Week 11 of the college football season is here, with another slate of terrific matchups.
Our handicappers Adam Burke, Tim Murray, Wes Reynolds and Scott Seidenberg are here to give you their best bets for the weekend's card.
Overall record: 53-46-4 ATS
Lines are consensus odds from VSiN's college football lines page, as of Wednesday night.
Saturday, Nov. 13
Mississippi State Bulldogs at No. 16 Auburn Tigers (-5.5, 50)
Burke: We’ll have to wait and see if Mike Leach finds a walk-on kicker to his liking for Saturday’s game against Auburn, but it was the special teams unit that cost Mississippi State a win over the weekend. Three missed field goals loomed large in the three-point loss to Arkansas, a game where the Bulldogs held big edges in yards and yards per play.
Bad Bo Nix showed up for Auburn against Texas A&M, as the Tigers were held to three points and also saw their hopes of winning the SEC pretty much vanish. The Aggies now hold tiebreaker wins over both Alabama and Auburn, so a path to winning the West requires a ton of help.
The Air Raid is a tough scheme to defend for a Tigers squad that could have a bit of a hangover effect and may also just be looking ahead to the Iron Bowl at this point in time. Bowl eligibility is secured and what matters the most now is that rivalry game. Auburn’s pass defense is nothing to write home about, coming into this week ranked 105th in the nation in completion percentage against and with only five interceptions.
The 5.5 just feels like too big of a number here with Auburn a little unfocused and with Mississippi State likely playing a little more aggressively, especially in the scoring areas. The Bulldogs have only allowed 18 trips into the red zone this season, so Auburn may not have a lot of chances to score and cover this number.
Pick: Mississippi State + 5.5
Houston Cougars (-25, 53.5) at Temple Owls
Seidenberg: This one is going to get ugly early, folks. First off, Houston has to feel extremely disrespected. After dropping their first game to Texas Tech, the Cougars have won eight straight. Despite being ranked 17th in the AP Poll, the College Football Playoff committee chose to leave Houston out of its top 25. It's time to take out those frustrations on a bad Temple team.
Playing on the road this season, Houston is 3-1 ATS, scoring 46 points per game. Defensively, they rank seventh in the nation in yards allowed and get after the QB better than any other team. Temple is simply overmatched here. The Owls are 1-6 ATS as an underdog losing by an average of 39 points. Temple has only scored 26 total points over the last four games on this losing streak.
The number is high, but I believe Houston does cover and wins by 30 plus. However, the best bet for this game is the first half. Houston is 14th in the nation, averaging 20.4 points per first half. Temple is 129th, averaging just 7.2 points. I think Houston goes into the locker room easily up three scores.
Pick: Houston 1H -14
No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners (-5.5, 62.5) at No. 13 Baylor Bears
Seidenberg: The Sooners come into this game well-rested off their bye and ready to run through the toughest part of their schedule. The path to the CFB Playoff is laid out in front of them. Beat Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State (twice), they’re in. First up is Baylor, a team coming off a loss last week to an emotional TCU squad. The Bears will look to pick themselves up in a huge game for their Big 12 title hopes. Unfortunately for them, they’ll need a win here plus another loss from Oklahoma. I can’t see that happening.
Baylor runs the ball well, but against this Oklahoma offense, they’ll need to pass more to try and keep up with the points. That’s where the turnovers will come into play. I think OU gets one or two in the passing game.
Oklahoma is rolling offensively under Caleb Williams. They have scored over 50 points in three of their last four games. I think there has to be a little frustration over the low ranking in the CFB Playoff and Lincoln Riley will run up the score. Oklahoma is 14-2 ATS as a road favorite of fewer than eight points and is laying under a touchdown here. I like the Sooners a lot.
Pick: Oklahoma -5.5
Miami (FL) Hurricanes (-2.5, 60.5) at Florida State Seminoles
3:30 p.m. ET
Burke: How good has Tyler Van Dyke been for Miami? The Hurricanes seem to have found their quarterback of the future, as the freshman has a 15/4 TD/INT ratio with a 63.6 percent completion rate over 195 pass attempts. Van Dyke seems to be growing into the position, too, as he has a 10/1 ratio in wins over NC State, Pitt and Georgia Tech in the last three games.
