Week 13 College Football Betting Odds, Predictions: Collin Wilson’s Top Picks for Rivalry Week (Saturday, Nov. 27)
William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
- Week 13 of the college football season is upon us, and Collin Wilson came prepared with three bets.
- It's Rivalry Week, so Wilson focused on three of the biggest games on the slate: Ohio State vs. Michigan, Alabama vs. Auburn, and Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State.
- Check out all three picks, complete with full betting breakdowns.
Week 13 represents one of the most entertaining weeks in college football: Rivalry week.
With bowl bids and College Football Playoff plans becoming clearer, it's even more imperative for teams to conquer their rivals if they want to achieve their full postseason potential.
Saturday features three key examples with some of the highest-ranked teams in the country fighting for more impressive bowls and playoff spots across the board.
There may not be a bigger game than the Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry in the Big House. Both teams have one loss, so a victory puts the winner in the Big Ten Championship and squarely in the driver's seat for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Then, we travel to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn. A win keeps the Crimson Tide's playoff hopes alive, but a loss would serve as a major detriment.
To wrap things up, we have Bedlam in Stillwater, where Oklahoma faces Oklahoma State. The Cowboys would keep the Sooners at home for the Big 12 title game in favor of Baylor if they win and the Bears beat Texas Tech, but an Oklahoma victory ensures a Bedlam rematch at AT&T Stadium for the conference title.
Check out my bets for all three rivalry matchups below, and don’t forget to follow me in the Action App to see any other bets I make ahead of Saturday’s kickoffs.
Collin Wilson's College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from Saturday's slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
#2 Ohio State vs. #5 Michigan
Jim Harbaugh has yet to beat Ohio State during his tenure at Michigan. The head coach stated that Saturday in the Big House was the start of the playoffs.
The Wolverines head coach was mum on the return of two key players in running back Blake Corum and cornerback Gemon Green, both of whom dressed for Maryland but did not play. Corum had no issues with his high ankle sprain in donating turkeys with the money from his NIL deal.
Ryan Day is also in preparations for Michigan after coming off of the biggest blowout of the season, a 56-7 depantsing of a Michigan State team that was ranked seventh in the College Football Playoff rankings.
With the wide receiver unit at full health, quarterback CJ Stroud has taken over pole position for the Heisman Trophy at most shops.
Day was most proud of the defense, ending Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III's Heisman run by allowing just 25 yards on six carries. Ohio State's ability to stop the run will be the key factor in deciding the 117th meeting between the two schools.
These two programs try to take the high road in pregame comments each season, but the COVID-19 2020 season brought out the headlines. With dates being switched because of the pandemic, Harbaugh lobbied accusations, while an unconfirmed comment from Day stated, "We're gonna hang 100 on them."
These coaches do not like each other, indicating there will be scoring by both sides until the final buzzer.
The Buckeyes are the No. 1 team in SP+ offense, dominating Michigan State and Purdue over the past two weeks by scoring 115 points.
In the quest to top a season of offensive perfection by the 2020 Alabama team, Ohio State ranks ninth in Momentum Killer Rate. That statistics grades everything that can stop an offensive drive from resulting in points. The one statistic holding the Buckeyes back is 10-plus yard penalties with 16 on the season. This was also an issue for the Ohio State offense that made a run to the National Championship last season.
One element not missing from this offense is the explosive play.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 20, 2021
Ohio State is top-five in numerous categories because of the skill position players, from Passing Success Rate to big-play percentage and Offensive Finishing Drives.
The explosiveness of the roster has resulted in the top overall special teams unit in the nation.
Michigan has been burned in recent rivalry games by different defensive coordinators running man-to-man coverage. The coverage of Ohio State's skill positions is the biggest handicap of the game.
The Buckeyes defense has been a work in progress for most of the season, but changes and effort have started to bear fruit. The defense stuffed half of Michigan State's rush attempts and limited the Spartans' passing game to just two receptions over 20 yards.
