5 Best College Football Predictions Against The Spread: Week 13. Saturday Big Games

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5 best predictions for Saturday. What college football games appear to be the best bets and the best picks among all the big rivalry week showdowns?

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Results So Far ATS: 81-57-1

No kidding around here.

These are the big games we’ve all been waiting for. This is the weekend that sets us up for Championship Week, and it’s when the biggest of the big rivalry games kick in.

No, I’m not touching the SEC showdowns – there’s too much happening with all of them. I will admit to liking Georgia Tech +35 over Georgia, but that’s too dangerous.

I will also admit to digging Auburn getting 20.5 at home against an Alabama team that has a bad habit of taking long naps, but again, that’s too volatile.

As I warned with the 5 Best Predictions piece for Friday, this is the toughest weekend of the year because it’s impossible to factor in the role desperation plays, especially when teams have no (bleeps) to give.

How long will coaches keep in their star players when the championship game next week means everything? How will players play and coaches coach when they know that this could be the last game of the season?

Flaky things happen on the last normal weekend of the regular season – like USF vs UCF yesterday, and don’t start on Nebraska and Iowa – so the idea here is to go mostly go with big games were both teams have something equally massive to lose

But I start and finish with two games that are all about the favorites and their attitudes, starting the 5 Best College Football Predictions for Rivalry Week Saturday with …

Click on each game for the preview

5. Pitt at Syracuse

LINE Pitt -13
ATS PICK Syracuse

The doesn’t-matter theory worked on Friday taking Colorado -23.5 against Utah.

Ute head coach Kyle Whittingham inexplicably kept too many star players in for too long, but however it worked, it worked.

Utah didn’t need the win. It was already off to the Pac-12 Championship, the game had no playoff or bowl implications, and if anything, the last thing the team needed was to get banged up in any way.

Also, it wasn’t going to bring the high-end intensity and wasn’t going to open up the playbook considering the game that matters is a few days away.

It’s the exact same deal with Pitt and Syracuse, only better for the underdog. Utah was playing at home on Senior Day. Pitt is on the road.

The Panthers don’t need to do anything with this game. They’re off to the ACC Championship, and playing all of their backups and losing by 50 wouldn’t change a thing.

Of course, that’s not how football coaches think – they’re all about momentum, and players play, and blah blah blah. However, there will come a point when the Pitt coaching staff realizes it really doesn’t want QB Kenny Pickett getting blasted.

Even if everything was normal, Syracuse – even though the production has fallen off the map over the last few weeks – would be a good play, Throw in that it’s 5-6 and needs to win this to go bowling, and Pitt doesn’t need this at all, and it’s Senior Day, and the Orange running game is still good, and …

This isn’t a bad straight up play, much less with the 13.

CFN Week 13 Experts Picks: College

NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 4 Wisconsin at Minnesota

4. Wisconsin at Minnesota

LINE Wisconsin -7
ATS PICK Wisconsin

Liked it before Iowa came back to beat Nebraska, love it now.

Had the Huskers not found another new and creative way to lose a college football game, the winner for the Paul Bunyan Axe would be for the Big Ten West title and the right to face the Ohio State-Michigan winner for the Big Ten Championship. Now, if Wisconsin wins, it’s in. If Minnesota wins, Iowa is in.

Of course the intensity will be there for a rivalry game, and of course Minnesota will be jacked up at home. But that little extra juice of playing for a spot in the title game and – for the West – a Rose Bowl shot isn’t there, and that will matter against this Badger D.

Wisconsin struggled against the Nebraska offense last week, and that’s not about to happen twice. This prideful defense has followed up every semi-shaky outing with something masterful, and not going to let the Gopher passing game become a problem.

Minnesota’s offense works against Indiana, Northwestern, and Nebraska.

It’s about to deal with something totally different.

This comes right after …

CFN Week 12 Experts Picks: NFL

NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 3 Ohio State at Michigan

3. Ohio State at Michigan

LINE Ohio State -7
ATS PICK Ohio State

Let’s just start with this.

It’s Ohio State vs Michigan. We can rationalize this all we want and come up with the right arguments and talking points, but until Charlie Brown actually kicks the football in this rivalry, you just can’t go against Lucy.