Florida State is certainly improved this season and even showed some signs of life winning three straight over Syracuse, North Carolina and UMass. Losses in the last two games to Clemson and NC State have come against top defenses in the conference.
This line still looks a little bit cheap at -2.5. The Hurricanes are a lot better offensive than they were earlier in the season. The defense is still a work in progress, but Florida State’s offense has only managed 5.44 yards per play in six conference games to this point. It is a guessing game between Jordan Travis and McKenzie Milton at the QB position and neither one seems to be a strong option. The Seminoles used Milton last week and managed just 3.82 yards per play against NC State.
Van Dyke is taking care of the football and the Hurricanes have fixed some of their protection issues with him at the helm. The better quarterback should win the day in Tallahassee.
Pick: Miami -2.5
No. 19 Purdue Boilermakers at No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (-21, 62.5)
3:30 p.m. ET
Reynolds: The Purdue “Spoilermakers” did it again by upsetting an undefeated team ranked in the top five with a victory over Michigan State. It was also Purdue's 17th win against a top-five opponent as an unranked team, the most among FBS teams. Ohio State is not looking to become No. 18 on that list. The Buckeyes, in fact, are already on that list from 2018 when Purdue beat then No. 2 Ohio State 49-20 to essentially knock them out of the College Football Playoff.
Purdue is riding high while Ohio State has looked vulnerable, especially the last two weeks when the Buckeyes could not really put away Penn State nor do the same against Nebraska on the road last weekend. Nevertheless, this appears to be a game where Ohio State reminds us all that they are still Ohio State.
The Boilermakers have been good to me this year and this is a lot of points to lay to a team that ranks No. 8 in FBS for Passing Offense (332.4 ypg), and whose defense has dramatically improved this season (18.4 PPG). However, Ohio State, while failing to cover its last three games, still ranks No. 3 nationally in yards per play margin (+ 3.01), No. 2 in scoring margin (+ 25.9) and No. 3 in yards per game margin (+ 187).
Ohio State does have Michigan State on deck next weekend, so there is a potential lookahead, but Purdue’s success against ranked teams will have Ryan Day’s attention and history from 2018 is not likely to repeat itself.
Pick: Ohio State -21
Boston College Eagles at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-2, 54)
3:30 p.m. ET
Seidenberg: Last week’s return of QB Phil Jurkovec was a huge boost to Boston College, as the Eagles upset Virginia Tech at home 17-3. While Jurkovec didn’t do much offensively, his presence was enough to spark the team. With a full week of practice and preparation to play now against Georgia Tech, I expect Jurkovec to be more involved in the offensive game-plan, especially against a defense that ranks 111th in the nation allowing 441 yards per game.
Boston College needs one more win to become bowl-eligible for the first time under head coach Jeff Hafley. Rather than wait til next week’s game against FSU, the Eagles won’t leave anything to chance. Get a win Saturday, and secure the bowl bid. Getting points with BC is a gift I’ll gladly accept.
Pick: Boston College + 2
Maryland Terrapins at No. 8 Michigan State Spartans (-13, 61.5)
4 p.m. ET
Burke: The Spartans are in a pretty bad spot this week against Maryland. The bubble has burst for Sparty, though a win over Ohio State and a Big Ten Championship would cause it to re-inflate. In order to get to that point, Michigan State has to deal with this week’s game against Maryland. Maybe Mel Tucker can get the team focused, but maybe he won’t.
In this particular game, though, Mother Nature may have a say. Winds are forecasted to be in the 10-15 mph range with gusts up to 20. There could be some sprinkles and maybe a rain/snow mix on a chilly day in East Lansing. Those adverse weather conditions hurt one team more than the other and it is the one getting a 13-point head start.
