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Betting on College Football – Week 13 Quick Hitters

Betting on College Football – Week 13 Quick Hitters

This week’s Quick Hitters segment is a little more condensed than usual due to limited time during this holiday week. There are still many trends, stats, and situations to consider for this weekend, and my featured game (7-0 YTD) is included at the bottom of the page. As I mention every week, it is important to remember that these trends and stats are only one piece of the puzzle when trying to figure out which team to place a wager on. They shouldn’t be followed blindly, but instead they should be considered and factored into the broader context and reasoning for selecting a side.

Betting on College Football – Week 13 Quick Hitters

(All point spreads and totals are as of 2:30 CST on Friday)

Is the rivalry angle overrated? There are several key rivalry games this weekend. A common phrase often used by college football analysts and handicappers is, “Throw out the record books because anything can happen in a rivalry game”. Most people tend to think rivalry games favor the underdog, as they are likely to play more inspired against their rival, keeping the game close. However, an article done by the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective shows that isn’t usually the case. The article pointed out that underdogs exceed expectations (measured by predictive score model) only 48% of the time. So not only did these underdogs fail to keep the games closer than expected, they actually got beaten worse than predicted more times than not. The full article can be found at the HSAC blog.

Strong Trends. Since Charlie Strong took over as Louisville Head Coach in 2010, the Cardinals have posted a 10-2 record ATS following a loss, which is the second best in that time period (behind Oklahoma). Louisville suffered an upset loss to Syracuse two weeks ago, and they will take on UConn this Saturday with aspirations for a Big East championship still intact. Both teams are coming off bye weeks. Louisville is 5-2-1 ATS after a bye week with Charlie Strong as their coach. UConn is only 1-5-1 ATS after a bye in that same timespan. In fact, UConn is only 1-7-3 ATS in road games over the past two seasons. (Line = Lou -11, 45.5)

Louisville HC Charlie Strong

Pros vs Joes: Week 13 edition. Here are some games that the sharp handicappers are picking despite the public taking the other side at a 70% rate or higher. I usually don’t put too much stock into this sharp money vs public money if I feel I have an accurate read on a game, but sometimes I will take a closer look at a matchup to see why the wiseguy’s are leaning heavy on one side (sharp pick is listed first):

Michigan (+4) @ Ohio State

Kentucky (+13) @ Tennessee

Pittsburgh (-1.5) vs Rutgers

Oregon St (+9.5) vs Oregon

UConn (+11) @ Louisville

Sharp and public consensus picks. Wiseguy handicappers don’t always fade the public bet. In some weeks they actually side with the public more than they disagree. This happens to be one of those weeks. The following list is comprised of teams that the public and sharps both favor strongly going into the weekend (consensus pick is listed first):

Stanford (-2) @ UCLA

Miami (-6) @ Duke

Oklahoma State (+7) @ Oklahoma

The bounce-back team of the year so far. BYU is a perfect 4-0 ATS following losses this season. That includes impressive road covers against Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and Boise State. The Cougars lost last week to San Jose State, and they will be looking to bounce back at New Mexico State this weekend. (Line = BYU -29, 49)

BYU WR Cody Hoffman

The ACC’s Always Cover Champions. The Miami Hurricanes are a perfect 7-0 ATS in conference games this season. They can cement that perfect conference ATS record with a road cover against Duke on Saturday.  (Line = Mia -6.5, 68.5)

Will the Crimson Tide roll this weekend? Despite many blowout wins, Alabama is only 1-5 ATS at home this year. On top of that, they have failed to cover every point spread above 30 this season (0-4 ATS). I am in no way endorsing the Auburn Tigers in the Iron Bowl this weekend, but Crimson Tide backers may want to cater their expectations (and not bet their entire bankroll). (Line = Bama -33.5, 46.5)

Featured Game of the Week: My featured games are now 7-0 on the season, as Utah State beat Louisiana Tech in overtime to cover the 3 point spread last week. This week’s featured pick is:

Penn State (-2): I love the situational spot here for the Nittany Lions. This is senior day and the last game of the season for PSU, due to the bowl ban. Wisconsin may be  looking ahead to the Big Ten championship next week. Plus, Wisconsin hasn’t beaten a legit opponent this season. They lost to Oregon St, Ohio St, Mich St, Nebraska. Their conference wins are against Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois, and Indiana. The Badgers love to beat up on the little guys, but the can’t get it done against quality teams. Their most notable win is against Utah State early in the year (in which they won by 2 at home). PSU’s front seven is top 25 in rushing defense; they should be able to limit the one-dimensional rushing offense of Wisconsin. This will be the first start in a hostile road environmnet for young Badger’s QB Curt Phillips. He only had to attempt seven passes in his first road test at Indiana, so expect the Nittany Lions to try and pressure him into making mistakes.

For more college football trends, stats, situations, and picks, follow me on twitter @OpeningLine


7 Responses to “Betting on College Football – Week 13 Quick Hitters”

  1. GoSooners GoSooners says:

    I am very tempted to take BYU tomorrow. NMST is helpless. What we basically have is a game in which one team can’t score vs a defense that will make sure of it. And an offense (BYU) who doesn’t do well against the big boys, but looks like world beaters against the cupcakes. A very good combination for a cover here.

  2. OpeningLine OpeningLine says:

    I agree GS, its BYU or nothing in that one. Even though BYU hasn’t fared very well in the win/loss column (or stats) against the big boys, but they did cover against Notre Dame, Boise, and GaTech.

  3. Ralph says:

    Great stuff. One small correction, Curt Phillips is a 5th year senior at Wisconsin. He actually played fairly well last week, but fell victim to some very questionable play calling by the Wisconsin OC. Badger D played arguably their best game of the year, I see this as a low scoring game in Happy Valley.

    • OpeningLine OpeningLine says:

      Thanks for the correction. I must have subconsciously interchanged “young” for “inexperienced”. It should be a close game though, which is part of the reason why I like PSU laying less than a FG at home.

  4. Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

    Thanks for the great info every week, we really appreciate it. And best of luck today w/ Penn State. I really like the selection.

    • OpeningLine OpeningLine says:

      Thanks, Pez. I noticed in a pick ’em contest that 65% of people were taking Wisconsin straight up in this game. I think the public sees that Wisconsin is going to the B10 championship and they automatically assume they are an elite team of the conference, when really they haven’t done anything to earn that status. The Badgers did play well last week (especially defensively), but I think the matchup and situation strongly favors the Nittany Lions at home in this one.

  5. OpeningLine OpeningLine says:

    Recap: Sharps went 2-3 against the public.

    Sharp/public consensus picks went 3-0 this week.

    Featured game (PSU -2) hit in overtime, making these games 8-0 YTD.


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