With the final full weekend of regular-season college football, bettors have Thanksgiving week to feast on CFB spreads.
Week 13 in addition to being the last full week of football, is also rivalry week as there are several key rivalry matchups. Although Michigan-Ohio State, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Clemson-South Carolina, and others will be more compelling games, the best betting spots will not be the best TV-watching matchups.
My favorite bets are not on the most compelling contests. That being said, several of my best bets are potentially entertaining bouts.
All odds and lines are current as of Monday, November 22, at 4:30 p.m. ET.
CFB Week 13 Predictions
Missouri (6-5) @ No. 25 Arkansas (7-4) Prediction & Best Bets
This Saturday is the Battle Line Rivalry between Arkansas and Missouri. This is a relatively new rivalry that started in 2014 shortly after Mizzou joined the SEC. This year, both teams are bowl eligible, and Arkansas is nationally ranked.
The Tigers have a 6-5 record after an exciting overtime upset against Florida last week. Mizzou quietly improved from a 3-4 start to its current 6-5 record, including last week’s upset as nine-point underdogs against Florida and a 31-28 win as a pick ’em against a hot South Carolina team.
Arkansas has improved greatly this season from last year’s lackluster performance. Under head coach Sam Pittman, the Razorbacks are 7-4 with impressive wins against Texas and Texas A&M. Additionally, they lost to Alabama by only seven points last week as 21-point underdogs.
Outside of those games, however, Arkansas has mainly defeated cupcakes.
If Arkansas is not winning in a blowout, Missouri is going to do the Forrest Gump strategy and “Run, Forrest, Run." Against Florida last week, 58.1% of the Tigers’ offensive plays were running plays.
In previous games against South Carolina and Vanderbilt, Mizzou ran on 66.7% and 61.1% of their offensive plays, respectively.
The Razorbacks might not the answer for Missouri’s dynamic rushing attack. Arkansas allows four yards per carry, which isn’t awful but isn’t great: The median FBS team allows 4.1 yards per carry.
Unless Arkansas jumps to an early lead of two touchdowns or more, I expect this to be a one-possession game that Missouri might even win.
Missouri vs Arkansas Prediction: Missouri 38, Arkansas 35
Best Bet: Missouri Moneyline (+475) at BetMGM
Wager: 1 Unit
Last time I bet against Arkansas, I was wrong and Razorback fans jumped all over me on Twitter (@BoogieDownPicks). This time, the Razorbacks are the favorite and should win, but they might be asleep at the wheel: They’re already bowl-eligible and out of contention for the SEC West division.
Mizzou is a better team over its last four games, and if the Tigers keep the game close, they could easily win outright as heavy +475 underdogs.
I would bet Missouri up to +400 against Arkansas. The Tigers have a better chance of winning than the breakeven odds imply.
Best Bet: Missouri +15 (-111) at BetRivers (would bet up to +13)
Wager: 1 Unit
In the likely event that the Tigers lose, they probably will lose by fewer than two touchdowns. At 15-point ‘dogs against an Arkansas team that is weary to blowout their opponents, Mizzou should cover.
Arkansas beat a demoralized LSU team by only a field goal and beat Mississippi State by only a field goal. Against similar marginal SEC teams that are at about the same level as Mizzou, Arkansas has failed to win by a large margin.
After last week’s overtime upset win against Florida, I am convinced the Tigers are dangerous as this large of an underdog against the spread.
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Miami (OH) (6-5) @ Kent State (6-5) Prediction & Best Bets
Weekly followers of my college football column know that I love betting on the MAC.
It is the weakest FBS conference with parity between most of the teams. As a result, I have found value in many games, including a +400 moneyline underdog that won outright.
This Saturday, it’s time for some MACtion with the most consequential conference matchup of the season between Miami (Ohio) and Kent State.
Miami and Kent St have 6-5 overall records and are tied for first place in the MAC East at in the 5-2 conference. The winner of Saturday’s game gets to face Northern Illinois in the MAC Conference Championship next week.
The Red Hawks and Golden Flashes have vastly different styles of play.
Kent State runs 77.3 offensive plays per game which is the 11th most in the FBS, and the most in the MAC. Miami Ohio runs only 67.1 plays were game which is the 28th fewest plays per game in the FBS, and the second fewest in the MAC.
What is interesting about Kent State is despite running more plays per game than most teams, they only average 29.3 points per game which is only 2.2 more points per game than the median college team.
