College football picks, predictions against the spread for Week 13 top 25 games

Rivalry Week features four matchups between ranked opponents – including a pair of classic rivalries that will impact the College Football Playoff picture.

No. 3 Michigan meets No. 2 Ohio State in a matchup of 11-0 teams at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a noon kickoff per tradition, and the Buckeyes are favored to avenge last season’s 42-27 loss to the Wolverines.

MORE: Early thoughts on Michigan-Ohio State showdown

A key American Athletic Conference showdown between No. 19 Tulane and no. 21 Cincinnati is the undercard in the early window. No. 10 Oregon travels to No. 22 Oregon State in the 3:30 pm in a heated in-state Pac-12 rivalry.

That sets up the prime-time matchup between No. 13 Notre Dame and no. 5 U.S.C. It’s the first head-to-head matchup for first-year coaches Marcus Freeman and Lincoln Riley, and the Trojans are trying to reach the playoffs.

The final weekend of the regular season should be entertaining. A look at our track record this season:

  • Straight up: 173-52, .769 (15-6 last week)
  • ATS: 117-106-2, .524 (7-14 last week)

Updated odds on BetMGM sportsbook:

Week 13 picks against the spread

Thursday, Nov. 24

  • Mississippi State at No. 20 Ole Miss (-3) (7 p.m., ESPN)

The Rebels are coming off a turnover-plagued loss and have lost three in a row, but Lane Kiffin has had good luck in the Egg Bowl the last two years. That high-powered running game with Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans will be the difference at home against the Bulldogs. Mississippi State is 1-3 S/U on the road this season. The Rebels take advantage.

Pick: Ole Miss wins 31-27 and COVERS the spread.

Friday, Nov. 25

  • Baylor at No. 25 Texas (-7.5) (12 p.m., ESPN)

The Bears are 3-1 ATS as an underdog this season, which makes them a good matchup against the Longhorns, who are 1-2 ATS in home Big 12 games. Baylor has a quick flip after the last-second loss to TCU, and that will be the key. The home team has won the last four meetings.

Pick: Texas wins 35-28 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • No. 19 Tulane at No. 21 Cincinnati (-2.5) (12 p.m., ESPN)

The Bearcats are at home, and Tulane poses a challenge with a rushing attack that averages 189.7 yards per game. These are the top two statistical defenses in the American Athletic Conference, and rain is in the forecast. Who protects the ball better? Cincinnati finds a way to extend its home winning streak to 33 games.

Pick: Cincinnati wins 28-25 and COVERS the spread.

  • NC State at No. 18 North Carolina (-6.5) (3:30 p.m., ABC)

Both teams are coming off inexplicable losses. The Wolfpack’s season went sideways after Devin Leary’s injury, and they managed just 15 points per game the last two weeks. The Tar Heels average 46 points per game at home. NC State won’t be able to keep up in the second half.

Pick: North Carolina wins 38-28 and COVERS the spread.

  • No. 17 UCLA (-10) at Cal (4:30 p.m., FOX)

Cal beat Stanford, which snapped a six-game losing streak. The Bruins must refocus after a heart-breaking loss to USC. The Golden Bears do have a decent run defense (131.5), but UCLA turns it up in the second half to finish off a nine-win season.

Pick: UCLA wins 38-22 and COVERS the spread.

  • Florida at No. 16 Florida State (-9.5) (7:30 p.m., ABC)

The Gators have won the last three in this series, but they are coming off a shocking loss to Vanderbilt. Florida State has a chance to put a topper on an impressive bounce-back season. The Seminoles have covered each of the last four weeks. The up-and-down Gators have only one loss of more than 10 points, and that was Georgia. They play up in a rivalry game to make it close.

Pick: Florida State wins 32-26 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

Saturday, Nov. 26

  • Georgia Tech at No. 1 Georgia (-35.5) (12 p.m., ESPN)

It’s another huge spread for the Bulldogs, who are 3-4 ATS when favored by 20 points or more. They failed to cover in their last two games, and Georgia Tech is coming off an emotional 21-17 victory against North Carolina. This is interim coach Brent Key’s last audition for the job. The Bulldogs have won the last two meetings by a combined score of 97-7. Can Georgia Tech score 10 points? If they do, then they will sneak in a cover.

Pick: Georgia wins 45-10 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

BOWL PROJECTIONS: USC-Georgia in CFP semifinal matchup

  • No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State (-7.5) (12 p.m., FOX)

This spread is higher by a point across most books. It’s a classic showdown between Big Ten rivals and a contrast in offensive styles. Will Michigan running back Blake Corum be healthy? Can JJ McCarthy withstand the pressure of playing in a place where the Wolverines haven’t won since 2000? Ohio State has not lost a Big Ten home game since 2015. Until that changes, it’s safer to pick the CJ Stroud-led Ohio State offense at home. The Buckeyes have won every game by double digits this season.

Pick: Ohio State wins 36-26 and COVERS the spread.

  • South Carolina at No. 7 Clemson (-14.5) (12 p.m., ABC)

The Gamecocks have a ton of momentum going to Death Valley, where the Tigers have won 40 consecutive games. Clemson has won the last five meetings by an average of 31.3 points per game. Can Spencer Rattler build on last week’s brilliant performance against Tennessee and make this a game?

