5 College Football Week 13 Mismatches Bettors Can Exploit: Ground Games


Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson and running back Benny Snell

Nov 24, 2018, 12:00 AM EST
  • Examining some of the biggest Week 13 rushing mismatches where bettors can gain an advantage.
  • I'll focus on three in-state rivalries in addition to one of the most glaring mismatches of the season.
  • I'll start with a Thursday night SEC matchup and finish with another on Saturday night.

As we head into Week 13 of the college football season, we have a robust data set to analyze the relative strengths and weaknesses of all 130 FBS teams. Whether you want to look in the trenches, at the skill positions or even on special teams, bettors must identify and be cognizant of glaring unit mismatches each week.

Power ratings should serve as your handicapping starting point, but situational angles and matchup analyses should help refine your final wagers.

Each week, I highlight five noteworthy unit mismatches, which will hopefully help you make more informed betting decisions. I will point out a major discrepancy in a standard statistic and then provide supporting evidence that the underlying metrics back up.

After analyzing all of the mismatches early in the week, I decided to highlight five specific rushing matchups in Week 13. There is nothing more demoralizing than dominating the ground game in November.

And I won’t even bother getting into Fresno’s top 25 rush defense taking on a San Jose State offense that averages an FBS-worst 2.0 yards per carry. That’s historically bad.

The first mismatch comes on Thanksgiving night in the Egg Bowl, so let’s get to it.

Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss

  • Line: Mississippi State -13
  • Over/Under: 62.5
  • Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Ole Miss struggles to defend the run, allowing 5.0 yards per carry (106th nationally). That spells trouble against an elite Mississippi State rushing offense that ranks 14th in the country at 5.7 yards per rush.

The advanced metrics tell a similar story, as Mississippi State ranks No. 3 in both overall S&P+ Rushing Offense and Opportunity Rate. Meanwhile , the Ole Miss defense ranks 116th and 115th in those two categories, respectively. The Bulldogs should get five yards a carry in their sleep.

If Mississippi State can establish the run, passing lanes will open for quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald can be pressured into mistakes through the air, but Ole Miss doesn’t generate much pressure on the quarterback. The Bulldogs should have no issues moving the ball.

It’s also worth noting that Mississippi State excels at defending the pass (No. 4 in S&P Pass Defense), which is critical against the explosive Ole Miss passing attack. This is simply a plus-matchup for Mississippi State on both sides of the ball.

Michigan State vs. Rutgers

  • Michigan State -27
  • Over/Under: 37
  • Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, FOX

model helps you find edges when betting moneylines and over/unders for the full game
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