Week 13 of the college football sports betting is here at DraftKings Sportsbook, BetStars Sportsbook, and FanDuel Sportsbook. Each week during the NCAA football season, we’ll break down the biggest games of the week from a sports betting perspective and give you a pick or a lean for the games you, and the rest of America, are going to be watching.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. It could end up in our plays after additional research or information is released.
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(4) Michigan vs. (10) Ohio State
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Michigan -4.5 / Total 56.5
There are rivalry games and then there is this game. This interstate brawl is on another level.
10-1 Ohio State, fresh off a scare in overtime at Maryland a week ago, has a chance this week to end hated Michigan’s dreams of a national championship. The Buckeyes want to get to the playoffs and win over the 10-1 Wolverines will put them in the Big 10 Championship game against Northwestern.
Michigan has been solid since the loss to Notre Dame in the first game of the season, winning every game since by an average of 24.1 points per contest. The Wolverines are led by their defense, which is ranked in the top 5 in points per game, yards per game, yards per play, and yards per pass play. No one has scored more than 24 points on the Michigan defense all season.
Ohio State is the exact opposite.
Their defense is horrendous, giving up nearly 400 yards off offense per game. However, their offense is ranked in the top 7 in points per game (41.6) and yards per game (542). The Buckeyes have scored more than 35 points in 7 games this season, including 52 last week at Maryland.
This game will seemingly come down to the other two units on the field. The Wolverines offense will face an Ohio State defense that has been lit up by the likes of Purdue, Nebraska and Maryland. If Michigan can’t score on these guys, Coach Harbaugh is going to have a lot of explaining to do to the fans. QB Shea Patterson must not make big mistakes in this game but he will have chances to make plays downfield against this weak Buckeye secondary.
If Ohio State is going to pull the upset, QB Dwayne Haskins must have a monster game. He’s averaging 335 yards and 3 touchdowns per game but it would be hard to imagine him putting up those kinds of numbers against Michigan. The Buckeyes have owned this series and Jim Harbaugh has never beaten Urban Meyer and there is a lot of pressure on both sidelines to win this game.
Is this the year for Michigan to break through? I believe so. I think Ohio State will hit a few big plays and score at least 24 points but I think Michigan’s offense will find the end zone consistently against a poor Buckeye defense. The Wolverines have been waiting for this game all season and I think they will be ready to play at their best.
PICK: Michigan -4.5
Auburn at (1) Alabama
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Alabama -23.5 / Total 52.5
Pay attention to the line here. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are favored by nearly 24 points, yet the total is only 52.5. The book is telling you that Auburn won’t score much on Alabama and they are right.
Alabama is the number 1 team in the country and it’s not even close. Bama in second in the country is scoring offense (48.6 ppg) and scoring defense (12.7 ppg). That’s ridiculous. They are 3rd in yards per game (539.5) and 4th in yards given up per game (283.9). Even with this being the Iron Bowl, it’s hard to see this game being close on Saturday.
Auburn has been up and down all year. The Tigers are only 5-6 this year ATS and let’s be honest, we are only talking about this game because of the spread. Painting a picture for Auburn to win this game is really, really hard.
The main reason why picking Auburn is so difficult is that QB Jarrett Stidham has not lived up to expectations this season. Last year, Stidham was on fire versus Alabama, hitting on 75% of his passes in an Auburn victory. The Tide remembers that and their defense will be roaring to get revenge for knocking them out of a chance to win the SEC.
Stidham has turned the ball over 8 times this season and he is facing a defense that forces nearly 2 turnovers per game on average. Unless he is unreal, the Tigers will be in for a long afternoon.
This is Tua Tagovailoa’s first Iron Bowl but the kid has shown no signs of letting the moment become too big for him. His knee injury seems to be something that he can manage. Before Alabama plays Georgia for the SEC Championship game, the final home game of his first full season in Tuscaloosa should be a lot of fun.
I don’t expect Alabama to take their foot off the gas in this game and I expect them to win big.
PICK: Alabama -23.5
(7) LSU at (22) Texas A&M
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Texas A+M -3 / Total 47.5
LSU has had a really good season but some feel the Tigers left some opportunities for a great season on the table. While 9 victories is nothing to be mad about, getting to double-digit wins could put LSU into the Sugar Bowl in their home state. The Tigers will need to be the highest ranked SEC team not in the playoffs for that to happen. It still looks like it will be Georgia getting to play in New Orleans but the Tigers must beat the Aggies to be eligible.
For Texas A&M, they’re already bowl eligible at 7-4 in Jimbo Fisher’s first season in College Station. A win over a top 10 in the last game of the regular season could put the Aggies into the Citrus Bowl. LSU has won 6 straight against A&M since they joined the SEC and if they win their 7th in a row, Texas A&M will head to the Texas Bowl once again. There is nothing wrong with that but a bigger bowl game in Florida would be really nice.
Turnovers will play a big role in this game as LSU leads the SEC in turnover margin with a +12 while Texas A+M is -8 in that category. If LSU can force short fields for their offense, it will go a long way in slowing down a defense that is 4th best against the run, giving up just 86.8 ypg.
Against Alabama, LSU only ran for 12 yards. While Texas A&M front isn’t as good as the Tide’s, it’s still very good. The Aggies are undefeated at home and will ride the emotion of the home crowd. QB Joe Burrow is going to have win this game for the Tigers and I’m not sure he can do that on the road. That win at Auburn seems a long time ago and beating Arkansas on the road isn’t that impressive.
Texas A&M will finally get a win in this series and cover.
PICK: Texas A&M -3
(21) Utah State at (23) Boise State
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Boise State -2.5 / Total 66.5
This is our last regular season pick article and we will end it with what might be the most exciting game of the weekend.
We don’t pick many games in the Mountain West but this game is between two ranked opponents and Utah State’s 10-game winning streak in on the line in this one. It’s a game on the blue turf. I love the smurf turf, especially in the colder months.
If Boise State wins this game, they will earn the right to play in Mountain West Conference Championship game. QB Brett Rypien is coming off a monster game against New Mexico where he threw for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wideout Sean Modster had 9 catches for 129 yards and all 3 of Rypien’s touchdown tosses. The Broncos crushed New Mexico 45-10 to set up this big game with the red-hot Aggies.
Utah State got a major break last week against Colorado State to preserve their 10th straight victory. The Aggies head to Idaho with the hopes of playing at home next week against West Champ Fresno State and are bringing the 2nd best scoring offense in the country with them. Only Oklahoma (49.5) is scoring more points per game than Utah State (49.3).
The Broncos can play some offense too, however. They are averaging 37.4 points per game and have covered ATS the last two weeks. San Diego State did beat Boise State at home earlier this year but since that loss, the Broncos have won 6-games in a row
The Aggies were 30-point favorites last week at home against Colorado State and won 29-24. They got a major break with a last-second, game-winning touchdown being taken off the board due to a penalty. They won’t be as lucky this week.
I can’t pick against the Broncos at home in November. Boise State wins by 3 and covers.
PICK: Boise State -2.5