Those numbers were a mass improvement after Purdue scored 31 points by doubling the national average in explosive and methodical drive rate.
Despite shutting down the Spartans, Ohio State has a poor rank in stopping the explosive play. The Buckeyes are 94th defensively in standard downs explosiveness and 60th in pass coverage.
While shutting down the Michigan passing attack may be a simpler task than previous opponents, the Buckeyes are 69th in Defensive Stuff Rate. Stopping the Wolverines from dominating the trenches is crucial to an Ohio State victory.
Harbaugh continues to ransack opponents with an elite Defensive Success Rate and an offensive ground-based attack that is the best in the nation in Havoc Allowed.
Michigan runs the ball 60% of the time out of the 11 and 12 formations with an additional tight end for 50 plays in 13 personnel this season.
The goal is always the same: Plow holes for Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 10, 2021
Both Haskins and Corum have generated 91 missed tackles this season and 60-yard explosive runs.
The Michigan offense does whatever is needed to stay in standard downs and continue to pound the ball, as the Wolverines average 5.4 yards on the ground.
Michigan is sixth in the nation in average yards to go on third down at 6.1 yards, making Ohio State's ability to push the Wolverines into passing downs the most important element. Ohio State is 92nd on defense in opponent third-down conversion rate, indicating that the Wolverines will have success moving the chains.
Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will coach his first-ever game in this rivalry and is aware that the Michigan secondary has been torched by Day's team in previous seasons.
The 4-3 scheme has been downsized by Macdonald in favor of the 3-3-5, particularly on third down. The blitz rate of 44% from a year ago has also been trimmed to just 28% this season, indicating the Wolverines may look to defend Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud in coverage more than by applying pressure.
Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo are the only firepower needed against the Buckeyes' offensive line.
Aidan Hutchinson receives a lot of the notoriety (rightfully so), but #Michigan EDGE/OLB hybrid David Ojabo (6050, 250, rSO) has really hit his stride over the past four games (6.0 sacks, 2 FFs) for the Wolverines defense. pic.twitter.com/FNSxLKXEBI
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) November 3, 2021
Ohio State has given up just 13 sacks the entire season, but guard Paris Johnson Jr. and tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere may be the targets. The offensive linemen for the Buckeyes have allowed a combined 31 pressures on the season.
The biggest job for the Michigan defense is defending the middle of the field, an area that Maryland relentlessly attacked in Week 12.
Both Vincent Gray and DJ Turner rank in the top 100 of all cornerbacks in FBS football, per PFF, putting this game squarely on defending the air attack between the hash marks.
Safety Brad Hawkins is the 18th-best safety in individual coverage grades, giving the Wolverines a great chance to limit the damage over the middle.
Ohio State vs. Michigan Betting Pick
With a look-ahead line as low as Ohio State -4.5 last week, the appetite for the Buckeyes has grown this spread larger than a touchdown.
There's no denying how great Stroud has been in his quest for the Heisman Trophy, posting a 36:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the season.
The freshman quarterback has no drop in adjusted completion percentage from a clean pocket to blitzed dropbacks. Stroud has a 17:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio through 110 blitzed dropbacks this season, signaling Michigan's best chance is sticking with pressure from the defensive line.
Nebraska is the only defense to force Stroud into a turnover-worthy play since the beginning of October, as the Cornhuskers forced four of them. Ohio State was limited by JoJo Domann, Cam Taylor-Britt and Quinton Newsome through a 2-5-4 scheme.
Stroud was picked off twice in targets to Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Chris Olave. Day has commented that the multiple look of Macdonald's defense presents a large challenge. Macdonald has coached his scheme to be a pattern-match zone and man to confuse Stroud.
With an Action Network projection of Ohio State -7, the value is on Michigan on any number north of a touchdown.
The Wolverines have the offensive skill set to run against a Buckeyes defense with a poor Stuff Rate rank. Controlling tempo and keeping the Ohio State offense off the field will be the plan for Harbaugh.
