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Alex Kirshner is back with his predictions and picks for Week 11 in college football

I’m in a rut right now. My college football picks have been consistently fighting just to get to .500 for the last five weeks, after I started the year with five great weeks and built up a nice cushion that’s now disappeared. I’m 75-79-2 on the season (a 48.7% win rate) despite feeling good about my closing line value almost every week. I’m still confident results will turn, though, if we follow the right process and get ahead of lines before they move too far. 

I make most of my picks on Sundays and Mondays, and those picks are reflected here. (If I’m not betting it myself, I’d rather not tell you in this article to bet the same pick.) Some of those lines move after I grab them, but that’s why I include my rationale with every pick so you can make your own judgment depending on the current number heading into the weekend.

All bets are for one unit unless otherwise noted. 

Central Michigan vs. NIU

BET: Central Michigan -7 @ -110

Let’s start with a MAC pick, because this game is on Wednesday night and you’ll have to act quickly if you want to play it. At most places, this -7 is now -7.5, which makes CMU a little less attractive unless you’re in the mood to buy a half point. However, I’d still be comfortable with CMU at anything less than 10. The SP+ projection system sees this as more like a 13-point game, and NIU's defense is probably bad enough to let Jim McElwain ring up lots of points. 

Miami vs. Virginia Tech

BET: Miami +2 @ -105 

The wheels are coming off the Justin Fuente era at Virginia Tech. He absolutely mangled the end of their loss to Liberty last week, and Tech’s defense has been unreliable in the first year without longtime coordinator Bud Foster. This Miami team is imperfect, but the defense will not let Tech do much through the air, and the Canes have had a way of pulling out wins even when they’ve made a lot of mistakes. Getting any points, I like Miami on the road. 

Wake Forest vs. North Carolina

BET: North Carolina -12.5 @ -110

UNC has had a couple of bad hiccup losses lately to FSU and UVA. I am cautiously optimistic that the Heels are back on track after they pummeled Duke to the tune of 56 points and 573 yards last week. Wake’s offense has been surprisingly resilient and might score more than I’d prefer to make this bet, but I think the likeliest outcome is UNC reaches the high 30s and Wake does not score more than the low 20s. That would mean a cover. 

College Football Expert Picks

Colorado State vs. Boise State

BET: Boise State -13.5 @ -110

BET: Under 62 @ -110 

I am 0-2 betting on Colorado State this year, but I think I’m getting a better handle on the Rams. They are not as bad as they looked when they collapsed against Fresno State in their first game, but they’re worse than a disheveled Wyoming made them look last week. 

Boise State’s QB medical situation is unclear, but if the Broncos aren’t in good shape there, that’s great for the under. If the Broncos do have a healthy Hank Bachmeier or Jack Sears, I think it’s unlikely they fail to cover at home against a less talented team. I’m somewhat hedging these plays against each other, but I could see a 35-20 Boise win easily bringing home both the cover and the under. 

Hawaii vs. San Diego State

BET: Hawaii +10 @ -110 

Hawaii can score. San Diego State can defend. Neither team can do anything else. I expect a messy game with not too many points, and that means Hawaii getting 10 is enticing. I would be comfortable with the Rainbow Warriors at as little as +9, and at anything less than that I would probably just stay away from this game. 

NCAA Football Picks

Georgia State vs. Appalachian State

BET: Appalachian State -16 @ -110

It’s not clear to me why App shouldn’t be a 21-point favorite here. Georgia State’s defense is exceptionally bad and has quite literally not stopped a team all year. (Even ULM, perhaps the worst team in FBS this season, dropped 34 on the Panthers last week.) App should score well into the 30s and maybe into the 40s, and I don’t expect Georgia State’s offense to close the necessary gap if the defense continues to be as bad as it has been all season. 

College Gameday Picks

Northwestern vs. Purdue

BET: Northwestern PK @ -115

This line has moved in my favor, but I advise taking Northwestern as anything less than a field goal favorite. The Wildcats’ strength is defense, in particular an awesome secondary. In three games, the Cats have shut down three opposing passing attacks, including a Maryland pass game that has since revealed itself to be extremely dangerous against Minnesota and Penn State. So far, Purdue’s offensive success has depended mostly on getting big plays in the pass game from receivers David Bell and Milton Wright. I do not like this matchup for the Boilers.

Article Author


Alex Kirshner covers college football for the Moon Crew newsletter. He is a co-author of The Sinful Seven: Sci-Fi Western Legends of the NCAA, and he lives in Washington, D.C.


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