Week 13 College Football Opening Odds Analysis
Week 13 College Football Opening Odds Analysis
Thanksgiving week has arrived, and you know what that means: Big college football rivalries, turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and politically charged conversations from your Fox News-watching Uncle and MSNBC-watching sister. As we near the end of the college football season, the stakes get higher, and matchups mean more as races for conference titles and bragging rights get closer. FanDuel luckily has some odds posted on matchups for this weekend’s college football madness that I’ve highlighted below:
Auburn at Alabama (-23.5), O/U 60.5
You really thought we weren’t going to start with the biggest rivalry game in the SEC, the Iron Bowl? This game features #22 Auburn at #1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Unfortunately for fans of the Tigers, this game doesn’t project to be close, but with the spread sitting at -23.5, the spread should be in play all game. It’s fair to assume Alabama will likely win: Nick Saban has the Alabama “Death Star” back at the top of the rankings and cruising on a 7-0 record behind quarterback Mac Jones and star running back Najee Harris, in addition to potential top-10 draft picks Alex Leatherwood (offensive line) and Patrick Surtain (cornerback). Their games haven’t been close; they beat Kentucky by 60 points last week, 63-3, and except for Week 1 against Missouri when they had “only” 38 points, they’ve topped 40 in each of their games and over 50 in half of them.
Auburn has been up and down all season, but the Tigers have won two of the last three Iron Bowl matchups against Alabama. The Tigers have won their last two games convincingly after starting 3-2 with wins against Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Kentucky and losses against South Carolina and Georgia. Their last two weeks have seen them soundly beat Tennessee and LSU by 10+ points each. Quarterback Bo Nix and head coach Gus Malzahn bring experience and tenacity to a matchup that should be a lot closer than the line suggests. This is a volatile Auburn team against a steady Alabama machine and should make for an entertaining game on Saturday!
Mississippi State at Ole Miss (-8.5), O/U 66.5
We’re staying in the SEC for a 4:00 p.m. matchup strictly because it’s a matchup of, for this writer’s money, by far the two most entertaining head coaches in all of college football: Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach, both competing in a state rivalry for the almighty Egg Bowl.
The Bulldogs come off a game where they just gave 13th-ranked Georgia all they could handle on a prime-time Saturday night game on national TV on CBS. If you follow football at all, professional or college, you likely know Leach as the architect of the spread/air-raid offenses that *checks notes* almost every smart NFL and college team is now employing. Leach’s proteges such as Lincoln Reilly (Oklahoma), Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals), and many others have brought his spread concepts to the NFL. Leach’s issue is that his team has been hit hard by COVID: the team is down to 55 scholarship players after they’ve had 17 players opt out or leave for COVID. Quarterbacks Will Rodgers and KJ Costello have done their best this season at the helm of a Leach offense, but with the team 2-5, things look bleak for Leach’s squad.
On the other side, at Ole Miss, is the bad boy of college football coaching. One of football’s greatest characters, he’s been a head coach at Tennessee (left for USC), the Oakland Raiders (personally fired by Al Davis), USC (left on the tarmac by the team and fired), became a reclamation project as an assistant for Nick Saban at Alabama, went to Florida Atlantic, and is now at Ole Miss. It’s nothing to speak of that Kiffin consistently needles Saban in press conferences or that he went to campus bars in Tuscaloosa and told co-eds his name was “Joey Freshwater” Kiffin certainly is more infamous than he is famous. That said his team’s win. The Rebels just beat South Carolina in a 59-42 shootout and sit at 3-4 with a week of rest after their Texas A&M game was postponed due to COVID. Quarterback Matt Corral has played admirably for Kiffin and running back, Jerrion Ealy has paced Kiffin’s squad with over 600 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. Either way, this should be an entertaining game in Oxford!
Oregon (-14.5) at Oregon State, O/U 62.5
The last rivalry game takes us out to “THE CIVIL WAR” out in the beautiful pacific northwest. The #9, 3-0 Ducks come to visit the Beavers of Oregon State, who just won their first Pac-12 game of the season beating Cal 31-27 and sit at 1-2.
Oregon survived a scare against Chip Kelley’s UCLA team last weekend, eking out a 38-35 victory. Head coach Mario Cristobal cannot be pleased almost losing to a UCLA team that was missing their starting quarterback, and it’s likely that practice is going to be extra hard on the Ducks this week to ensure that they don’t have a repeat of last week. They lost their star linebacker, Noah Sewell, last week and have had a rash of COVID-related opt-outs as well.
Oregon State needed everything they could get from quarterback Tristan Gebbia in last week’s upset, and in order to avoid losing 12 of the last 13 games to Oregon, he will need to show up and play out of his mind again. The Beavers lost 24-10 in last year’s matchup, and by many accounts, that felt like a “moral victory” to the team. That won’t be acceptable this year. Beavers’ head coach Jonathan Smith has indicated that the team is confident going into the matchup and that there’s no “Big Brother/Little Brother” feeling anymore. It should be a good matchup to enjoy on Saturday night!