Week 13 College Football Betting Picks, Predictions | 5 NCAAF Games to Target
Tom Hauck/Getty Images. Pictured: The Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers.
- The final full Saturday slate of the college football regular season is here, and BJ Cunningham has you covered with how to bet it.
- BJ runs through five games he's targeting on the slate, including South Carolina vs. Clemson, among others.
- Dive in immediately and get your college football betting card ready for Week 13.
BJ Cunningham’s Week 13 CFB Betting Card
The team logos in the table below represent each of the college football matchups that BJ Cunningham is betting this weekend. Click the team logos for one 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.|
Nebraska vs Iowa
Iowa looks to win its second straight Big Ten West title and its eighth straight game over rival Nebraska when it hosts the Cornhuskers on Saturday.
The Hawkeyes gutted out a 13-10 win in Minneapolis last week, aided by some key turnovers in the fourth quarter. The path is now very simple for Iowa:
- Win, and head to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship.
- Lose, and hope for a lot of help.
Iowa has one of the best defenses in the country, but the offense is going to have to be effective against one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten for the Hawkeyes to win.
This season could not have gone worse for Nebraska, as it’s sitting at 3-8. It gave Wisconsin quite the scare last weekend, but the Badgers hit a late field goal to win, 15-14.
It’s been a long time since Nebraska has beaten Iowa, and it has just three wins over its Heroes Game rival since joining the Big Ten.
Nebraska’s offense has been below average this season, ranking 73rd in Success Rate and 64th in EPA/Play.
Casey Thompson returned from injury against Wisconsin, but Nebraska’s offense still struggled, as it gained only 3.5 yards per play.
Thompson has played decently for Nebraska this season despite its terrible record. He’s averaging 8.6 yards per attempt to go along with a 79.3 PFF passing grade and 20 big-time throws.
The problem with Thompson is that he’s been a little loose with the ball because he’s already thrown 10 interceptions and has 15 turnover-worthy plays. That won’t help when going up against this Iowa defense.
Nebraska has really struggled to run the ball this season. Anthony Grant is averaging just 4.5 yards per carry, while Nebraska ranks 84th in Rushing Success Rate and 80th in EPA/Rush.
Mohamed Ibrahim and Minnesota ran the ball all over Iowa last weekend, so the Cornhuskers are going to have to find success on the ground if they want any chance of winning.
Nebraska’s defense is the reason why it’s 3-8 this season.
The Cornhuskers are allowing 5.6 yards per play with ranks of 126th in Success Rate and 94th in EPA/Play Allowed.
The front seven has done a poor job of stopping the run. It’s allowing 4.5 yards per carry while ranking 126th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 116th in Defensive Line Yards. Running the ball is really the only way Iowa has found success offensively this season, so Nebraska better be prepared to stop the run, or this could get ugly.
The secondary has been just as bad. Nebraska has allowed 7.3 yards per attempt and ranks 105th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 87th in terms of a coverage grade, per PFF.
The Huskers have also been pretty average at generating a pass rush, which a major key against Spencer Petras and this poor Iowa offensive line.
Iowa’s offense is one of the worst in the Power Five, but it has shown improvement over the second half of the season.
The Hawkeyes averaged 4.7 yards per play against Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin and Minnesota after averaging under four yards per play in the three games before that.
Even though the offense only put up 13 points against the Gophers, it still averaged 5.4 yards per play
Spencer Petras has been bad this season, but it’s not like he has been terrible in every single game. He put up a PFF passing grade above 82 and averaged over 7.2 yards per pass attempt against Rutgers, Michigan and Northwestern. Against Minnesota last weekend, he posted 9.2 yards per attempt and a 74.2 PFF passing grade.
However, the reason Iowa’s offense has struggled is not because of Petras. Its biggest Achilles’ heel has been the offensive line.
The unit ranks 130th in pass blocking, and Petras has been under pressure on 36.9% of dropbacks, which is the ninth-highest mark in college football among quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks. The good news for Iowa is Nebraska has a very average pass rush.
Iowa’s run game has come alive in the past few weeks with the emergence of freshman Kaleb Johnson.
Johnson has averaged 6.0 yards per carry in the last four games and ran for 200 yards against Purdue two weeks ago. He should have no problem running the ball effectively against this poor Nebraska front seven.
Iowa has the best defensive grade in college football at 93.9, per PFF. The Hawkeyes are one of only two teams in college football that are allowing under 4.0 yards per play.
However, Iowa allowed Minnesota to run all over it last week to the tune of 312 yards and 6.2 yards per carry.
