Week 13 of the college football season features a key Big Ten clash, though the point spread indicates it might not be a competitive contest. Covers checks in on the opening odds and early action, with insights from Matt Chaprales, head of content for PointsBet USA in New Jersey.
No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-18)
Ohio State is steamrolling through the season at 10-0 SU (8-2 ATS), through its eight-game point spread streak came to a halt in Week 12. The Buckeyes drubbed Rutgers 56-21 but fell well short as massive 52-point road favorites.
Penn State needs to pull off an upset if it hopes to get back into the College Football Playoff discussion. The Nittany Lions, who lost at Minnesota in Week 11, held off Indiana 34-27 as 15-point home faves in Week 12.
“Penn State still technically controls its own destiny for the Big Ten title, and by extension the College Football Playoff,” Chaprales said. “But the market clearly has no faith in the Nittany Lions’ chances to go into Ohio State and knock off a Buckeyes team that’s yet to break a sweat this season. The first few bets have reflected that.”
No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies at No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs (-13.5)
Georgia wrapped up the Southeastern Conference East Division in Week 12 and now must guard against a letdown to keep its CFP hopes on track. The Bulldogs (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) went to Auburn as 3-point favorites and emerged with a 21-14 victory.
Texas A&M kicked into gear in the second half of the season, winning its last four SU and three of four ATS. The Aggies (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) stumped South Carolina 30-6 laying 10.5 points at home in Week 12.
“Georgia looks to be gaining steam at the right time, but the first few bets have actually come in on Texas A&M,” Chaprales said, alluding to the line ticking down to Bulldogs -13. “Either way, this should be one of the higher-handle games of the week.”
Texas Longhorns at No. 13 Baylor Bears (-4)
Baylor had a huge opportunity to sway the opinion of the CFP committee and held a huge lead over Oklahoma to go with that, at 28-3 early in the second quarter Saturday. But the Bears (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) imploded from there, scoring just a field goal the rest of the way in a 34-31 home loss catching 11 points.
Texas won four of its first five this season, with the lone loss more than respectable, at home against Louisiana State. However, the Longhorns (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) have been up and down ever since, losing at Iowa State 23-21 as 7-point road ‘dogs in Week 12.
“Despite its collapse against Oklahoma, Baylor still covered as a big home ‘dog, while Texas, on the other hand, has been trending down of late,” Chaprales said. “It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this number increase.”
In fact, it quickly did just that, jumping to Baylor -5.5 by Monday afternoon.
No. 21 Southern Methodist Mustangs at Navy Midshipmen (-3)
Southern Methodist had its perfect season halted in Week 10 at Memphis, then struggled to win against a subpar East Carolina outfit in Week 11 before a bye this past week. The Mustangs (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) led ECU 28-10 in the second quarter, they were in a dogfight the rest of the way, landing a 59-51 victory as 23-point home favorites.
Navy was a popular play in Week 12, thought to be a live underdog as it rode a 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS run into its road game against Notre Dame. However, the Midshipmen (7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS) got boat raced 52-20 as 7.5-point underdogs.
“Navy was quietly becoming an under-the-radar bet-on team until Saturday’s rout in a trendy ‘dog spot against Notre Dame,” Chaprales said. “The public tends to have a short memory, so we’ll have to see if they fade the Midshipmen as short home favorites against an SMU team that’s regressed a bit of late, relative to market expectations.”
The line ticked up to Navy -3.5 Monday.