Get college football best bets for the Saturday 11/11/23 slate. This article features an analysis of Texas Tech vs Kansas, Arizona vs Colorado, USC vs Oregon, Georgia Tech vs Clemson, Florida vs LSU, and Tennessee vs Missouri.
College Football Week 11 Best Bets – Saturday Slate (11/11/23)
We’re onto Week 11 of the college football season, and our staff has you covered with our favorite bets of the day on Saturday. Check out the Lineups YouTube page for further discussion of these games and all of the biggest matchups offered by the Week 11 slate. Let’s get to work.
Jacob Wayne’s Record: 18-22-1 (-4.3 units)
Kody Malstrom’s Record: 10-12 (-3.2 units)
Will Schwartz’s Record: 18-6-1 (+11.6 units)
Texas Tech at Kansas
Kansas is soaring with a 7-2 record, and they’re 16th in the most recent CFP Top 25. Next week, they host Kansas State and will be looking to end a current 14-game losing streak against their in-state rival. However, they first must get past a Texas Tech team with plenty left to fight for as they need two wins in their final three games to get bowl eligibility.
The Red Raiders were a popular preseason Big 12 dark horse, and injuries at the quarterback position kept that from happening. Behren Morton has dealt with a shoulder injury for most of the season while Tyler Shough’s broken fibula ended his season. Morton is back now, though, and he threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns in the win over TCU last week.
Texas Tech running back Tahj Brooks should also have a massive game against a Kansas run defense ranked 125th by EPA and 105th in tackling. Brooks has forced 68 missed tackles this season per PFF, the second-most in the country, so it could be a long afternoon for the Jayhawks’ linebacking unit.
Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels has been out for weeks and didn’t make the trip with the team to Ames, Iowa last week. In his absence, Kansas has become the 16th-heaviest rush team, which comes in direct conflict with a Texas Tech defense ranked top 50 against the run by EPA and success rate.
Texas Tech is always a great bet as an underdog thanks to head coach Joey McGuire’s fourth down tendencies. The Red Raiders had more fourth down attempts than anyone in FBS history last year, which introduces variance to games and helped them earn outright upsets as underdogs against Texas and Oklahoma last season.
The Red Raiders have a nice rest edge here and could catch Kansas looking ahead to their rivalry game next week. Lance Leipold has done an excellent job in Lawrence, but this Jayhawks team is still flawed and ripe for an upset here.
Best Bet: Texas Tech +4
Arizona at Colorado
Things have gotten weird in Boulder. On Friday, reports emerged that offensive coordinator Sean Lewis had been stripped of play calling duties. The former Kent State head coach had been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for the Buffs given all the hype at the beginning of the year.
Former NFL Pat Shurmur took over play calling, and the results were disgusting as Colorado generated 4.1 yards per play (10th percentile) against Oregon State. After averaging 408 yards per game under Lewis, they generated just 238 yards of offense. Shurmur has insisted the Buffs need to run the ball more. Good luck! They were in the second percentile for EPA/rush last week and have struggled to block all year.
Speaking of blocking, Colorado’s lack of pass protection has resulted in Shedeur Sanders taking 43 sacks, the most in the country. Sanders is predictably dealing with a hip injury and has been sacked ten times the past two weeks. His aDOT has dropped to 5.7 yards in those games, which would be the second-lowest of 163 qualified FBS passers per PFF.
The Colorado offense has completely withered, and I have no idea how this version of the Buffs finds points against an Arizona defense that has allowed Washington State, Oregon State, and UCLA to average 13 points per game over the last three weeks.
Arizona has been one of the biggest surprises of this season as head coach Jedd Fisch deserves a ton of credit for this team’s 6-3 record. The Wildcats could have an even better record as they have two overtime losses and another one-score loss to Washington. The Wildcats are right in the mix for the Pac 12 championship with a 4-2 conference record.
True freshman quarterback Noah Fifita stepped in for an injured Jayden de Laura and hasn’t looked back. He ranks seventh in the FBS with an 80.2% adjusted completion rate and has led a passing offense that ranks 11th in success rate. Colorado is in trouble with its 111th-ranked coverage unit per PFF.
Arizona has been undervalued in the market all season, going 8-1 ATS, while Colorado has been overinflated at times. I believe this spread is pretty close to their proper market value, but the switch to Shurmur and Sanders injury are bad indicators for this offense’s viability against a tough Arizona defense. Bet on a statement win for Arizona here.
