College Football Preview – Week 11

Things are really starting to hot up in the College Football world as we enter Week 11. Several excellent teams are vying for spots in the elusive playoff series, whilst others are just playing for pride at this point. Week 11 features some very enticing fixtures that will make or break some team’s seasons. The unbeaten Crimson Tide play home to Mississippi State, whilst Dwayne Haskins and the Ohio State Buckeyes travel to Michigan State in two featured games of the round. Let’s take a look at where the value lies in our 7 best line bets and value-laden weekly multi.

Syracuse vs Louisville (11am AEDT Saturday)
Syracuse at the Line (-20.5)

Syracuse Orange 

The Orange enter this highly anticipated matchup at 7-2 off the back of three consecutive wins. An outstanding rushing game was the key to victory against Wake Forest last time out, totalling an impressive 264 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Dual-threat QB Eric Dungey has enjoyed an excellent season so far, throwing for 13 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. His elite rushing ability for a QB adds a unique element to this offense, with over 5 yards per carry and 10 rushing touchdowns on the season. 

Louisville Cardinals 

The 2-7 Cardinals travel to Syracuse off the back of 6 straight losses, including a 61-point beatdown at the hands of Clemson last week. QB Jawon Pass struggled mightily yet again, averaging just 4.6 yards per attempt and throwing for 2 interceptions. It also can’t be understated just how terrible the run defence was in this one. They allowed an astounding 492 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground to Clemson, allowing a further 5 touchdowns through the air for good measure. Against Syracuse’s diverse rushing attack, they’re in for another difficult matchup here.  

Prediction: Syracuse -20.5 

On a primetime night game in front of their home crowd, I’m expecting a big win from Syracuse in this one. Their elite rushing offence will prove far too much for Louisville here as they control the clock and the game.  

Michigan State vs Ohio State (4am AEDT Sunday)
Ohio State at the Line (-3.5)

Michigan State Spartans 

Michigan State has rebounded nicely after a loss to arch-rival Michigan, registering back-to-back victories over Purdue and Maryland. Running Back Conner Heyward continues to lead the way offensively, rushing for 157 yards and 2 scores on just 15 attempts last week. This helped mask a poor display from QB Brian Lewerke, who threw for just 87 yards and a pick. Defensively, the Spartans have continued to put in some truly excellent performances. They limited Maryland to just 26 rushing yards on 29 carries and only 74 passing yards on 21 attempts. Allowing just 100 yards of offence is a great recipe for this team to win going forward. 

Ohio State Buckeyes 

The Buckeyes rebounded off a surprising loss to Purdue with a home victory over Nebraska last week. Running Back J.K. Dobbins led the way on offence, putting up 185 total yards and 3 scores. QB Dwayne Haskins also continued his strong start to the campaign with 251 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. It was a surprisingly poor performance from the Buckeyes defence, allowing 184 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Similarly, their pass defence will need to improve against a Michigan State offence that has largely struggled so far. 

Prediction: Ohio State -3.5 

The biggest mismatch in this game is the excellent Ohio State defence going up against this anaemic Michigan State passing offence. I expect another poor performance from Brian Lewerke here, whilst his counterpart Dwayne Haskins makes enough plays to get the job done. 

Alabama vs Mississippi Stakes (7:30am AEDT Sunday)
Alabama at the Line (-25)

Alabama Crimson Tide 

The 9-0 Crimson Tide return home after yet another win, this time a very impressive 29-0 road victory over LSU. As usual, the Tide offensive line controlled the game in this one. They paved the way for 281 yards on the ground and kept star QB Tua Tagovailoa upright all night. The Alabama defence was even better in this one, holding LSU to a measly 12 rushing yards on 25 total attempts. LSU QB Joe Burrow was also limited by this elite defence, averaging just 5.3 yards per attempt and throwing an interception.  

Mississippi State Bulldogs 

The 6-3 Bulldogs face the unenviable task of travelling to Alabama off the back of two straight dominant wins. QB Nick Fitzgerald was outstanding on offence against Louisiana Tech last week, throwing for 243 yards and 4 scores, and adding a further 107 yards on the ground. That said, he had largely struggled before this effort and should struggle against the Tide this week. On defence, it was a great display by the Bulldogs secondary. They limited Louisiana Tech to just 98 yards and an interception through the air, a feat which they’d no doubt love to repeat here. 

Prediction: Alabama -25 

Alabama hasn’t failed me all season and I plan to keep rolling with the Tide until further notice. In Tua Tagovailoa, they have probably the best QB they’ve had in the Nick Saban era. This team is far too talented on both sides of the ball and should win this by 30+. 

Rutgers vs Michigan (7:30am AEDT Sunday)
Michigan at the Line (-39)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 

The 1-8 Scarlet Knights enter this daunting matchup off the back of 8 straight losses. They’ve struggled immensely to put up points this season, scoring no more than 17 over this 8 week stretch. QB Artur Sitkowski has a miserable 3 touchdown to 15 interception ratio that could probably be outdone by most local halfbacks. Against this immense Michigan defence, I genuinely fear for Artur’s safety here. The Rutgers defence has generally done well so far and has been very much let down by their offence. It won’t get any easier for them this week, with the high-flying Wolverines coming to town. 