It’s been a weird week for the line movement. It opened at Ohio State -6, got up to 8.5, and the late Michigan fan rush that always comes in knocked it down a bit, and it’s been 7.5 and dropping in the hours leading up to the game.

Is this going to be a total wipeout like Ohio State’s performance art day against Michigan State? No. That was fantastic, but sort of glossed over was that the Buckeyes rolled against the worst pass defense in college football.

If Michigan gets wiped out, it’s not going to happen until late.

Think of this more like Ohio State’s battles with Nebraska and Penn State. Both of them nine point wins, both of them were fights, but both of them were never really out of the Buckeyes’ control.

Michigan has the ground game to pound away and control the clock, and it has the overall offense to test the Ohio State defense – it hasn’t really had to deal with a balanced, dangerous attack since losing to Oregon in Week 2 – but if we’re only talking about 7 or 7.5, until something funky happens to prove otherwise …

It’s Ohio State vs Michigan. You know how this works.

NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 2 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

2. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

LINE Oklahoma State -4.5
ATS PICK Oklahoma State

This could quickly take on a weird dynamic that could screw this all up.

These two crazy kids will kick things off in primetime on ABC at 7:30 ET. Baylor is hosting Texas Tech at noon. If Texas Tech wins, then this game – while super-intense and still a massive deal for the College Football Playoff – takes on a different tone because both teams will play each other next week for the Big 12 Championship.

If Baylor wins, then Oklahoma has to win or everything is lost.

No College Football Playoff, and no Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma State is already in. OU needs to win or get that Baylor loss.

Of course, both the Sooners and Cowboys at 10-1 are still thinking College Football Playoff – I’m telling you; a 12-1 Big 12 Champion will absolutely get in … I think – and nothing that Baylor does will make a difference.

No matter what, though, Oklahoma State was my call as soon as the lines were announced.

God bless all of you who got in for the millisecond that the opening line of Oklahoma -1 was available, and it stinks that the Oklahoma State 3.5 got to 4.5.

But whatever.

The Oklahoma defense – the third-best D in America behind Georgia and Wisconsin – is the real deal, the home environment will matter, and yes, this team is much, much better than it’s being given credit for.

Speaking of teams still in the College Football Playoff mix that aren’t getting enough of a spotlight, if that’s possible …

Week 13 Schedule, Game Times, Game Previews

NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 1 Notre Dame at Stanford

1. Notre Dame at Stanford

LINE Notre Dame -20.5
ATS PICK Notre Dame

Without question, if a line is too good to be true, it absolutely is. However, a friend of mine asked the proper question.

“How high would this line have to be to actually pick Stanford?”

It was a total joke to open at Notre Dame -16, and it’s a bit stunning that it stopped at 20.5.

Did Notre Dame kick it all in against Syracuse last season with the College Football Playoff world watching? No, it was the exact opposite, but the real game was against Clemson in the ACC Championship the following week.

Did Brian Kelly’s club make an emphatic statement in 2018 in the final against a bad USC team on the road? Not really, but style points didn’t seem to matter all that much on the way to 12-0.

Even the 2012 team that wanted to close strong and get into the BCS Championship was just okay in the 22-13 win against a meh USC.

But this is different.

Style points definitely matter here. And no, not the rub-it-in with a late score way. It’s more like the 55-0 performance over Georgia Tech last week way, or win each of the last five games by double-digits way.

Notre Dame has to come up with a good enough performance so that the College Football Playoff committee has no problems putting it at 4 if Cincinnati is 3, or – if the Bearcats lose to Houston – give if a top four spot by being the hot team with the good resumé.

Oh yeah, and Stanford is next-level awful.

The defense has completely collapsed, there’s no running game, and it hasn’t scored more than 13 points in any of its last four games or in five of its last six.

Stanford got blasted by 30 against Cal. It got whacked by 21 at Oregon State, and Utah went all 52-7 on it.

Stanford lost to Washington. At home.

Let’s put it this way. If Notre Dame really is a College Football Playoff-caliber team, the 20.5 isn’t anything more than a rounding error that will be fixed within moments after kickoff.

Week 13 Fearless Predictions, Game Previews
CFN Week 13 Experts Picks: College
CFN Week 12 Experts Picks: NFL
Week 13 Schedule, Game Times, Game Previews
Game Previews ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | SEC
College Football Playoff Rankings Reaction