We are almost halfway through the 2023 College Football season as we have now reached Week 6, and although it is Friday, we still found three best bets for Saturday holding last-minute value at the best sportsbooks.
In fact, our first two last-minute value plays are in high-profile marquee matchups, which is rare this late in the week, with the first one kicking off early at 12 Noon EDT. And we have action for you the entire day as the third best bet comes in a “Pac-12 After Dark” matchup.
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns
Saturday, October 07, 2023 – 12:00 PM EDT at Cotton Bowl Stadium
We kick things off with the Red River Rivalry with the third-ranked Texas taking on the 12th-ranked Oklahoma in a battle of 5-0 unbeatens in Dallas, and we see nice value in taking the points with the Sooners.
Proved Their Worth?
Oklahoma is seeking revenge after getting embarrassed 49-0 in this rivalry last season, but those Sooners finished with a losing record. They are much improved this season, and while we concede they did not face a tough non-conference schedule, we feel they proved their worth in Big 12 play last week in a 50-20 drubbing of Iowa State.
The Sooners rank ninth in the country in total offense with 510.0 yards per game and seventh in passing offense, keyed by quarterback Dillon Gabriel averaging 318.8 passing yards on 10.1 yards per attempt with 15 touchdown passes vs. two interceptions. On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma ranks 30th in total defense and 19th in yards per play allowed at just 4.6.
Texas has what many believe to be the best non-conference win in college football this season, going into Tuscaloosa and beating Alabama by double-digits, and that alone may be the reason for ranking third ahead of other 5-0 teams. But while that was a great win, we are not as impressed due to Alabama’s quarterback and offensive line struggles.
Yes, we get that the Longhorns have won every game by at least 10 points, and they have a balanced offense that ranks 38th in rushing and 28th in passing, but their Achilles Heel has been on defense, specifically a pass defense that has allowed 12 passes of over 30 yards and ranks 133rd on the advanced Passing Down Explosiveness Allowed metric.
Thus, we expect Gabriel to continue his success, allowing Oklahoma to match points with the Horns here, so take the points in a possible upset.
Predicted Score: Texas 31 – Oklahoma 30
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Saturday, October 07, 2023 – 07:00 PM EDT at Sanford Stadium
Our second marquee matchup is another battle of 5-0 unbeatens with top-ranked Georgia hosting 20th-ranked Kentucky, and we are betting the Over as we anticipate a higher scoring game than many expect with the total dropping during the week.
Defense Not as Good?
Georgia won championship runs the last two years with elite defenses, but this year’s rushing defense has been the main culprit for a 1-4 ATS start. While the Bulldogs are 38th in rushing defense, they are a worse 50th in the Defensive Line Yards metric, which incorporates tackles for loss and four-yard rushing gains.
The offense has been efficient as usual under quarterback Carson Beck, who has completed 72.0% of his passes while averaging 9.3 yards per attempt with seven touchdown passes vs, two interceptions, and he has been at his best when needed most in the second half, keying a +15.4 Georgia point differential after halftime.
Running Game Key
While Georgia has won the last 13 head-to-head meetings between these teams, this Kentucky team may be the best equipped during this time for a possible upset due to the ability of running back Ray Davis to exploit the aforementioned troubles for Georgia vs. the run. Davis exploded for 280 rushing yards last week with six runs of 15+ yards.
Now the Kentucky defense has played with a “bend, don’t break” mindset, not allowing many big plays while ranking third in the nation in the Explosiveness Allowed metric. However, they may not be as good at keeping Georgia off the scoreboard as they have their first four opponents as the Bulldogs have converted 23 of 26 trips to the red zone into points.
So while this total has dropped from an opener of 48.5, we will go against that grain as we look for both teams to find a way to score enough points to push this game Over.
Predicted Score: Georgia 34 – Kentucky 23
NCAAF Pick: Over 47.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports
Oregon State Beavers vs. California Golden Bears
Saturday, October 07, 2023 – 10:00 PM EDT at California Memorial Stadium
We wrap things with a late-night affair in the Pac-12 as Oregon State visits California, and we are taking the nearly double-digit points with Cal as a home dog in a tricky scheduling spot for the Beavers.
This is an obvious dead spot on the Oregon State schedule as the Beavers come off back-to-back meetings vs. ranked teams including a 14-point win over Utah back home on Corvallis last week, and they have another big game next week hosting UCLA. Thus, they may have other reasons for a sleepy effort in this game other than the late start.
Also, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has been unimpressive in his last three games vs, FBS competition completing only 50.6% of his passes with more interceptions (4) than passing touchdowns (3), so the Beavers will probably lean heavily on their 17th-ranked rushing offense here that is averaging 206,0 yards per game.
Good Stopping the Run
The problem with that approach though is the California defense is 25th in the nation in rushing defense allowing only 98.8 yards per game on the ground on just 3.3 yards per carry, and the Bears grade out even better vs. the run in advanced metrics ranking in the Top 10 in EPA per rush (Expected Points Added).
Meanwhile, quarterback Ben Finley could make his return from injury this game, and he can attack an Oregon State pass defense ranked 76th in the country after losing several players from last year’s secondary. And even if Finley does not return, Cal would have upset Auburn with backup Sam Jackson V at the helm if the Tigers did not convert a 3rd-and-17 on the final drive of a 14-10 defeat.
So the biggest key to a California cover and possible upset here is stopping the Oregon State run and forcing the Beavers to rely on Uiagalelei, which is just what we expect so take the points.
Predicted Score: Oregon State 28 – California 24
*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.