Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara
Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara throws a pass against Michigan State during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State won 37-33. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

NCAAF Best Bets, NOV. 13

Patrick Werkmeister

As the college football season enters into its 11th official week, the playoff race is starting to take its final shape. This week features a new top four of Georgia, Alabama, Oregon, and Ohio State. Desmond Ridder and the Cincinnati Bearcats were ranked 3rd in Week 10 but dropped after having not even slightly looked like a contender. However, it is pretty much anyone’s shot to win the national championship. Following a 1-2 performance in last week’s college ‘Best Bets’, these picks for this slate are primed for better results. Here is what I’m confident in for this Saturday.

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West Virginia @ Kansas State (-5.5)
For this Big 12 matchup, the Kansas State Wildcats host the West Virginia Mountaineers. The opening line for this contest favored the Wildcats by six points and they are currently listed as five and a half-point home favorite. Kansas State comes into this one 6-3 ATS in their last 9 games whereas West Virginia is 2-4 ATS in their previous six matches. In Week 9, the Wildcats put together a dominant winning performance against the Kansas Jayhawks where they won 35-10. Contrarily, the Mountaineers have lost 4 of their last 6 games after an embarrassing performance last week vs Oklahoma State. Kansas State has put together a solid resume with wins over quality Big 12 opponents while the Mountaineers draw further away from themselves. K-State should be able to run away with this one so take the Cats to cover this relatively low spread with ease.

Michigan (-1.5) @ Penn State
From Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley, coach Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines look to steal one on the road against coach James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions. The opening line for this rivalry favored the Wolverines by just two and a half and they are now listed as one and a half-point road favorite. Michigan is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games vs Penn State and are 4-1 ATS in their previous five overall. While the Nittany Lions defeated Maryland with ease, Michigan earned a 29-7 victory against Indiana. Led by QB Cade McNamara, the Wolverine gunslinger has thrown for just two interceptions in all nine starts this year. Although he just has nine touchdown passes on the season, he has clearly illustrated his superb decision-making abilities. The only thing that will really stop the Wolverines is themselves in this matchup. With the way they have performed, as long as they take care of the ball, they should have no problem covering against this broken Penn State team. Take the Wolves to comfortably win in this mismatch.  

Maryland @ Michigan State (-12.5)
In this Big 10 contest, the Maryland Terrapins travel to East Lansing to face off against the Michigan State Spartans. Michigan State opened this game as 14-point home favorites and are now favored by 12.5. The Spartans come into this one 4-1 ATS in their last five whereas Maryland has a horrific record of 3-12 ATS in the previous 15 games played on the road. Last weekend, Maryland was embarrassed at home vs Penn State and the Spartans suffered their first defeat of the season. This bout features a battle of two mediocre quarterbacks in the Big 10, Taulia Tagovailoa and Payton Thorne. The running game will be a key decider in this one with Michigan State’s star running back Kenneth Walker. Although the Terps have averaged a solid 27.6 points per game at home this year, on the road that number dips to just 17.7 points per outing. Following their loss to Purdue last week, I like the position Michigan State is in for this one. Take Sparty minus the points to cover this margin.

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