College Football: Week 13 betting odds and early thoughts



College football line moves and best bets for Week 13

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Top Games

Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines (-4, 47.5)

The entire season for both Ohio State and Michigan has led up to this moment, as it usually does. On the line is a spot in the Big 10 Championship game, and either team will be about a three-touchdown favorite over Iowa. The Wolverines were a favorite to win the national championship a week ago and many believed this contest to be a formality, but clunky performances from Michigan’s offense the last two weeks – specifically its passing game – have caused a shift in the market.

Over the last two weeks J.J. McCarthy is 19-of-32 for 201 yards passing with zero touchdowns, an interception and a turnover worthy play rate of 7.9%. McCarthy’s offensive line has played into his decline, as he has been under pressure on 36.1% of his dropbacks these last two weeks; a very high rate for a quarterback that has dropped back just 36 times. Left tackle LaDarius Henderson should be back for this game against the Buckeyes, but his presence does not erase McCarthy’s issues with ball protection the last two weeks.

Ohio State is not the most opportunistic defense in the country – it is tied for 111th in turnovers forced – but it is an efficient defense. It ranks 19th in opponent EPA per play and opponent EPA per dropback. The Buckeyes lead the country in yards per play allowed (3.9) and opponents have averaged just 3.3 yards per play against them. It will be the stiffest test the Wolverines have faced outside of Penn State and it is unlikely they will be able to get away with attempting one pass in the second half of this contest like they did in Happy Valley.

Michigan is also at a disadvantage when it comes to the skill positions. Ohio State has Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka at wide receiver; two pass-catchers that rank first and 10th respectively in the Big 10 in receiving grade via Pro Football Focus. TreVeyon Henderson also leads the conference in rushing grade at PFF. Kyle McCord also has an identical passing grade to McCarthy since the Notre Dame win, and has thrown 16 touchdowns to only three interceptions over that span.

These reasons are likely why the market has started to head toward Ohio State. The lookahead line last week had Michigan as a 5.5-point favorite, but DraftKings opened this line Michigan -4 on Sunday. Circa Sports opened at -5 but the market pushed it all the way down to -3 before buyback brought it back to 3.5 which is what the consensus number is as of Sunday evening. 

Honorable Mentions

Oregon State Beavers at Oregon Ducks (-14, 58.5)

Oregon has not clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Championship yet, but a simple win against Oregon State will get them there. There is obviously plenty of motivation for the Ducks, but the Beavers have plenty to play for as well. Namely, the honor of the Pac-2 which Oregon left in the dust. The betting market did not do much with this game on Sunday. Circa Sports opened this game at Oregon -13 but was bet up to -14 within minutes. The real move came on the total which was bet up four points to 62 at Circa Sports. There is also an interesting angle for prop bettors involving Bo Nix, who is now the second choice to win the Heisman despite a dominant performance against Arizona State. Dan Lanning and his coaching staff could leave Nix in to wrack up some statistics if given the opportunity, much like Brian Kelly has done for Jayden Daniels at LSU.

Florida State Seminoles (-6.5, 50.5) at Florida Gators

A battle of the backups will take place in Gainesville this weekend. Jordan Travis was lost for the season with a leg injury, and Graham Mertz suffered a collarbone injury. Florida State will roll with Tate Rodemaker – a redshirt junior who had thrown 70 passes in his career prior to coming in for Travis – and Florida will start dual-threat redshirt freshman Max Brown. The betting market got too low on the Seminoles on Sunday, and there was some strong buyback during the day. Circa Sports went as low as Florida State -4 when they opened this game, but the market snapped back to 6.5 which is the current consensus line. The total has not moved much, but that is a surprise given what we have seen from the Gators recently. They are on a 7-0 run to the Over thanks to a defense which is 86th in opponent EPA per dropback. The Seminoles still have plenty of skill position talent, and could do plenty against this weak secondary, even with a backup quarterback.

Kentucky Wildcats at Louisville Cardinals (-6.5, 51.5)

This is a fascinating spot for Louisville, which comes in with nothing to play for. The Cardinals have clinched their spot in the ACC Championship, and waiting for them will be a vulnerable Florida State team which does not have its starting quarterback. Still, Louisville might be able to stumble into a win and cover here due to Kentucky’s poor form. The Wildcats are 1-5 SU and ATS in their last six games, and they bring in an offense which is 85th in EPA per dropback this season. Circa Sports opened the Cardinals at -7 and the initial move was to -8 but that was bought back quickly. Bettors can expect this number to sit where it currently is most of the week. 

Best Bets

Texas A&M Aggies at LSU Tigers (-11, 68.5)

Neither team has anything to play for in the grand scheme of things this weekend, but LSU clearly has one goal: Get Jayden Daniels the Heisman Trophy. Despite a 35-point lead in the fourth quarter against Georgia Southern the Tigers were still putting the ball in Daniels’ hands. This trend will likely continue this weekend against Texas A&M and it is worth trying to capitalize on it. It will be more profitable to bet on LSU’s team total, but this early in the week that number is not posted yet. The Tigers are 10-1 to the Over this season, have one of the worst defenses in the country and a coaching staff trying to pad the stats of their starting quarterback. It sounds like a great mixture for a high score this weekend.

Play: OVER 66.5