Michigan Wolverines 

After an 0-1 start, the Jim Harbaugh-led Wolverines travel to Rutgers off the back of 8 straight wins. The exceptional rushing attack continues to lead the way, registering an impressive 259 yards and 3 scores in last week’s rout of Penn State. QB Shea Patterson has also been very effective in a game manager role, throwing 14 touchdowns to just 3 picks so far. No one is having any success coming up against this vaunted Wolverines defence at the moment. They held Penn State to under 200 yards of offence last week, forcing 3 turnovers in the process. This team has a legitimate shot at the playoffs and the defence will be the unit that gets them there. 

Prediction: Michigan -39 

Just like with Alabama, I’ve had immense success backing the Jim Harbaugh led Wolverines this season. This defence is one of the best units in the country and should lock down this anaemic Rutgers offence. 39 is definitely a large spread, but I see Michigan winning this one by at least 50 points. 

Utah vs Oregon (9:30am AEDT Sunday)
Utah at the Line (-3.5)

Utah Utes 

After 4 straight wins, the #15 ranked Utes enter this one off the back of a loss at Arizona State last week. Running Back Zack Moss has had a great campaign so far, averaging over 6 yards per carry and generating 12 total touchdowns. The loss of QB Tyler Huntley for the rest of the season will no doubt be a big blow for the Utes. On defence, Utah has largely been very strong this season. Against UCLA a fortnight ago, they allowed just 4.1 yards per pass attempt and forced 3 turnovers. This same level of performance will be needed here against an upstart Oregon offence. 

Oregon Ducks 

The 6-3 Ducks travel to Utah after a comfortable home win against UCLA last week. In a common theme amongst these top teams, the rushing offence was excellent, totalling 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. QB Justin Herbert delivered a solid performance in the air, throwing for 262 yards and a further 2 scores. Defensively, they did a very strong job limiting the UCLA passing attack to just 6.1 yards per attempt. A rushing attack that allowed just under 200 yards last week will need to improve against Zack Moss and this dynamic Utah rushing attack. 

Prediction: Utah -3.5 

This is definitely a tight one, however Utah’s strong rushing attack gives them the advantage in this one. Buoyed by a strong home crowd, I expect their defence to limit this Oregon offence. Similarly, I expect RB Zack Moss to go off again and add to his strong campaign. 

Notre Dame vs Florida State (11:30am AEDT Sunday)
Notre Dame at the Line (-18)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish 

The 9-0 Irish enter this one as the #4 ranked team in the country. They enjoyed a 10-point victory last week against a tough Northwestern side that really showed their quality. QB Ian Book delivered a very efficient performance, totalling 343 yards and 2 scores as he averaged over 10 yards per attempt. He then added a further 56 yards and a touchdown on the ground in a very complete display. The Irish defence was also at their firing best in this one, allowing less than 250 total yards on averages of under 5 yards per pass and 3 yards per rush.  

Florida State Seminoles 

The 4-5 Seminoles enter this one off very disappointing back-to-back losses to both Clemson and NC State. A slumping rushing attack could barely get anything going, managing just 45 yards on the afternoon. QB James Blackman performed admirably in last week’s loss, throwing for 421 yards and 4 touchdowns. It was really the defence that let Florida State down in this one. They allowed over 400 yards and 5 touchdowns to this NC State offence, seemingly not having an answer. Against this efficient Notre Dame side, an improved defensive effort is definitely needed this week.  

Prediction: Notre Dame -18 

Notre Dame are on a roll right now. I get the feeling as though they see Florida State as just another obstacle standing in their way of the playoffs. Ian Book is leading a very dynamic offence, which I expect to prove too much here. 

Boston College vs Clemson (12pm AEDT Sunday)
Clemson at the Line (-18)

Boston College Eagles 

The #22 ranked Eagles enter this matchup off the back of 3 straight wins. An outstanding rushing attack has continued to lead the way, totalling 219 yards and 3 touchdowns against Virginia Tech last week. QB Anthony Brown has had a quietly effective 2018 campaign, throwing for 16 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions so far. Defensively, Boston College have been very strong in recent weeks, holding their opponents to an average of 18 points per game. This was led by their excellent rushing defence against Virginia Tech, which allowed just 3.1 yards per carry. 

Clemson Tigers 

The 9-0 Tigers have had an incredible start to the season and enter this one as the #2 ranked team in the country. Their superb offensive line has paved the way for a dominant rushing attack all season. This was on full display against Louisville last week, in a performance that saw Clemson put up 492 yards and 5 touchdowns. The defence has also been incredible of late. They allowed just 2.3 yards per carry to a strong Louisville attack, forcing 3 turnovers in the passing game as well. They’ll be looking for another dominant display here to hold on to their place in the College Football playoffs.  

Prediction: Clemson -18 

Boston College enter this one in good form, but Clemson’s recent form has been even better. I expect their elite rushing attack to continue their strong start to the season and be the driving force behind a big road win. 

LSU, Cincinnati, Iowa, Georgia All to Win
Combined Odds of $1.90

After last week’s success, I’m going with another relatively safe multi here. Not only are each of these four teams significantly more talented than their opponents, but they simply can’t afford a loss here. At a handy $1.90, I’d be surprised if this one doesn’t get up.