College Football Betting Guide: Saturday 9/18/21

Can Florida stop Alabama's SEC dominance with an upset in Gainesville? How should bettors approach this matchup?

We had a rough week last Saturday, especially with Oregon’s upset of Ohio State. The Ducks weren’t the only team that created chaos in the rankings, though. USC and Texas fell to Stanford and Arkansas, respectively, and now neither of them are ranked. The Iowa Hawkeyes established themselves as a top five team after dismantling their instate rivals in Ames. There are a number of exciting matchups this week that offer value to bettors, including a road trip to Gainesville for the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. As always, odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.

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.

Florida Gators vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Over 50.5 (-118): 3-Star Rating out of 5

Alabama’s biggest concern coming into the season was their passing game; the Tide had to replace quarterback Mac Jones and receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, all of whom were drafted in the first 15 picks in the most recent NFL draft. Enter Bryce Young, the top quarterback recruit in the 2020 class, who’s put up a QBR of 78.8 through two games according to ESPN. That ranks 14th in the country. He hasn’t thrown an interception yet and has found a reliable target in John Metchie, who leads the Tide in receptions with 11.

The Gators’ defense will have their hands full with Alabama come Saturday, but the strength of this unit is their defensive line, anchored by Zachary Carter. Carter already has three sacks on the year -- tied for eighth in college football. Florida is going to let up some points to Alabama, for the Tide are just that good. However, if Carter and company can put pressure on an inexperienced Young, they have a chance at keeping the game close.

Florida is projected to cover the 14.5-point spread with a likelihood of 60.3% per numberFire's game projections. The Gators are at home and could use a big upset to announce themselves as playoff contenders. They likely aren’t, but their defense might be good enough to keep this one game closer than expected.

Arizona State Sun Devils vs. BYU Cougars

Over 50.5 (-118): 3-Star Rating out of 5

Bettors can turn to late night action for a ranked matchup between two teams that are trying to keep their early momentum going. Arizona State hasn’t faced an opponent of significance yet, but with USC and Utah suffering early losses, they look to be the frontrunners of the South division -- along with UCLA. BYU is coming off a victory against the Utes, where they proved that they’re still a force without quarterback Zach Wilson.

The Sun Devils have a solid offense led by quarterback Jayden Daniels, who was named to the preseason all-Pac-12 team this year, along with teammates Rachaad White at running back and offensive linemen Dohnovan West and Kellen Diesch. Arizona State led the Pac-12 in rushing last year, and the Sun Devils should have an even bigger year behind Daniels and White. BYU doesn’t have the same firepower without Wilson, but quarterback Jaren Hall has been efficient so far this year. Last week against Utah, he completed 18 of 30 passes for 149 with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 8 rushes for 92 yards.

Two dual-threat quarterbacks make for an intriguing offensive matchup and our model agrees, projecting the score to go over the total at a probability of 65.7%. Bettors should look to bet this game sooner than later; the total has already moved upwards at some books according to oddsFire.

South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Over 47.5 (-105): 5-Star Rating out of 5

After a win against Clemson in Week 1, Georgia seems destined on a collision course culminating in the SEC Championship against Alabama. South Carolina won their first two games, too, but don’t let that fool you -- these teams are on completely different levels. It would be a massive upset if the Gamecocks prevailed; our model projects the Bulldogs to hold them under 12 points. Instead, this bet is all about Georgia’s high-powered offense.

As of Friday morning, we don’t know whether J.T. Daniels will be healthy enough to get the start. If he’s out, Stetson Bennett will take his place and look to build on a crisp performance against UAB in which he completed 10 of 12 passes for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns. The step-up in competition shouldn’t faze Bennett as he has several weapons at the skill positions to take pressure off him, particularly running back Zamir White. White has averaged at least five yards per carry in each of his prior two seasons prior at Georgia, and he’s replicated that efficiency through the first two games.

Our model projects Georgia to nearly go over the total themselves, so bettors ought to take advantage of this line. Even if Daniels has to sit out, the Bulldogs will likely roll over South Carolina to continue their quest for their first title since 1980.