College Football Picks: Best Bets for Week 11

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It’s time to examine the Week 11 college football betting board and find some matchups that present contrarian value. If you are new to using a contrarian approach for sports betting then give yourself a primer by reviewing our first edition posted 7 weeks ago.

As a refresher, the three steps we use for choosing contrarian sides to play are:

1. The public is heavy on one side of the game
2. The betting volume is high
3. The line stays at or reverses from the opening number (a good indicator of sharp money)

Looking at no. 3; you will need to continue to monitor line movement for a game you are interested in playing. Just because a line has exhibited reverse line movement doesn’t always mean it will always stay below the opening number. The public can be responsible for inflating the number back up after sharp money has hit. We always need attention to line movement to get the best number possible.

For more general college football betting tips, check out RotoGrinders college football betting guide.

Last week was rough. I was optimistic heading into Saturday after seeing that 4 of the 5 selections beat the closing line (Georgia -6.5 remained static). Yet, after everything played out, I ended at 1-4 on the day. There will be bad days for every sports bettor, but the best way to achieve long term success is by beating the closing number.

Let’s take last week’s game between Northwestern vs. Indiana as an example. I played Northwestern at +10.5, and the line closed at Northwestern +7.5. Indiana came out and thumped Northwestern 34-3, but I still considered it a good bet due to getting Northwestern at 3 points higher than the closing line.

As we move forward, I would encourage you to start tracking your bets in comparison to the closing number. You can then examine how you did after the season ends and see if you need to adjust your approach.

College Football Picks Week 11

Penn State vs. Minnesota (12:00 p.m. Eastern)

Penn State opened as 6.5 point favorites and have since bounced between 6.5 and 7. It seems that anytime a book reaches 7 there is smart money that hits and drives the number back down to 6.5. Currently, 64% of the public is backing the Nittany Lions. You can still find Minnesota at +7 if you shop around.

The College Football Pick: Minnesota +7

Illinois vs. Michigan State (3:30 p.m. Eastern)

Staying in the Big 10 we have Illinois traveling to Michigan State. Despite only receiving 17% of the bets, Michigan State has climbed from 11.5 to 15 point favorites at some books. Michigan State isn’t having a stellar season, but besides Arizona State their losses have come against No.4 Ohio State, No.8 Wisconsin, and No.6 Penn State. Illinois has only completed 18 of its last 39 passes in the previous 3 games, and Michigan State has the blueprint from other teams regarding how to stop the rushing game of Brown and Corbin. If Michigan State can limit turnovers then there is no reason why they shouldn’t win this game easily.

The College Football Pick: Michigan State -14.5

Kansas State vs. Texas (3:30 p.m. Eastern)

Oddsmakers have installed unranked Texas as 6-point favorites against No. 16 Kansas State. The Wildcats are backed by 68% of the public, but the line has moved in the Longhorns favor to 7. This is a classic example of public bettors backing a ranked underdog against an unranked favorite. Texas should be able to gash the Wildcats on the ground as they are allowing over 5 yards per rush attempt. If Texas can exploit the run, then it should help Sam Ehlinger get his passing game back on track after his uncharacteristic performance at TCU two weeks ago. Side with the sharp money and take Texas.

The College Football Pick: Texas -7

Louisville vs. Miami (3:30 p.m. Eastern)

Miami opened as 5-point favorites and have since moved to as high as -7 at some sportsbooks despite only receiving 28% of betting tickets. Scoring could be tough to come by for Louisville as they go against a top 15 defense in Miami. Miami’s offense should be able to capitalize on a weak Louisville defense that is ranked 101st in the nation. This matchup suits Miami and the line movement reflects it. There is still plenty of books offering Miami at 6.5, and I wouldn’t bet anything higher than 7.

The College Football Pick: Miami -6.5

Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech (3:30 Eastern)

Five years ago, these two teams last met and combined for a total of 9 points. I would argue the travesty of the prior sentence is not that the final score was 6-3, but that two teams in the same conference only play each other once every 5 years. Wake Forest opened as 3-point favorites and have since moved down to -1.5 across the board. The Demon Deacons have 71% of the public backing them, and yet the line has reversed, thus indicating sharp money is on the Hokies.

The College Football Pick: Virginia Tech +1.5

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Missouri vs. Georgia (7:00 p.m. Eastern)

Georgia was neglected by the public last week and cashed as a contrarian play against the Gators. This week the public loves the Bulldogs with 80% backing them. However, Georgia has fallen from the opening number of 17 down to 16 at some books. Georgia is a worthy playoff team, but the Bulldogs tend to win games in a steady, methodical fashion. Look for Missouri’s defense to keep this game respectable and get the cover.

The College Football Pick: Missouri +16.5

Washington State vs. California (7:00 p.m. Eastern)

The Cougars opened as 7.5-point favorites and have remained at that number despite 82% of the public’s backing. The Golden Bears can keep this game close with a defense that has been respectable outside of facing a red-hot Utah team. Cal’s offense has been weak this season, but they will be facing a very soft Washington State defense that ranks 113th in the nation. I feel this line should be closer to 5 and will gladly take Cal at 7.5.

The College Football Pick: California +7.5

My College Football Betting Card

  • Minnesota +7
  • Michigan State -14.5
  • Texas -7
  • Miami -6.5
  • Virginia Tech +1.5
  • Missouri +16.5
  • California +7.5

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

About the Author

  • James Ivy (LiverpoolReds)

  • James Ivy will soon begin his career as a history teacher. Ivy has always been interested in the forces that drive sports betting markets. His favorite sports to watch and bet on are soccer and Formula 1. When he’s not watching sports, you can find him behind a steering wheel sim racing or viewing films in the Criterion Collection.

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