NCAA Football Predictions: Week 11 Opening Line Report and Picks
I don’t know about you, but I must have missed the memo before last weekend that informed us bettors to prepare for an absolute wild weekend of football. The upsets yesterday in the NFL were insane, but it all started on Saturday when eight of the top-25 teams in college football lost outright. The biggest and most impactful loss off the weekend was No. 3 Michigan State losing by 11 to unranked Purdue as three-point favorites. The Spartans had just found themselves in the CFP discussion early in the week but have now played themselves out of contention and now have very little to play for as they are behind Ohio State in the East Division, and I don’t see the Buckeyes losing any of their last three games. Elsewhere, No. 6 Cincinnati survived a scare against unranked Tulsa. And because the committee is hellbent on keeping them out of the postseason, even at 9-0, I don’t see the eight-point win against a 3-6 team being good enough to get them into the top four.
As far as last week’s results go, it was not a very good week. We hit one of our four selections, and we just were dead wrong on the three losses. Michigan State’s defense is in contention for the worst defense in the Big Ten, while West Virginia no-showed against a good Oklahoma State team and Fresno State lost outright to Boise State as -4.5 home favorites. As we approach the final few weeks of the season, let’s focus on finishing strong and building momentum for Bowl season.
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South Carolina Gamecocks at Missouri Tigers -1, 54.5
It has been a rather rocky start to the Shane Beamer regime at South Carolina, but last week’s win over Florida could be just what the doctor ordered for the Gamecocks to build off some positive momentum, get into a bowl game and build for the future. The Gamecocks came into last week’s game as +20.5-point underdogs and ended up winning the game by 23 points. They put up 459 total yards, including 284 yards on the ground, and they caused two turnovers. It was an all-around great performance, and I’m expecting them to build off it this week in Missouri. The Gamecocks are just one win away from becoming bowl eligible, and they take on a Mizzou team that is terrible defensively but does have a potent offense from time to time. The Tigers are off a beat down against No. 1 Georgia. And when you look at their four wins (Vandy, North Texas, SE Missouri State and Central Mich), those wins are not impressive. I am taking South Carolina and their momentum in this one.
Pick: South Carolina ML
Texas A&M Aggies @ Mississippi Rebels +2.5, 55.5
This is going to be perhaps one of the games of the week as No. 14 Texas A&M travels to Oxford to tangle with No. 16 Ole Miss. Both teams are coming off wins, and both teams are sitting at 7-2. However, it is Texas A&M that is the only team that can perhaps catch Alabama for top spot in the SEC West Division and sneak into the title game. For that to happen, Texas A&M would need to win out and then hope Alabama stumbles against either Arkansas or Auburn to close out the season. Because of that, I’ll take Texas A&M here as they are the team with more to play for, and I believe they are the better overall team. Sure, Ole Miss is better on offense than the Aggies, but the Aggies’ defense is one of the best units in the country, and I see them stopping the Rebels’ attack and then taking advantage of the Rebels’ 228th ranked defense. Give me Texas A&M in a close game.
Pick: Texas A&M -2.5
Nevada Wolf Pack at San Diego State Aztecs -2, 46.5
When Nevada and San Diego State hook up in Carson, California, on Saturday night, the game will pit the 7-2 Wolf Pack against the 8-1 Aztecs in what is essentially an elimination game from the Mountain West title game. Both teams are 4-1 in conference action, and the winner of this game will have the inside track to the MWC title game and their shot at getting a much better bowl game in December. From a football perspective, these two teams match up well as they have opposite strengths. The Wolf Pack are great offensively, while the Aztecs rank in the 200s. Defensively, the Aztecs have the better defense, but Nevada is not that far off. It’ll be interesting to see which team can impose its will and style of play in this one. Both teams come into this one off wins, and San Diego State is 4-0 on their home soil, while Nevada is 2-2 away from home, with losses to Kansas State and Fresno State. This is a toss-up, but I’m going with the better offense in this one. Give me Nevada.
Pick: Nevada +2
UTEP Miners at North Texas +1.5, 55.5
If I had to use one word to describe this game, I would say it’s going to be “fun”. Both teams are borderline terrible on defense and have offenses that can put up points in a hurry. This game doesn’t exactly have any implications in terms of the Conference USA standings, and North Texas would need to go 3-0 to close out the season to get to a Bowl game, but I see both teams going all out and trying to come away with the win. So, what am I thinking for this game? Well, I think the total is about 10 points too low, and I’m going to side with the over as I just see this game being played at a fast tempo with tons of plays and teams marching up and down the field on each other.
Pick: Over 55.5
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