College Football Week 13 Underdog Picks and Predictions

It’s college football rivalry week, and FairwayJay has his weekly underdog picks on the biggest emotional games of the year

Identifying College Football Underdogs and Parlays for Profit – College Football Week 13

It’s rivalry week, and the biggest week of college football rivalry games to close out November football during Thanksgiving week. Much to be thankful for, despite some sub-par results on these pages the past month. But we’ll take our emotions and try to knock the stuffing out of the bookmakers this week with some underdogs with bite.

Using statistical indicators, including strong, balanced offenses and defensive dominators are still part of the handicapping process. So is yards per play (YPPL) differential, which will point you towards more underdog winners with a positive and better YPPL than their opponents. Searching for value and understanding inflated lines along with motivational situations can help you in our pursuit of profit. Emotion plays a big part during the biggest rivalry games, so recognize that as you evaluate and handicap the games to close out the regular season.

Some noteworthy upsets last week, of which Ole Miss (+3) was not after we suffered a second-consecutive bad beat with Mississippi in their 36-29 overtime loss at Vanderbilt last week.

Wisconsin (+3.5) at Purdue – Badgers won 47-44 in 3 OT
Kansas State (+6.5) vs Texas Tech – Wildcats won 21-6
Bowling Green (+6) at Akron – Falcons won 21-6
Florida State (+3) vs Boston College – Seminoles won 22-21
UCLA (+3.5) vs USC – Bruins won 34-27

Let’s continue to fire for the green in Fairway’s Foursome in our weekly pursuit of profit (doggy style) with Fairway’s Football Forecast.

Shop and bet College Football at the leading online sportsbooks, and Las Vegas sportsbooks, including the Week 13 lines.

123 Nebraska (+9) at Iowa – Cornhuskers Money Line +270
181 Utah State (+3) at Boise State – Aggies Money Line +130
183 BYU (+11.5) at Utah – Cougars Money Line +350
195 Tennessee (+3.5) at Vanderbilt – Volunteers Money Line +145

$20 4 Team Parlay = $220
$20 4-Team Money Line Parlay = $1,856

Nebraska at Iowa – Friday kicks for this rivalry game, and while Iowa (7-4) has had a solid season, the Hawkeye’s have fallen off the past month losing three of their last four games. Nebraska (4-7) was a big play for us last week in their 9-6 win over Michigan State as a 1.5 point favorite. The Huskers have rebounded from their 0-6 start, and have really ramped up the offense averaging 460 YPG vs FBS foes with a strong, balanced attack. Dynamic QB Adrian Martinez has led the ‘Huskers resurgence, and Nebraska has covered three straight Big Ten road games with near miss losses at Ohio State and Northwestern. The Cornhuskers have now covered six straight Big Ten games overall while showing more fight as the season has progressed and especially last week against a strong Michigan State defense. We ride Big Red again.

Utah State at Boise State – Huge games in the Mountain West, as the Utah State (10-1/7-0) and Boise State (9-2/6-1) winner advances to play Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship game. The Aggies have been a big money-maker going 9-2 ATS with their explosive strong, balanced offense averaging nearly 500 YPG vs. FBS foes. Boise State has had a solid season even though more was expected. The Broncos did lose to San Diego State on this field 19-13 and have had three close wins since against lesser foes than Utah State. Boise State trailed Fresno State on this field 17-3 earlier this month before rallying to win 24-17, and also allowed a sub-par BYU offense to out-gain them while allowing nearly 400 yards offense. Utah State was clearly looking ahead to this game with their narrow win as a huge favorite last week, and while both teams are ‘all-in’ for this Mountain West showdown, we like the underdog Aggies to win and get the money.

BYU at Utah – I played BYU early in the week and used the Cougars as a Best Bet in a contest at +13.5. The line continues to drop, as Utah clinched the Pac-12 North last week in altitude in the snow at Colorado and will play in the Pac-12 Championship game next week in Santa Clara, CA. This is a big rivalry game called the Holy War, and Utah has won seven straight while covering six of those games. But we make this play knowing BYU’s defense matches Utah as a top-25 unit in the country allowing 4.7 yards per play including just 3.9 YPPL over their last three games. Utah’s defense has been a key in win a Pac-12 division title this year, as they allow 4.8 yards per play and both teams allow identical 339 yards per game vs. FBS opponents. Both teams run defenses are stout, and while Utah’s is top-10 in the country allowing just 101 rushing YPG, BYU allows less than 150 rushing and also runs the ball for at least 150/game. That situation as an underdog as produced 60% ATS results since the start of October. BYU has played a strong schedule including three Pac-12 teams and two strong defenses, losing 21-18 vs. Cal. That was with senior QB Magnum, who has since been replaced by true freshman QB Zach Wilson, who has played pretty well with 60% completions and a 6/2 TD-INT ratio. Three weeks ago, BYU out-gained a strong Boise State team on the road and Wilson passed for 252 yards with BYU gaining nearly 400 yards in a 21-16 defeat. This is a tougher challenge, but the Cougars are most capable defensively, and as we project them to hold Utah under 28 points, this play has a solid chance to cash as we close out Saturday night in Salt Lake City.

Tennessee at Vanderbilt – Another rivalry game and one that Tennessee dominated for decades. Both teams are 5-6 and playing for Bowl eligibility. Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano and leading WR Marquez Callaway are day-to-day but practicing this week. We make this play planning on those two players to make kickoff. We got burned by Vanderbilt last week when they stole the overtime win over Ole Miss despite being out-gained by nearly 200 yards. Against SEC opponents, Tennessee is holding opponents 20 yards below their average, while Vanderbilt is allowing SEC teams to gain 70 yards more than their season average. Tennessee’s defense has been inconsistent, but the Vols have been good enough to beat better teams in Kentucky and on the road at Auburn. Other than Kentucky and their stagnant offense, all other SEC teams have moved the ball and scored at least 29 points against Vanderbilt. Redemption is sweet in victory for the Vols for last year’s loss to Vanderbilt.

Enjoy Thanksgiving weekend and family, friends, food and football.

Article posted at osga.com.

Author: FairwayJay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports analyst and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful handicappers and professionals. Follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay