The College Football action is really heating up and Week 13 represents another season-defining set of fixtures. The Michigan Wolverines travel to Ohio State to take on the Buckeyes in what looks to be one of the best instalments of ‘the game’ yet. Washington State also play host to the rival Huskies, whilst Florida travel to Florida State in two other rivalry games. Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama will look to continue their perfect start to the campaign as they play host to Auburn. Each of these games and more are featured as we preview our 7 best bets of the week and favourite weekly multi.
Washington State Cougars
The 10-1 Cougars enter this one as the #8 ranked team in the country after a dominant 69-28 win over Arizona last week. QB Gardner Minshew continued his very impressive season, throwing for 473 yards and 7 touchdowns in a flawless performance. This was balanced out by 2 touchdowns and 5.3 yards per carry in the rushing attack. Defensively, the Cougars did a strong job of shutting down the Arizona offence, limiting them to only 3.5 yards per carry and forcing them to become one-dimensional. I expect them to be well up for it here in the most important game of the season so far.
The Huskies enter this one at 8-3 after consecutive home wins over Stanford and Oregon State. RB Myles Gaskin has led the offence in recent weeks, rushing for 135 yards and a score last week. QB Jake Browning has also been very efficient of late, going 17/23 for 242 yards and 3 scores against Oregon State. The Huskies have also been very strong defensively of late and haven’t allowed more than 23 points in each of their last 4 games. A dominant front seven has led the way, shutting down the opposing rushing attack and pressuring the Quarterback.
Prediction: Washington State -3
Despite their respective records, I feel as though this is very evenly matched. Buoyed by an electric home crowd and their strong passing offence, I expect the Cougars to take this one out. Especially laying only 3 points at home, this represents strong value here.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State enter this one at 10-1 after a nervy 1-point win over Maryland last time out. QB Dwayne Haskins had another stellar display, completing 28/38 passes for 405 yards and 3 touchdowns. This was complemented by a vintage performance from the Buckeyes rushing attack, who enjoyed 283 yards and 4 scores on the afternoon. Defensively, it was an unusually poor display from this Ohio State side. They were gashed on the ground for 339 yards and 5 touchdowns, allowing 14 yards per passing attempt in the process. This simply has to improve this week against the strong Wolverines.
The Wolverines also enter this huge contest at 10-1 after 10 consecutive impressive wins. RB Karan Higdon has led the offence well this season, registering 1106 yards and 10 scores on the campaign. QB Shea Patterson has also been extremely efficient in more of a game manager role, enjoying 18 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions this season. The hallmark of this team is definitely their outstanding defence, which hasn’t allowed more than 21 points since the season opener against Notre Dame. This is led by their very strong front seven, capable of limiting opposing rushing attacks and instilling fear in Quarterbacks.
Prediction: Michigan -3.5
With the success I’ve had backing them this season, it’s hard to overlook the Jim Harbaugh-led Wolverines here. I think their defence is the best unit in this game and expect them to shut Ohio State down. Shea Patterson makes enough plays on offence to get the win and cover here.
Boston College Eagles
The Eagles enter this one as the #20 ranked team in the country, despite consecutive losses to both Clemson and Florida State. The play of QB Anthony Brown has dipped in recent weeks, getting injured against Clemson and throwing 2 costly interceptions against Florida State. Their famed rushing attack also struggled to get going last week, averaging under 3 yards per attempt. The Eagles defence is still keeping them in games, but just can’t seem to make the plays to get them over the hump. Against a strong Syracuse outfit, they’ll have to really be on their game here.
Syracuse travel to Boston at 8-3 after last week’s blowout loss at home to Notre Dame. It was a very poor game from QB Tommy DeVito, who managed only 105 yards and 2 interceptions on his 31 passing attempts. The rushing attack didn’t fare much better and was largely stifled by the Notre Dame front seven. On defence, they struggled to contain QB Ian Book, who comfortably threw for 292 yards and 2 scores. If they want that top 10 ranking back, a big win is needed against a tough opponent on the road here.
Prediction: Syracuse +7
In what I expect to be a close one, there is strong value on Syracuse through the key number of 7. I think their defence matches up well with the Boston College offence and expect a much better display from Tommy DeVito.
Florida State Seminoles
It’s been a disappointing campaign for the Seminoles, who enter this local rivalry at a disappointing 5-6. A home win over Boston College last week was a definite highlight, after losing 4 of their previous 5 games. QB Deondre Francois has been largely inconsistent, throwing just 1 touchdown to 4 interceptions in his last 3. To have success in this one, the Seminoles will need to rely on Cam Akers and the rushing attack. The defence has also been very poor this season, allowing at least 42 points in 3 of their last 4 games. That said, the rushing defence stepped up big time against Boston College last week and will need a similar performance here.
The Gators make the short trip to Tallahassee as the #13 ranked team in the country with an 8-3 record. QB Feleipe Franks was excellent against Idaho last week, throwing for 274 yards and 3 scores. This was matched by a strong display from the rushing attack, which totalled over 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Gators defence was also back to their best, allowing just 73 yards on 35 passing attempts and forcing 3 turnovers in the process. As clearly the best of the 4 units in this game, the Gators defence can be the catalyst for a win here.
Prediction: Florida -4
I think Florida is the significantly better team here. Their defence can shut down an inconsistent Florida State offence, whilst I expect a big day from their rushing offence to match.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide enter this rivalry match as the unquestioned #1 team in the country, untouched so far en route to an 11-0 record. QB Tua Tagovailoa has been outstanding this season, throwing for 2865 yards and 31 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. The Tide rushing attack has been excellent as usual, going for over 8 yards per carry and 2 touchdowns last week. Always one of the most talented units in College Football, the Alabama defence allowed a very impressive 0 passing yards last week. They’ve failed to allow more than 23 points all season and have been the catalyst behind a team that has won all of their games by 22 or more.
The 7-4 Tigers face the toughest test in all of college football here, buoyed by 3 wins in their last 4 games. QB Jarret Stidham has had an efficient campaign, throwing for 12 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions on the season so far. The rushing attack has somewhat struggled to get going and you’d figure that Alabama would focus on shutting that down here. Defensively, the Tigers enter this one off a shutout against Liberty last week. They forced an impressive 4 turnovers and allowed just 134 yards in a very complete display. Whilst they’ll love a repeat of that performance here, I think they’ll struggle to contain this dynamic Alabama offence.
Prediction: Alabama -24
It would take a brave man to go against the Tide here. I personally think they’re still excellent value at this number. Their defence is as strong as ever and Tua is providing some of the most efficient QB play I’ve seen at this level. Alabama in a big one here.
Clemson enter this one firmly entrenched as the #2 ranked team in the country, enjoying a perfect 11-0 start to the campaign. Their dynamic and versatile rushing attack continues to impress, going over 200 yards and totalling 3 scores. Freshman QB Trevor Lawrence has also looked very strong so far, throwing for 21 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions on the campaign. This Tigers defence has also been excellent of late, allowing 16 points or less in each of their last 6 games. They effectively shut down an impressive Duke offence last week, holding them to under 4 yards per pass attempt and only 3 yards per carry.
South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks enter this difficult contest at 6-4 and will be looking for their third straight bowl game. QB Jake Bentley was very effective against Chattanooga last week, completing 25/29 passes for 339 yards and 4 scores. This was supported by another excellent day from their rushing attack, totalling a further 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was a very strong day for the Gamecocks defence, who allowed just 9 points and only 3.3 yards per rushing attempt. That said, they’ve largely struggled this season and I expect Clemson’s strong rushing attack to prove the difference here.
Prediction: South Carolina +25
Clemson’s run-heavy style makes me hesitant to back them at such a large number. South Carolina have a lot to play for and I expect them to be competitive here. With so many points to play with, the value is definitely on the Gamecocks.
The season of the 5-6 Trojans only got worse last week as they lost on the road to a poor UCLA side. This was despite a strong display from QB TJ Daniels, who put up an impressive 337 yards and 2 touchdowns in this one. It was defensively where the Trojans really struggled, allowing an incredible 313 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Despite a strong effort from the pass defence, only 1 sack and 1 turnover weren’t enough to get it done. To make things worse, they now welcome a firing Notre Dame side that is hungry to make the playoffs this season.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The impressive Fighting Irish enter this one as the #3 team in the country, with a flawless 11-0 record to their name. I say it nearly every week now, but QB Ian Book has been excellent for this team. He is comfortably completing 72% of his passes for just under 9 yards per attempt and his ball security is second to none. The defence has also been consistently strong all season, failing to allow over 27 points in any game. Last week was one of their best efforts of the season, holding the #12 ranked Syracuse to just 3 points. They’ll look to build off an excellent pass defence display, where they allowed just 115 yards and made 3 interceptions.
Prediction: Notre Dame -9.5
Under the key number of 10, I’m very confident in a Notre Dame win here. They are far and away the more talented team in this one and I expect another strong display from QB Ian Book. Fighting Irish by 14+ in this one.
A different tune to the multi this week as we go with 3 mid-priced favourites that I’m confident can pull out a victory. Each of these teams has a significant talent edge and is in big need of a win here. At $2.20, this is a relatively risk-free 3-leg multi.