That is why it should be no surprise that the Golden Flashes average only 0.379 points per play which close the median fbs team.
Offensively Kent State runs on 58% of their offensive plays which is the 28th-highest rate in the FBS, and the second-highest among MAC programs.
Even though Miami has a relatively average running defense, they are great at keeping opposing running backs out of the end zone. The Red Hawks have allowed only 12 rushing touchdowns this season which is the fewest among MAC schools.
In seven conference games, they have only allowed four rushing touchdowns.
Miami and Kent State have similar records and resumes, but based on the matchup, Miami should win.
Miami (Ohio) vs Kent State Prediction: Miami (Ohio) 31, Kent State 24
Best Bet: Miami (OH) Moneyline (-105) at PointsBet (would bet up to -125)
Wager: 2 Units
I have Miami Ohio (+4000) and Northern Illinois (+30000) MAC Championship futures tickets I placed before the season started.
Rationally, I should hedge and bet on Kent State this week.
Even though hedging might make sense, I am so confident in Miami’s chances against Kent State that I have made a two-unit bet on Miami (OH) to win outright.
Kent State has an explosive offense that can catch many teams off guard. Unfortunately, its strength as an offensive that runs a high volume of running plays is matched by a strong Miami rushing defense.
It will be a sweat for me to watch this weekend, but I am confident that the Red Hawks win.
Army (7-3) @ Liberty (7-4) Prediction & Best Bets
I am an Army homer, and I am not afraid to admit it. I grew up across the river in Westchester, and my brother used to work for a non-profit that was located on Army’s campus.
However, I can put my feelings aside when betting on their games.
The Black Knights, like other service academies, run a run-based triple-option offense. Army runs on 87% of their offensive plays which is the most in FBS.
Even though you know that Army is going to run the ball, opposing teams have no idea which Army player is going to run the next play.
As a result, many teams are unprepared for the Cadets, and Liberty could be one of those teams. Despite having a strong record over the last two seasons, the Flames haven’t had a chance to flame out; they generally play weak teams.
This year, Liberty has the 16th-easiest FBS schedule, and last year they had the 23rd-easiest schedule.
With Liberty’s schedule, virtually anyone can put together Liberty’s 17-5 record over the last two years.
Against the triple-option, Liberty could do well as they allow only 3.6 yards per carry which is the 23rd-best in the FBS.
Even though the Flames have done well against the run this season, they have yet to play a team with as strong of a running game as Army and that is why Army should be favored in my opinion, even on the road.
Army vs Liberty Prediction: Army 31, Liberty 24
Best Bet: Army Moneyline (+150) at PointsBet (would bet up to +125)
Wager: 1.5 Units
At (+150) odds, the breakeven price on Army winning is only 40%. Even in a game with so much uncertainty, Army has at least a coin-flip’s chance of winning, and that is why the moneyline is a good bet.
Liberty has a good record, but they only play bad teams. Records are important, but the quality of wins is even more important.
Looking at Liberty’s schedule, UAB is the only team they have beaten this year with a winning record.
Based on that track record, find the value in backing Army this weekend.
Kentucky (8-3) @ Louisville (6-5) Prediction & Best Bets
In a non-conference rivalry matchup, Louisville hosts Kentucky on Friday night.
If Kentucky played in another conference besides the SEC, they would be a top-25 team.
Their only three losses have come against Georgia, Mississippi State, and Tennessee. As a result, Kentucky received votes in this week’s AP Top 25 poll, even though they did not make the cut.
Louisville, on the other hand, plays in the ACC, which is probably the weakest Group of 5 conference this year.
In addition to playing against weak opponents, the only wins that the Cardinals have against teams with a winning record came against UCF and Boston College. That is why according to Sagarin College Football ratings, Kentucky is one point better than Louisville in a neutral field matchup.
The key to beating Louisville is in slowing down this balanced offense, which is averaging 33.2 points per game, the 25th-highest rate in the FBS. Kentucky can counter that with its defense, which allows only 22.1 points per game, the 28th-fewest in the FBS.
It should be a close game, but Kentucky lines up to win.
Kentucky vs Louisville Prediction: Kentucky 28, Louisville 24
Best Bet: Kentucky Moneyline (+125) at Caesars (would bet up to +105)
Wager: 1 Unit
Louisville has exceeded expectations this season, but they are not as good as Kentucky. Even on the road, the Wildcats should win as their strong defense can handle a dynamic Louisville offense.
While their current moneyline is at +125, I would bet them up to +105.