Saturday College Football Odds & Picks: Collin Wilson’s Top 2 Best Bets for Week 13
UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Battle (9).
- COVID-19 has struck the college football slate again, but all is not lost.
- Just as he does every week, Collin Wilson has shared his betting picks for Week 13 with a heavy afternoon emphasis.
- Check out Wilson's full breakdowns and betting picks ahead of kickoff below.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year when college football and college basketball cross paths. A Saturday with wall-to-wall action in both is even better.
However, the Saturday college football slate was once again ravaged by COVID-19, taking out games with quality betting value one by one. But that doesn’t mean all has been lost.
There are two games in today’s afternoon set that I added to my betting card — one historic rivalry and one featuring a top-10 Big Ten team.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving week, let’s be thankful for the games that have fallen onto our plates. After all, could you imagine a year with no Iron Bowl?
My Week 13 College Football Betting Card for Saturday Afternoon
Here’s a rundown of my two favorite afternoon betting spots on Saturday’s slate of games:
- 3:30 p.m. ET | #22 Auburn at #1 Alabama
- 3:30 p.m. ET | #8 Northwestern at Michigan State
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
#22 Auburn at #1 Alabama
|Auburn Odds||+24.5 [BET NOW]|
|Alabama Odds||-24.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+975 / -1650 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||62.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET|
Since an embarrassing loss to South Carolina, the Tigers have played excellent football. Auburn has won and covered three straight against Ole Miss, LSU and Tennessee. There are flaws with each one of those opponents, from the Volunteers’ second-half play to the Tigers’ inept offense attack. Nonetheless, Gus Malzahn’s team is 5-2, despite critics of SEC officiating.
Malzahn opened the week addressing the injury situation to running back Tank Bigsby and a pair of offensive linemen. All are listed as questionable, as Bigsby was unable to finish the Tennessee game. Both offensive linemen, Brodarious Hamm and Alec Jackson, would be major losses. Jackson has played 421 snaps as Bo Nix’s blindside tackle. Hamm has 438 snaps at right tackle. Austin Troxell has experience in 81 snaps at tackle but has the worst pass-blocking grade of any Auburn lineman, according to Pro Football Focus.
Defensively, K.J. Britt will continue to sit after recording 16 tackles in just two games. Coordinator Kevin Steele will rely on a trio of defensive linemen to generate pressure on quarterback Mac Jones. Big Kat Bryant, Derick Hall and Colby Wooden have a combined quarterback hurry total of 35 on the season.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Since Lane Kiffin took the Crimson Tide to the limit in a 111-point game that saw the Rebels cover the spread, Nick Saban has coached games in scorched earth mode. Alabama has won and covered four games straight against Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Kentucky. Saban has won the past two games with a combined score of 104-3.
When it’s College Football Playoff ranking season, Alabama shows up to remind everyone who should be the top overall seed. The Crimson Tide rank in the top five in plenty of categories, ranging from Offensive Success Rate and explosiveness to Finishing Drives. These numbers are a direct reflection of how Saban projects the college football game, and more of these statistics will exist in the future.
One reason we were high on Alabama entering the season was the minimal drop from Tua Tagovailoa to Jones, who has looked good against the toughest part of the 2019 schedule. It’s Jones’ ability to throw under pressure that set him apart. In 2020, he has an adjusted completion percentage of 83% without pressure and 85% when blitzed.
Betting Analysis & Pick
CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO VIEW COLLIN’S MATCHUP MATRIX
Underneath the praise for the Alabama offense has been the coverage ranks on defense. PFF grades the Crimson Tide as the sixth-best coverage unit in FBS play. The statistical leader among the Tide’s corners is Malachi Moore with six pass breakups, two interceptions, and a forced fumble, recovered and returned for a touchdown.
The biggest handicap is whether or not Nix will have time to throw among Auburn’s offensive line injuries. Alabama linebacker Christian Harris may be too much to handle, even if the Tigers’ offensive line is healthy. Pass Rush Productivity (PRP) is defined by PFF as a formula that combines sacks, hits, and hurries with relativity to how many times they rush the passer. With 255 opponent passing attempts, Harris ranks as the sixth-best defensive player in FBS in PRP.
Christian Harris’ Pass Rush Productivity (PRP):
Auburn’s defense may have issues stopping Alabama’s aerial attack. The Tigers are 106th in Defensive Passing Success Rate and 69th in Sack Rate. Running back Najee Harris should find success behind the Crimson Tide’s offensive line, as Auburn is outside the top 100 in Power Success and Stuff Rate.
Ultimately, the health of Bigsby and two starting offensive tackles are everything to Auburn’s chances. The offensive line can find success establishing the run, while Bigsby gives Auburn the red-zone weapon needed to combat a Tide defense that ranks in the top 20 in Finishing Drives. If Auburn is unable to protect Nix in passing downs, this could be a long day for the Tigers.
Pick: Alabama -24.
Northwestern vs. Michigan State Odds
|Northwestern Odds||-12.5 [BET NOW]|
|Michigan State Odds||+12.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-670/+450 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||42.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
The Wildcats put on a defensive clinic in a Week 12 victory over Wisconsin. Northwestern didn’t give up a point on any Badger trip inside the 40-yard line. Quarterback Graham Mertz had just two passes over 20 yards and generated just one explosive drive in 17 possessions.
The Wildcats stuffed 15-of-37 rushing attempts and stranded Wisconsin on third downs at a 3-for-16 clip. They forced five total turnovers, including three Mertz interceptions that were enough to take control of the Big Ten West.
Opponents are having no success passing the ball against Northwestern, which now holds a top-10 rank in Defensive Passing Success Rate and pass explosiveness. The trench has been just as ferocious. Northwestern ranks 12th in Line Yards and third in Stuff Rate.
Most importantly, the Wildcats moved to second in the nation in Finishing Drives, allowing just 1.8 points to opponents that cross the 40-yard line.
Michigan State Spartans
A COVID-19 disruption kept head coach Mel Tucker sidelined after a game with Maryland was canceled. Tucker commented that the Spartans needed the break to focus on more practices while the virus and injury issues played out within the program.
Michigan State has two losses by a combined score of 73-7 in the month of November. Tucker is dedicated to keeping the team in-house over the Thanksgiving holiday, using the day to continue building a culture.
The Spartans are in a “battle-but-building” phase, playing more true freshman than almost any other team in the country. The numbers may not matter to Tucker, but Michigan State is close to dead last in FBS in Rushing Success Rate, Havoc allowed, Line Yards and Offensive Finishing Drives.
Betting Analysis & Pick
CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO VIEW COLLIN’S MATCHUP MATRIX
The biggest question in this game is how the Spartans will score after Northwestern held Wisconsin to just seven points. Purdue put up 20 points up with Aidan O’Connell’s arm, while Iowa’s touchdown drives started in Northwestern territory. Michigan State does not have O’Connell passing nor the defensive Havoc rank to start drives with excellent field position.
If Michigan State was able to string together a sustainable drive, putting up points in opportunity time has not been its forte. Weather will be a non-factor in this game, but this is a situational hangover spot for the Wildcats off a huge victory. Look for a low-scoring matchup, especially on the Michigan State side.
Picks: Under 43 | Michigan State Team Total Under 13 or better