Macdonald's defensive scheme of allowing Hutchinson and Ojabo to create pressure while mixing zone and man will give Stroud a test far worse than what Nebraska presented.
Pick: Michigan +7.5 or Better
#3 Alabama vs. Auburn
The home team has won the Alabama vs. Auburn Iron Bowl in all but one season since 2013. Now, Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin gets his first taste of the biggest rivalry in the SEC.
The former Boise State coach will not be remembered in his first season for a projected Gator Bowl but will be assessed based on Auburn's performance against Alabama.
With a salary north of $5 million, Harsin has been considered a flop to this point. The coach fired a member of his staff in the first month and has lost three consecutive SEC games.
Nick Saban knows the significance of the Iron Bowl, coaching in 14 previous editions of this game. The Alabama head coach acknowledged that no matter what the final results of the season may be, the Auburn game is the measuring stick for fans and alumni.
Saban recalled that Alabama has not executed well at Jordan-Hare in recent years with pick-sixes and the legendary Kick Six.
Big CFB week, Auburn-Bama, Iron Bowl on Saturday.
— chad millman (@chadmillman) November 23, 2020
The Crimson Tide posted another win in Week 12 but was far from covering the spread against Arkansas.
Questions continue to circulate around the play of the offensive line, an area Saban says will see no further changes with Darrian Dalcourt back at center.
While the head coach praised the play of Dalcourt, Damieon George and Chris Owens, the trio is a part of the lowest-graded group of offensive linemen in the SEC. Alabama is outside the top 50 in pass blocking, Line Yards and Havoc Allowed.
When quarterback Bryce Young is afforded time to throw, wide receiver Jameson Williams has been electric.
Bryce Young drops an absolute dime to Jameson Williams for the long TD. Alabama responds almost immediately to regain their 10 point lead.
— CFB Blitz (@BlitzCfb) November 20, 2021
Young has been fantastic at taking what the defense leaves open, connecting on 37 touchdowns to just three interceptions this season.
With 23 big-time throws, the explosive work has been left up to Williams and John Metchie III.
An updated passing grid chart of Young shows how often the quarterback prefers to throw within nine yards or behind the line of scrimmage.
The Razorbacks dominated the Crimson Tide's defensive front. Arkansas ran 49 plays in standard downs and averaged 6.2 yards per play with a Success Rate 14% above the national average.
The Hogs played well above the national average in explosive and methodical drives. Arkansas scored a touchdown on every possession that crossed the Alabama 40-yard line, dropping the Crimson Tide Defensive Finishing Drives rank to 110th.
The Tigers' loss to South Carolina as more than a touchdown favorite leaves plenty of questions left unanswered in Auburn.
Auburn scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and managed just three points for the remainder of the game. South Carolina quarterback Jason Brown threw three touchdown passes on 10-of-15 passing, enough to win despite converting just a single third down.
Harsin is being held accountable for an early fourth-and-1 pass attempt at the Auburn 35 that led to a Gamecocks touchdown.
The Tigers squandered a 164-yard rushing performance from Tank Bigsby.
TANK. BIGSBY. 💨
— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) November 21, 2021
The Auburn secondary continues to get lit up by opposing quarterbacks. Brown threw three explosive passes against the Tigers, just one week after a Mississippi State dink-and-dunk passing attack posted 12 passes over 15 yards.
South Carolina completely avoided left corner Roger McCreary and strong safety Smoke Monday, while Mississippi State completed 6-of-9 targets against two of the best defensive backs in the SEC.
Auburn has fallen to 84th in Passing Downs Success Rate on defense, a signal that opposing offenses have found the holes around the Tigers' secondary.
Alabama vs. Auburn Betting Pick
Both Alabama and Auburn love to score early in games, ranking top-13 in point differential through the first quarter.
