Week 11 CFB ATS Notes

Thor Nystrom
·21 min read

In the table below, you'll find the Adjusted Thor Line (ATL), a system I devised for determining line value. Check back Thursday for this week’s official plays.

All lines courtesy of PointsBet Sportsbook.

Day

Away

Home

PB Line

ATL

ATL side

Line value

11/10

Akron Zips

Ohio Bobcats

-27.5

-26.6

N/A

N/A

11/10

Kent State Golden Flashes

Bowling Green Falcons

20.5

15.6

Bowling Green Falcons

4.9

11/10

Miami (OH) RedHawks

Buffalo Bulls

-8

-7.7

N/A

N/A

11/11

Eastern Michigan Eagles

Ball State Cardinals

-8

-8.1

N/A

N/A

11/11

Central Michigan Chippewas

Northern Illinois Huskies

7.5

9.9

Central Michigan Chippewas

2.4

11/11

Toledo Rockets

Western Michigan Broncos

-2.5

-4.9

Western Michigan Broncos

2.4

11/12

Colorado State Rams

Boise State Broncos

-14

-17.4

Boise State Broncos

3.4

11/13

Iowa Hawkeyes

Minnesota Golden Gophers

3.5

3.5

N/A

N/A

11/13

Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida International Panthers

8.5

7.9

N/A

N/A

11/13

East Carolina Pirates

Cincinnati Bearcats

-27.5

-29.4

Cincinnati Bearcats

1.9

11/13

Miami Hurricanes

Virginia Tech Hokies

-2

-2.9

N/A

N/A

11/13

Indiana Hoosiers

Michigan State Spartans

7.5

9.3

Indiana Hoosiers

1.8

11/13

Georgia Bulldogs

Missouri Tigers

11.5

15.5

Georgia Bulldogs

4

11/13

Army Black Knights

Tulane Green Wave

-5

-1.1

Army Black Knights

3.9

11/13

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Marshall Thundering Herd

-23.5

-22.4

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

1.1

11/13

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Troy Trojans

11

7.5

Troy Trojans

3.5

11/13

Penn State Nittany Lions

Nebraska Cornhuskers

3

5.5

Penn State Nittany Lions

2.5

11/13

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

North Carolina Tar Heels

-13.5

-15.4

North Carolina Tar Heels

1.9

11/13

Illinois Fighting Illini

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

N/A

-0.7

N/A

N/A

11/13

Vanderbilt Commodores

Kentucky Wildcats

-17

-23.1

Kentucky Wildcats

6.1

11/13

TCU Horned Frogs

West Virginia Mountaineers

-3

-3.6

N/A

N/A

11/13

South Alabama Jaguars

Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns

-15.5

-14.7

N/A

N/A

11/13

Georgia State Panthers

Appalachian State Mountaineers

-16

-18.5

Appalachian State Mountaineers

2.5

11/13

Fresno State Bulldogs

Utah State Aggies

10

6.3

Utah State Aggies

3.7

11/13

UL Monroe Warhawks

Arkansas State Red Wolves

-20

-13.9

UL Monroe Warhawks

6.1

11/13

North Texas Mean Green

UAB Blazers

-14

-17.1

UAB Blazers

3.1

11/13

UTEP Miners

UTSA Roadrunners

-7

-11.0

UTSA Roadrunners

4.0

11/13

South Florida Bulls

Houston Cougars

-14

-15.1

Houston Cougars

1.1

11/13

Ohio State Buckeyes

Maryland Terrapins

24.5

28.1

Ohio State Buckeyes

3.6

11/13

Texas State Bobcats

Georgia Southern Eagles

-10

-13.4

Georgia Southern Eagles

3.4

11/13

Rice Owls

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

-1

-6.1

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

5.1

11/13

Texas A&M Aggies

Tennessee Volunteers

N/A

12.2

N/A

N/A

11/13

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Boston College Eagles

13.5

16.8

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

3.3

11/13

Louisville Cardinals

Virginia Cavaliers

-3

0.7

Louisville Cardinals

3.7

11/13

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

-5.5

-7.4

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

1.9

11/13

Colorado Buffaloes

Stanford Cardinal

-7

-6.3

N/A

N/A

11/13

USC Trojans

Arizona Wildcats

14

14.9

N/A

N/A

11/13

Memphis Tigers

Navy Midshipmen

12

9.8

Navy Midshipmen

2.2

11/13

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

San Diego State Aztecs

-11

-10.2

N/A

N/A

11/13

Alabama Crimson Tide

LSU Tigers

28

20.3

LSU Tigers

7.7

11/13

Nevada Wolf Pack

New Mexico Lobos

17

12.7

New Mexico Lobos

4.3

11/13

SMU Mustangs

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

-2.5

0.7

SMU Mustangs

3.2

11/13

Pittsburgh Panthers

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

6.5

7.0

N/A

N/A

11/13

Arkansas Razorbacks

Florida Gators

-17.5

-21.4

Florida Gators

3.9

11/13

Oregon Ducks

Washington State Cougars

10

12.4

Oregon Ducks

2.4

11/13

Wisconsin Badgers

Michigan Wolverines

4

10.6

Wisconsin Badgers

6.6

11/13

Northwestern Wildcats

Purdue Boilermakers

N/A

0.7

N/A

N/A

11/13

Temple Owls

UCF Knights

-24.5

-26.8

UCF Knights

2.3

11/13

Florida State Seminoles

NC State Wolfpack

-7

-5.8

Florida State Seminoles

1.2

11/13

South Carolina Gamecocks

Ole Miss Rebels

-11.5

-7.0

South Carolina Gamecocks

4.5

11/13

Baylor Bears

Texas Tech Red Raiders

-1.5

3.2

Baylor Bears

4.7

11/13

UNLV Rebels

San Jose State Spartans

-15.5

-16.1

N/A

N/A

11/13

California Golden Bears

Arizona State Sun Devils

-4

-5.1

Arizona State Sun Devils

1.1

11/14

Utah Utes

UCLA Bruins

3

11.7

Utah Utes

8.7

11/13

Oregon State Beavers

Washington Huskies

-13.5

-17.4

Washington Huskies

3.9

Situational opportunities

Arizona State Sun Devils (-4) vs. California Golden Bears

ATL: ASU -5.1

We’ve got a few different things going on, here.

Arizona State outplayed USC for the duration of last Saturday’s devastating one-point loss, and ended it with an 83% postgame win expectancy. But the underachieving Trojans stole a wild win by scoring two last-second touchdowns after recovering an onside kick.

Arizona State expects to have senior WR Frank Darby back after he was knocked out in the first quarter against the Trojans upon re-aggravating a previous rib injury. ASU needs him – it doesn’t have many other legitimate outside weapons for QB Jayden Daniels. Especially as it prepares to take on a very, very good Cal defense.

Cal got an unexpected off-week when Washington was forced to cancel its scheduled game due to COVID-19 issues last Saturday. Which of course means that the Golden Bears will be kicking off their 2020 season on Saturday.

So far this season, teams opening their season against teams that have already played are 23-10-2 ATS (69.7%).

Washington Huskies (-13.5) vs. Oregon State Beavers

ATL: Washington -17.4

USC Trojans (-14) at Arizona Wildcats

ATL: USC -14.9

Speaking of the above trend! Washington and Arizona will also be kicking off their seasons on Saturday after their originally-scheduled openers were canceled due to COVID-19 problems last week.

The Huskies and Wildcats both fit the above system. And for whatever it's worth: Oregon State and USC both failed to cover and impress last week. In fact, your author was burned by both!

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-13.5) at Boston College Eagles

ATL: ND -16.8

Notre Dame upset Clemson 47-40 in 2OT last Saturday night. The Irish are in a classic hangover spot, here. So classic that it took about five minutes after the Irish’s win on Saturday for folks to start bringing up that Boston College upset Notre Dame in 1993 one week after the Irish knocked off top-ranked Florida State.

The letdown situation itself probably explains why this line is sitting about a field goal south of my number.

Indiana Hoosiers (-7.5) Michigan State Spartans

ATL: Indiana -9.3

Indiana is a better team than Michigan State. That much is clear. On a neutral field, in a vacuum, my numbers say they’re about two touchdowns better than Sparty.

But the Hoosiers have an absolutely monumental matchup on deck against Ohio State. If they have a lead in the second half, they’re going vanilla. And Michigan State, when Rocky Lombardi isn’t spending the afternoon in the tank, is going to have an M.O. under Mel Tucker of suppressing scoring and keeping games close.

Injury updates

Boise State Broncos (-14) vs. Colorado State Rams (Thursday)

ATL: BSU -17.4

Boise State QB Hank Bachmeier sat out last Friday’s loss to BYU, still apparently feeling the effects of the undisclosed illness he’s been suffering from.

Backup QB Jack Sears suffered a head or neck injury in the first quarter against BYU, forcing the Broncos to use QB3 true frosh Cade Fennegan for the rest of the game. BSU entered that game with only one healthy scholarship running back, so they were up Schitt's Creek from there.

Speaking of that, RB George Holani, who sat out the BYU game, is doubtful for CSU with a leg injury. On a short week, we don't expect to see him. That's a rough development with BSU's issues with running back depth at the moment. The regally named Andrew Van Buren will get all the touches he can handle this week if Holani can't go.

BSU HC Bryan Harsin did not address Sears’ status after the BYU game. Bachmeier and Sears are both considered questionable for Colorado State. With this game scheduled for Thursday, we should get more clarity in the next 24 hours.

North Carolina Tar Heels (-13.5) vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

ATL: UNC -15.4

North Carolina has already ruled out WR Beau Corrales and CB Storm Duck for this game due to lower-body injuries.

Corrales hasn’t played since the October 17 loss at Florida State, and Duck hasn't played since UNC’s win at Boston College on October 3. It remains unclear when, or if, the duo will be able to return.

Nevada Wolf Pack (-17) New Mexico Lobos

ATL: Nevada -12.7

Big injury news on both sides.

Nevada senior WR Elijah Cooks is set to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, costing the Wolf Pack a large, 6-foot-4 outside weapon in their aerial offense. The star receiver posted a 76-926-8 receiving line during his breakout 2019 campaign.

On the other side, New Mexico will be without QB Tevaka Tuioti for this game after Tuioti suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to Hawaii. Tuioti is the Lobos' leading passer and rusher. I could explain the four-point discrepancy between my adjusted line and the PointsBet spread by his absence alone. Huge downgrade to backup Trae Hall.

NC State Wolfpack (-7) vs. Florida State Seminoles

ATL: NCSU -5.8

FSU QB Jordan Travis, who has struggled with durability issues all year, was knocked out of last week’s loss to Pittsburgh with an undisclosed injury. The offense promptly went into the tank, getting shut out in the second half. HC Mike Norvell only trusted former starter James Blackman for three plays -- the third being an interception. True frosh Chuba Purdy came in and averaged less than two yards per attempt on 21 throws.

Travis' status should clear up as we move later into the week. He's not yet much of a passer, but his legs are an absolutely invaluable resource to this FSU offense. Without him, FSU's attack becomes directionless.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (-1.5) vs. Baylor Bears

ATL: Baylor -3.2

Baylor, struggling in Dave Aranda’s first season, got brutal news on redshirt junior LB Terrel Bernard earlier this week. Bernard has been shut down for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury suffered in last Saturday’s loss to Iowa State.

Bernard, one of the conference’s best linebackers, posted 55 total tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, one quarterback hurry, one interception, two pass breakups and a safety during his shortened 2020 season. Abram Smith will replace him in the starting lineup at weakside linebacker.

Baylor also reported that it has lost rotation RB Craig Williams for the rest of the season with a knee injury. When John Lovett returns from injury, Baylor will be fine in the backfield with its duo of Lovett and Trestan Ebner.

San Jose State Spartans (-15.5) vs. UNLV Rebels

ATL: SJSU -16.1

Spartans QB Nick Starkel's status is up in the air after he was knocked out last week’s 28-17 upset win over San Diego State on the game's first possession with an unspecified injury after taking a huge hit. He returned to the sidelines in street clothes.

QB2 Nick Nash opened eyes after coming on in relief, going 16-of-25 for 168 yards and a 2/1 TD/INT ratio. He also ran for 53 yards, including the game-winning 13-yard scramble.

On Monday, SJSU HC Brent Brennan declined to say whether Starkel would practice or play this week. He also declined to elaborate on the nature of Starkel’s injury. Starkel is a veteran pocket passer. Nash, the youngster, is an athletic dual-threat that San Jose State originally intended to play at safety. UNLV will have to prepare to play both.

UCF Knights (-24.5) vs. Temple Owls

ATL: UCF -26.8

Temple’s quarterback issues continue to fester. Last week, QB3 Trad Beatty suffered an undisclosed injury against SMU in the second quarter, knocking him out of the game. Beatty has already been ruled out for UCF.

QB2 Re-al Mitchell, an Iowa State transfer who was said to be suffering from an undisclosed injury of his own, came on in relief. Those two are playing more because Anthony Russo has missed the past two games with his own injury issues.

On Monday, Owls HC Rod Carey said he hopes Russo is able to return this weekend. “Russo, all indications are that he is going to be able to practice [Tuesday],” Carey said. “How much he practices will determine if he can play and how he recovers from that practice ... We can practice him now; it’s a matter of you’ve got to push it and see how he responds.”

