College Football Betting Guide: Saturday 9/12/20
College football is back in full-swing this Saturday, even if some of the conferences are missing due to COVID-19 cancellations. Technically, this is Week 2, but two of the Power Five conferences begin their games this week, so there will be many more bettors in action. We will focus on two ACC matchups that have betting value according to the numberFire model.
numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, the spread, or the moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting for any given game. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.
For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110-spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300. Here are the best bets for this weekend with guidance from our model.
Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you are seeing the most updated information.
Wake Forest +33.5: 5-Star Rating out of 5
The Tigers have the current Heisman favorite -- according to FanDuel Sportsbook -- at quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, and they pair him with another frontrunner in the backfield with running back Travis Etienne, but numberFire's model projects Wake Forest to cover this huge spread.
The Demon Deacons are not a conference contender, but they are not a team Clemson can just expect to roll over; they rank in the top half of the nation (57th to be exact) in FEI Ratings, per Football Outsiders.
Wake Forest will rely on their defense, which is led by potential first-round pick Carlos Basham Jr., to keep them in the game. The Deacons had one of the highest turnover rates in the country last year (13th going by Football Outsiders), and Basham forced three fumbles himself at defensive end. If Wake Forest manages to force a turnover or two, it is likely that they can keep Clemson’s lead within five scores.
Clemson is absolutely loaded on offense with Lawrence, Etienne, and wide receiver Justyn Ross, so a Tigers win should never be in doubt as the model projects Clemson to win with a probability of 94.05%. However, it also projects Wake Forest to cover the spread with a probability 81.12%, so bettors should consider backing Wake Forest and hope for a couple of Clemson turnovers or for the Tigers’ starters to call it a night early.
Florida State -13.5: 5-Star Rating out of 5
This is a great number for Florida State bettors since it hovers on the low side of a key number (14). Two touchdowns might seem like a large margin of victory for a recently mediocre team like Florida State, but this spread is more reflective of Georgia Tech’s ineptitude than the Seminoles’ prowess. Florida State does have a standout defensive tackle in Marvin Wilson, who returns for his senior season and is a highly touted NFL prospect. Florida State is projected to improve to a top-25 defense in FEI Rating in large part due to another year of development for Wilson.
The Seminoles’ defense should create trouble for Georgia Tech, whose offensive line struggled in 2019 with an 8.6% sack rate. The Yellow Jackets’ sack rate rose to an astronomical 15.4% on passing downs, which means that if they don’t gain consistent yards on first and second down, they are going to have a difficult time converting on third down.
Our model projects Florida State to cover the two-score spread with 64.30% likelihood, but bettors should take that number sooner than later because if the spread increases beyond that key number at 14, the probability for them to cover could significantly drop.