The top sportsbooks have released their betting odds for this week’s college football action, and three games interest me: Michigan vs. Penn State, Texas vs. TCU, and NC State vs. Wake Forest.
For your NCAAF Week 11 best bets, I will recommend that you wager on all three underdogs. I personally like to invest three-quarters of a unit in the underdog ATS and the remaining quarter in the underdog ML.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Saturday, November 11, 2023 – 12:00 PM ET at Beaver Stadium
The fact that Michigan is scoring 40 points a game might seem impressive. But the Wolverines have thrived by mastering soft challenges.
Their best victory was, perhaps, at home against UNLV or at home against Rutgers. Neither opponent compares in caliber to the one that they’ll face on Saturday.
Penn State’s Defense
Penn State owns the second-best defense in the nation. This ranking is impressive considering that it had to travel to Ohio State. In that game, the Nittany Lions held Ohio State to 79 rushing yards on 41 carries.
That performance reflects their improved ability to defend the run, which is a consequence of the size that their defensive line gained during the offseason and of their increased discipline in gap responsibility. They now rank number one in run defense, allowing 55.9 rushing yards per game.
Why This Matters
Michigan’s offense is as its best running the ball. The Wolverines don’t have a guy like Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State’s stud wide receiver who was the difference-maker in the Buckeyes’ victory over Penn State.
By limiting Michigan’s ground game, the Nittany Lions will give their offense little to need to do in order to win.
Since falling behind two weeks ago against Indiana, Penn State’s offense has improved. The Nittany Lions scored 33 points against Indiana before dropping 51 on Maryland.
A significant reason for Penn State’s offensive improvement is the growth of quarterback Drew Allar. He has improved his efficiency, his touchdown total, and his confidence in throwing downfield.
While Michigan backers will want to use the Ohio State game as evidence that Penn State’s offense is weak, Allar’s growth as a quarterback entails that he is no longer the same quarterback as he was against Ohio State, in which game he hardly had the confidence to throw ten yards.
Michigan’s Defensive Outlook
The list of quarterbacks that Michigan has faced thus far is atrocious, so Allar will pose a relatively tough challenge.
Besides facing low-quality quarterbacks, the Wolverines’ secondary has had it easy by benefiting from a good pass rush.
But Penn State is one of the nation’s best teams at preventing its quarterback from getting sacked. Allar easily enjoys a good rhythm in his offense where he comfortably gets the ball out quickly to any number of playmakers in space and goes through his progressions, if he needs to.
Penn State’s offense is well-tested: Iowa with its top-ten defense allowed more than 16 points one time when it allowed 31 points to Penn State.
The Nittany Lions can score fewer than 31 points on Saturday and still win.
NCAAF Pick: Penn State ML (+190) at BetOnline
NCAAF Pick: Penn State +4.5 (-105) at BetOnline
NC State Wolfpack vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Saturday, November 11, 2023 – 02:00 PM ET at Allegacy Federal Credit Union Stadium
Home Field Matters
Winston-Salem has not been kind to NC State. At home, Wake Forest is enjoying 11-1 ATS and 3-0 SU runs against the Wolfpack.
NC State quarterback MJ Morris hasn’t done anything to dispel pessimism surrounding his outlook in road games.
In his one road game this season, Morris had by far his worst game of the year. NC State lost this game 24-3 at Duke.
The Importance of MJ Morris
Morris’ apparent inability to play well on the road is important because Wake Forest’s pass defense is a critical element in the outcome of its games.
Whereas the Demon Deacons struggled against Florida State and Virginia Tech’s quarterback in their blowout losses to both teams, they almost upset 6.5-point favorite Duke and defeated Pittsburgh when both of their quarterbacks struggled.
Defending the run is the strength of Wake Forest’s defense — the Demon Deacons rank almost in the upper third nationally in run defense.
NC State is anyhow one of the worst rushing teams in the nation — the Wolfpack previously had to rely extensively on its now former starting quarterback to run the ball a lot.
Without being able to count on Morris, NC State won’t score enough points to cover the spread.
Wake Forest’s Offense
Demon Deacons quarterback Mitch Griffis is developing into a more efficient quarterback. In his team’s upset bid against Duke, he completed 84.2 percent of his passes.
He’ll inject balance into the offense, complementing a rush attack that will succeed against NC State’s declined run defense that is no longer vaunted this year after losing personnel to the NFL.
NC State’s defense also isn’t as good on the road, where the Wolfpack, for example, nearly lost to Virginia with its backup quarterback and inept rush attack.
Matching Virginia’s point total in that game — 21 — would certainly suffice for a Demon Deacon victory.
NCAAF Pick: Wake Forest ML (+115) at BetOnline
NCAAF Pick: Wake Forest +2.5 (-110) at BetOnline
Texas Longhorns vs. TCU Horned Frogs
Saturday, November 11, 2023 – 07:30 PM ET at Amon G. Carter Stadium
TCU Is Excited For Texas
The Horned Frogs have Texas circled on their calendar. They play the Longhorns extra hard.
Hence, they are 3-1 SU and ATS in their last four games against Texas. One of those wins came as double-digit underdogs.
Texas has to start Maalik Murphy while Quinn Ewers is injured. Murphy is inconsistent at best.
While he made an albeit short highlight reel for himself last week, he was also a big reason why Kansas State was able to come back and almost win.
He is turnover-prone and makes costly mistakes in general. His completion percent is 55, and he’s thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns.
TCU’s Run Defense
When Murphy started against BYU two weeks ago, Texas was able to win easily. In that game, the Longhorns dominated on the ground, which took pressure off Murphy.
Given Murphy’s deficiencies as a quarterback who ideally for Texas wouldn’t be starting, the outlook for TCU’s run defense is critical.
Last year, TCU with defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie went to Austin and held Texas to ten points.
In that game, they held star running back Bijan Robinson to 29 rushing yards on twelve carries. That game represented by far TCU’s top defensive performance.
The Horned Frogs’ defensive success against Texas reflects the ability of their defensive coordinator to adapt his 3-3-5 scheme to stymy Texas.
Gillespie, as he did last year, will have his defenders flying to the ball.
The Longhorns are vulnerable, especially in the secondary, which largely explains why even Houston scored 24 points and Kansas State scored 30 against them.
Horned Frogs quarterback Josh Hoover is great at finding his array of targets all over the field, displaying the accuracy that TCU recruited him for.
He’s exceeded 350 yards passing in two games, against Texas Tech and BYU, but he won’t need to do nearly as much to help his team beat Texas.
NCAAF Pick: TCU +10 (-110) at BetOnline
NCAAF Pick: TCU ML (+280) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.