Best Bet: Arizona -10.5
USC at Oregon
It took nine weeks longer than it should have, but USC has finally parted ways with their defensive coordinator Alex Grinch after fielding one of the worst defenses week in and week out. It wasn’t just bad, it was near league worst as they graded out well below average in all advanced defensive metrics.
As of writing, USC’s defense as a whole ranked 96th in Def Success Rate, 123rd in Explosiveness, and 85th in Havoc. They fared decently well when backed up inside the 20, clocking in at 40th in Def Points per Opportunity, yet that metric may be skewed from their non-con schedule as the higher quality of opponent had no trouble punching it in for six.
Even with Grinch gone, it’s hard to imagine the Trojans will be able to turn it around on short notice against one of the best offenses in the league. Bo Nix has been putting together a Heisman campaign, leading the Oregon offense to overall ranks first in Success Rate, first in Points per Opportunity, and second in Havoc Allowed.
The Ducks have lacked in the Explosiveness department, yet that should take a drastic turn in their favor as USC just allowed the Washington ground game over 150 rushing yards before contact. Their second level of the defense plays like they are anchored to the ground, failing to make the right read in order to plug the gaps.
Their rush defense has gotten so bad in fact that they rank near dead last in most rush defense metrics. USC’s front seven currently ranks 118th in Def Rush PPA, 104th in Success Rate, and 117th in Explosiveness. That plays into the later game script as Oregon may revert to a more conservative rushing approach as they pull away with a lead.
Better yet in Oregon’s favor, they will field a defense that is capable of getting USC’s offense off the field and give their own offense more cracks at putting points up on the board. As a whole, Oregon ranks 19th in Def Success Rate, 32nd in Explosiveness, 22nd in Points per Opportunity, and 31st in Havoc. The Havoc mark is especially intriguing, potentially taking advantage of errand Caleb Williams throws as he tries to make a play on the run.
With an offense capable of picking their number and putting it up on the board, take the Oregon team total over at no higher than 45. This is one of the last Heisman moments for Bo Nix as he makes his claim for the award, potentially airing it out all over a weak USC defense and putting up points in a hurry.
Best Bet: Oregon Team Total Over 44.5
Georgia Tech at Clemson
Like Dabo said, now is the time to buy Clemson’s stock. Couldn’t think of a better time to buy a team when they are out of playoff contention, let alone their own conference championship, but I digress.
While I am not necessarily buying the Clemson stock, I am buying what I am seeing out of their offense as of late. While Cade Klubnik has continued to underwhelm per his preseason expectations, the Tigers offense has found life under Phil Mafah while Will Shipley deals with a concussion.
The ground game has been a missing aspect for the Tigers offense as Will Shipley served as more of a receiving back rather than a true running threat. Under Mafah, the Tigers get a true bull back who can be deployed in run schemes as well as bounce to the outside. He comes off a 186 rushing yard and two touchdown performance against a stout Notre Dame front seven.
He should have no issue with continuing to find success as the Yellow Jackets field one of the worst rush defenses in the nation. As of writing, the Tigers run game ranks 26th in Rush Success Rate, yet 90th in Rush Explosiveness and 79th in Rush PPA. All poised to positively regress as Georgia Tech ranks 117th in Def Rush Success Rate, 115th in PPA, and 67th in Explosiveness.
Their ability to find rush success will bode well for Klubnik, potentially getting more open passing lanes as he attempts to move the ball down the field. He’s thrown for more of a conservative style rather than downfield, ranking 46th in Pass Success Rate and 132nd in Explosiveness.
With Clemson having no issue with putting up points on their end, it will be up to Georgia Tech to do their part towards the over. They are capable of doing just that as one of the more surprisingly successful offenses in the nation, exploiting the Tigers weaknesses in Rush Explosiveness and red zone defense.
Georgia Tech currently ranks 13th in Rush Explosiveness and 35th in Points per Opportunity. With an ability to churn out the big gain and punch it in for six in scoring position, the Yellow Jackets should have no issue with doing their part. Take the over at no higher than 56 in what will be a thrilling ACC battle.
Best Bet: Over 55.5
Florida at LSU
This season, SEC overs have been a very productive trend in this series. The conference once known for having some of the country’s best defenses is now home mostly to high-flying offensive attacks, and these two teams are no exceptions.
