Notre Dame came through last week, covering a big number against Wake Forest. Unfortunately, that was one of just two winners I had, as I went 1-2 on my Best Bets and 2-5 overall.
I’m hoping to finish strong as the regular season concludes in college football. Situations, morale, and intangibles are among the key factors in my handicapping for this last full week.
I swore I wouldn’t try to make an Over work in an Iowa game. But seeing the record-low total in the Iowa-Nebraska matchup, I have to risk my sanity on it. Please read for analysis on all of my plays, including this one. Best of luck and no bad beats!
Stephen Nover’s TGD Picks Record: 35-43-2
CFB odds used in these betting tips are current as of Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 12:15 a.m. ET
CFB Week 13 Best Bets
Air Force @ Boise State (Friday)
BEST BET: Boise State -6.5 (-110)
bet365 Sportsbook • WAGER: 2 Units
This is all about current form. Boise State has momentum and Air Force doesn’t.
Forget about Air Force winning its first eight games. The Falcons are choking down the stretch, losing as big favorites to Army and Hawai’i and then blowing a 17-point lead at home in a loss to UNLV this past Saturday.
Boise State buried Utah State 45-10 in the first game under interim coach Spencer Danielson, who replaced the fired Andy Avalos. Morale has picked up since the head coaching change, with players hugging Danielson and awarding him the game ball after that victory.
The Broncos have incentive to win this home game, as they still have a shot at the Mountain West Conference title and want to strengthen their bid to earn a 26th straight bowl trip. Boise State also benefits from the relative good health of its best two running backs, George Holani and Ashton Jeanty.
Air Force has strong defensive numbers on the season, but opponents have scored an average of 27 points in the last three games. The Falcons have recorded just seven takeaways and now must travel to a very difficult road venue.
Boise State has beaten Air Force in five of the last six meetings and should be at least a touchdown better here.
North Carolina @ North Carolina State
BEST BET: North Carolina State +2.5 (-110)
BetMGM • WAGER: 2 Units
It’s deja vu all over again for North Carolina. The Tar Heels lost three of their last four games in 2021 and closed out last season by going 0-4 both straight-up and against the spread after a 9-1 start. This year, they won their first six games but have gone 2-3 (1-4 ATS) in their last five.
North Carolina State, on the other hand, has won and covered its last four games. The Wolfpack’s defense has picked up, surrendering an average of 14.2 points during this four-game span. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong has been playing better and now faces a vulnerable North Carolina defense.
The Tar Heels may have college football’s best quarterback in Drake Maye, but their porous defense has sunk them. They rank 92nd in defensive total yards, permitting nearly 400 yards a game.
North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren has outcoached his North Carolina counterpart, Mack Brown, in each of the last two seasons. The Tar Heels were 6.5-point favorites against the Wolfpack last season but lost 30-27. NC State also defeated them in 2021, winning 34-30.
I like Maye a lot but he’s not enough. Give me the home underdog with the better defense and a coaching edge.
Maryland @ Rutgers
BEST BET: Under 44.5 (-110)
FanDuel • WAGER: 2 Units
Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio State get all the attention in the Big Ten when it comes to defense, but Greg Schiano has built a strong unit at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights allow just 19.1 points per game and rank 11th in the nation in total defense.
Employing a conservative, methodical offensive approach, Rutgers keeps the ball on the ground and ranks 127th in tempo. The Scarlet Knights also may not have recovered from going through the meat grinder of Penn State, Iowa, and Ohio State in their last three games. They could manage only a combined 16 points versus those three strong defensive opponents.
The Maryland defense ranks 25th in the country in yards per play allowed. The Terrapins shut out Rutgers in last year’s game and held the Scarlet Knights to 16 points two seasons ago.
Maryland is averaging 20 points in its last six games. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa isn’t on the level of brother Tua, but the Terps have to rely on the pass because they rank 114th in rushing. Meanwhile, Rutgers boasts the fifth-best pass defense in the nation and ranks 10th in yards per play allowed.
CFB Week 13 Betting Prediction Leans
Texas A&M @ LSU
BET LEAN: LSU -11 (-110)
bet365 Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
LSU ran up the score on Georgia State in a 56-14 win last week, and the Tigers will try to do so again this week against Texas A&M. Their motivation is to increase the Heisman Trophy chances of star quarterback Jayden Daniels.
The fifth-year senior certainly has impressive numbers, accumulating 4,591 total yards and accounting for 46 touchdowns.
LSU leads the country in points, averaging 46.8. It also ranks No. 1 in total yards with an average of 562.3
I don’t see how A&M’s third-string quarterback, Jaylen Henderson, is going to compete against that while making the first road start of his college career.
West Virginia @ Baylor
BET LEAN: West Virginia -8.5 (-110)
BetMGM • WAGER: 1 Unit
Baylor has been terrible all season, with its 2-8-1 record against the spread being one of the worst in the country.The Bears’ season mercifully comes to an end after this game, but it sure appears they’ve already quit.
Baylor has lost and failed to cover in five straight games, getting outscored by a combined 59 points by Kansas State and TCU in the last two.
Meanwhile, West Virginia has found its offense. If a 59-20 loss to Oklahoma is removed, the Mountaineers are averaging 38.6 points in their last five games. They also have three players with more than 600 rushing yards, including dual-threat quarterback Garrett Greene.
Jacksonville State @ New Mexico State
BET LEAN: Jacksonville State -1.5 (-110)
BetRivers • WAGER: 1 Unit
Jacksonville State is 8-3 and ranks third in the country in rushing. The Gamecocks have covered four in a row and won’t lack incentive, as this will likely be their final game of the season.
But the major reason for backing Jacksonville State is that New Mexico State is coming off a tremendous 31-10 upset victory at Auburn last Saturday. The Aggies were 25-point underdogs and had never defeated an SEC opponent in 27 previous tries.
Since New Mexico State has already earned a spot in the Conference USA championship game against 25th-ranked Liberty, motivation could be a problem as well. The Aggies are in a prime letdown spot against a very good foe.
Iowa @ Nebraska (Friday)
BET LEAN: Over 26 (-110)
bet365 Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
I’ve never seen a college football total this low since I started keeping track of them in 1995. And having failed earlier this season, I didn’t think there could be an Iowa total low enough for me to actually take the Over again.
But this one did it.
The past six Iowa Over/Unders have been 38.5, 34, 30.5, 32, 27.5, and 33.5. The Hawkeyes went Under in each of them.
This one has to go Over. Nebraska has scored 17 or more points in seven of its last nine games. The Cornhuskers are the 28th-best rushing team in the country.
Iowa’s Deacon Hill is a terrible quarterback, but he’s improving. He went 19-for-29 passing for 167 yards and one touchdown in a 15-13 victory over Illinois last week. The Hawkeyes also put up 22 points on a good Rutgers defense two weeks ago.
At this record-low number, the Over is worth a shot.