Although it’s one of the toughest college football slates of the season when it comes to finding betting value, eight plays stand out to me in Week 11:
Side of the week: South Carolina (+5.5) over Florida
This bet is mostly a fade of Florida and their questionable quarterback situation. It’s an offense that I don’t trust at all to cover in this spot as a favorite.
The Gators benched starter Feleipe Franks after he started 9-22 for 84 yards in a 38-17 loss to Missouri last week. Kyle Trask replaced Franks and looked set to be the starter for this game, but sustained a season-ending foot injury in practice on Wednesday, which means Franks will likely start again. You have to question how confident Franks will be after getting benched in a home game.
South Carolina comes into this game off back-to-back wins against Tennessee and Ole Miss. They weren’t the most impressive performances, but the Gamecocks defense shouldn’t have a problem against a struggling Florida offense.
Outside of the personnel matchups, there are two intangibles in this game worth noting.
The enthusiasm for the Florida program seems to be very low, even though Dan Mullen is in his first season as head coach. Last week was Florida’s lowest attended home game since 1990. It was a 4:00 p.m. local start on homecoming weekend, but the crowd right before kickoff was still sparse. Week 11’s game will start at noon eastern on Saturday, so I don’t expect much better of a showing from the Gators faithful.
The other factor is that South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp was the head coach of Florida from 2012-15. This is his second game in Gainesville on the opposing sideline, as the Gamecocks fell 20-7 in 2016 in Muschamp’s first season in charge of South Carolina. This matchup is a game Muschamp will care extra about, and I’m predicting that they pull off the outright win.
Total of the week: Under 57.5 in Clemson at Boston College
Clemson is currently a 19.5-point road favorite, so it’s tempting to look at the home underdog in a primetime game. However, it’s not worth stepping in front of Clemson after how dominant they’ve played since their bye week.
The Tigers outscored North Carolina State, Florida State and Louisville by a combined score of 177-33 over the last three games. That trio of opponents has been Clemson’s toughest competition in the ACC Atlantic during the last few seasons, and the Tigers outclassed all of them.
Clemson now faces another foe from the ACC Atlantic in Boston College, who comes into this game 4-1 in conference play. Boston College relies on running back AJ Dillon and a solid defense. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Dillon has been battling an ankle injury and re-aggravated it last week against Virginia Tech. It does look like Dillon will play, but that is something to monitor.
The play in this game is under 57.5. The total is inflated because Clemson scored 59 and 77 points on offense in the last two games. Those were in matchups against horrible teams, like Florida State and Louisville, who have basically given up on the season. Just based on effort alone, Boston College’s defense will be a much tougher matchup for Clemson.
Boston College is a run-first team, and that fits well into the under handicap. This will be an extremely challenging matchup for the Eagles’ rushing attack because the Tigers have four defensive linemen that will soon be playing in the NFL.
Because of that, Boston College head coach Steve Addazio knows he’ll have to make this game ugly to keep it close. I’m expecting this one to finish around 50 total points, so expect plenty of value in taking under 57.5.
Oklahoma over Oklahoma State
Oklahoma opened at -17.5 early in the week and has now been bet up to -21 against their in-state rival. The Oklahoma offense continues to impress week in and week out, which is why I agree with this aggressive line move.
On the other sideline, Oklahoma State is coming off a demoralizing loss at Baylor in the final seconds. It was another defeat suffered against the middle tier of the Big 12, as they’ve already fallen to Texas Tech, Iowa State and Kansas State this season.
The Sooners still have College Football Playoff hopes, and they know winning by a large margin could impress the committee. Since the full-game spread has moved 3.5 points, I would take a look at Oklahoma in the first half when that line is released. If you can also bet on full-game lines, then a bet on Oklahoma to cover would be reasonable.
Alabama over Mississippi State & Georgia over Auburn
Earlier this week, I mentioned that betting against Alabama and Georgia on the second-half line could be a strategy for Week 11. I would jump on this if both teams build a big lead by halftime, presuming that they’d coast for the final 30 minutes.
When it comes to covering the first-half spread this season, Alabama is 9-0. If they can get out to an early lead against Mississippi State, the Bulldogs will have trouble mounting a comeback because quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has struggled throwing the ball.
Georgia, who’s a one-loss College Football Playoff contender, gets to face an Auburn team that was very lucky to beat Texas A&M last week. I’m expecting Georgia to jump out to an early lead and cover the first-half number.
If both Alabama and Georgia cover the first-half lines, then consider betting Mississippi State and Auburn at halftime.
You’ve got two quality opportunities to win two bets in the same game.
Texas A&M (-13) over Ole Miss
Oddly, this is Texas A&M’s first home game since Week 6 when they stopped Kentucky in overtime. It’s a perfect time to return to Kyle Field after losses to Mississippi State and Auburn – who the Aggies were up by 10 points against (with the ball) and somehow found a way to lose.
With this line, you can take advantage of a “discount” on a talented and offensive-minded Texas A&M team that doesn’t have a single bad loss this season.
Maryland (+2) over Indiana
Maryland’s struggles against Michigan State last week were understandable after a crazy buildup to the game in which the university reinstated disgraced head coach DJ Durkin and then fired him the next day.
Now, the Terrapins get a chance to move past the eye-opening Durkin era and win a game to gain bowl eligibility. Look for a motivated Maryland team to score a win at Indiana.
Pittsburgh (-3) over Virginia Tech
After failing to cover against Boston College in a perfect spot in Week 10, I’m going to look to fade Virginia Tech for the rest of the season. That includes the Hokies’ Week 11 matchup with Pitt, who controls their own fate in the ACC Coastal.
At just a field goal spread, the well-prepared Panthers should cover the line against a reeling Virginia Tech team.