College Football Betting Guide: Saturday 11/28/20
It’s Thanksgiving week, which means college football fans get an extra day of meaningful games, with some top 25 matchups being played on Friday. Saturday is an important day, too, with some SEC matchups with playoff implications on the schedule. Bettors can enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers while taking advantage of some value in what should be some exciting games in a great long weekend of football.
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.
Auburn +24.5: 2-Star Rating out of 5
The Iron Bowl is the greatest rivalry game in college football, except for possibly The Game between Michigan and Ohio State, and after a long 2020, it’s a treat for college football fans and bettors alike. Both teams are ranked this year, which will hopefully make for an excellent game. Auburn looks to play spoiler, although Alabama has basically locked up its berth in the SEC Championship. The Tigers are 5-2 with a blowout loss to Georgia and an upset from South Carolina. While Auburn is currently ranked 22nd in the College Football Playoff (CFP) Rankings, it’s possible that the Tigers are a little better than their ranking, as some metrics, like ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), have them ranked higher (15th in this case).
Alabama is essentially the unanimous best team in the country, as the CFP Rankings, AP Poll, ESPN’s FPI, and SP+, and our model all have them at the number one spot. Quarterback Mac Jones is a Heisman contender, and the Tide’s passing offense has been their biggest strength as a result. However, Alabama is already down an elite receiver with Jaylen Waddle’s injury, and Auburn can deploy future NFL cornerback Roger McCreary to try to contain Devonta Smith, Alabama’s other elite receiver. If Auburn actually make this game close, they’ll need to slow the Tide’s passing attack, while getting the best of their quarterback on the other side of the ball. Sophomore Bo Nix has improved from his relatively disappointing freshman season, as he’s completing 61.3% of his passes and averaging 7.3 yards per completion. Auburn will need his career-best for the Tigers to win, but at the very least, Nix has the capability to prevent this game from being a blowout.
The overlooked factor in this game will likely be special teams. Alabama is 25th in the country according to SP+, while Auburn is 13th. The Tigers have been better on punt coverage than the Tide (38.8 average net yards vs. 34.7) as well as kick returns (22.9 average yards vs. 16.2). Auburn probably won’t win the game because of their special teams, but if they can win the field position game against the Tide, and Bo Nix limits turnovers, the Tigers can definitely cover this three-score spread. Our model projects Auburn to cover with 60.8% likelihood, which would net bettors a 16.10% return.
Texas A&M -14.5: 2-Star Rating out of 5
Texas A&M ranked fifth in the first reveal of the CFP Rankings, which means the Aggies are still a part of the race for the title this season, despite an early-season loss to Alabama. They’ll certainly be motivated to beat LSU at home to keep themselves in the race, and they’ve played far better than the defending champions this season. Quarterback Kellen Mond has played well and boosted his draft stock behind a 64.3% completion rate and 8.1 yards per completion. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ disastrous defense has allowed the third-most passing yards per game.
The Aggies will likely exploit LSU’s weakness on defense behind Mond and company, but the mismatches don’t stop there. Texas A&M is also amongst the top ten rushing defenses in the nation and they’ll look to force LSU and backup quarterback T.J. Finley to become a one-dimensional offense. Finley has been a solid starter for the Tigers ever since Myles Brennan went down with an injury, with a notable exception against Auburn. LSU only rushed for 32 yards against Auburn, and Finley struggled without the support of a run game, completing 13 of 24 passes while eventually being pulled for Max Johnson in a blowout loss.
Our model projects Texas A&M to cover the spread with a 58.22% probability, but bettors should be encouraged to shop around for a better price than the 14.5-point spread with oddsFire. There are appears to be some sharp money on the Aggies in this game, as they’re receiving 53% of the bets, but 66% of the money bet, suggesting that there are larger bets (typically made by professional bettors) skewing the percentages.
UCLA -8.5: 3-Star Rating out of 5
UCLA is only 1-2 halfway through their shortened Pac-12 season, but their battle against Oregon last week showed that they’re a solid team and a tough matchup, nonetheless. This week, the Bruins take on Arizona, who are 0-2 with losses to USC and Washington. The Wildcats have been absolutely atrocious on defense, allowing 485 yards per game over their two games this season. UCLA should be able to take advantage with their rushing attack, led by running back Demetric Felton and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who have averaged 4.8 and 7.7 yards per carry, respectively. However, Thompson-Robinson won’t be playing on Saturday, so UCLA will have to rely even more on Felton to move the chains.
As long as UCLA is able to control the possession battle on offense, this should be a win for Chip Kelly’s Bruins without their starting quarterback. The Bruins have a 64.40% likelihood to cover the spread against the Wildcats, according to our model, which would net bettors a 23.00% return. Even though Thompson-Robinson is out, the Wildcats have struggled on defense enough that as long as UCLA can make a few stops on defense, the outcome of this game should never be in doubt.