Week 13 college football best bets and predictions
We’re nearing the end of the college football season and VSiN has been pumping out more content for it than ever. All of our college football stories and resources are available at our Week 13 CFB Bet Hub, where you’ll also get best bets from all of my incredibly talented colleagues. But you’ll have to keep reading this one to get my college football best bets every week. I’m coming off a tough week with my picks, but I’m looking to bounce back with some winners here. I’ll also add some picks as lines move and more information comes out later in the week — and on game day. If I do, they’ll be thrown in at the bottom of this story, so definitely make sure to come back and look for more Week 13 college football best bets before games kick off.
I would have felt a little better about Michigan covering if Jim Harbaugh wasn’t suspended, as I think it would help to have him there to make halftime adjustments. But I think there’s just a significant gap between these teams, so I’m willing to bet that it won’t matter. The reality is that I’m not high on the Ohio State offense, and most of that has to do with Kyle McCord. I don’t think that he’s a terrible quarterback, but he’s far from what we’ve seen under center for the Buckeyes in recent years. And the Wolverines have still won two in a row in this head-to-head series, even when dealing with two NFL-caliber quarterbacks. And they have done it by a combined 40 points.
This Michigan defense has been the best in the nation this year, allowing just 9.0 points per game. The Wolverines are especially strong against the run, so I don’t see the Buckeyes easily getting TreVeyon Henderson going. That’ll really put the game on McCord’s shoulders, and I don’t see him coming through. Of course, Marvin Harrison Jr. will get himself open a few times in this game, but Michigan does have some good defensive backs to throw his way. So, McCord could find himself in trouble if he thinks he can just lock in on the star wideout.
Offensively, I think the fact that the Wolverines rushed for 227 yards and three scores against Penn State tells you that this Michigan team can run on anyone. Ohio State has an elite defense itself, but I don’t think the Buckeyes can contain Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. And once those two get things going on the ground, J.J. McCarthy will then make plays through the air. He’s a much better quarterback than he was a year ago, and he lit up this Ohio State team in The Game in 2022. McCarthy threw for 263 yards with three touchdowns and no picks, and he also added 27 yards and a score on the ground.
All in all, I just don’t see many reasons to believe in Ohio State here. The fact that it’s in Ann Arbor only adds to that. I also can’t ignore the fact that Ohio State is 1-3 straight-up as an underdog under Ryan Day.
Bet: Michigan -3 (-110 – Play to -4 … 2.5 units)
If UNLV wins this game, the Rebels will host the Mountain West Championship Game. So, this one is going to mean a ton to the home team. However, the Spartans can also make the Mountain West Championship Game with a victory, so this is a huge one for both teams. The thing here is that I don’t think San Jose State’s defense will hold up in this matchup.
UNLV has scored at least 31 points in eight of the 11 games it has played this year, and the team has also scored at least 40 in six of those games. This is an explosive offense, with dual-threat quarterback Jayden Maiava and a talented stable of running backs being very difficult to stop. And Ricky White is one of the best wide receivers in the Mountain West, so he should have some big moments here. He has had at least 144 receiving yards in each of the last four games, and he has also racked up five touchdowns in that span.
I know the Spartans have been great defensively recently, giving up 21 or fewer points in four consecutive games. But the team also hasn’t faced an offense quite like the Rebels, and I think we’ll see this unit struggle quite a bit. On top of that, the UNLV defense has its faults, but the team tends to get off the field when it needs to. So, I think the Rebels will be able to use their home-field advantage to get Spartans quarterback Chevan Cordeiro off the field in key moments.
UNLV has also just beat up on teams that struggle to defend the pass this year. The Rebels are 7-1 against the spread when facing teams that allow a completion percentage of 58.0% or higher this season, and they have won those games by an average of 16.2 points per game. So, I’m counting on UNLV to win this thing by at least a field goal, which will then make the other Mountain West game the equivalent of a semi-final matchup.
Bet: UNLV -2.5 (-110 – 2 units)
South Carolina earned a 31-30 win over Clemson last year, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Tigers. The Gamecocks also happened to do so in Death Valley, and things will be a lot easier as they head back home. They’re also facing a much worse version of Clemson, as Dabo Swinney’s team has been something of a nightmare in 2023. So, this task doesn’t seem as daunting for South Carolina as it did a year ago. And the motivation will be there for the Gamecocks, as they need a victory in order to become bowl eligible.
With this being a game that South Carolina needs to win, I’m expecting the Gamecocks to turn in a good defensive performance here. This group has really stepped things up in recent weeks, allowing just 20 points combined against Vanderbilt and Kentucky over the last two games. Now, the Gamecocks will be facing a Tigers offense that has averaged just 18.8 points per game on the road this year. Clemson has some talent on the offensive side of the ball, but the unit was inconsistent all year and never responded well to adversity. So, shutting the Tigers down should be a manageable task for the Gamecocks.
The key here is that Spencer Rattler needs to avoid making mistakes for South Carolina. He threw for 360 yards with two touchdowns and two picks when these teams met last year, and he also rushed for a score. But he can’t afford to have multiple turnovers in this spot, and I think he knows that. Rattler has also found a nice groove towards the ends of this season, so I think he’s trustworthy in this spot.
It’s also just nice to know that South Carolina is 10-3 SU and 9-4 ATS when facing non-conference opponents under Shane Beamer. They tend to flaunt their talent when going outside of the SEC and I don’t think this will be any different. So, I’m playing South Carolina to stay within a touchdown and I’m also putting a little on the moneyline.
Bet: South Carolina +7.5 (-110 – 2 units) & South Carolina ML (+250 – 0.5 units)
Nebraska -2 (-108) vs. Iowa
Wisconsin -2 (-110 – 2 units) vs. Minnesota
West Virginia/Baylor Under 56 (-112)
2023 Record: 45-51-1 (-8.06 units)