Our college football best bets for Week 11

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Welcome to Week 11 of the college football season.

Each week, our VSiN experts will combine to give their best bets on select games.

 

We had a 4-4 showing in Week 9 and we’re looking to get on the plus side in Week 11. Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Wednesday night. Go to VSiN.com for Betting Splits and live odds across the college football market.

Season record: 45-49-1

Fresno State Bulldogs (-9.5, 60.5) at UNLV Rebels

Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: Jake Haener may be the most impactful player to return from an injury in college football this season. In two games since coming back, the Fresno State quarterback has thrown for 721 yards and completed over 78% of his passes in wins against San Diego State and Hawaii. He had three touchdowns against the Aztecs and four against the Rainbow Warriors. Backup Logan Fife had two touchdown passes in four starts and a relief appearance.

Haener and the Bulldogs draw a UNLV team that simply won’t be able to keep pace. After starting 4-1 (with a close loss at Cal as the only blemish), the Rebels have dropped four straight and have been outscored 140-45. Doug Brumfield returned last week against San Diego State but was largely ineffective except for a 70-yard pass that accounted for nearly 34% of his passing yards for the game. He threw two picks and was sacked three times.

Marcus Arroyo isn’t a very good coach and teams have adjusted to everything the Rebels are doing. Based on the final scores, UNLV hasn’t been able to adjust back. My line on this game is Fresno -12 and Haener should have the opportunity to put on a show at Allegiant Stadium. The Rebels won’t be able to keep up.

Pick: Fresno State -9.5

Purdue Boilermakers at Illinois Fighting Illini (-6.5, 44.5)

Saturday, Noon ET

Adam Burke: The wind isn’t going to be as extreme as it was last week around the Big Ten, but several passing offenses are going to struggle. One such offense is Purdue. The Boilermakers only managed 255 yards of offense last week against Iowa as the winds swirled in West Lafayette. With gusts in the 20-25 mph range expected in Champaign for this week’s rivalry game, Illinois’ strong rushing attack should be better suited for the conditions.

Purdue has dominated this rivalry, winning five of the last six and 13 of 17, but this is the Illini’s best season in quite some time and Bret Bielema’s team should be focused after last week’s loss to Michigan State. That setback tightened up the Big Ten West, but a win over Purdue after earlier wins over Wisconsin and Iowa would give the Illini a cushion before a likely loss to Michigan next week.

Illinois was a right-side loser last week. The Illini outgained Michigan State by nearly 150 yards. Illinois was just 1-of-6 on third down and had other self-inflicted wounds. Losing to this version of Michigan State looks bad, but Illinois deserved a better fate. The full body of work is why Illinois is laying nearly a touchdown here and this line is pretty telling. Personally, I have it Illinois -8, so I’ll lay the number with the second-ranked defense in the nation by yards per play and the wind providing a helping hand.

Pick: Illinois -6.5

Alabama Crimson Tide (-11.5, 64.5) at Ole Miss Rebels

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: There are a lot of problems with Alabama this season, but matching up against Ole Miss shouldn’t be one of them. Alabama ranks seventh in the nation in yards per carry allowed and this is a run-focused Rebels offense that leans on Quinshon Judkins and others. Jaxson Dart has only thrown 216 passes this season, while Judkins has 180 carries and TCU transfer Zach Evans has 108. Dart has even scrambled 80 times for 473 yards.

Running the football takes time off the clock, especially when explosive plays may be harder to come by against a defense like Alabama’s. In a game of this magnitude, expect Lane Kiffin to rely on what his team does best, and that is running the rock. With the exception of a 448-yard explosion against Vanderbilt, Dart has only passed for more than 215 yards once and that came in a 45-20 loss to LSU when there was a lot of garbage time.

Alabama may still be 12th in yards per play, but the Crimson Tide miss having talent on the outside. After racking up nearly 7.7 yards per play in September, the Tide had 6.45 in October and just 5.74 last week against LSU. That LSU game needed overtime to get into the 60s and the Tide had issues against Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

I think this game stays Under the total of 64.5. We’ve had some barnburners in the past between these teams, but I don’t see the same explosiveness with either offense.

Pick: Under 64.5