College Football Betting Preview: Week 13 picks

Each week during the college football season, theScore’s Dane Belbeck will handicap the board and offer up a pack of picks.

Season Record

Gold/Silver/Bronze: 19-15-2
Other: 19-15
Twitter Picks: 7-4
Overall: 45-34-2

Notre Dame (+17.5) at USC

Notre Dame blew a 17-point lead in last week’s loss to Virginia Tech, perhaps a perfect symbol for what has been a brutal season for the Fighting Irish. There’s nobody hotter in the country than USC right now, and Sam Darnold should have his way with a porous Notre Dame defense. That being said, every single one of the Irish’s seven losses this season has been within one score, so 17.5 points seems like way too much in this rivalry contest. USC 35, Notre Dame 24

Toledo (+10) at Western Michigan

Toledo and Western Michigan both feature high-powered offenses, so points should be aplenty in this MAC showdown. The Rockets are battle-tested on the road, having lost a wild 55-53 shootout at BYU earlier this season in a hostile environment. The Broncos quest for a perfect season is on the line, but Logan Woodside and Toledo will spoil the party with a shocking upset. Toledo 30, Western Michigan 28

Michigan State (+13) at Penn State

Michigan State put forth a strong effort against Ohio State last week in a 1-point loss at home, and look for another on Saturday against Penn State. A win, combined with a Michigan loss to Ohio State, gives the Nittany Lions the Big Ten East division title, so motivation won’t be a problem for James Franklin’s crew. With no bowl game on the horizon, this is as big as it gets for Mark Dantonio’s bunch. Penn State 24, Michigan State 20

Other games of note

TCU at Texas (-2.5)

It looks as though Friday’s game against TCU will be Charlie Strong’s final one as Texas head coach. The support his players have shown this week make it pretty obvious that they love playing for the embattled coach, and that will probably show with an inspired effort against the Horned Frogs. Strong goes out a winner but it won’t be enough to keep his job. Texas 31, TCU 27

Michigan at Ohio State (-6.5)

“The Game” is billed as the fiercest rivalry in college football, but with Ohio State having won 11 of the last 12 meetings, this one is desperately in need of a Michigan win. This year’s version is as important as they come, with massive College Football Playoff ramifications on the line. A win puts the Wolverines in the Big Ten title game, while Ohio State needs a Penn State loss later in the day to clinch the same. Michigan has struggled mightily on the road the last two games, and they are a year away from being able to hang with the Buckeyes. Ohio State 24, Michigan 10

UCLA at Cal (+3)

Both UCLA and Cal have lost five of their last six games, so this won’t exactly be high quality football on display Saturday. Neither team will hit six wins on the campaign, so this will also serve as the bowl game for both teams. The Cal offense is the best unit on the field, and UCLA won’t be able to keep up in a battle of points. Cal 31, UCLA 24

Tennessee at Vanderbilt (+8)

Vanderbilt hasn’t played in a bowl game since Derek Mason took over in 2014, but become eligible with a home win over Tennessee on Saturday. The Commodores stout defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points at home in conference play this season, and should be able to keep the Volunteers’ offense in check. Tennessee’s defense has allowed 400-plus yards rushing in two straight games, which should allow Ralph Webb to have a big day. Vanderbilt 28, Tennessee 24

Georgia Tech at Georgia (-4)

One of the best rivalry nicknames will be on display Saturday when Georgia and Georgia Tech meet in the game dubbed “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.” Georgia has quietly built a fairly stout rushing defense in Kirby Smart’s first year as head coach, allowing just 133 yards per game. That’s bad news for Georgia Tech, which needs to run the ball to have any success on the offensive side whatsoever. Georgia 28, Georgia Tech 17

Picks Summary
Notre Dame +17.5 (Gold)
Toledo +10 (Silver)
Michigan State +13 (Bronze)
Texas -2.5
Ohio State -6.5
Cal +3
Vanderbilt +8
Georgia -4

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NCAAF | theScore

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