Week 11 College Football Best Bets: TCU’s Run Ends Vs. Texas

Week 11 College Football best bets, predictions, and picks for the Saturday slate.

Week 11 College Football Best Bets & Predictions – Saturday Slate

We’re onto Week 11 of the college football season, and while Week 10 didn’t quite go according to plan, we were able to mitigate the damage. I’m excited to bounce back this week, and I love the card that I’m cooking up for you guys. As always, you can see my full card on my Twitter @wayne_sports. You can also check out our YouTube channel for further analysis on all of the biggest games of the week. Without further ado, let’s get to work.

College Football 2022 Record: 129-101.5-4 (56.1%)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Navy Midshipmen

Game Info: Saturday, November 12, 12:00 PM EST

Coverage: ABC

Notre Dame is on top of the world. After a 21-point road win over Syracuse, they returned home for a massive win over fifth-ranked Clemson after which their fans stormed the field. Now, it’s time to fade them. The Fighting Irish hit the road to face a Navy team that runs a triple-option offense that’s notoriously difficult to defend.

Navy runs the ball at the third-highest rate in the country, and they’ve been successful as they rank 14th in rushing EPA. Notre Dame’s defensive line is ranked just 70th in average line yards, and they rank just 105th in run defense EPA. They’ve been much better against the pass where their talented edge rushers and defensive backs can shine.

Meanwhile, Navy can stop the rushing attack of Notre Dame. The Mids rank 34th in EPA against the run and 115th against the pass. They also rank top 15 in defensive line yards, stuff rate, yards per rush, and rush success rate allowed. They allow the third-highest rate of explosive passes, but the Irish don’t have the quarterback or receivers to take advantage of that weakness.

Additionally, both of these teams rank well below average in pace of play and there’s a low total of just 39.5 points. Those factors will make it more difficult for the Irish to cover that three-score spread, and I wouldn’t shy away from playing the under in this game, as well, if you want some additional exposure.

This season, the Irish have gone 0-4 against the spread as a double-digit favorite, and they’ve lost two of those games outright to Marshall and Stanford. While I expect Notre Dame to pull out the win, this won’t be an easy game for them, and the Irish have to be on their Ps and Qs against this Navy outfit.

Best Bet: Navy +17 (play to +14.5)

LSU Tigers at Arkansas Razorbacks

Game Info: Saturday, November 12, 12:00 PM EST

Coverage: ESPN

Does it get any better from a situational handicapping standpoint? LSU is riding high after its monumental overtime win over Alabama as a 13.5-point home underdog, and the Tigers are sitting in an obvious letdown spot with the SEC suddenly within reach. They travel to Arkansas for a noon kickoff with wind chills projected to reach below freezing.

Despite going 5-1 in SEC play, LSU has just a +28 point differential in the conference, and they barely escaped with a win against Auburn a few weeks ago. That win over Alabama was undoubtedly impressive, but it said more about where the Crimson Tide are at this point than it did about the Tigers’ rapid ascension.

The Arkansas defense is poor overall. That must be acknowledged here. However, if they have one major advantage to fall back on its their pass rush that ranks 20th in sack rate against an LSU offensive line that ranks 127th in sack rate allowed. Drew Sanders sports an elite 28.4% pass-rush win rate, and he’ll get consistent pressure on Jayden Daniels.

For the Razorbacks, they’ll lean heavily on their ground game behind PFF’s top-graded offensive line in the country. K.J. Jefferson and Raheim Sanders are a lethal one-two punch in the backfield, and Arkansas ranks top 30 in rushing EPA and success rate. LSU ranks below average in yards per carry allowed as well as those two metrics.

The Tigers’ biggest defensive advantage is their pass rush with B.J. Ojulari and Harold Perkins on the edge. However, Arkansas has an elite pass-blocking O-line and Jefferson has the second-best PFF passing grade and third-best completion rate under pressure in the Power Five. He’ll still be able to get the ball to Jadon Haselwood and Matt Landers.

I’ll be honest, I jumped and played Arkansas +3 early in the week without contemplating the fact that LSU would be such a heavy public side throughout the week. That was a misfire, and there are plenty of 3.5s and 4s in the market as I’m writing this. I’ll still be tracking this pick at +3, but take advantage of that additional value.

Woo Pig Sooie.

Best Bet: Arkansas +4 (play to +3) and sprinkle ML

Arizona State Sun Devils at Washington State Cougars

Game Info: Saturday, November 12, 3:30 PM EST

It’s time to sell high on Washington State after their flattering result against Stanford. They beat the Cardinal 52-14, but Stanford lost four fumbles, including three in the first half, one of which was run back for a touchdown. The week prior, this Cougars team kept things close against Utah despite getting outgained by almost 100 yards with the Utes missing their starting quarterback.

