During the college football season, the Stadium staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice in this roundtable. Here are our thoughts on the Week 13 slate.
Note: Ben and Nate will discuss all of their college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
1. What is your favorite pick against the spread?
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: Oregon (-7) over Oregon State.
Oregon blew their chance at a signature conference win last week at Utah, falling short in a 38-7 loss that somehow wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Because of that defeat, this number dropped six points from the look-ahead line of Oregon -13. I believe that’s too big of an adjustment and expect the Ducks to make the most of their talent advantage against their in-state rivals.
Both of these teams rely on their rushing attacks, and Oregon is much better at stopping opposing offenses on the ground (No. 1 in the Pac-12 in opponents’ yards per rush). I’m riding Kayvon Thibodeaux and company to help the Ducks rebound from last week’s embarrassment with a double-digit victory to clinch the Pac-12 North.
Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: Michigan State (+1) over Penn State.
Sparty got walloped against Ohio State last week, which is a big reason why I like them to have a comeback game at home against an offensively-challenged Penn State team. I really am a bit surprised that MSU isn’t a home favorite, so I think it’s probably a solid buy low spot for them.
Sure, they’ve faltered in two of the last three games, but at home, Sparty is undefeated. I think MSU’s defense should help prevent PSU from getting any type of strong lead, which will help the Spartans’ offense win the game.
Kate Constable, Stadium Host & Digital Producer: Florida State (+3) over Florida.
Both of these teams sit at 5-6 with a bowl berth at stake. Florida comes into this game having just fired head coach Dan Mullen after the team lost five of their last seven games. Their only win since beating Vanderbilt on Oct. 9 was against Samford, an FCS opponent. The Gators are also 0-5 ATS in their last five games. Meanwhile, the Seminoles got off to a slow 0-4 start but have won five of their last seven games and come into this matchup with more momentum.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: Boston College (+4.5) over Wake Forest.
There are three teams that could win the ACC Atlantic and represent the division against Pittsburgh in next Saturday’s conference title game. Wake Forest has a leg up on NC State and Clemson because a win here by the Demon Deacons will punch their ticket to Charlotte. Wake Forest had a shot to clinch in Week 12, but fell at Clemson and now has to beat Boston College on the road.
The issue for Wake Forest is Boston College is a significantly improved team since QB Phil Jurkovec returned from an injury earlier this month after missing multiple weeks. The betting market hasn’t fully accounted for the uptick in the Eagles’ offense, and I can see the Demon Deacons crumbling under the pressure of a must-win game.
2. What is another bet you like?
AS: Oklahoma (+155 ML) over Oklahoma State.
Bedlam is a great college football rivalry and the dislike between these two programs and their fans is very real. But can I let you in on a dirty little secret? This “rivalry” isn’t very close. At all. The Sooners lead the all-time series 90-18-7 and have won six straight Bedlam games. Meanwhile, the Pokes have only won three games against the Sooners while ranked in the AP Top 25.
Oklahoma State has a nasty ‘D’ that’s top three nationally in scoring and total defense, while also being the best defense the program has had in Mike Gundy’s 17 seasons. However, Spencer Sanders is still Oklahoma State’s quarterback, and I’ve lost enough money betting the Pokes the last few seasons due in large part to Sanders’ backbreaking turnovers in big spots. Given the history of this matchup, I can’t pass on OU at this price. Boomer Sooner!
BW: Over 39 in Wisconsin-Minnesota.
It seems like people have forgotten that the last three Wisconsin games have gone over, while three of the last four Minnesota games have also hit the over. These aren’t the low-scoring, defense-oriented teams people expect to see.
A 24-17 type of game seems more than likely to me. In fact, Wisconsin has scored over 24 points in its last five games, and Minnesota has averaged 26 points per game this season. A total that ends somewhere in the 40s seems like the highest probability.
KC: Over 64.5 in Ohio State-Michigan.
Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud absolutely picked apart a terrible Michigan State pass defense. The Buckeyes will have a tougher time against a Michigan secondary that’s ranked eighth and only allowing an average of 178 yards through the air. But if Michigan wants to win this game, they are going to need to be more aggressive offensively and keep it close the entire game.
If they’re down by two scores at any point, it’s going to be extremely difficult for the Wolverines to climb back in. Despite Michigan having a top-10 defense, OSU has too many offensive weapons. They’re going to get on the board plenty, which means Michigan will have to do the same if Jim Harbaugh wants his first win in “The Game.”
NJ: Penn State (-1) over Michigan State.
