Here are our best bets for Saturday’s slate of Week 11 College Football action. College football analysts Thor Nystrom and Scott Bogman provide their top odds, picks, and predictions for the weekend.
Navy vs. Notre Dame
In a letdown spot off a huge win over Clemson, Notre Dame is about to play a team it doesn’t match up well with.
The Irish’s defense is very good against the pass – a wasted strength in this matchup – but it struggles mightily against the run (No. 85 success rate, No. 93 opportunity rate). Navy’s triple-option offense will be able to nick that generous run defense with paper cuts all afternoon.
On the other side of the ball, Navy’s fatal flaw is its lack of athleticism in the secondary. Teams with dangerous outside receivers and competent quarterback play eat Navy alive. But Navy has a very good run defense.
Since turning the offense over to QB2 Drew Pyne, Notre Dame has turned extremely run-heavy. The Irish are one of the 15-most run-happy non-option teams in the nation. Notre Dame doesn’t have much skill on the offensive perimeter.
Navy can pick on Notre Dame’s defensive weakness, and the Midshipmen’s good run defense should slow down Notre Dame’s bully-ball routine. In a classic letdown spot against a team it doesn’t match up well with, we think Notre Dame will get a legitimate scare in Baltimore on Saturday.
Navy +15.5 Thor Nystrom
Tennessee vs. Missouri
So, Tennessee is human after all! It may have been a little unfair to ask them to beat Georgia, but it seemed that anything was possible after beating Alabama. Instead, we saw the Volunteers go down to Georgia and only put up 13 points. For a team averaging over 50 points per game, that was an embarrassing performance and the only time they have scored fewer than 34 points in a game.
The silver lining from the loss to Alabama is that now Tennessee is on the outside looking in for the CFP, so they will want to put up impressive numbers to show their dominance and prove that the loss was a blip on the radar. Tennessee is still averaging 45 points per game and, while they may not get to that against a strong Missouri defense, I think they’ll get to at least 34 again, as that was their previous low.
QB Hendon Hooker is still the leader of this team that is 2nd in total offense and passing while also averaging over 180 yards on the ground. Missouri is playing well defensively, allowing just over 21 points per game and they are top-15 in total yards allowed per game. I just feel like Georgia, specifically when DL Jalen Carter plays, is a step above everyone else in the Country. Tennessee put up 49 on Alabama which ranks better statistically and in PFF grade than Missouri.
Tennessee has been improving on the defensive side of the ball but is still 127th against the pass. Some of that is because they are stomping most teams into the ground and those teams are trying to come back down the stretch. In PFF grade, the Vols are a hair away from triple digits and the rushing grade is MUCH different than the rushing stats.
Missouri isn’t considered a strong offensive team and the stats and grades back that up. They mustered up 22 against Georgia and we won’t need them to score a ton with Tennessee doing the heavy lifting. Missouri has had a knack for keeping the scores low and keeping themselves in games this season.
Missouri is 5-4 ATS and has only hit the Over once this season. That was in their first game! I just feel like this total is way too low. Tennessee has scored at least 40 points in 6 of their 10 games, and I think that is the minimum they’ll score here. So, we would only need Missouri to score 17 points.
This game is going to boil down to how Tennessee responds to the first piece of adversity they have encountered. The Vols are still VERY alive in the playoff picture, and I expect them to get the majority of this total in a bounce-back dismantling of Missouri!
OVER 56.5 Scott Bogman
Ole Miss vs. Alabama
This is a really good buy-low spot on Mississippi and a bad situational spot for Alabama. Alabama is still getting the Alabama tax in the market. At this point, it’s just free points on the opponent – my system says we’re getting four-plus free points on the spread with Ole Miss.
The Tide are in a deflation spot after their season goals were nuked following Loss No. 2 last week. On the road, where Bama has struggled mightily since the start of last season. The Tide takes to it again here in a back-to-back travel spot. Alabama is 2-6 ATS on the road since the start of last season.
On the field, Ole Miss’ awesome run game will tee off on underachieving Bama front seven. And because of the Rebels’ insane backfield depth, the effectiveness won’t wear off in the second half.
It’s worth noting that nobody knows Nick Saban’s strategic tendencies like his former OC, Ole Miss HC Lane Kiffin. We like the Rebs to take advantage of this home bounceback spot and put a scare into Alabama.
Mississippi +12 Thor Nystrom
Wake Forest vs. North Carolina
Will this be a high-scoring game? Yes. This won’t be a 17-14 sloppy game. These are two top-20 offenses that are facing off. However, it is interesting that the Over has hit in only 5 of 9 games for North Carolina and 4 of 9 for Wake Forest.
This total of 77 has been hit by North Carolina three times (once against FCS Florida A&M) and only once by Wake Forest in the crazy game against Clemson. All of those four instances were in September. The only total that has gone over 70 points between either one of these teams since then was the Tar Heels 38-35 win over Duke on October 15th.
Wake Forest actually plays decent defense. We cannot say that about North Carolina. UNC is 104th in points allowed, 120th against the pass and 105th against the run statistically. UNC also grades poorly according to PFF – lower than 100 in total defense, run defense and coverage.
Wake Forest is firmly middling statistically, but, in terms of PFF grades, they are one spot ahead of Bama inside the Top-10! I don’t know that I necessarily agree with the PFF ranking, as Wake has given up over 40 points twice. They can bow up however, as they have held teams to 15 points or fewer three times.
UNC is sitting at 8-1, but they have skimmed by with some close victories against some weak opponents. They beat Virginia, Duke and Miami all by three points.
Wake Forest has also been underperforming recently, dropping games to Louisville and NC State as favorites. I think Wake gets back on track here and controls clock to beat UNC while keeping Heisman candidate Drake Maye on the sideline.
Sam Hartman will have to keep the INTs down, as he’s had six of his nine picks in the last two games. This UNC defense is the right one to get him back on track,
This could be one of those crazy high-scoring games, but neither of these teams is clicking on all cylinders. I’ll agree with the majority of cash bets and take the Under!
UNDER 77 Scott Bogman
Connecticut vs. Liberty
Liberty’s post-Malik Willis success has been spurred by an unthinkably feisty defense. Last week, the Flames, starting their QB3 who was unable to practice all week because of the flu, controlled and then staved-off Arkansas in a startling upset.
Speaking of the unthinkable, this is the first of two cracks that UConn HC Jim Mora Jr. will have at doing the impossible: Dragging this talent-less UConn team to bowl eligibility. The Huskies, 5-5 with Army to come, will be locked in.
Beyond starting their QB3 again, here’s the problem for Liberty’s offense against UConn: The Flames’ playground-style offense eschews efficiency to fish for big plays. But UConn’s defense is designed to take those away and does. Liberty’s offense will need to be more conservative and prudent than it is designed to be to consistently move the ball.
On the other side, UConn’s offense may be able to rip off a few long runs against a Liberty defense that cedes them – but that’s no guarantee based on the running backs the injury-riddled Huskies still have active. Outside of that, it’s difficult to envision how UConn will get yards.
UNDER 45.5 Thor Nystrom
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