Saturday’s college football cards look attractive as the top-rated sportsbooks have released their NCAAF odds for Saturday’s games. Two games, in particular, interest me as worth investing in Notre Dame vs. Virginia and South Carolina vs. Missouri.
For reasons that I will explain, you should play the total in the first game and the spread or money-line in the second.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Virginia Cavaliers
Saturday, November 13, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at Scott Stadium
Notre Dame’ Secondary
Notre Dame’s cornerback unit has regressed significantly in recent years. Back in 2016, the Irish were terrific in this respect as they had strong cover guys like lockdown corner Julian Love not to mention Troy Pride Jr. Since then, however, recruiting in this area has left the Irish secondary rather destitute.
The Irish did not manage to sign a cornerback in 2017, one cornerback from the 2018 class and none from the 2019 one is still around, and the 2020 class is dubious outside of one guy.
As a result of this lack of incoming talent, Notre Dame’s secondary is weak at cornerback. Its secondary is all the weaker as long as top defensive back Kyle Hamilton is injured. After suffering a knee injury against USC, the future NFL star safety remains listed as ’questionable.’
Virginia Offense vs. Irish Secondary
A Virginia offense that has the nation’s fifth-highest pass rate matches up well against a Notre Dame defense that ranks 62nd in limiting opposing pass yards. While 62nd may not seem terrible, remember that Notre Dame just played Navy, an option team with by far the nation’s third-lowest pass-play percentage.
Brennan Armstrong, himself listed as ’questionable’ with a rib injury, is a requirement if Virginia wants to cover the spread. A comparison between his stats last year and this year shows that he has taken tremendous steps forward in terms of his accuracy and downfield throwing.
He repeatedly touches 400 passing yards and at least three passing touchdowns per game. Armstrong is helped by the fact that, in recent weeks, Virginia running backs have finally been showing life.
Virginia’s defensive personnel is extremely problematic. A listing of each player’s recruiting info (whether he was a two-star, a three-star, etc.) and of each one’s snap count shows that UVA has significant depth issues.
It’s meaningful to know for your Sports Betting that UVA is unable to placeable guys in in-depth positions. In a similar vein, young players are having to assume a lot of responsibility. For these reasons, bad fundamentals are readily apparent in the Hoos’ defense, resulting in too many missed tackles and the like.
Notre Dame Offense vs. Virginia Defense
A well-rounded Irish offense will exploit a Cavalier defense that ranks 124th in allowing an absurd 501.6 yards per game. For Notre Dame, running back Kyren Williams has improved his YPC average this season to 5.0. He’s now accrued three very strong performances in a row -- with 5.5 YPC against USC, nine YPC against UNC, and 5.6 YPC against Navy -- as the Irish offensive line improves. The efficient and typically mistake-free former Badger, Jack Coan, will help keep the offense balanced.
South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Missouri Tigers
Saturday, November 13, 2021 - 04:00 PM EST at Faurot Field - Memorial Stadium
After upsetting Florida, South Carolina may seem to be in a let-down situation. But know for your Best Bets that this is actually a great spot for the Gamecocks. They are currently 5-4 and need one win in order to achieve bowl eligibility. Their two next opponents, after Missouri, are Auburn and Clemson. Therefore, they know that Saturday offers them, by a landslide, their best opportunity to win that sixth game needed for bowl eligibility. Missouri will get the Gamecocks’ full attention.
Gamecock Offense vs. Tiger Defense
Gamecock ZaQuandre White just received a season-high 13 carries during South Carolina’s triumph over Florida. White’s big-play abilities have earned him this increase in rushes. Against Texas A&M, the week before, he produced 59 rushing yards on eight carries. He repeatedly adds tremendous productivity against strong run defenses.
Missouri does not even have a strong run defense. In fact, it has one of the nation’s worst. The Tigers rank 129th nationally in limiting opposing rush attacks to 268 yards per game. With Kevin Harris, too, who amassed 128 rushing yards on 16 carries against Florida, the Gamecocks will run all over Missouri.
Missouri Offense vs. South Carolina Defense
Unlike the Gamecock offense, Missouri’s offense lacks balance. The Tigers are pass-heavy. They own the nation’s 21st-highest pass-play percentage. They may have to be more balanced if starting quarterback Connor Bazelak remains out with his undisclosed injury. He’s currently listed as ’questionable.’
Even if he does play, he won’t help Mizzou keep pace with the Gamecock offense because he’ll be facing a defense that ranks among the better pass defenses in the nation. South Carolina has thrived against Kentucky and Aggie quarterbacks, against guys who aren’t higher-level passers like Tennessee stat machine Hendon Hooker.
Bazelak has thrown one touchdown to five interceptions in his last three SEC games -- which came against Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt. He is a mistake-prone quarterback with limited downfield comfort, the kind of quarterback who South Carolina will limit.
Brennan Armstrong will pass all over Notre Dame’s regressed secondary. If Armstrong is ruled out, invest in Notre Dame ATS with your NCAAF Picks because Armstrong is crucial to the Hoo offense and the Irish have the weaponry to exploit an immature Cavalier defense.
Meanwhile, South Carolina will employ multiple running backs in order to effortlessly outpace pass-heavy Missouri. For the above reasons, parlay the Notre Dame/Virginia "over" with the Gamecocks spread or money-line. Be sure to use our trusty parlay calculator for your parlay betting needs.
*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.