LSU is perhaps the best example of this pervasive theme; the Tigers rank first in the entire country in offensive EPA, but 130th in the same metric for defense. Amazingly, the offense is so productive that their net EPA is 17th-best, so the overall strategy seems to be working out relatively well, so this isn’t a team to fade, but definitely a situation to bet the over.
Florida might not have quite the same split between offense and defense, but there’s definitely a noticeable gap. The Gators’ efficient attack with Graham Mertz at the helm ranks a very respectable 26th overall in offensive EPA per play, while on the defensive side, they’re much more mediocre, ranking a bit below average at 79th.
Yes, 63.5 is a relatively high number, but all that requires is for both teams to break into the 30s, or at least one to eclipse 40 points if the other has an off-day. In SEC play, 30 points has essentially been the floor for LSU, save for their most recent game against an elite Alabama defense in which they also lost superstar quarterback Jayden Daniels. The Tigers have hung at least 34 points in their other five games in conference play, more often trending towards the high 40s.
Of course, the Daniels injury situation is impacting this number, and it would be best if he could be officially cleared, but it appears that he’s on track to play. That being said, LSU’s offense is not dead in the water if he’s out. Everyone around the program has supreme faith in Garrett Nussmeier to run the offense, it was a real trial by fire to be thrown into the fray against Alabama and his overall acumen cannot be ascertained from his performance in that game. He’ll also be supported by the country’s best running game by EPA, led by star running back Noah Diggs, and a hyper-talented wideout duo of Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. Moreover, Florida’s pass defense is particularly problematic, ranking 94th by EPA per play, so Nussmeier will have opportunities for success.
As for Florida, the offense hasn’t been flash like LSU’s, but it’s gotten the job done. Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne are both playing good ball with over five yards per carry apiece, highlighted by Etienne’s 6.0. Mertz is completing nearly 74% of his passes, and has thrown just two picks compared to 17 touchdowns, he should have absolutely no issue with LSU’s 122nd-ranked pass defense. Neither of these defenses are properly equipped to compete in this game, which should absolutely feature a litany of points.
Best Bet: Over 63.5
Tennessee at Missouri
That’s right, it’s another SEC over, and we’re going with my absolute favorite over wagon in the conference, scoring juggernaut Missouri. This is a phenomenal spot in which to invest in the Tigers, after they were held to 21 points in a loss to Georgia that very easily could have gone the other way. They haven’t been given the bump in odds they would have received had they pulled off the upset, but the team showed enough for us to have even more faith in them than before they lost their second game of the year.
Missouri’s only other loss of the season came in an absolute superhuman performance from Jayden Daniels; Tennessee doesn’t have anyone like that, one of several reasons why it’s hard to understand how the Tigers are a home underdog in this one. Another is scheduling; this is Mizzou’s toughest test left, while Tennessee might be looking ahead to a mega-showdown with Georgia on the horizon.
But back to the central concept in this one; points will be scored, period. The Tigers are a top-20 squad in terms of EPA per play, led by the superstar duo of quarterback Brady Cook and wideout Luther Burden III, as well as running back Cody Schrader, who leads the SEC with 919 rushing yards. The Tigers have scored 30 or more points in every game this season against Power Five opponents that have not won the last two National Championships.
Tennessee’s defense ranks 33rd in EPA per play, but it’s still a much less talented and seasoned group than the Georgia unit that was barely able to cling on against Mizzou. The Volunteers are also a solid offensive side themselves, ranking 42nd in EPA per play, and should have little trouble moving the ball against a Mizzou defense that ranks 74th in the same category. Joe Milton can be spotty at quarterback, but it’s hard to say that the Tigers, who rank 87th in EPA per play against the pass, have the personnel needed to force him into mistakes.
Tennessee’s ground game grades even better, however; it’s 22nd in the country in EPA per play. Lead back Jaylen Wright is third in the conference in rushing yards, and is averaging an astounding 7.5 yards per carry. Jabari Small and Dylan Sampson have both run for over 400 yards at a rate of more than five per carry, so it’s an incredibly deep running back room, going up against a Mizzou run defense that EPA sees as outside of the top-50, and PFF considers to be barely top-100.
The Tigers have the offensive firepower to carry them to a home win, and it’s puzzling that they’re not favored to do so. But both teams have the ability to score points and make this another exciting SEC shootout.
Best Bets: Over 58.5, Missouri +1.5