College Football Picks: Parlays for Saturday Night Football

min read
Andrew Doughty Jun 15, 2021, 1:21 PM
TJ Finley of the LSU Tigers about to throw a pass.
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images.

In the days after LSU defeated Texas A&M in the regular-season finale to end a three-game losing streak and finish 8-3, the LSU Board of Supervisors was debating firing head coach Les Miles. The then-62-year-old, 11th-year head coach had lost eight of his last 23 games and failed to finish better than third in the SEC West in three consecutive seasons.

As LSU was weighing Miles’ future, they were also negotiating with Miles’ potential replacement, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, who wasn’t interviewed for the vacancy 11 years earlier after serving as Tigers’ offensive coordinator for the previous six seasons (and a seventh season under Miles in 2006). Ultimately, Miles wasn’t fired, Fisher wasn’t hired, and five years later, Miles is coaching the worst Power Five program while Fisher is coaching the No. 5 team in the College Football Playoff Rankings. And in Week 13, Fisher’s new team, Texas A&M, will defeat what could’ve been his new team, LSU, five years ago.

Fisher never faced LSU during his eight years as Florida State head coach. In 2018, his 12th-ever game at Texas A&M, he led the Aggies’ to a two-point win, 74-72, over LSU in what remains the highest-scoring game in FBS history. One year later, LSU returned the favor, though in more convincing fashion with a 43-point demolition of Texas A&M in Baton Rouge. The series will flip back to Texas A&M on Saturday in College Station, where the Aggies are 13.5-point favorites in college football odds.

Here are three college football parlay bet opportunities for Saturday night:

Texas A&M and the Under

  1. Texas A&M (-13.5)
  2. Under 64.5
Texas A&M Aggies player Isaiah Spiller drives forward while being protected from an Arkansas Razorback player.
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

LSU won’t score 45 points for the fifth straight time in this series, and they won’t hit their plays-per-game average of 79 against a Texas A&M defense that ranks 11th nationally in opponent plays per game. Without a high volume of offensive snaps against a defense allowing only 4.2 yards per play over their last three games, LSU’s offense won’t find the endzone enough to cover their necessary end of an Over bargain.

Texas A&M hasn’t been a strong ATS pick this year (3-3) but has covered in three of their last four games, including the demolition of South Carolina in Week 10. The Aggies are still undervalued, and 13.5 points aren’t enough. 

Big 12 Favorites

  1. TCU to win (-2000)
  2. Oklahoma to win (-417)
  3. Baylor to win (-213)
Texas Longhorns’ Sam Ehlinger looks for a pass.
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.moz f

Stringing sizeable moneyline favorites into one parlay remains a controversial and polarizing betting strategy, which is why you must be selective with such wagers and make it worth your while while tempering greed.

During their historic run of futility, Kansas has consistently competed against superior TCU teams. In six of their eight games since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012, the Jayhawks have kept the game within 14 points, including the one-point butt-fumble win in 2018, one of only seven conference wins for the Jayhawks in the last 12 years. Kansas might keep it within 14 points again this year against the offensively challenged Horned Frogs, but they won’t win.

By itself, a TCU win won’t net much. Take it as a freebee alongside Oklahoma and Baylor in a three-team Big 12 parlay. Oklahoma ran over a competent, albeit overrated, Oklahoma State team last week and is in the midst of another typical late-season run under Lincoln Riley. West Virginia’s defense won’t allow the Sooners to score at least 50 points for the fifth straight time in the series, but they won’t do enough to give their plodding, inefficient offense enough to beat Oklahoma for the first time as a Big 12 member. 

And speaking of plodding, inefficient offenses, until Kansas State proves they can do anything without quarterback Skylar Thompson, they can’t be trusted to score, especially against a Baylor defense that prevents big plays and forces turnovers.

Tallahassee to Honolulu

  1. Florida State (+8.5)
  2. Nevada (-7)
Three Florida State Seminoles players about to tackle Louisville Cardinals’ Maurice Burkley.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

Since Florida State won the national championship seven years ago, they have been one of the most overvalued teams in college football, covering the spread only 40 percent of the time. Only eight teams have a worse ATS spread than the Seminoles, among them: Hawaii, who ranks 128th of 130 FBS teams against the spread since 2014. 

Prior to Florida State’s canceled Clemson game, this might’ve been another opportunity to win money off the overvalued Seminoles. After the cancellation, read the tea leaves and bet against history. You can thank Dabo Swinney for this opportunity as the fired-up Noles keep it close to flip the script against ATS darling Virginia. Nearly 5,000 miles away, Hawaii won’t do the same in shedding their overvalued designation; Nevada is a strong bet to improve to 5-1 against the spread this season.

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor, a college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. He has written for Sports Illustrated, HERO Sports, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter: @adoughty88 

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Andrew Doughty

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.