9 Hot Picks That Rank as the Best Bets for College Football Week 15

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As the bizarre 2020 college football season lurches toward an uncertain conclusion, this Saturday’s packed slate of games looms more important than ever for most teams. For those looking to wager on the action, here are nine hot picks that are the best bets out there for College Football Week 15 (all early odds courtesy of MyBookie.com).

No. 17 North Carolina at No. 10 Miami

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
North Carolina +3 (-110) +133 O 69½ (-110)
Miami Florida -3 (-110) -153 U 69½ (-110)

The No. 10 Hurricanes (8-1) play host to the 7-3 Tar Heels Saturday at 3:30 p.m ET. The high-powered Tar Heels offense averages over 41 points per game, to go with over 500 total yards per game. The Tar Heels’ weakness resides on the defensive side of the ball. Their defense is allowing over 30 points per game in ACC play (including 53 to Wake Forest). UNC is a young football team and young football teams are often caught looking ahead.

However, when this Tar Heel defense gets up for a big game they can compete. Coach Mack Brown has gotten the best out of his young defense since the Wake Forest game, holding a Notre Dame team that put up 47 on No. 3 Clemson to 31 in a loss this past month—in a game that was tied at halftime. The Tar Heels beat FCS foe Western Carolina 49-9 in an absolute beatdown last week.

Expect the UNC defense to show up this Saturday and limit the Hurricanes to under 35 points. D’ Eriq King is a major upgrade from recent Miami starting quarterbacks, but he will be no match for QB Sam Howell and the Tar Heels. The talent gap is too close, so whichever team is better prepared is likely to have the edge. Mack Brown gets the nod there over Manny Diaz this Saturday and the Tar Heels will pull off the small upset to close out their regular season.

The Pick:
UNC +3

Western Michigan at Ball State

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Western Michigan +2 (-115) +100 O 65½ (-105)
Ball State -2 (-105) -120 U 65½ (-115)

In a matchup featuring a pair of 4-1 teams, Western Michigan travels to Muncie, Indiana, on Saturday afternoon to take on Ball State with a trip to Detroit for the Mid-American Conference Championship on the line. The Broncos average the sixth-most points in all of college football at 44.6 points per game, while the Cardinals rank 25th at 34.4 points per game. However, these offenses will have trouble getting anything going in predicted 25+ mph winds to go along with a 70 percent chance of precipitation. The under 65.5 is too good to pass up with Mother Nature on your side.

The Pick:
Under 65½

Utah at No. 21 Miami Colorado

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Utah +1 (-110) -101 O 48 (-110)
Colorado -1 (-110) -119 U 48 (-110)

The 1-2 Utah Utes are on the road to face 4-0 Colorado at noon, but this appears to be one of those times when the records are highly deceptive. The game was originally scheduled for Friday night but was moved to Saturday on Wednesday. The start time is peculiar as it will be 10 a.m. locally in Boulder at kickoff. It also is expected to snow throughout the night on Friday and into Saturday afternoon in Boulder.

It is likely a very good bet that these two offenses will have trouble clicking early Saturday morning in the snow. Colorado may be 4-0 but they have played a relatively weak schedule (ranked No. 66 hardest in the nation), compared to Utah, which has been tested more by a strength of schedule ranked No. 44. Expect Utah to use their experience in close games to find a way down the stretch.

The Bets
Utah +1
Under 48

No. 13 Coastal Carolina at Troy

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Coastal Carolina -13½ (-112) -500 O 51½ (-110)
Troy +13½ (-108) +395 U 51½ (-110)

Undefeated Coastal Carolina (10-0) travels to Alabama to take on 5-5 Troy and is obviously intent on closing out a perfect regular season. Coastal is coming off a 22-17 victory over then-ranked No. 13 BYU that was mighty impressive. It was undoubtedly the biggest win in Coastal Carolina’s football program’s history. Coastal is already locked in for a rematch with No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette in the Sun Belt championship game next Saturday.

We mention all this because this has all the makings of a trap game for Coastal. The play here is Troy +13.5, as the Chanticleers are caught in a clear sandwich spot and will likely have trouble getting up for the Trojans in a matchup that is projected to included intermittent rain throughout. Coastal will find a way to win, but Troy will hang around long enough to cover the 13.5 points.

The Pick:
Troy +13½

Illinois at No. 14 Northwestern

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Illinois +14 (-110) +460 O 40 (+100)
Northwestern -14 (-110) -600 U 40 (-120)

The 2-4 Illini close out a disappointing regular season with a trip to in-state rival and Big Ten West champions Northwestern (5-1). The total is as low as you will see in a college football game due to projected heavy rain/snow and 25-30 mph winds. It is a classic 11 a.m. local kickoff in Evanston, Illinois. And to be blunt, these offenses are nothing special even in the fairest of weather. Illinois is playing their final game of the season and has a chance to pull off a massive upset, while Northwestern is in a classic look-ahead spot, having already clinched a trip to the Big Ten title game next weekend.

