College Football Betting Guide: Saturday 11/6/21

Can Auburn set up a de facto SEC West title game against Alabama in the Iron Bowl with a win over Texas A&M? Where can we find the most betting value this week?

Notre Dame bailed out this column last week as the only team to cover the spread, while Iowa and San Diego State fell short.

There are plenty of intriguing games with betting value to bounce back with, although there’s only one ranked matchup on this week's slate.

Auburn and Texas A&M battle to stay in the SEC West title race, hoping Alabama will drop another game. Michigan State and Oregon both play unranked opponents on the road (Purdue and Washington, respectively) to keep their places in the playoff hunt safe for another week. Wake Forest looks to remain undefeated in a trip to Chapel Hill, and both Alabama and Georgia are massive favorites at home.

This weekend has the makings of another great Saturday in college football, especially for bettors.

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 after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you are seeing the most updated information.

Auburn Tigers vs. Texas A&M Aggies

Auburn +4.5 (-112): 3-Star Rating out of 5

There isn’t much hope for either of these teams to advance to the SEC Championship against Georgia, but a win this week plus an Alabama loss before the end of the season would mix up the hierarchy of the division.

Since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, the Crimson Tide have won the division eight times, while Auburn and LSU have each won three times. Alabama’s dominance of the SEC has been apparent during the Saban era; they’ve won the championship game in seven of those eight attempts.

Both Auburn and Texas A&M have the opportunity to forge a new narrative for the SEC West, starting with this week’s matchup.

The Tigers have one of the best offensive lines in the SEC, ranking 20th in average line yards and 11th in sack rate nationally, according to Football Outsiders.

Quarterback Bo Nix and running backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter have taken advantage of Auburn’s robust blocking. Nix is sixth in the SEC in passing yards, and both Bigsby and Hunter are amongst the top 10 in rushing yards.

Auburn will have to keep DeMarvin Leal out of the backfield, which is no easy task, but their offensive line is good enough to keep the chains moving.

Quarterback Haynes King has been out with an injury for the Aggies, and backup Zach Calzada has had ups and downs in his place. Calzada played well in the upset against Alabama but played poorly in the loss to Arkansas. He has offensive weapons around him, specifically running back Isaiah Spiller, receiver Ainias Smith, and tight end Jalen Wydermyer, all three of whom are top NFL prospects.

However, if the Tigers can limit big plays on early downs and force the Aggies into obvious passing situations, they might be able to pressure Calzada into making mistakes. Auburn’s defensive line is eighth in standard downs line yards, which suggests they have the capability to do so.

Auburn is a 4.5-point underdog in College Station this Saturday, but our model actually projects them to win the game. Thus, the Tigers have a projected 65% likelihood to cover the spread, giving this bet a three-star rating.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

Wake Forest +2.5 (-110): 4-Star Rating out of 5

The Demon Deacons are 8-0 and are ranked 10th in the AP Poll, which is the highest they’ve ever been ranked since the AP Poll originated in 1936.

Wake Forest has relied on a dynamic passing offense led by quarterback Sam Hartman and receivers Jaquarii Robinson and A.T. Perry. Robinson and Perry are both amongst the top five in receiving yards in the ACC, and Hartman is third in passing yards in the conference.

However, Wake Forest hasn’t had a difficult schedule at all thus far. According to ESPN’s S&P+, their most difficult opponent was Virginia, who ranks 35th.

There is reason to believe that Wake Forest can continue their run at least for another week, though.

The Deacons are 21st in sack rate nationally, according to Football Outsiders, and Sam Howell is one of the worst quarterbacks in the country in EPA on sacks, per ESPN’s QBR calculation.

That is a significant matchup advantage for Wake Forest, who aren’t quite as good offensively as the Tar Heels. Hartman is third in QBR, and if he can avoid pressure while his defense pressures Howell, the Deacons should come out of this one unscathed.

This is another game where our model believes the wrong team is favored. Wake Forest is projected to cover the 2.5-point spread with a 68.2% probability, which is good for a four-star rating.

Wake Forest fans should be able to enjoy perfection for another week before their schedule gets more difficult with NC State and Clemson on the horizon.

Navy Midshipmen vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame -20.5 (-114): 3-Star Rating out of 5

We’re going back to the well with the Fighting Irish this week even though they’re laying almost three touchdowns. Notre Dame has been able to navigate the highs and lows of the season, as they find themselves ranked 10th in the first College Football Playoff Rankings of the year.

They will play Navy at home on Saturday, and this season hasn’t been kind to the 2-6 Midshipmen. Navy is the fifth-worst team nationally in yards per game, and Notre Dame has been steadily improving on defense as the season has gone on. The Irish allowed 34 points to North Carolina last week in a win, but the week before, they held a prolific USC passing offense to just 16 points.

Navy’s offensive line has an insane sack rate of 25.3%, which is the worst in the country. The second-worst sack rate belongs to Akron at 16.9%, which goes to show how bad Navy has been at protecting their quarterback.

Notre Dame isn’t the best pass rushing team by any means, but they should have a field day against this offensive line.

Notre Dame will likely try to establish the run with Kyren Williams, who is a top NFL prospect at running back. Their quarterback situation has been uncertain at times, as they’ve rotated both Jack Coan and Tyler Buchner under center, but against Navy, it should be smooth sailing for their offense.

Our model projects a Notre Dame cover with 63.6% probability, and the Irish can extend our streak of successful Notre Dame bets if they take care of business on Saturday. They shouldn’t have a problem doing so against one of the nation’s worst teams in Navy.