Hot Picks for Saturday College Football

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Even upon considering the frustrating, COVID-19-induced cancellation of the Sun Belt Championship game between No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 9 Coastal Carolina, the darlings of college football, there is a tantalizing slate of matchups to choose from this Saturday. That includes four other conference championship tilts. Here are 10 games that demand the attention of intelligent bettors, lines courtesy of BetOnline.AG:

No. 10 Oklahoma (-5½) vs. Iowa State O/U: 58

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Oklahoma -5½ (-115) -210 O 58 (-120)
Iowa State +5½ (-105) +180 U 58 (+100)

Iowa State (8-2) is going for the season sweep vs. 7-2 Oklahoma. The Cyclones won the first matchup 37-30 in Ames back on Oct. 3. Breece Hall rushed for 139 yards in the first matchup to lead the offense while quarterback Iowa State quarterback threw for 254 yards on just 12 completions, as the big plays were there to be had against the Sooners’ defense. Expect Iowa State to try and establish the run game early and often to keep this game within the 5.5 point spread – even if the Cyclones fall a little short of winning outright.

The Pick:
Iowa State +5½

No. 4 Ohio State (-18½) vs. No. 14 Northwestern O/U: 55½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Ohio State -18½ (-110) -1000 U 55½ (-110)
Northwestern +18½ (-110) +660 O 55½ (-110)

Ohio State (5-0) finally returns to action vs. Big Ten West champion Northwestern (6-1). The Buckeyes need to make a convincing statement to solidify their case to the CFB playoff committee. Expect the Buckeyes to do just that. The Buckeyes average over 20 points more per game than the Wildcats, and nearly 200 more yards per game. Northwestern doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with the high-scoring Ohio State offense. The Buckeyes should easily win by more than three touchdowns to cover the 21 points.

The Pick:
Ohio State -18½

Ole Miss (-1½) at LSU O/U: 74½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Ole Miss -1½ (-110) -123 O 74½ (-110)
LSU +1½ (-110) +103 U 74½ (-110)

Sell high on 4-5 LSU. The Tigers earned their signature win of the 2020 season last weekend on the road against then-No. 6 Florida. Ole Miss, 4-4 under first-year coach Lane Kiffin, will not take the Tigers lightly and have had three weeks to prepare for this game. In a game that features one of the highest Over/Unders of the season, laying the 2.5 points for Ole Miss is the right call.

The Pick:
Ole Miss -1½

Missouri (-1) at Mississippi State O/U: 49

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Missouri -1 (-115) -121 O 49 (-110)
Mississippi State +1 (-105) +101 U 49 (-110)

This line simply doesn’t make much sense. Mississippi State, a disappointing 2-7 in its first year with Mike Leach as coach, hasn’t been very good this season. Although 5-4 Missouri was blown out 49-14 by Georgia last weekend, the Tigers entered that matchup at No. 25 in the country for good reason. Missouri had won five out of six entering last week and has been the most pleasant surprise in all of the SEC. Missouri will return to their winning ways and finish the regular season strong with a double-digit win over Mississippi State.

The Pick:
Missouri -1

No. 3 Clemson (-10) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame O/U: 59½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Clemson -10 (-113) -380 O 59½ (-115)
Notre Dame +10 (-107) +310 U 59½ (-105)

This is the one everyone is drooling over. The ACC championship game features a rematch of the game of the year, a 47-40 double overtime win for the 10-0 Irish back on Nov. 7. Trevor Lawrence, who missed that contest after testing positive for COVID-19, will be under center this time around for the 9-1 Tigers. That is the main contributing factor behind the line shifting four points this time from 6.5 to 10.5. Double-digit points are simply too many points to lay against a team as experienced and talented as the Irish. Notre Dame has the best offensive line in the country and should be able to establish the run once again to keep the ball out of Lawrence’s hands as much as possible. The rematch won’t be nearly as high scoring, so take the Under 60 and Notre Dame with the 10.5 points, as Clemson should win a close one to win the ACC title for the sixth straight season.

The Bets
Notre Dame +10
-107
UNDER 59½
-105

Boise State (-6½) vs. No. 24 San Jose State O/U: 56

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Boise State -6½ (-115) -240 O 56 (-115)
San Jose State +6½ (-105) +200 U 56 (-105)

Undefeated San Jose State’s offense is extremely efficient in the passing game, ranking 29th in the country in passing yards per game with an average of 276 yards. This is the best passing offense 5-1 Boise State has faced since BYU’s Zach Wilson went 21 of 27 for 359 yards in a 51-17 win in Boise. San Jose State will cover the 6.5 points and give Boise a run for their money outright.

The Pick:
San Jose State +6½

No. 1 Alabama (-17) vs. No. 7 Florida O/U: 74½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Alabama -17 (-113) -825 O 74½ (-110)
Florida +17 (-107) +605 U 74½ (-110)

Florida (8-2) just allowed 37 points to a 3-5 LSU team starting a freshman quarterback. Alabama, the first team in history to go undefeated with 10 SEC wins in a regular season, will score 40 points or more with relative ease. The Crimson Tide offense is averaging 49.5 points per game behind the arm of Heisman candidate Mac Jones, their highly efficient quarterback who is surrounded with weapons such as fabulous wide receiver DeVonta Jones. But the Gators offense has its own Heisman candidate, Kyle Trask, who has led the Gators to 41.2 points per game. The Tide and Gators will trade scores early and often in this one, but it’s quite possible that Florida will pull off a late score or two to cover the 18-point spread. Take the Over 74.5 points instead.

The Pick:
Over 74½

Arizona State (-7.5) at Oregon State O/U: 54

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Arizona State -7 (-115) -275 O 54 (-112)
Oregon State +7 (-105) +230 U 54 (-108)

Oregon State (2-4) got star running back Jermar Jefferson back in a limited role last weekend vs. Stanford, and now he should be at full strength against 1-2 Arizona State. Jefferson had not been held under 130 yards all season until last week’s small workload. Consistent 20 mph cross-stadium winds are expected throughout the game along with over half an inch of rain. Arizona State largely relies on their rushing attack as well, running the ball over 50 percent of the time. Jefferson will allow the Beavers to control the clock on the ground and keep this game close. Take Oregon State and the 7.5 points as well as the Under of 54 points.

The Bets
Oregon State +7
-105
OVER 54
-112
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.