Appalachian State Mountaineers (-16) vs. Georgia State Panthers

ATL: Appy -18.5

Appalachian State RB Daetrich Harrington suffered an undisclosed injury during Saturday's win over Texas State. It’s unclear if Harrington, Appy’s leading rusher with 595 yards and seven TD, will be able to play on Saturday. Marcus Williams Jr. will function as the feature back if Harrington can’t go.

Appalachian State has incentive to take things slow with Harrington, as an enormous game with Coastal Carolina is on deck. Can Georgia State take advantage of a potential overlook spot for Appy?

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (-5.5) vs. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

ATL: WKU -7.4

Southern Miss QB Jack Abraham is expected to return from the undisclosed injury he suffered in USM's 30-6 loss to Rice on October 31. Abraham's return is huge for the Golden Eagles' offense, and explains why this spread is closer than my adjusted number.

Georgia Bulldogs (-11.5) at Missouri Tigers

ATL: UGA -15.5

Georgia redshirt junior QB Stetson Bennett is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. He sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder during the first half of last Saturday's loss to Florida. Dwan Mathis came on in relief and would ostensibly get this start if Bennett can't go.

Status update

Central Michigan Chippewas (-7.5) at Northern Illinois Huskies (Wednesday)

ATL: CMU -9.9

Central Michigan upset Ohio 30-27 last week as three-point underdogs, overcoming a 31% postgame win expectancy. The Bobcats committed five more penalties and committed two turnovers while CMU committed none. The Chips were 9-of-23 on third- and fourth-down conversions while Ohio went 4-of-12.

CMU did so without nominal starting QB David Moore, who would have been next in line to take over the reins from the departed Quinten Dormady this season.

But Moore was suspended for a calendar year by the NCAA after testing positive for a banned substance on Oct. 7, 2019. In a normal year, Moore would have been reinstated on Oct. 7, 2020.

But the NCAA, which exists, ostensibly, to look after the rights of student-athletes, is dragging its heels on Moore’s reinstatement. So much so that Central Michigan, over a month after reinstatement day, still has not heard from the governing body.

"We're just waiting on the final report from the NCAA as far as moving forward, still haven't gotten anything there," HC Jim McElwain said. "If not, we'll go ahead with [Daniel Richardson] and Ty Brock."

Moore could be reinstated any day now, or sometime in December, or not all in 2020. And you guys thought Roger Goodell was an unchecked tyrant.

COVID corner

Stanford Cardinal (-7) vs. Colorado Buffaloes

ATL: Stanford -6.3

Stanford QB Davis Mills was withheld from last Saturday’s 35-14 loss to Oregon due to Pac-12 COVID-19 protocols. Backups Jack West (No. 7 pocket-passer in 2018 class) and Tanner McKee combined to go 16-for-26 for 216 yards with no TD or INT.

It’s unclear if Mills tested positive or if he was shelved as part of contact tracing. DE Trey LaBounty and WR Connor Wedington were held out for similar reasons.

Wedington tweeted on Saturday: “I got contact traced, I tested negative for COVID.''

It’s unclear if Mills, Wedington and LaBounty will be cleared to play against Colorado.

But we know Colorado will be without redshirt junior RB Alex Fontenot. Fontenot will miss “a number of weeks” with an undisclosed injury, according to HC Karl Dorrell.

Florida Gators (-17.5) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

ATL: UF -21.4

Arkansas HC Sam Pittman tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. His diagnosis was confirmed on Monday. He will not coach Saturday. DC Barry Odom, the former head coach at Missouri, will serve as Arkansas’ interim head coach while Pittman is out.

That’s the big news on the Arkansas side. There’s intrigue on the Florida side, too.

In the Gators’ rousing upset win over Georgia last week, star TE Kyle Pitts exited the game early in the second quarter after he was on the receiving end of a vicious hit downfield by Georgia S Lewis Cine.

Force of impact sent Cine’s helmet flying, and rendered both players motionless on the field for a few scary beats. The hit was so brutal it threatened to incite a brawl in a second-consecutive Florida game. Cine was ejected for targeting.

Pitts, Florida’s most dangerous weapon, has been listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against the Razorbacks with an upper-body or head injury sustained during that collision. On Monday, Florida neither confirmed nor denied that Pitts had entered the concussion protocol.

If Pitts is out, the Gators lose one of the most singularly dominant move-TEs we’ve seen in college football over the last decade. With or without him, Florida also needs to avoid a letdown coming off a sensational showing against Georgia.