But Nebraska’s ground attack isn’t anywhere close to that of Minnesota’s, and Iowa’s run defense this season has been outstanding overall. The Hawkeyes are 13th in Defensive Line Yards, second in rushing explosiveness allowed and eighth in EPA/Rush Allowed
It helps when a team has one of the best linebacking duos in the country in Jack Campbell and Seth Benson, who are both in the top 10 for defensive grades among linebackers, per PFF.
Iowa also boasts the best secondary in the country, as the unit allows only 5.3 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks and owns the No. 1 coverage grade in the nation, per PFF.
So, it’s going to be a long day for Thompson if the Nebraska rushing attack can’t get going.
JACK CAMPBELL WITH A PERFECTLY TIMED INTERCEPTION FOR THE IOWA DEFENSE pic.twitter.com/ZAhxgD4wiC
— SuperHawkeyeFan (@superhawkeyefan) November 20, 2022
Iowa also has one of the best punters in the nation in Tory Taylor, who has downed 28 punts inside the 20-yard line (third most in FBS). Opposing returners are averaging just 3.9 yards per punt return.
Nebraska vs Iowa Betting Pick
I know the Iowa offense has been really bad this season, but it’s shown improvement over the past four weeks. Now, it’s going up against a putrid Nebraska defense.
If last weekend against Wisconsin was any indication of how this Nebraska offense is going to play against the best defense in the Big Ten, well… it’s going to be a long day for the Cornhuskers.
I have Iowa projected at -13.2, so I think there’s a little bit of value on the Hawkeyes at -10.5.
What is QuickSlip?
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South Carolina vs Clemson
The Battle of the Palmetto State got a little more interesting after South Carolina dominated Tennessee last week.
While the moment was great for Shane Beamer and the Gamecocks, they may have just opened the door for their in-state rival to secure a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Spencer Rattler seemingly returned to the quarterback we saw in 2020, throwing for a whopping six touchdowns against Tennessee.
The Gamecock offense essentially lives on big plays, especially in the passing game. South Carolina ranks 13th in explosive passing, and Rattler has an 87.2 PFF passing grade on throws over 10 yards.
Clemson’s secondary sits 47th in explosive passing allowed, so South Carolina may be able to break off some big plays through the air.
The Tigers offense has some massive advantages, though, especially on the ground. Will Shipley is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has 29 runs over 10 yards. As a team, Clemson ranks in the top 35 in Rushing Success Rate, EPA/Rush and Offensive Line Yards.
WHAT A RUN BY WILL SHIPLEY!🔥
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 12, 2022
South Carolina hasn’t been able to stop the run to save its life this season, and it’s one of the main reasons it’s regressed so much. The Gamecocks are allowing 4.9 yards per carry (119th in FBS) while ranking 128th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, 113th in EPA/Rush Allowed and 119th in Defensive Line Yards.
South Carolina’s secondary has also been quite poor, ranking outside the top 70 in terms of Passing Success Rate Allowed, EPA/Pass Allowed and 116th in PFF coverage grade.
DJ Uiagalelei has great ability throwing the deep ball. On throws over 20 yards in the air, he has a 91.0 PFF passing grade with 19 big-time throws.
I have 59.2 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 51.5 points.
Purdue vs Indiana
The battle for the Old Oaken Bucket may have a little more meaning this weekend if Nebraska somehow upsets Iowa. If that happens, Purdue just needs to beat Indiana, and it’s headed to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship.
Purdue sits at 7-4 after an upset win in Champaign two weeks ago and a dominant performance over Northwestern last weekend.
However, the Boilermaker offense just hasn’t been what it was last season. The good news for them is they will undoubtedly find a way to get going against a poor Indiana defense.
Indiana ended its seven-game losing streak last weekend, beating Michigan State in double overtime, 39-31. The Hoosiers now sit at 4-7 with no hope of making a bowl game.
However, beating their in-state rival would send their seniors out on a high note.
Aidan O’Connell has been very inconsistent this season, averaging only 6.7 yards per attempt this season to go along with a 69.7 PFF passing grade. He’s also recorded 18 big-time throws compared to 23 turnover-worthy plays.
The good news for him is he’s going up against one of the worst secondaries in college football.
O’Connell doesn’t have an excuse for his poor play because the offensive line has done a nice job of protecting him. He’s been under pressure on just 24.7% of his dropbacks, and Purdue ranks seventh in Havoc Allowed. Indiana has the second-worst pass-rushing grade in the country, so he should have plenty of time to throw once again.
Purdue has found some success on the ground. Running back Devin Mockobee is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has 21 runs over 10 yards. He’s the main reason why Purdue ranks 34th in Rushing Success Rate.
