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CFB Week 11 best bets: The 'Saturday 7'

Stacy Revere / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Last week's "Saturday 7" was another solid effort, ending with a 4-3 mark. Unfortunately, our selections for big games brought our record down to 5-6 for the week. Small losses are easy to swallow, though, when the overall season record is 70-51-1 (57.8%, +13.9 units).

Virginia Tech @ Duke (-9.5, 49.5)

Two weeks ago, Duke was a 10-point underdog to Miami after the market bet the Hurricanes up. The Blue Devils scored an easy upset and were double-digit favorites the next week, falling just short of covering at Boston College - a team that scored three points against UConn. The market is all over the place with Duke.

Virginia Tech lost six straight games, which explains this point spread, but it fought hard in the last three. The Hokies blew leads late against North Carolina State and Georgia Tech, but they can do that at Duke and still cover a number that's at least two points too high.

Pick: Virginia Tech +9.5

No. 20 Notre Dame @ Navy (+15.5, 39.5)

The crowd poured onto the field in one of many postgame celebrations from a dramatic Saturday in college football. Notre Dame upset undefeated Clemson, proving it can step up in weight class. However, that doesn't change the Fighting Irish's previous 0-for-4 mark in covering double-digit spreads, which includes two outright losses. The comedown from last week's high is a cold November afternoon trip to an NFL stadium to play Navy and its triple option.

Notre Dame's own run game should have nonexplosive, consistent success, but the running clock means this game could have fewer possessions than usual, making it difficult to take a significant lead and close out a big win.

Pick: Navy +15.5

Rice @ Western Kentucky (-13.5, 61)

What's your favorite Western Kentucky win this season? The quick answer is the three-point home win over UAB after the Blazers lost starting quarterback Dylan Hopkins following two throws that went for 63 yards and a touchdown. Hopkins' replacement completed three passes the rest of the game.

WKU built its resume on blowing out Middle Tennessee (114th out of 131 in Football Outsiders' FEI), Charlotte (128), Florida International (129), Hawaii (130), and Austin Peay of the FCS. While that's enough to qualify for a bowl, the Hilltoppers' loss to North Texas means they aren't likely to make the C-USA title game. Unlike WKU, Rice has something to play for, as it's one win away from bowl eligibility.

Pick: Rice +13.5

Wisconsin @ Iowa (+1, 35)

If you need to watch the games you bet on, my apologies.

We might not have known it at the time, but a stretch of Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio State was pretty rough for Iowa, thanks to the Illini becoming a conference contender this season. Since those three losses, Iowa's gotten back to what it does well - beating the middle of the Big Ten pack handily.

Home games against pass-first offenses in Purdue and Maryland were designed in a lab to make Wisconsin look good, and those games inflated the market's perception. Iowa's second-ranked defense in Football Outsiders' FEI will hold up against the run and coax more throws from Graham Mertz. For the Badgers, that hurts.

Pick: Iowa +1

No. 1 Georgia @ Mississippi State (+16.5, 53.5)

Oh, fun - fading Georgia!

There's the obvious letdown spot element to this game after Georgia admitted to spending a ton of extra time on Tennessee's offense over the course of the season. The Vols deploy the run, biding their time to take numerous deep shots over the top. Mississippi State does the exact opposite, throwing as much as possible - largely underneath - scheming receivers open against single coverage.

Georgia left its corners out on an island, hoping that Tennessee couldn't connect deep in a rabid Athens environment. This week, Georgia's offense will have to deal with the din of the cowbells while Will Rogers runs Mike Leach's offense well enough to stay within two touchdowns thanks to a good start.

Pick: Mississippi State +16.5

No. 24 Washington @ No. 6 Oregon (-12.5, 73)

A week before things get really real in the Pac-12, Oregon hosts its main rival and will attempt to slow down Michael Penix with a subpar pass defense. After three straight wins we'll describe as "scrappy," Kalen DeBoer knows this is Washington's last chance to make a run at the conference title. He'll have the offense ready for a shootout with Bo Nix, and the the backdoor should be wide open for the Huskies, if necessary.

Pick: Washington +12.5

Arizona @ No. 9 UCLA (-19.5, 77.5)

At the risk of discriminating on the basis of weather, going up to Utah wasn't the ideal situation for Arizona. The Wildcats lost by 25 points last Saturday thanks to four fumbles and two turnovers on downs. The Utes' defense will do that to you. UCLA's won't.

UCLA's offense is why this number is almost three touchdowns, but the situation sets up much better for one of our favorites - Jayden de Laura. Despite a rough game in "Sack Lake City," he's still eighth in the country in pass yards heading to sunny SoCal. The Bruins have their eyes on next week's crosstown rivalry game with USC, and its defense is capable of giving up air yards - perfect for a big underdog to exploit.

Pick: Arizona +19.5

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

CFB Week 11 best bets: The 'Saturday 7'
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