Meanwhile, this Arizona State team is on the rise for two major reasons. First, the program was injected with new life after the Herm Edwards firing. Second, Trenton Bourguet is a much better quarterback than Emory Jones. In two games with Bourguet, the Sun Devils have scored a combined 78 points. Check out the following stats comparing the two passers:

Trenton Bourguet: 75.2% completion rate, 8.5 yards per attempt, eight touchdowns to three interceptions

Emory Jones: 62.1% completion rate, 7.6 yards per attempt, five touchdowns to four interceptions

The biggest concern would be the Cougars’ pass rush, as they rank 21st in defensive havoc and the Sun Devils rank 111th in havoc allowed, but Bourguet has a significantly lower aDOT and is attempting higher percentage throws, which helps neutralize those impacts. The Cougars rank 92nd against the pass in EPA, so Bourguet should find success.

Meanwhile, the Cougars rank 2nd in pass play rate which is just fine for the Sun Devils who can’t stop a nosebleed on the ground but are decent against the pass. Arizona State’s pass rush, in particular, will go a long way towards putting pressure on Cameron Ward as they rank 43rd in havoc and 59th in pass rush on PFF.

I’m buying into some of the newfound energy around this Arizona State program, and I’ll happily play them at anything over a touchdown in this game. While this might not be the game making the big screen for you, there’s value to be found.

Best Bet: Arizona State +9 (play to +7.5)

UCF Knights at Tulsa Green Wave

Game Info: Saturday, November 12, 3:30 PM EST

Much to the chagrin of my colleagues on the weekly YouTube show, I demanded we discuss this UCF vs Tulane game, and I think it’s quietly one of the best games of this slate. Willie Fritz’s Tulane is in the midst of a breakthrough season, and they could be on their way to a New Year’s Six bowl game if they win out. Meanwhile, UCF is only one game behind Tulane in the AAC.

UCF has gotten rather lucky with some of their results, however, and their luck should change this week. The Knights’ opponents have scored on an FBS-low 61.1% of red-zone trips and converted just 6 of 21 fourth down attempts, both of which are likely to regress. UCF has a great homefield advantage, but they’ve been unconvincing away from the Bounce House.

The Knights run the ball at the tenth-highest rate in the FBS, but the Green Wave excels against the run thanks to the excellent play of linebackers Nick Anderson and Dorian Williams. Tulane ranks 36th in rush play success rate, 21st in rush play EPA, and 10th in rush play explosiveness allowed this season.

Meanwhile, UCF brings a vulnerable pass defense to New Orleans as they rank 70th in EPA against the pass. Tulane’s weakness has been the offensive line, as they rank outside the top 100 in sack rate allowed, but the Knights don’t pressure the quarterback at a high level. Michael Pratt will have a clean pocket to work with here.

ESPN Game Day snubbed this game, but I won’t. The Green Wave have been an absolute wagon this season, and it’s been a blast watching them play. I believe they’re on their way to a NY6 game, and getting them under the key number at home here is beautiful. Let’s keep the good times rolling in the year of Tulane.

Best Bet: Tulane -1.5 (play to -2.5)

Texas A&M Aggies at Auburn Tigers

Game Info: Saturday, November 12, 7:30 PM EST

Coverage: SECN

I had a blast backing the Auburn Tigers last week as my weekly interim coach spot, and I’m thrilled to be able to do it again here. Texas A&M is a dead team walking with recruits decommitting, players being suspended, a flu outbreak causing issues, and Jimbo Fischer buyout rumors running rampant. This team has just a 23% chance of making a bowl game per SP+.

Meanwhile, the Tigers showed life last week after weeks of dreary results under Brian Harsin, and I adore Cadillac Williams. He was racing up and down the sidelines with energy and passion, and his players clearly responded. Auburn was previously underrated in the market with respect to their talent level, and they proved it.

Beyond the emotional handicaps, Auburn has clear matchup advantages. The Tigers have an elite ground game centered around Tank Bigsby and Robby Ashford. They rank fourth in rushing explosiveness while Texas A&M ranks 80th in rushing explosiveness allowed. The Aggies also rank just 97th in standard down line yards.

In addition, Texas A&M’s quarterback situation is unclear, and we’re not sure if Conner Weigman will be able to make a return. Nonetheless, whoever is under center for the Aggies will be under heavy pressure against Derick Hall and Colby Wooden, two future NFL players who looked rejuvenated last week.