This bet is a fade against Michigan State, whose hopes of winning the Big Ten East and making the College Football Playoff were just dashed in a 56-7 loss to Ohio State. The Spartans certainly exceeded expectations over the last three months, so the season isn’t a failure — but the way they lost has me questioning how they will respond for the final home game of the season. I don’t love the idea of backing Penn State, who has had a disappointing season, but the Nittany Lions are the better team and catching the Spartans at the right time.
3. Which underdog of +200 or more on the moneyline has the best chance of an outright upset?
AS: TCU (+475) over Iowa State.
TCU needs a win to make a bowl game, while Iowa State is 6-5 and hasn’t sniffed the CFP rankings after starting 2021 ranked seventh in the preseason AP poll. The Cyclones are reportedly on the verge of losing their head coach to a different job and don’t have much to play for. I’ll gladly take a big price with the Horned Frogs as I hope that Iowa State comes out flat.
BW: North Carolina (+200) over North Carolina State.
This hasn’t been the type of season the Tar Heels expected to have after starting the year ranked No. 10 in the nation. Yet, I still believe in the Carolina blue. NC State has a mixed track record when it comes to covering spreads near a touchdown, and UNC might want to let loose with a win over a rival.
KC: Oregon State (+225) over Oregon.
After getting blown out by Utah last week, the Ducks are coming into this one deflated as their chances of getting into the playoff are officially over. They could still earn a berth to the Pac-12 Championship Game with a win over the Beavers, but Oregon State has a lot to play for in this game, too. A win over the Ducks and a loss by Washington State in the Apple Cup would send the Beavers to face Utah for the Pac-12 title.
Oregon entered last week’s game as the third-best rushing offense in the country, yet struggled immensely in that category, rushing for just 63 yards against the Utes. Look for the Beavers, who rank No. 50 in rush defense, to try and stifle the Ducks’ run game and improve to 4-0 straight-up as underdogs in Pac-12 play.
NJ: Tulsa (+200) over SMU.
There are a handful of teams with a 5-6 record who should be very motivated to win in Week 13 to be eligible for a bowl game. One of those teams is Tulsa, who has won their last two games after a hard-fought loss against Cincinnati in Week 10.
Speaking of Cincinnati, that’s the team SMU lost to 48-14 last week in their biggest AAC game of the season, so I’m expecting a letdown from the Mustangs. Mix in the fact that SMU head coach Sonny Dykes is linked to the TCU opening, and I’m not sure how focused SMU will be in the regular season finale on Saturday.
4. What is one bet you are tempted to make this week, but know you probably shouldn’t?
AS: Marshall (-115 ML) over Western Kentucky.
The winner of this game will represent the East Division in the Conference USA title game, and since this matchup is at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, I’d like to back the Herd to win a coin-flip game.
But why am I going to ultimately pass? Bailey Zappe and the Western Kentucky passing offense scare me. WKU leads the FBS in total passing yards and touchdown passes, and is 15th in yards per attempt despite throwing on 69% of offensive plays. This offense is incredibly combustible, and my worry is that Marshall tries to match the Hilltoppers in a shootout rather than slowing the game down and limiting possessions. I may get involved in the live market, but I’ll stay away before kickoff.
BW: Texas A&M (-6.5) over LSU.
With it possibly being Coach O’s last game with the Tigers, I don’t want to bet against some last-minute LSU magic. The Aggies are certainly the better team, but with LSU playing for a bowl as Ed Orgeron coaches his last game in Baton Rouge, I’m going to stay away.
KC: Minnesota (+7) over Wisconsin.
This is a bit of a bet from the heart because if the Badgers lose to Minnesota and Iowa beats Nebraska, then my Hawkeyes will win the Big Ten West and make a trip to the Big Ten Championship.
So, here’s a simple math lesson for you: If the Gophers want a chance to win this game, they’ll have to cover the spread as a 7-point dog. Do I actually think they’ll beat a Wisconsin team that has one of the best run defenses in the country? No, I do not. But can they keep it within seven and make me feel like an upset could be possible? Sure, why not.
NJ: Michigan (+8) over Ohio State.
The contrarian in me wants to bet against Ohio State coming off a ceiling performance against Michigan State, where they scored 49 points in the first half. The big issue is trusting Jim Harbaugh — who is 0-5 against Ohio State — in a big game. While that might be a lazy narrative, I just don’t want to step in front of this Ohio State team even if the point spread is inflated. I can see Michigan keeping it close at home, so taking the under might be a better way to play “The Game.”