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NFL Draft

College Football Week 14 Best Bets

  • The Draft Network
  • December 4, 2020
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Welcome back to our weekly look at college football’s lines. Here, we take one of the most volatile sports in one of the most volatile years and pretend to be able to predict it. It’s kinda fun.

Here are a few lines on which I’ll make strong plays, as well as some fun fliers for a loaded Week 14 of college football. I’ll be around on Twitter if there are any other games you’re looking at. Odds are supplied by our friends over at BetOnline.

BYU @ Coastal Carolina (+10)

You may want to wait on this line, as I imagine if it moves in any direction, it will move to BYU, which is better known nationally. But I like Coastal for a few reasons here. 

The first is quarterback Grayson McCall. The Chanticleers’ redshirt freshman quarterback has only one interception on the season, 25 total touchdowns, and 10.32 yards/attempt—that’s a top-10 number in the nation, just below his opponent, Zach Wilson (11.37). McCall has the look of a future draft-caliber quarterback even though he lacks Wilson’s arm talent or otherwise elite physical tools, and the Chanticleer’s passing game reflects that even without the NFL-caliber wide receivers. BYU is third in passing success rate and first in explosives; Coastal is 10th and 14th in the same categories. 

But Coastal also brings a better passing defense into the game than the Cougars, which is our second reason for excitement here. The Chanticleers passing defense has been fairly staunch this year against solid offenses such as Arkansas State, Louisiana, and Appalachian State. While both offenses will unquestionably be the toughest their opponent has faced this year, Coastal has a little bit more to their resume on defense, so I trust them a bit more. 

BYU’s defense has been great against the run this year, but I do wonder if that holds up against Coastal. With the most unique running game at the FBS level and a shortened week to prepare for Coastal’s multi-player, silly-alignment backfield, I’m worried they’ll surrender more explosive runs than they typically do. They will, however, have a massive size advantage on the defensive line—if they beat Coastal handily, I think that, more than anything they do on offense, will be the driving force.

With that said, I’m thrilled for this matchup and can’t resist having a piece of it. I’ll trust the Chanticleers to keep a potentially season-defining game within a touchdown.

Alabama (-29.5) @ LSU

Like most of the world, I’m on Alabama to take LSU to the woodshed. I like them to pretty much any number below 33—but if you’re afraid of the big number, just take the first-half spread when it opens. This should be yet another boat race for the Crimson Tide, especially with the departure of Terrace Marshall from the LSU starting lineup as he goes to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Especially after last year’s loss, expect Saban to scorch the earth in Baton Rouge.

Washington State (+13) @ USC

We’re holding to two of our early-season feels that we may have forgotten with the already affected Pac-12 season: Wazzu is sneaky good and USC is probably, actually bad. The Cougars come in with the better-ranked offense by SP+ after a win over Oregon State and a shoulda-been win against Oregon if not for their defensive faceplant in the second half. There is a concern there that the Cougars will let the Trojans back into this one when USC turns to a pass-heavy script, so the first-half spread may provide more value. 

Washington State last played on the 14th of November, so while there may be rust, they should also have their starting quarterback Jayden de Laura back, and have had more time to install their new offense. USC had a bye week themselves following a win over Utah, but that was their most dominant performance against a team yet to play this season—against both Arizona and Arizona State, they’ve underwhelmed.

With a highly-flying passing game, I think Wazzu keeps it close.

Live Dogs

Huge spreads everywhere this week, so feel free to hit either the Coastal or Wazzu moneyline if you’re feeling especially spicy. On smaller lines, I like Florida Atlantic’s defense (+115) to win them a close game against Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech (+200) for their offense’s ability to hang with a hot-n-cold NC State.

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