Pick: Clemson wins 35-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • No. 23 Coastal Carolina at James Madison (-13.5) (12 p.m., ESPN3)

The Chanticleers are huge underdogs, and Grayson McCall’s injury is a factor in that. How will they respond after an extra week to prepare with Jarrett Guest? The Dukes will spoil Coastal Carolina’s bid for a New Year’s Day SIx bowl, but it will be close.

Pick: James Madison wins 34-28 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • Auburn at No. 8 Alabama (-21.5) (3:30 p.m., CBS)

Alabama can cap off a 10-win season under Nick Saban, and they will face an inspired Auburn team that has won back-to-back games under interim coach Cadillac Williams. Alabama is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games, but the Crimson Tide has won the last five Iron Bowls at Bryant-Denny Stadium by an average of 27.5 points per game.

Pick: Alabama wins 38-18 and FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • No. 10 Oregon (-3.5) at No. 22 Oregon State (3:30 p.m., ABC)

Oregon State has covered five straight weeks and is 3-1 ATS as an underdog this season. The hitch? One of those losses was a 42-16 blowout against Utah. Oregon can clinch a spot in the Pac-12 championship game here, and they pull away in the second half to make that happen.

Pick: Oregon wins 31-27 and COVERS the spread.

  • Iowa State at No. 4 TCU (-10.5) (4 p.m., TBD)

TCU won in walk-off fashion against Baylor, and the pressure to remain unbeaten ahead of the Big 12 championship persists. The Cyclones have six one-score losses this season, and they have won the last three meetings. The Horned Frogs, however, will get the huge test next week. TCU finishes off an unbeaten regular season in style.

Pick: TCU wins 35-21 and COVERS the spread.

  • Michigan State at No. 11 Penn State (-18) (4 p.m., FS1)

The Spartans are playing for a bowl berth after another stunning loss against Indiana. The Nittany Lions have covered as a double-digit favorite each of the last three weeks and still have a shot at a New Year’s Day Six berth. These teams have split the last four meetings at Beaver Stadium.

Pick: Penn State wins 38-21 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • No. 14 Utah (-29.5) at Colorado (4 p.m., Pac-12 Network)

The Buffaloes have failed to cover as underdogs of 30 points or more the last three weeks. The Utes are coming off a heart-breaking loss to Oregon, so it might take a quarter to get going. Still, Colorado has given up 40 or more points in five straight games.

Pick: Utah wins 45-14 and COVERS the spread.

  • No. 6 LSU (-9.5) at Texas A&M (7 pm ESPN)

LSU can’t get caught looking ahead to the SEC championship. Jayden Daniels’ development has been one of the best surprises of the season. The Aggies broke a six-game losing streak and will be in pure spoiler mode at home. Five of Texas A&M’s seven losses are by six points or less. Will this be a close one?

Pick: LSU wins 30-22 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • No. 25 UCF (-18.5) at South Florida (7 p.m., ESPN2)

UCF is coming off a stunning loss to Navy, but they still have a chance for a spot in the AAC championship game. The Bulls are 3-3 ATS as an underdog when the spread is more than 14 points. UCF will score 40-plus points against a defense that allows 513.8 yards per game, and the defense will get enough stops for the cover.

Pick: UCF wins 49-28 and COVERS the spread.

  • No. 9 Tennessee (-14.5) at Vanderbilt (7:30 p.m., SEC Network)

This line would have been at least a TD higher if not for Hendon Hooker’s season-ending injury. Vanderbilt is playing for a bowl berth and has covered as a double-digit underdog three of the last four weeks, including straight up wins vs. Kentucky and Florida. The Volunteers have won the last three meetings by an average of 22.3 points per game. Joe Milton leads the Vols to a victory that puts them in the New Year’s Day Six.

Pick: Tennessee wins 38-22 and COVERS the spread.

  • No. 13 Notre Dame at No. 5 USC (-6.5) (7:30 p.m., ABC)

This line has bumped up to almost a TD. This is the first rivalry meeting for first-year coaches Lincoln Riley and Marcus Freeman. The Trojans are on the cusp of the playoff with Heisman contender Caleb Williams, but the Irish have won the last four in the series. Notre Dame is 3-1 S/U and 4-0 ATS against ranked teams. Expect a classic.

Pick: USC wins 36-34 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

MORE: Caleb Williams puts himself squarely in the Heisman conversation

  • Kansas at No. 15 Kansas State (-11.5) (8 p.m., FOX)

The Wildcats have won 13 in a row in this series. Kansas State is also at home and can clinch a spot in the Big 12 championship game. This line has bumped up 1.5 points, and the Jayhawks are 1-5 S/U in their last six games. Maybe Kansas rises up here and plays spoiler for at least three quarters.

Pick: Kansas State wins 34-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • No. 12 Washington (-2) at Washington State (10:30 p.m., ESPN)

The Apple Cup line has dropped two points from its opening, and this should be a fun quarterback matchup between Michael Penix Jr. and Cam Ward. The Cougars hammered the Huskies 40-13 last season. Washington State is 0-3 S/U against ranked Pac-12 teams, but the home losses were by a combined total of seven points. The Huskies will have to protect the football

Pick: Washington wins 34-31 and COVERS the spread.

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