Harsin spoke of how the recent losing streak was consistent with Auburn starting hot and deteriorating throughout the game. The Crimson Tide average 12 more points in the first half versus the second half, which is partially opponent-driven.
Both of these head coaches have prepared the offenses well, but the adjustments by Saban will be the difference in this game.
The evidence that Auburn has been slow to make adjustments comes in Middle 8 ranks, as the Tigers are 107th against the Crimson Tide's rank of second in the country. If there's a live bet made during the game, backing the Crimson Tide with four minutes left in the second quarter has a high probability of covering.
The handicap comes from opposing offenses dissecting the secondary of Auburn. If South Carolina's Brown can avoid Monday and McCreary, Young should have plenty of success taking what the defense gives.
Alabama is sixth in Offensive Finishing Drives, a stat that will be in play, assuming the Crimson Tide's top-15 explosive air attack doesn't put points on the board before crossing the 40-yard line.
The Alabama defense isn't without flaws, as Bigsby and quarterback TJ Finley should have success putting points on the board in the first few drives.
The Action Network projection is well below the market at Alabama -12. Auburn is down Bo Nix and kicker Anders Carlson, both inflating the spread in this game.
Crazy events happen in the Iron Bowl in Jordan-Hare, but the value is in the total. One of the biggest key numbers in college football totals is 55, where the market currently resides. With Success Rate, net yards per play and Finishing Drives in perspective, the Action Network projects this total at 63.
Because Auburn scores early and deflates before halftime, the best bet is the first-half total.
Pick: 1H Over 28 or Better
#10 Oklahoma vs. #7 Oklahoma State
After 115 previous meetings, the Bedlam Series might finally come to an end, as Oklahoma and Texas prepare to move to the SEC.
The football rivalry started in 1904 when a punt was taken over by the wind so harshly that an Oklahoma recovery in a half-frozen creek was called a touchdown in a 75-0 victory.
There have been plenty of meaningful games in this series, from Gundy quarterbacks to a claim of mobsters spiking the team soup in 1954.
Mike Gundy said he doesn’t believe OSU-OU game continues after OU goes to SEC. “I don’t think it’s a realistic thing that’s going to happen based on the business side of Power 5 conference football. That’s just my opinion. I could be wrong. I’m not getting that from anybody"
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 22, 2021
The stakes could not be any higher on Saturday, as a spot in the Big 12 Championship game and a high ranking for the College Football Playoff await the winner of this game.
An Oklahoma State win could potentially place Baylor in Arlington alongside the Pokes. An Oklahoma victory will call for a rematch of Bedlam in AT&T Stadium.
Ultimately, the loser of this game is knocked out of the national title picture. The Cowboys have won this game just three times in Stillwater since 1967, which could make Saturday a historic event for a series that is seemingly coming to an end.
The Sooners fell out of favor with the College Football Playoff committee from the get-go, sporting an undefeated record but a rank of eighth.
That zero in the loss column did nothing to fool the committee after one-possession victories over Texas, West Virginia, Nebraska and Tulane. None of those teams are bowl eligible through Week 12.
This same Oklahoma team trailed Kansas in the fourth quarter and was stuffed on 50% of rush attempts against Baylor. Three Iowa State offensive turnovers were key in a one-possession victory for the Sooners.
— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) November 20, 2021
There are a number of issues on both sides of the ball that have contributed to the Sooners' downward trajectory.
The numbers are elite on the offensive side with a top-30 rank in Success Rate and a mark of fifth in Finishing Drives, but the momentum-killing characteristics remain.
Six missed field goals and 27 sacks both rank in the bottom 35 in the country, with most of those sacks coming on passing downs. Fumble luck is certainly a part of the identity of the Sooners, as Oklahoma has 12 fumbles on the season and has recovered all but just one.
While the offense teeters with momentum-killer plays, the defense lacks any ability to stop opposing offenses. The Sooners defense is 96th in the country in creating three or more three-and-outs per game.
