What are Andy Staples and Ross Dellenger's top SEC bets on the board in Week 13? Which ACC underdog does Joan Niesen think has a strong chance of covering? All of our best bets for this weekend are here.
It's the final giant slate of the regular season, and this campaign has absolutely flown by. To help lift your spirits about the end being nigh, we have our eight best bets for this weekend's games.
No. 7 LSU (+3) at No. 22 Texas A&M
The last time I warned you not to bet against history, Kellen Mond threw an ill-advised out route and Auburn made a miracle comeback against Texas A&M for a terrifically bad beat. But I still have faith in history. And history tells us that Texas A&M hasn’t beaten LSU since the Aggies joined the SEC. So if LSU is getting points in a game against Texas A&M, take those points. — Andy Staples
No. 13 Florida at Florida State (+6.5)
The Noles picked up a significant victory over Boston College last week in front of a crowd of 57,274. It was the smallest at Doak Campbell Stadium in 30 years. FSU coach Willie Taggart this week urged fans to fill the stadium for the rival clash with the Gators. We're betting a rocking Doak Campbell is the difference against Dan Mullen's team. — Ross Dellenger
No. 24 Pitt (+4) at Miami
I'm baffled that Miami is a four-point favorite over No. 24 Pitt—and I assume this is due to Pitt having clinched its division. Still, Miami is already bowl eligible after beating Virginia Tech a week ago, and that's as much as the Hurricanes are going to achieve this year. Sure, Miami's rushing defense has been solid this season, and Pitt's offense centers on the run, but still: This is a very good Pitt team that could post its best record in almost a decade. It'll win outright. — Joan Niesen
Georgia Tech (+17) at No. 5 Georgia
According to an SB Nation examination of how triple-option academies fare as significant underdogs, Georgia Tech has only faced a spread of 15 points or more once in Paul Johnson's tenure, and the Yellow Jackets covered. This game doesn't have the same feel of last year's triumphant 38–7 UGA romp in Atlanta, when the visitors could smell a playoff spot; the Yellow Jackets have won four straight, while the Bulldogs have had next Saturday's SEC title game against Alabama in their sights for weeks. Without Roquan Smith up front to sniff out every aspect of the Jackets' diverse flexbone looks, Georgia Tech should be able to burn clock and put up enough points to stay in range. — Eric Single
No. 4 Michigan (-4) at No. 10 Ohio State
Can Jim Harbaugh get over the Ohio State hump? If he’s ever going to do it, now is the time. Michigan, 0-3 against its rival since Harbaugh took over his alma mater, has the better team and the better defense to win. Now about that defense: Michigan has been ranked as the nation’s No. 1 unit for most of the season (234.8 yards allowed per game), and as it pertains specifically to this matchup, the Wolverines are the best at defending the pass and will have a plan ready for Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins (339.0 passing yards per game). UM just has to hope star defensive end Chase Winovich, creator of the “Revenge Tour” is healthy. He left last week’s game against Indiana with an upper body injury and although X-rays came back negative, his status is unclear.
OSU’s Haskins has had a terrific season and has needed to be great to keep the Buckeyes in contention. In last week’s overtime win over Maryland, he threw three touchdowns passes and ran for three more. It’s Ohio State’s defense that has been troubling. The Buckeyes are giving up the most yards per play (5.97) and the most yards per game (402.6) in school history. They will need something short of a Nick Bosa miracle to stop Karan Higdon and Shea Patterson from running up and down the field.
The winner of this game goes to the Big Ten championship and potentially, the College Football Playoff. The Game is in Columbus, and Michigan is favored on the road here for the first time since 2004. Everything about the past 12 weeks suggests the series will swing toward Michigan — Laken Litman
No. 16 Washington (+3) at No. 8 Washington State
I have to be honest, I had this spot lined up for USC plus the points in the first half against Notre Dame, but the first-half lines aren't out yet. I don't trust a Clay Helton-coached team not to implode in the second half, so can't go full game there. Instead, we have a battle between the best team against the spread this season (Washington State is 10-1) and one of the worst (Washington is 2-9). And, of course, I'm siding with the one with the 2-9 ATS record. Gardner Minshew has been a fantastic story for Washington State this season, but going up against Washington's loaded secondary will be a tough task. The Pac-12's other elite defense, Cal, held the Cougars to just 19 pointa a few weeks ago. The weather will also play a part, with rain, heavy winds and possibly snow coming to Pullman. That does not bode well for Wazzu's passing attack. Give me Washington in a grinder as the Huskies continue upon their recent success in the Apple Cup. I mean, did you expect anything different for my final best bet in the regular season in the #ConferenceOfUnderdogs? — Max Meyer
No. 6 Oklahoma at No. 13 West Virginia (+3)
Anyone who tuned into the Monday Night Football version of the Big 12 between the Chiefs and the Rams is definitely going to love this Friday night treat. As bad as Oklahoma has been on defense, there are three other conference teams that are worse statistically than the Sooners.
Will Grier and David Sills V should have a field day against the Sooners defense.
While the over/under is an absurd 84, which might be shattered in the third quarter, go with West Virginia to get the outright win and clinch its spot in the Big 12 title game. — Scooby Axson
Bonus: Group of Five
No. 14 Utah State at No. 21 Boise State (-3)
The Broncos on the blue field are like LSU in Tiger Stadium or like Clemson in Death Valley. They play well. They've covered seven of the last nine at home dating back to last season. — Ross Dellenger