Purdue’s defense has been incredibly solid this season, ranking 20th in Success Rate Allowed and 19th in EPA/Play Allowed.
However, while the Boilermakers have been good from a Success Rate standpoint, they’re not doing a great job of keeping teams out of the end zone when they cross the 40-yard line. Purdue ranks 96th in Defensive Finishing Drives, which is why it gives up 26.1 points per game.
The front seven has been the strength of the defense, especially against the run. Purdue sits 20th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, 30th in rushing explosiveness allowed and 15th in EPA/Rush Allowed. So, it’s going to be very difficult for Indiana’s rushing attack to run the ball consistently against the Boilermakers.
The secondary is a completely different story.
Purdue has been torched repeatedly this season and has a big problem giving up big plays through the air. The Boilermakers are allowing 7.8 yards per attempt (99th in FBS) while ranking 105th in passing explosiveness allowed and 100th in PFF coverage grade.
The Indiana offense has been pretty bad this season, ranking 120th in Success Rate and 121st in EPA/Play.
However, the offense came alive last Saturday in East Lansing, as Indiana put up 39 points despite running only 51 offensive plays.
Indiana went run-heavy against the Spartans, as Dexter Williams attempted only seven passes. It’ll have to do so again against Purdue because Williams is not a great passer.
However, he’s a fantastic runner, which really helps open up holes in the read option for Shaun Shivers.
Shivers has struggled this season, but adding Williams at quarterback seems to have helped. Last week, he ran for 113 yards on 15 carries, which was by far his best game of the season. Even with all of the struggles he’s had, Indiana still sits 24th in rushing explosiveness.
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) November 19, 2022
Indiana’s defense has been quite bad this season, allowing 5.8 yards per play and ranking 85th in Success Rate Allowed and 80th in Finishing Drives Allowed.
The front seven has actually been very good against the run, but last weekend, Michigan State ran for 242 yards and 5.0 yards per carry against it. But on the season, it still ranks 25th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 14th in EPA/Rush Allowed.
The problems with the Indiana defense have come in the secondary. The Hoosiers are allowing 7.8 yards per attempt (108th in FBS) while ranking 128th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 125th in coverage grade, so O’Connell should be able to throw all over this secondary.
Purdue vs Indiana Betting Pick
The Hoosiers are playing at an ultra-fast pace. Tom Allen’s squad runs a play every 18.3 seconds, which is the fastest in the nation. It often goes three-and-out in record time, giving the opposing offense ample opportunities to score on their lackluster defense.
Purdue also plays at an above-average pace, which should lead to a higher-scoring game than expected.
I have 62.3 points projected for this Old Oaken Bucket game, so I love the value on over 53.5 points.
Oregon vs Oregon State
The Oregon-Oregon State rivalry has quite a bit on the line this weekend, as the Ducks need to win or hope for a Washington loss to secure a spot in the Pac-12 Championship game. However, they’ll have to overtake their in-state rivals to do control their own destiny.
Oregon escaped with a 20-17 win over Utah last Saturday night despite turning the ball over three times. However, the Oregon offense has been outstanding this season despite that one bad game.
The Ducks lead the country in Success Rate and rank eighth in EPA/Play. What’s strange, though, is they haven’t broken off many big plays, as they’re 115th in explosiveness.
The offense is dominated by the run game, which ranks first in the country in Success Rate and second in EPA/Rush.
Running backs Bucky Irving and Noah Whittington are both averaging over 6.0 yards per carry, but Oregon was held to just 2.4 yards per carry against Utah. Oregon State has struggled to stop the run this season, so Oregon could have a field day.
Bo Nix does lead college football in adjusted completion percentage at 83.9%, but his PFF passing grade comes in at just 78.6 with 12 big-time throws compared to seven turnover-worthy plays.
He mainly lives in the short passing game with 63.8% of his passes being 10 yards or shorter in the air. He’ll have a really tough task on his hands on the road Saturday because Oregon State has one of the best secondaries in the country. The Beavers rank ninth in passing explosiveness, eighth in EPA/Pass allowed and are allowing only 6.1 yards per attempt.
Oregon State is an extremely rush-heavy offense, with the Beavers carrying the rock on 60.1% of their offensive plays.
They’ve run the ball successfully, ranking 17th in Rushing Success Rate and Offensive Line Yards. However, that plays right into the strength of the Ducks defense, as Oregon ranks top-35 in almost every run defense category.
Ben Gulbranson really hasn’t been effective at quarterback, as he’s averaging just 7.5 yards per attempt. He owns a 64.1 PFF passing grade to go along with four big-time throws and five turnover-worthy plays, so, Oregon State is going to have to lean on its run game once again.