Opponents have almost double the national average of methodical drives against the Oklahoma defense, a stat defined as a 10-play possession by an offense.
Those numbers have been in steady decline for head coach Lincoln Riley's team through the second half of the season.
The best coaching job in the country may belong to Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. His 4-2-5 scheme with a 23% blitz rate has been pure Havoc against opposing offenses.
No defense in the country generates as many three-and-outs or hard stops, the percentage of possessions in which the defense forces a turnover.
— Cody Nagel (@CodyNagel247) November 6, 2021
Playing the exact conference schedule as Oklahoma, the Pokes have created top-10 defensive ranks in almost every statistical category.
This is the top defense in the nation in limiting passing downs explosiveness. Only Georgia has allowed fewer red-zone attempts from opposing offenses. The Cowboys have been an impossible unit to score against, ranking 17th in opponent red-zone touchdown percentage.
The offense is where the questions begin for the Pokes, starting with the play of quarterback Spencer Sanders. The knock on the junior coming into the 2021 campaign was a lack of awareness in the pocket, mobility and decision-making.
His 15:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio is on pace to be the best of his career, which is an impressive feat after losing Tylan Wallace and Chuba Hubbard.
Sanders has a positive ratio in big-time throws to turnover-worthy plays and has had a dramatic shift in pocket awareness. Sanders has increased his adjusted completion percentage when blitzed from 60% in 2020 to 75% this season, near his rate when not blitzed.
Spencer Sanders throws it up to John Paul Richardson for the Oklahoma State TD. The Cowboys get into the end zone for the first time tonight.
OKLAHOMA STATE 13
TEXAS TECH 0
— CFB Blitz (@BlitzCfb) November 21, 2021
Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State Betting Pick
The biggest handicap term in this edition of Bedlam is methodical drives. The ability to generate sustained drives that end in points will determine the winner of this game.
The offensive and defensive matchups are a wash on Finishing Drives, explosiveness and tackling. Both teams have even ranks in "Middle 8" and Standard Downs Success Rate as well.
The most important aspect is Havoc Allowed and momentum killer drive percentage.
Mike Gundy on freshman LB Collin Oliver, one of the best young pass rushers in the country:
"He's freakishly athletic" pic.twitter.com/fZyLK8EAnS
— Bryan Keating (@KOCOKeating) October 28, 2021
The Sooners are 84th in Havoc Allowed on offense, a direct statistic derived from 63 tackles for loss allowed and 12 offensive fumbles. Oklahoma ranks 74th in methodical drive rate but second in the nation in scoring drive percentage.
The Cowboys' ability to stop explosive plays is crucial to keeping Caleb Williams off the field, as Oklahoma State is fifth in Defensive Standard Downs Sack Rate and the best in the nation in defending explosiveness on passing downs.
Methodical drives are important to the Cowboys offense, as Oklahoma allows 20% of opponent drives to last 10 or more plays. Sanders' upgrade in the passing game, along with a decrease in fumbles from previous seasons, suggests Oklahoma will have a hard time getting the Pokes off the field.
Wide receiver Tay Martin ranks among the top 30 of all FBS players with a minimum of 70 targets and presents an issue for the cornerback position on the Sooners defense. Oklahoma does not have a single cornerback in the top 200 graded players, per PFF.
Both Jaden Davis and DJ Graham have combined for just four pass breakups on the season while giving up multiple plays over 50 yards.
The market has caught on to the explosiveness allowed by the Oklahoma State defense and the differences in this game. An opening spread of just a point in favor of the Cowboys has been steamed through the key number of three.
The early market move is the correct one, with Oklahoma finding plenty of fumble luck while allowing opposing offenses to methodically drain clock and put points on the board.
With a tougher strength of schedule and strength of record, the Cowboys are properly favored.
Ultimately, Knowles' Cowboy defense will get pressure on Williams, limit explosive plays and start the turnover regression against the Sooners.