College Football Betting Guide: Saturday 10/16/21
College football parity might exist after all. Texas A&M gave Alabama their first loss against an unranked opponent since 2007 in an excellent betting win for our model. This week’s slate is short on marquee matchups unless you believe Kentucky is the next team to knock off a perennial power, but there are still games that offer betting value. Let's take a look at the most exciting games this week and see where that value lies.
numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, the spread, or the moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting for any given game. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.
For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110-spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300. Here are the best bets for this weekend with guidance from our model.
Please note that lines are subject to change after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you are seeing the most updated information.
Under 83.5 (-110): 4-Star Rating out of 5
The under in the last Ole Miss game was the one pick from last week’s column that our model predicted incorrectly, but we'll stick to the process and go back to the well this week. Ole Miss and Arkansas combined for 103 points to blow the 66.5-point total away. The Rebels had two running backs with over 100 yards rushing, and quarterback Matt Corral wasn’t far behind with 94 rushing yards of his own -- along with two touchdowns. However, bookmakers ramped the total up to 83.5 this week as Ole Miss travels to Tennessee, which seems like an overreaction based on the outcome of one game.
Tennessee is sitting at 4-2 and they rank 16th nationally according to our model. The S&P+ rankings are even higher on the Volunteers slotting them in at 14th per ESPN. They lost their second game under new head coach Josh Heupel to a solid Pittsburgh team, and they also lost on the road against Florida. Tennessee’s defense rates out better than Arkansas’s according to S&P+, and they’re much better than the Razorbacks at stopping the run (112.2 rushing yards allowed per game).
The formula for Tennessee to win the game is simple: make Ole Miss beat them through the air. The Rebels are capable of doing so, but if they repeatedly face obvious passing situations, the Volunteers could contain Matt Corral and muster enough offense to win. If Tennessee can do that, then this game will likely stay under the betting total. Our model predicts the total stays under 68.7% of the time, and that is good enough for a four-star bet.
Under 51.5 (-110): 3-Star Rating out of 5
After losing to BYU, the Sun Devils have rattled off three wins in a row including a road trip to UCLA two weeks ago. Arizona State’s star quarterback Jayden Daniels has been a major part of their success this season having thrown for 1,269 yards already with a 70.1% completion percentage. Daniels is a dual-threat and has been averaging 6.7 yards per rush, too. However, bettors shouldn’t overlook the Sun Devils’ defense -- every time they’ve held an opponent to 23 points or fewer, they’ve won.
Arizona State shouldn’t have a problem stopping Utah’s offense. The Utes put up 42 on USC last week, but other than that, they haven’t been blowing teams away. The Sun Devils are able to put pressure on the quarterback and generate turnovers as they rank 8th in sacks and 11th in interceptions, respectively, in the country. If Arizona State continues their recent tear on the defensive side of the ball, Utah quarterback Cameron Rising will be in for a long night.
This game will probably come down to how many points the Sun Devils put up themselves because they’re definitely equipped to score on the Utes. Our model predicts a narrow victory for Arizona State and for the game to stay under the 51.5-point total 65.9% of the time. Even though Daniels and the Sun Devils' offense have been explosive all year, their defense should be enough to limit points in this contest.
Texas -4.5 (-110): 2-Star Rating out of 5
Texas lost a heartbreaker last week, but they proved that they’re a top contender in the Big 12. Oklahoma State has won against two ranked teams at home in consecutive weeks (Kansas State and Baylor) to get to 5-0, but they aren’t on the same level as the Longhorns. Our model ranks Texas 12th compared to Oklahoma State at just 22nd, and the difference can mostly be attributed to the Longhorns’ offense. Texas has been excellent in the run game behind running back Bijan Robinson -- an emerging Heisman candidate through six weeks.
Robinson will meet his match this week, however, because the Cowboys have only allowed 91 rushing yards per game thus far. Texas has a strong offensive line that ranks 12th in average line yards and 5th in line yards on standard downs -- both stats according to Football Outsiders. Quarterback Casey Thompson has played well since taking over for Hudson Card, and he has 14 touchdowns already this year despite not playing all of the snaps.
Oklahoma State has a great defense, but they haven’t played a team in Texas’s realm on offense. The Cowboys might prove that they’re the real deal, but our model predicts a Texas win. The Longhorns are projected to cover the 4.5-point spread with a 58.6% likelihood as they look to get back into the win column after a tough loss last week, which makes for a passable two-star bet.