College Football Betting Guide: Saturday 10/17/20

Nick Saban will likely miss the best game of the season so far, but luckily bettors won’t as Georgia travels to Tuscaloosa in the only high-profile game this week. After a 2-0 week, we’ll go back to the well with both Georgia and Clemson, so without further ado, let’s dig into why our model likes them.

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.

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Georgia +3.5: 1-Star Rating out of 5

Our model only rates this pick as one star, but we can’t avoid the biggest game of the year so far. Both teams come into Saturday’s matchup undefeated, but not without hiccups along the way. Georgia was without two of its prospective starting quarterback options, with Jamie Newman opting out of the season and J.T. Daniels beginning the season sidelined with an injury. However, former walk-on Stetson Bennett has provided the Bulldogs with a spark as he’s third in the country in QBR per ESPN. Alabama’s defense has been mediocre through three games, allowing a whopping 48 points to Mississippi last week. Now they face Georgia’s burgeoning offense with Bennett and company.

The Bulldogs have the best defense in the country so far according to SP+ while the Tide’s defense is just 22nd. However, Alabama has the best offense, while Georgia’s offense is way down the list at 42nd. It’ll be the ultimate offense vs. defense matchup in college football, but the winner may come down to who plays better on their own weaker side of the ball. If Alabama can shore up their defense, they can win this game. However, based on recent weeks, Bennett and the Georgia offense seem to be trending upward while the Tide’s defense is trending the other way. Georgia’s passing offense is 19th in the country according to our model, while Alabama’s passing defense is the 13th worst.

Either way, this game will likely be close, and our model gives Georgia just a 52.48% likelihood to cover the 3.5-point spread. Georgia has been the better team so far this year, and even though they’re on the road to face the Tide, they can win if their offense can build on recent success.

Clemson Tigers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Clemson -27.5: 5-Star Rating out of 5

In an early afternoon game on Saturday, Clemson travels to face Georgia Tech, who are coming off a win against Louisville. The Tigers are firing on all cylinders as they crushed an upstart Miami team that was ranked seventh last weekend. Trevor Lawrence has emerged as the Heisman favorite with odds at -105 according to FanDuel Sportsbook, which is impressive given that it’s only mid-October. Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne have powered the third-ranked offense by SP+, only behind Alabama and Ohio State, who haven’t even begun their season yet.

Georgia Tech beat a decent Louisville team that fell to 1-3 and pulled off an upset of Florida State to open their season, but they got crushed by Central Florida and Syracuse, neither of which are ranked. Clemson has to outscore them by four touchdowns to cover, which is the same margin that UCF won by. Our model gives Clemson five stars and projects them to cover with a 72.75% probability. It’s not too late to buy Clemson stock, especially when they’re facing a team of Georgia Tech’s caliber.

Auburn Tigers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

Auburn -3.5: 3-Star Rating out of 5

After being dismantled by Georgia two weeks ago, Auburn rebounded by eking out a win over a frisky Arkansas squad. So far, the Tigers have been disappointing, particularly on offense where quarterback Bo Nix has completed less than 60% of his passes, while throwing to one of best receiving duos in the country. Anthony Schwartz and Seth Williams are amongst the top 100 NFL prospects according to CBS Sports, and together they’ve combined for over 400 yards on 33 receptions. If Auburn wants to compete in the SEC West this season, Nix will have to turn around his season and take advantage of his weapons.

Even with struggles from their signal-caller, Auburn’s offense ranks 33rd in SP+, while South Carolina’s offense ranks 89th. Both teams have good defenses, so while we probably won’t see much scoring, bettors should still trust the erratic Nix to put up more points than the Gamecocks can. South Carolina put up 41 points against Vanderbilt in their last game, but the Tigers’ defense is a different story. Our model gives Auburn a 63.84% probability to cover the spread in what should be a routine win for the Tigers.