We made it. The best wall-to-wall football day of the week is finally upon us.
To all you early-bird bettors out there hoping to get ahead of Saturday’s noon action so you can enjoy betting on Friday Night Lights in peace, we tip our proverbial cap. And to those night owls fumbling through the morning after staying up to sweat Friday night’s BYU vs. Boise State game deep into the late-night hours, we’re right there with you — and we’re also here to help.
Our staff has broken down the odds and highlighted their favorite betting positions for the Week 10 Saturday college football slate. From the noons to the evening, we’ve got you covered with our favorite bets for each of the major Saturday college football kickoff windows.
Looking for our Best Bets Recommendations for the post-morning kickoffs? Freely navigate between our morning bets and post-morning bets via the link below:
Check our top Saturday picks below, each of which comes from one of the following eight games. This column focuses on “The Noons” and includes our staff’s five favorite bets for the slate-opening games, beginning at or before noon ET.
Click any of the noon games below to navigate to a specific matchup. Alternatively, click on any of the other three games among our staff’s best bets this week to navigate to our post-morning Best Bets column.
“Me and my friends, we got money to spend.“
— Aubrey Graham, “Change Locations”
The Rest of our Best (Bets)
All odds are from DraftKings and have been updated as of Friday evening.
|Nebraska Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Northwestern Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+135/-167 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||53 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
|TV||Big Ten Network|
Last season in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers and Wildcats competed for the crown of the ugliest Big Ten game of the year. Despite a virtually turnover-free 60 minutes, the two teams combined for just 23 total points. Since then, Northwestern’s defense has gotten healthy and is perhaps the second-best unit in the Big Ten behind Ohio State. Nebraska, meanwhile, has yet to take a meaningful step forward offensively.
My projections for this game call for the Cornhuskers and Wildcats to play this one in the mid-40s, which is why I have this total circled. Nebraska has exceeded 28 points just once in its last nine games, and Northwestern put the clamps on a Maryland offense that has since proven to be dynamic. Toss in the Wildcats’ second-half shutout of Iowa last week, and it’s hard to envision Nebraska exceeding 24 points in this one.
The wildcard in this game is the Northwestern offense that is still very much a work in progress against a seemingly average Nebraska defense. Northwestern’s offense checks in at 103rd nationally, while Nebraska’s defense is slotted 72nd, according to ESPN’s Bill Connelly. Through two games, Northwestern has also stayed true to form in terms of explosiveness — that is to say, it’s not explosive at all. Just two plays from scrimmage have gone for 30 yards or more for NW, and that gives me confidence that this will be a four-quarter grind between the Huskers and Cats.
Northwestern has gotten off to a hot start, going 2-0 in its first two games.
The Wildcats have an offensive PPA per play of 0.40. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey is completing 70% of his passes. Through two games, the Wildcats have six different players that have rushed for a touchdown. Inside the 40-yard line, the Wildcats are averaging 5.41 points per opportunity, reflecting their strong run game. Additionally, Northwestern has a Passing Success Rate of 50%. Defensively, The Wildcats are allowing 2.55 points per attempt inside the 40-yard line.
Nebraska is looking to bounce back after a tough opening week loss against Ohio State. It kept it close in the first half, scoring twice on the ground, but the Buckeyes inevitably pulled away. The Cornhuskers will look to get the passing game going against the Wildcats this weekend. Nebraska has an offensive PPA per play of 0.40. It’s averaging 2.83 points per opportunity inside the 40-yard line and holds a Passing Success Rate of 47%. The Cornhuskers allowed over six points per opportunity inside the 40 against Ohio State.
Northwestern is going to look to throw the ball against an exploitable Nebraska secondary as it continues with its run game. As long as the Wildcats get into a position to score, they shouldn’t have an issue putting points on the board.
Nebraska will leverage its running game to open things up through the air for quarterback Adrian Martinez. The Huskers will have more success finding the end zone against the Wildcats than they did against the Buckeyes. Because that’s a big surprise.
My model has the total for this game at 65. I would highly recommend taking the over.
by Pat McMahon
|Arizona State Odds||+10.5 [BET NOW]|
|USC Odds||-10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+300/-400 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||55.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
College football fans are being treated to a great Pac-12 opening week matchup between Arizona State and USC with a rare 9 a.m. local kickoff time in Los Angeles. This game will feature the league’s two best quarterbacks in USC’s Kedon Slovis and Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels.