Alabama Crimson Tide (-28) at LSU Tigers

ATL: Bama -20.3

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman reported on Monday that the SEC could decide the status of this game on Tuesday. At issue are four new positive COVID-19 tests on the LSU side.

According to The Athletic's Brody Miller, several other LSU players are also expected to be sidelined due to contact tracing. Per Miller, freshman QB TJ Finley would be LSU's only available scholarship quarterback for Alabama.

HC Ed Orgeron has already ruled redshirt junior QB Myles Brennan out for Saturday's game with an abdominal injury. Orgeron also mentioned that the team has discussed shutting Brennan down for the remainder of the season.

It isn’t just the QB depth chart where LSU is in hot water. The Tigers would also be forced to play with zero tight ends or long snappers if this game goes through, according to Miller.

Asked about the situation Monday, Coach O said the following: "It's a very fluid situation. I can tell you that we do have players that got COVID and we do have some players that are quarantined. I can't tell you the numbers. I'm going to let the doctors take care of all that. We're focused on playing Alabama Saturday night."

Texas A&M Aggies (N/A) at Tennessee Volunteers

ATL: A&M -12.2

This game is in jeopardy after Texas A&M was forced to pause football activities on Monday when two new positive COVID-19 tests were discovered, one from a player and one student worker.

We are awaiting results on A&M’s new round of testing after Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed the team and staff were retested Monday.

The Aggies did get some good news earlier this week. If this game is played, they will have the services of sophomore RB Isaiah Spiller, who suffered a leg injury last week against South Carolina, ending his day early.

Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano exited last week’s 24-13 loss to Arkansas in the second half with a head injury. HC Jeremy Pruitt deemed him day-today in advance of this game against the Aggies.

Brian Maurer and Harrison Bailey both saw the field with Guarantano out and would likely split snaps if he misses Saturday's game -- though you can expect the Vols to hand the ball off as much as possible in that scenario.

Utah Utes (-3) at UCLA Bruins (Sunday)

ATL: Utah -11.7

Utah HC Kyle Whittingham told reporters on Monday that an unidentified Utes player diagnosed with COVID-19 was hospitalized. This coming on the heels of last weekend’s cancelation of the Utah-Arizona game due to positive tests in the Utah program.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that Whittingham relayed that Utah didn’t have any new positive tests over the weekend during two separate rounds of testing.

You could say that this game is very much up in the air at the moment, entirely dependent on the Utes’ ability to field a playable roster. If the game is played, Utah will be opening its season, so it’ll be the fourth on the slate that fits our favorite 2020 trend: Teams opening against teams that have already played are 23-10-2 ATS (69.7%).

Wisconsin Badgers (-4) Michigan Wolverines

ATL: UW -10.6

Wisconsin HC Paul Chryst said Monday that Wisconsin is down to five active COVID cases – two players and three staffers – and expects to play this game. Wisconsin redshirt freshman QB Graham Mertz, coming off a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, may be cleared for it.

But first things first. Mertz needs to be cleared to practice first. Mertz’s 21-game mandatory sit-out per Big 10 COVID protocol exhausts on Friday. The next day, this game kicks off.

“His tests are all done. I think he’ll be able to have some practice and we’ll see if it’s enough practice time," Chryst said on Monday. Mertz shredded Illinois in his first college start three weeks ago Friday.

Wisconsin had subsequent scheduled games against Nebraska and Purdue canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program.

On the Michigan side, stud junior edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson is done for the year after fracturing his right leg. This one hurts – Hutchinson is one of the top defensive ends in the country.

Cancelations/postponements

Auburn Tigers (N/A) at Mississippi State Bulldogs

ATL: Auburn -13.1

The SEC announced Monday that this game would be postponed until Dec. 12 due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Mississippi State program. Incredibly, according to the Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, the Bulldogs only have somewhere around 45 healthy scholarship players at the moment.

Air Force Falcons (N/A) at Wyoming Cowboys

ATL: Wyoming -4.0

Whereas Auburn-Mississippi State is postponed, Air Force-Wyoming was canceled and deemed a no-contest by Mountain West COVID protocols.

Air Force continues to deal with a rash of COVID cases on its roster. This is the second-consecutive game the issue has forced a cancelation of, following last week's Army-Air Force game. Air Force is next scheduled to return to the field a week from Friday against New Mexico.

2020: 37-31-1 (54.4%) ATS

Lifetime (2014-Present): 577-500-17 (53.6%) ATS

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