It travels much better than shooting. View more tips

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