Illinois coach Lovie Smith has a history of getting his players up for games in which they are huge underdogs. So, look for the Illini to hang around in an ugly, low-scoring affair for the majority of the game. Northwestern will squeak out a one-possession win to close out its special regular season, but covering the two-touchdown spread will prove too difficult.

The Pick:
Illinois +14

Virginia at Virginia Tech

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Virginia +2½ (+100) +120 O 63 (-110)
Virginia Tech -2½ (-120) -140 U 63 (-110)

The 5-4 Cavaliers head into Lane Stadium for latest renewal of the “Commonwealth Clash” with in-state rival Virginia Tech. The 4-6 Hokies are coming off four straight losses, including the last two being by over 30 points. Virginia, on the other hand, has rattled off four wins in a row heading into the matchup. UVA is looking to win back-to-back matchups against Virginia Tech for the first time since 1998. So, why is the team that has lost four straight favored?

The Hokies are getting quarterback Hendon Hooker back for this one, and it should make all the difference. Early season Heisman Trophy candidate Khalil Herbert should have success rushing the football against the Cavaliers, who rank in the middle of Division 1 in rushing yards allowed per game. Coach Justin Fuente may not be liked by Virginia Tech fans, but his players seem to love him and should play with their hair on fire to ensure his job security this offseason. The original -2.5 line regarding the Hokies was more favorable, but we have no issue laying the 3 in Blacksburg.

The Pick:
Virginia Tech -2½

No. 22 Oklahoma State at Baylor

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Oklahoma State -6 (-105) -205 O 49 (-108)
Baylor +6 (-115) +175 U 49 (-112)

Baylor (6-2) plays host to 6-3 Oklahoma State in both teams’ regular-season finales. Oklahoma State finished the season on a disappointing note, losing two of its last three against in-state rival Oklahoma and TCU last weekend, respectively. The Cowboys are clearly the better team. But as with any college football game, motivation is a large factor regarding which side to back. It is difficult to trust the Cowboys to bring enough energy into Saturday’s matchup to lay the 5.5 points, even though their offense is too talented to not put a pile points on the board.

While this is not Art Briles’ high-powered Baylor offense capable of putting up 40 points in its sleep, the Bears also will be efficient enough to score lots of points. Chuba Hubbard is poised to have a big game in his regular-season finale and potentially his final game as a Cowboy (if he opts out of their bowl game). Spencer Sanders is a good quarterback and star receiver Tylan Wallace has NFL talent and is more than capable of busting a long touchdown in his own right. Oklahoma State’s star-studded offense and potentially disinterested defense is enough reason to take the over 49 points, sit back, and cash your ticket.

The Pick:
Over 49

Navy at Army

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Navy +8 (-110) +250 O 37½ (-101)
Army -8 (-110) -300 U 37½ (-119)

The 7-2 Knights host the 3-6 Midshipmen in West Point for the first time since World War II. To no one’s surprise, these two teams both rank in the top 5 in the nation in rush percentage this year, with Army ranking first in the FBS, and Navy ranking fourth. The difference this year is that Navy hasn’t been particularly good at running the football. The Midshipmen average 185.3 rushing yards per game, good enough for 46th in the country.

On the surface that looks good, but it’s not great when you rush the ball nearly 50 times a game. The Navy defense also struggles stopping the run, with the 5.3 yards per carry they allow placing them at 112th in the nation. Meanwhile, Army allows a mere 119 rushing yards per game. This game is a horrendous matchup for Navy, and it is safe to assume Army will control the game and win America’s game by double digits.

The Pick:
Army -8

No. 15 Southern California at UCLA

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
USC -3½ (-115) -170 O 63½ (-120)
UCLA +3½ (-105) +150 U 63½ (+100)

The 4-0 Trojans take on the 3-2 Bruins in the Rose Bowl in the latest installment of this Los Angeles rivalry. In Chip Kelly’s first year at the helm, the Bruins fell 52-35 to USC last year. Heading into Kelly’s second year, expectations were relatively low. But the team seems headed in the right direction thanks in large part to the leaps taken by quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Demetric Felton. Although the Bruins have had more success on the defensive side of the ball this year, they have still struggled against the league’s better offenses, allowing 48 points to Colorado and 38 to Oregon.

USC has the best quarterback in the Pac-12, Kedon Slovis, who is sure to play on Sundays in the near future. The Trojans have star receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown anchoring a solid receiving corps that is sure to give the Bruins fits all afternoon. The Bruins have scored 42 and 35 points in those close losses versus Colorado and Oregon, so the Bruins have the firepower to keep up in what is likely to quickly turn into a Saturday night track meet. The over hit in last year’s affair and both offenses are much improved this season. Watch this over cash out with plenty of time to spare to cap off your evening with a sweat-free winner.

The Pick:
Over 63½
Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.