Michigan State has one of the Heisman front-runners in Kenneth Walker III, who has spearheaded a strong rushing attack averaging 5.39 yards per carry, which ranks 12th in the nation. Maryland’s rushing offense ranks 109th with just 3.42 yards per carry. Maryland’s 297 carries rank in the bottom 20 of college football. The Terrapins don’t want to run the ball. The weather may force them to do it.
Given that Michigan State boasts a top-15 defense in yards per carry and that Maryland has allowed over four yards per carry, it looks like Sparty will be in a good spot to overcome the bad situation and take care of business.
Pick: Michigan State -13
No. 25 Arkansas Razorbacks (-2.5, 59) at LSU Tigers
7:30 PM ET
Murray: Last Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Ed Orgeron and LSU nearly stunned No. 2 Alabama as 29.5-point underdogs. The Tigers defense stood tall, holding the Crimson Tide offense scoreless over the final 27:51 of the game. LSU was in Alabama territory the majority of the fourth quarter, but was turned away on its final three possessions, including inside the Alabama 10 yard-line with under seven minutes to play. Orgeron coached last weekend like a coach that was never going to face Alabama again. LSU converted on a fake punt of their first drive and finished the game 5-for-7 on fourth-down conversions.
“We walked into the stadium going for it,” Orgeron told reporters after the game. “We were going for the win. No question.” LSU’s game plan was reminiscent of the Lions’ game plan against the Rams in Week 8. As 16.5-point road underdogs, the Lions kicked onsides after scoring on the opening drive and converted on multiple fake punts. The following week, Detroit was a trendy three-point home underdog against the Eagles. Philadelphia won 44-6.
Arkansas heads into this weekend with the fourth-best rushing attack in the country, averaging 243.8 yards per game. Despite holding Alabama to just six yards on the ground last weekend, LSU still ranks 64th in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game (148.2). In a 42-21 loss at Kentucky, the Tigers allowed 330 yards on the ground and surrendered 265 rushing yards in a 31-17 loss at Mississippi.
Following a devastating loss against rival Alabama, Arkansas is not the team you want to see coming into your stadium. Sam Pittman’s squad would love to bully their opponent on the ground all night (i.e. Texas in Week 2). Yes, it is Orgeron’s second-to-last game at home, but I expect a drop-off after last Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
Pick: Arkansas -2.5
Nevada Wolf Pack at No. 22 San Diego St. Aztecs (-3, 46)
10:30 PM ET
Murray: Late Saturday night is an important one in the Mountain West Conference. Both San Diego State and Nevada enter with 4-1 conference records. The winner will own sole possession of first place of the West Division and have the inside track to play in the conference championship game.
The Aztecs are currently seventh in the country in passing efficiency defense, but San Diego State has not faced many solid passing offenses outside of Fresno State.The Bulldogs beat the Aztecs two weeks ago and QB Jake Haener threw for 306 yards against the SDSU defense. With a potential first round pick at quarterback in Carson Strong, one would think that Nevada would be able to carve up the Aztecs secondary. Fresno State was balanced in its victory over the Aztecs. RB Jordan Mims rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Nevada is one of the most one-dimensional teams in the country. While the Wolf Pack are third in the country in passing yards per game (376.3 passing yards), Nevada is 129th in the country averaging just 70.2 rushing yards per game.
When it comes to the offensive side of the ball, it isn’t always pretty for San Diego State. The Aztecs are only 116th in the country in total offense and finished last weekend’s 17-10 win over Hawaii with just 227 total yards. The Aztecs have had success running the ball this season, averaging 192.7 yards per game on the ground. QB Lucas Johnson also added a dual-threat element to the position. Nevada’s run defense is less than ideal, allowing 130.4 yards per game. In their two losses this season, the Wolf Pack allowed Kansas State to rush for 269 yards (5.6 yard per carry) and Fresno State to rush for 205 yards (6.8 yards per carry). I expect San Diego St. to try to control the game on the ground and play keep away from Carson Strong.
Lastly, SDSU has the ultimate secret weapon in punter Matt Araiza.
It won’t be the prettiest on Saturday evening, but I expect San Diego State to flex their muscles enough on defense and in the run game to pull out a victory over the Wolf Pack.
Pick: San Diego State ML (-135)