The Trojans are the favorites to win the Pac-12 South, thanks to an explosive offense and experienced roster, as well as a favorable schedule. USC returns 16 total starters, and coming back alongside Slovis are stud receivers Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Pair the explosive offense with a defense that brings back eight starters, and it’s no surprise the Trojans are receiving plenty of love to win the conference.
Unfortunately for USC, its toughest test of the season arguably comes in the opener against the Sun Devils. The Arizona State offense doesn’t have the same preseason hype as the Trojans due to the departures of running back Eno Benjamin and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to the NFL. However, the drop-off in offensive production for the Sun Devils won’t be as big as people think.
Despite his top targets going pro, I think Daniels will have an even better sophomore season. Arizona State’s offensive line returns just two starters but brings in two Power Five grad transfers, so the group does have experience and depth, which should make it strong. Aiyuk is the offense’s biggest loss, but Frank Darby is also a stud on the outside and should blossom into a star in his senior campaign. This was a deep receiving corps last season, and there are several talented sophomores who will step into bigger roles this year and become quality options for Daniels.
I’m not questioning USC’s talent, especially on offense, but I don’t think Arizona State is as far behind the Trojans as the betting markets indicate.
Daniels is a special player who will only look better in his second year playing for the Sun Devils’ great coaching staff, and their losses on offense are being overblown. While the USC defense is very experienced, it did lose one of it best players in defensive tackle Jay Tufele, a first-team all-conference selection last year, who opted out of this season. Daniels will be tough to slow down, and I think we’ll see a back-and-forth affair with both offenses getting on the scoreboard early. I’ll gladly take the Sun Devils getting double digits, and I think sprinkling the ASU moneyline at +300 or better is worth a look as well.
|SMU Odds||-17.5 [BET NOW]|
|Temple Odds||+17.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-835/+500 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||62 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
The last time the SMU Mustangs played an up-tempo team of Temple’s caliber, they put up 65 at North Texas. It’s tough not to see a similar result tomorrow in South Philly, where weather will not be an issue (70 degrees, light wind) and the home team gives up a generous 8.6 yards per pass attempt. These Mustangs like to throw it early, throw it often (37.8 pass attempts per game) and throw it efficiently (9.4 yards per pass attempt).
This is an SMU side that can also spread teams out and gain chunks of yards on the ground (181.7 rush yards per game). Temple, which allows 213.5 yards on the ground per game, is going to have a tough time getting stops.
I tried to look for signs against SMU scoring but couldn’t really come up with many. The Mustangs play Tulsa next week, so that’s not what one would call a look-ahead spot. Note, however, that SMU is without star receiver Reggie Roberson, Jr. (22 receptions, 474 yards, five touchdowns in just four games), but quarterback Shane Buechele has performed admirably in the past without his go-to guy, including a 457-yard, six-touchdown performance against these same Owls last year.
I’d take the SMU team total and would buy it up to 42.
by Matt Wispe
|Louisiana-Monroe Odds||+18 [BET NOW]|
|Georgia State Odds||-18 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+575/-910 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||58.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
Louisiana-Monroe has been one of the best under teams in the country through seven games, and it’s largely due to its complete ineffectiveness on offense. It ranks as the 12th-worst offense, according to SP+. It leans slightly on the passing game for 52.5% of its plays but only owns a 38.4% Success Rate on passing plays. And its run game is even worse at just 31.1%. Louisiana-Monroe averages 4.7 yards per play and only 13.4 points per game.
Georgia State has been better at surpassing overs, but its offense also looks like a strong under play. Not only do the Panthers run just 60.8 plays per game, but they run the ball on 76.15% of those plays. Their Success Rate comes in at only 39.9%. They’re slightly better as a running team with a 40.5% Success Rate and are only stuffed 19.5% of the time, but in this game, that will only help keep the clock moving. Defensively, Georgia State has been a respectable run defense, posting a 33.6 Rushing Success Rate and stuffing 29.6% of plays.
ULM is 6-0-1 on unders this season, and a matchup against a run-heavy team is likely to continue the streak. I would play this down to 57 and expect that the majority of scoring will come from Georgia State.