Week 11 of the college football season is here and so is college football sports betting. Each week during the NCAA football season, we’ll break down the biggest games of the week from a sports betting perspective and give you a pick or a lean for the games you, and the rest of America, are going to be watching.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. It could end up in our plays after additional research or information is released.
Season picks record to date
(1) Alabama vs. (16) Mississippi State
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Alabama -24
We spent a ton of time talking last week about Alabama’s offense and why LSU’s defense was going to keep them in the game. However, we didn’t spend enough time talking about Alabama’s defense and the massive problems it was going to present to that Tigers’ offense.
The Crimson Tide didn’t just beat LSU last week. They dominated them on their home field by the score of 29-0. We took the points because the thought was that, in a close game, the home atmosphere would be a major factor. It was a factor, just not a big enough one for LSU to find any points.
This week, Alabama is in a classic let-down spot. Still, they are massive favorites at home. Mississippi State is not in Alabama’s league, and the whole college football world knows it. However, the Bulldogs’ defense is No. 2 in the nation in points given up (13.1 ppg) and No. 2 in yards per game (281.8). MSU has the best defense in the conference, not Alabama. These defenders will need to play the game of their lives if they want to shock the world.
The question is can Mississippi State move the ball on the Tide defense better than LSU did a week ago? Enter Bulldog QB Nick Fitzgerald.
Alabama fans have PTSD from facing mobile quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel and DeShaun Watson. It’s this style of QB that the Tide have consistently struggled to stop, and Fitzgerald has combined his great running ability with six touchdown tosses the last two weeks. MSU’s offense isn’t ranked in the top 50 of the country, but they are starting to click at the right time.
Mississippi State is 6-3 this ATS and have covered the last 2 weeks against Texas A&M and La Tech. Tua Tagovailoa tweaked his knee last week, and the entire Tide team is coming off a brutally physical game on the road. You would think Nick Saban will call off the dogs once the game is in hand and not worry about covering this huge line. Alabama will win this game, but take the points.
Pick: Mississippi State +24
(10) Ohio State at (18) Michigan State
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Ohio State -3.5
What is going on with Ohio State’s defense?
Last week, a two-win Nebraska team went up and down the field on the Buckeyes until the last possible drive. Ohio State is currently giving up 23.6 points per game and nearly 400 yards of offense per contest. They have a real problem with tackling right now as well. It’s a good thing for OSU that Michigan State can’t do anything on offense this season.
The Spartans might be the perfect opponent for Urban Meyer’s team at this moment. Even after the loss to Purdue, Ohio State still controls their own destiny for the playoffs. This week, they face an MSU team ranked 99th in scoring offense (23.4 ppg) and 97th in yards per game (360.3 ypg). If there is a team that could get Ohio State back on track, Michigan State might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
How much will last year’s 48-3 destruction motivate Sparty to get revenge? I’m sure Michigan State will be sick of hearing about last year’s game by the time this game kicks off. But in the end, there is just too much talent on Ohio State’s sideline.
Michigan State has won two games in a row but hasn’t looked great doing it against Maryland and Purdue. Ohio State can score, but if their opponent can’t match their pace, most games will end in favor of the Buckeyes. Michigan State will have to score at least 24 points to beat Ohio State, and I just don’t think they can do that.
Buckeyes win and cover this game. I don’t hate a play on the under either.
Pick: Ohio State -3.5
(24) Auburn at (5) Georgia
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Georgia -14.5
Here’s another example of a classic let-down spot for a team that knows where it’s going after winning the SEC East last week. Most likely, Georgia is not going to be in the College Football Playoffs even after beating Kentucky on the road. The only way for Georgia makes it is run the table, including beating Alabama in Atlanta in the SEC Championship game. That’s asking a lot.
You wouldn’t blame Georgia if they have a tough time getting up for this game after securing the East crown. There is no motivation to run the score up or make risky calls in this one. Georgia just needs to get a win against their oldest rival and not let anyone important get hurt.
For Auburn, if they beat Mississippi State next week, they are bowl eligible. Playing both Georgia and Alabama in November is a tall order for any team, but this Auburn squad has dramatically underperformed at points this season. Sure, they beat Washington in Week 1, but after that, their best win was against a 5-4 Texas A&M last week. That’s not what Auburn fans were hoping for after their opening-week victory.
The Tigers are only giving up 18.4 points per game, but, offensively, they are outside the top 75 in the country. If this game becomes a track meet, the Tigers will be in big trouble. However, I think they can keep the score in the 20s if they can establish the run.
Auburn is 2-1-1 ATS in their last four road games. I think Jarrett Stidham will do enough with the offense to keep the game within two touchdowns. Take the points here.
Pick: Auburn +14.5
(2) Clemson at (17) Boston College
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Clemson -20
I grew up outside of Boston. My dad went to Boston College’s law school and the first ever college football game I went to was at Alumni Stadium. This game versus Clemson is a big moment for BC head coach Steve Addazio to show off what he has been building in Chestnut Hill.
The Boston sports media, heavily occupied by the World Champion Red Sox as well as the Pats and Celtics, would undoubtedly notice a win over the No. 2 team in the country. This would help BC to recruit in a big way.
ESPN’s College GameDay will be in town, and the game will be shown nationally in prime time. The Heights will be rocking on Saturday night, more volume than what many wearing orange will expect.
I won’t make you wait: I’m taking another double-digit home dog here.
Clemson has played one road game in the ACC against a team with a winning conference record. They have played at Wake Forest (1-3), at Florida State (2-5), and at Georgia Tech (3-3) and have covered in all three of those contests. BC lost last year 34-7 at Clemson and two years ago 56-10 at home.
The Tigers just hung 77 points on Louisville, so why am I taking BC +20?
I like BC because the Eagles are 11-0-1 ATS over their past 12 games against ACC opponents going back to last year. Boston College is also 6-0-1 since the start of last season against teams averaging 31 or more points game. The moral of this story is that BC plays close games. The Eagles will run the ball and keep the clock running as much as possible.
QB Anthony Brown has thrown 16 touchdowns to only five interceptions and played well last week at Virginia Tech. Last year against Clemson on the road, Brown really struggled, but he has taken a nice step forward this season from his freshman campaign. Brown and the Eagles have beaten Temple, Louisville, and Miami over the last three home games and will look to shock the world on Saturday night.
Boston College is 7-2 straight up this season but also 7-2 ATS. Clemson will win this game, but it will be closer than many think.
Pick: BC +20