Williams has breathed life back into this Auburn team, and I saw everything I wanted to last week from them. We don’t know where this Texas A&M team is mentally with everything that’s going on, but we do know we’re getting under a field goal for a team with something to prove and plenty of matchup advantages.

War Eagle.

Best Bet: Auburn -1.5 (play to -2.5)

TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns

Game Info: Saturday, November 12, 7:30 PM EST

Coverage: ABC

Here we go again. This will be my longest writeup in this article, and I saved the best for last, so let’s get into it. I’ve faded TCU over the last couple of weeks, and they came through with completely improbable circumstances leading to a cover. Let’s analyze some of those results.

Against West Virginia, they were up by just three points before a completely unnecessary last-second touchdown toss from Max Duggan to Savion Williams gave them a ten-point win and the cover. Against Texas Tech, they were behind for much of the game before benefitting from excellent field position as a result of the Red Raiders failing on multiple fourth down instances.

In addition, Texas Tech’s starting quarterback Behren Morton suffered an injury, and the offense wasn’t the same thereon with the combination of Tyler Shough and Donovan Smith. That Morton injury was symptomatic of the types of results the Frogs have been getting lately as their opponent’s starting quarterback has suffered an injury in five of their last six games.

Despite those injuries to opposing starting quarterbacks, TCU has won those games by an average of just 12.2 points. They haven’t been able to gain margin on anyone because of how poor their defense is. They rank 84th in EPA per play, 121st in finishing drives, and 124th in explosiveness allowed. Imagine if they had played those starting QBs – where would those numbers fall?

Enter Texas. Even if TCU’s voodoo magic does its thing again this week, we know Hudson Card is very capable of leading this offense to success. Quinn Ewers has been very good, but Card’s metrics are actually better in several areas. Regardless, either quarterback will have success in this game.

However, the best player for Texas, and the best running back in college football, is Bijan Robinson. He has to be absolutely licking his chops at the prospect of facing a TCU defense that ranks 87th in rush play EPA per play allowed and 84th in rush play explosiveness allowed. When Robinson gets to the second level against this defense, forget about it.

Meanwhile, Texas’s defense will present major challenges for TCU, particularly with Max Duggan dealing with a calf injury that clearly sapped his mobility last week. Now he has to face a Texas pass rush that ranks 9th on PFF but just 114th in sack rate. That indicates clear positive regression that should start this week.

TCU is also dealing with a major injury to wide receiver Quentin Johnston, and that was massive for their offense in the Texas Tech game as none of their other receivers were getting open. Texas’s secondary has holes, but if Duggan can’t extend plays with his legs and Johnston isn’t at 100%, I’m not sure it matters much.

With those injuries, the Horned Frogs will likely lean on their run game here, but that’s likely exactly what Texas wants them to do as they rank top 15 in rush play EPA and success rate allowed. TCU will likely break a couple of explosive runs against a Texas defense that ranks 75th in rush play explosiveness allowed, but it won’t be consistent enough.

This game will be in the hands of Duggan, and I haven’t even mentioned that former TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who knows Duggan’s tendencies better than just about anybody, is now an assistant for Steve Sarkisian. He’ll be in Sark’s ear all week giving him intel about how to beat Duggan.

This game marks TCU’s toughest road test of the season to this point with close wins over SMU, Kansas, and West Virginia coming before this. Austin will be rocking for this game, and while the other factors are more important for my overall handicap, I definitely love the fact that we’re getting the added boost of that home field.

Texas is a more talented team than TCU, and they’re higher rated in FEI and SP+ metrics. It sounds cliche, but this team isn’t very far away from being undefeated and hosting TCU with CFP aspirations. Check out their three losses:

  • One-point loss to Alabama in which Quinn Ewers got hurt after an incredible start
  • Three-point overtime loss to Texas Tech that graded as a 16.4-point win for Texas via SP+ postgame win expectancy metrics
  • Seven-point loss to Oklahoma State in which the Cowboys benefitted from an absurd 14-0 penalty margin

Texas could have and probably should have won all of those games, and it’s time for the bounces to start going their way and against TCU. This number has already risen from the opener of 6 points all the way to 7 or 7.5, and you should try to get the 7-point spread as it’s a key number.

However, you can also use the Texas Moneyline in parlays and play the Texas team total over. There are plenty of ways to attack this game, and I can’t wait to watch it unfold. Hook ‘em.

Best Bet: Texas -6 (play to -7.5)

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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