Oregon is typically viewed as a fast-paced team, but it’s actually been playing slow this season, as it ranks 76th in seconds per play. Meanwhile, Oregon State plays at the fourth-slowest pace in the country.
With two offenses that are going to lean on their run games at a slow pace, I think the total is a tad inflated. I have 52.3 points projected for this game, so I like the value on under 58 points.
Air Force vs San Diego State
Air Force is sitting at 8-3, but all three of their losses have come in conference play, so they will not be going to the Mountain West Championship game. The triple option has been highly effective this season at not only moving the ball, but controlling games and that is exactly what they will look to do against San Diego State.
The Aztecs offense has been revitalized the past few games, putting up a combined 77 points against San Jose State and New Mexico. San Diego State is 7-4 and has already secured a bowl bid, so there’s not really much for them to play for in this game. Additionally, facing the triple option is a completely different animal.
Air Force is literally playing at the slowest pace in the country this season, averaging a play every 31.99 seconds. The triple option has been really effective at controlling possession, as the Falcons have the ball 60.2% of the time, which is the highest mark in the country.
Air Force’s triple option has been incredibly efficient this season, ranking top-five in Offensive Line Yards, Stuff Rate Allowed, Power Success Rate and Rushing Success Rate.
Fullback Brad Roberts has been the main reason why Air Force’s offense has been so effective, as he’s averaging 5.2 yards per carry and has a 87.5 PFF rushing grade.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 10, 2022
Haaziq Daniels has also been a good rusher himself from the quarterback position, averaging 5.0 yards per carry with 20 runs over 10+ yards. He’s also been a great passer the few times that Air Force has decided to throw the ball, as he’s averaging 9.8 yards per attempt.
The Air Force defense has been solid this season, allowing only 4.7 yards per play, ranking 66th in success rate allowed and 58th in EPA/Play allowed.
The strength of the Air Force defense is in their front seven, and they’ve done a good job at stopping the run. The Falcons are only allowing 3.6 yards per carry, ranking 48th in rushing success rate allowed and 36th in defensive line yards.
Air Force also does a great job at forcing turnovers, getting sacks, and stopping plays in the backfield, as they rank 35th in havoc, while San Diego State is 122nd in havoc allowed on offense.
The Falcons are also fantastic at getting teams off the field on third down, as they have the 19th lowest third down play percentage allowed and rank ninth in power success rate allowed.
The weakness of the Air Force defense is their secondary, though, as the Falcons rank 98th in passing success rate allowed and 87th in EPA/Pass allowed. However, they don’t typically allow a lot of big plays in the passing game, ranking 21st in explosive passing allowed.
One of the main reasons San Diego State’s offense has come alive is quarterback Jalen Mayden, who has been on fire.
However, Mayden may be averaging 9.3 yards per attempt with 10 touchdowns compared to five interceptions, but his PFF passing grade sits at just 77.2, and he has only five big-time throws compared to 10 turnover-worthy plays. That’s not good when you are facing an Air Force team that is 35th in havoc.
San Diego State’s offense, meanwhile, is built on its rushing attack. It runs the ball on 59% of its offensive plays. Its rushing attack has not been successful at all, though, as it ranks 112th in Rushing Success Rate, 105th in Offensive Line Yards and 86th in EPA/Rush. So, if they aren’t able to run the ball successfully against Air Force’s front seven, that means Mayden is going to have to throw more often than he wants.
San Diego State’s defense has been good but nowhere near as good as it was last season. The Aztecs are 34th in success rate allowed and 46th in explosiveness allowed.
The Aztecs are just average in a lot of the key metrics you need to excel in against the triple option. They are 50th in stuff rate, 31st in power success rate allowed, and 53rd in defensive line yards. Additionally, they are struggling with the fundamentals, as they’re 123rd in terms of a tackling grade, which is just about the worst thing against the triple option.
The Aztecs’ secondary has been solid, allowing only 6.7 yards per attempt, and they have the 28th best coverage grade. However, every time Air Force throws the ball, not surprisingly, it’s a deep shot; they’re first in the nation in explosive passing, while San Diego State is 35th in explosive passing allowed.
Air Force vs San Diego State Betting Pick
With how dominant Air Force has been at controlling possession on offense, and given the fact that San Diego State is really average in a lot of key metrics defensively that you need to be good at to stop the triple option, I think there is some value on the Falcons.
Yes, San Diego State’s offense has been awesome the past two weeks, but that was against San Jose State and New Mexico, Air Force is a whole different animal.
I have Air Force projected at -3.2, so I think there is a little bit of value on them on the moneyline at -125.