Saturday's Best Bets
November 10, 2017
By Heritage Sports
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College Football Best Bets
Although there were some big upsets in the college football world a week ago, none of them occurred at the top as the top five teams in the CFB Playoff rankings remained the same. Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Clemson still lead the way for a chance at a National Championship this year, but #5 Oklahoma is lurking and could find themselves in a top four spot once this weekend is over.
That's because the top three teams (Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame) all have significant road tests on tap this week and it's the two teams atop that list from the SEC that I'm focused on this week.
Odds per - HeritageSports.eu
Best Bet #1: Auburn ML (+110) and Over 49
The #1 ranked, and undefeated Georgia Bulldogs go to Auburn this week for a huge SEC game that I believe will result in Georgia's first loss of the year. The Bulldogs have already locked up their spot in the SEC Championship game by winning the SEC East, but they are still after bigger prizes, but I'm not sure this team is ready for it.
Auburn is no slouch of a team ranked #10 and despite having two losses already this year, they could still create a lot of havoc in the playoff picture by winning the SEC. Auburn has control of their own destiny with home games against Georgia and Alabama left on their SEC slate, and outright wins in both are definitely not out of the question.
The big problem for Georgia in this spot is that Auburn's offense led by QB Jarrett Stidham will be able to move the ball well against a vaunted Georgia defense and put the pressure on the Bulldogs offense to respond. Being #1 means the Bulldogs have to be ready for everybody's best shot and although they were able to get a 24-10 win at home vs South Carolina last week, they failed to cover the -23.5 spread and Auburn is a much better team then what South Carolina brings to the table. Being on the road for the first time with that huge target on their backs will be something I'm not sure Georgia will be prepared for, and the offensive talent Auburn has means Georgia better be prepared to try and win a relative shootout.
Early betting percentages listed at VegasInsider.com show about 65% of the action on both Georgia ML and ATS, while more than 80% is on the under. I'm going against the grain on both in this game as we've already seen this total move up a full two points since opening at 47 despite all that 'under' action – always a significant indicator to take note of – and with Auburn's offense averaging more than 200 yards per game on the ground AND through the air, points will be scored on both sides.
Being at home is what helps sways this Auburn ML play even more as they are 7-1 ATS the last eight times they've been a home dog of 13 or less in SEC play, but I'm not even worried about the points. The Tigers have a history of pulling off big home upsets this time of year and this will be another one they get to add to the program's resume, setting up a huge Iron Bowl showdown with Alabama in a few weeks.
Odds per - HeritageSports.eu
Best Bet #2: Alabama/Mississippi State Over 52.5
Similar to the Georgian/Auburn tilt, this Alabama/Mississippi State game has already seen the total jump up multiple points since opening despite a strong majority of total bettors going the other way. Now that it's November, the days of Alabama basically “picking their score” in wins is gone and although they've blown out Miss State the last two years (82-9 combined scores), this game should be tight for at least three quarters, with both sides letting their offense do the talking.
Everyone knows how good Alabama's defense is, but they are starting to get banged up quite a bit; specifically at the LB position. Although the Crimson Tide have always had the “next man up” mentality under Nick Saban, there comes a point where too many injury problems will negatively affect a defense, and with a Bulldogs offense led by the mobile Nick Fitzgerald, this could be that week.
Fitzgerald is a prototypical duel-threat QB in college football and as we've seen in recent history it's these types of QB's that tend to give Alabama problems. There was DeShaun Watson last year, Johnny Manziel a few years back, and even Cam Newton back when he was playing in college. Fitzgerald is cut from that same mold and while he is more of a runner first, his scrambling ability will create plenty of open lanes downfield to pass into when the Tide start chasing him around. With Mississippi State putting up 30+ in four straight weeks, asking them to get to 20+ against this tough Tide defense is more than reasonable.
Furthermore, there is little doubt in my mind that Mississippi State brings their best effort to this one as they were almost caught looking ahead to this game a week ago. The Bulldogs sleepwalked through the majority of that game against a bad Umass team last week and typically when you see that you can expect that team to be more then ready when that big game arrives. For Mississippi State to pull off the upset they are going to have to turn this game into a shootout and that's precisely what we see.
Finally, Alabama will be fine on offense as well as it's not like the Bulldogs defense is spectacular by any means. Comparable teams like Georgia and Auburn put up 31 and 49 points on Mississippi State already this year, and while those were both road games for the Bulldogs, Alabama should find a way to put up a similar tally. Alabama is 6-2 O/U in their last eight on the road against a team with a winning record at home, and 4-1 O/U after failing to cover the spread last time out.
With the reverse line movement on the 'over' for this game, I've got no problem backing that side and expecting the final score to reach the 60's when all is said and done.
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