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Every Friday during the college football season, theScore's sports betting writers release their best bets for the week. Each member has been given a fictitious $1,000 bankroll to manage throughout the season. If you decide to follow any of the picks, please gamble responsibly.
All lines are courtesy of theScore Bet.
Season record: 12-11-1, -$17
After starting the season as an "over" team, Appalachian State has gone under the total in three of its last four games, and possibly in four straight contests depending on which number you got against Georgia Southern (opened 47 and closed 41.5; the game finished 24-21). Totals that opened in the high-50s and low-60s earlier in the year have dipped rapidly, but this isn't a huge overcorrection. Instead, it's because Appalachian State is slowly starting to resemble last season’s team, which was risk-averse and bland offensively.
The Mountaineers have run the ball on more than 60% of their snaps. They've outclassed a handful of Sun Belt defenses, but they could struggle against a South Carolina unit that's allowed 4 yards per carry and held Alabama and Georgia to a combined 3.8 yards per rush. Meanwhile, South Carolina's offense hasn't had much to write home about this season, as only eight other Power 5 teams have averaged fewer yards per play on offense.
I think you’re picking up what I’m putting down.
Pick: Under 51 ($40)
I’m fading Hawaii for the second straight weekend in one of my largest disagreements of Week 11. A raw San Jose State offense that had upside earlier in the season is starting to put it all together and hung 42 on Boise State last weekend. The defense? It's an issue, but only against the run (239.7 yards per game allowed). That probably won’t be a factor, considering Hawaii is third in the country in pass-play percentage. And if the Rainbow Warriors want to take the ball out of quarterback Cole McDonald's hands, so be it. This game’s lining up to be a shootout, and it’ll be played at a pace that San Jose State is extremely comfortable with.
Pick: San Jose State +7.5 ($50)
Talk about a fluky "close" loss for West Virginia last weekend. The Mountaineers nearly knocked off undefeated Baylor in a narrow 17-14 defeat, but the final score was the only thing that resembled a tight game. The Mountaineers were outgained by 234 yards and had the ball for just over 23 minutes. West Virginia hasn’t done much to impress me this season. The program beat James Madison by seven in the opener, Kansas by five on the road before the Jayhawks started opening up the playbook, and a rebuilding North Carolina State team. Outside of the Baylor loss, the Mountaineers have four other defeats by an average margin of 26 points per game. This line is way too short. Lay the points with Texas Tech.
Pick: Texas Tech -2.5 ($50)
Season record: 9-9-1, -$129
Coach Dave Clawson has Wake Forest playing some excellent football and quarterback Jamie Newman has been terrific, but the Deamon Deacons' offensive numbers are inflated because of their easy early-season schedule. This will be their first real test on the road against a Virginia Tech defense that has the pass rush to make Newman uncomfortable in the pocket. And the Hokies' D will be fired up, with the team set to honor legendary defensive coordinator Bud Foster before the game.
Virginia Tech turned a corner after an embarrassing loss to Duke, and it's now in a position to win the ACC Coastal. This is the toughest test remaining on the Hokies' schedule, and they'll take care of business at home against a Wake Forest team that will be at least a little bit distracted by next week's trip to Clemson.
Pick: Virginia Tech +2.5 ($50)
This one isn't going to be pretty. I recommend not watching the game regardless of which team your money is on. Georgia was impressive in its win over Florida last week, but the offense continues to be inconsistent. The Bulldogs don't look explosive and instead need to chip away with small chunks at a time.
Expect more of the same against a Missouri defense that has carried the team of late. The Tigers' offense has dried up, but the unit should put in a better effort against a Georgia team that's in a sandwich spot - coming off a win against the Gators with a trip to face 11th-ranked Auburn looming next weekend. The Tigers will lean on their defense and do enough on offense to keep within the number.
Pick: Missouri +17 ($50)
Season record: 7-13-1, -$476
Wyoming is 6-2 this year but lost starting QB Sean Chambers for the season. Chambers was vital to Wyoming's run-first offense, rushing for 567 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last season, the Cowboys averaged 31 points with Chambers and 11 without him. Meanwhile, Wyoming isn't the same team away from Laramie and will struggle without its starting quarterback.
The home team has dominated this series, going 12-1 straight up with the average margin of victory being more than 24 points. Expect that trend to continue Saturday with Boise State rolling at home.
Pick: Boise State -13.5 ($150)
Season record: 4-18-1, -$640
Let's face it - you're fading whatever I put here. If you took the opposite of what I picked every week, you'd have more than doubled your bankroll by now. So I'll keep doing what I've been doing, because somebody out there is 18-4-1 and rolling in dough thanks to my weekly duds.
This week, I'm fading SMU against East Carolina. The Mustangs' New Year's Six dreams took a massive hit last week in a wild loss to Memphis, setting up a quintessential letdown spot this week. Since 2016, teams that suffered their first loss in Week 9 or later went 7-18-2 ATS in their next game.
SMU now has three ATS losses in its last four games, while ECU has covered four of five and nearly stunned Cincinnati on the road a week ago. Sign me up for the Pirates catching more than three scores - which, of course, means SMU will win by 50. Act accordingly.
Pick: ECU +21.5 ($75)