2011 College Football: Week 13 Picks Against the Spread
The college football season has officially kicked into high gear, and the pressure of the BCS standings has clear affected some of the top teams nationally.
Sports bettors will likely remember Week 12 for years to come, as four top-10 teams fell, with three being sent off as double-digit favorites.
Let's take a closer look at this week's top games from a betting perspective.
Texas Longhorns at Texas A&M Aggies
The Texas A&M Aggies came away with a 24-17 win in last year's meeting with the Texas Longhorns as three-point road favorites.
Checking the status of Aggies running back Cyrus Gray is crucial to this matchup, leaving last Saturday's 61-7 blowout win over the Kansas Jayhawks as 31-point home favorites with an undisclosed injury.
Texas has managed to score just 18 points in the last two weeks, something that will have to dramatically improve to stay in this one.
Handicapper Line: Texas A&M Aggies (-9)
Pick: Texas A&M Aggies (-7.5)
Arkansas Razorbacks at LSU Tigers
The Arkansas Razorbacks will come into this Southeastern Conference showdown on a seven-game winning streak, only dropping a 38-14 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide as 11-point road underdogs earlier this year on Sept. 24.
Oddsmakers have sent out an interesting betting line on this particular contest, with the LSU Tigers laying three more points than the Crimson Tide against the Razorbacks.
Will take the points with Arkansas covering four out of five on this field, while LSU is 5-11 against-the-spread (ATS) when hosting an opponent with a winning road record.
Handicapper Line: LSU Tigers (-9.5)
Pick: Arkansas Razorbacks (+14)
Georgia Bulldogs at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Georgia Bulldogs are looking forward to potentially making some noise in the Southeastern Conference championship but will be looking for a third straight win in this in-state series.
Bettors will be analyzing the matchup in the trenches between the Bulldogs defensive front and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets option rushing attack.
Georgia may be allowing 2.8 yards per rush this season, but it's important to point out that South Carolina Gamecocks sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore went for 176 rushing yards on 27 carries in a 45-42 win on Sept. 10.
The Bulldogs are 6-0 ATS in their last six meetings in Atlanta, which has me siding with the visitors.
Handicapper Line: Georgia Bulldogs (-6)
Pick: Georgia Bulldogs (-5)
Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines
The oddsmakers definitely had to inflate the number here due to last week's results.
Michigan tallied an impressive 45-17 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers as 3.5-point home favorites, winning the statistical battle by 158 yards, including 100 on the ground.
The Ohio State Buckeyes suffered their second home loss of the 2011 campaign, dropping a 20-14 affair to the Penn State Nittany Loins as 6.5-point home favorites.
Definitely love the angle of playing an underdog in a series that has won seven consecutive meeting but find my handicapper line being near the number.
Watch the betting closely.
Handicapper Line: Michigan Wolverines (-8)
Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes (+8.5)
Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers
The Alabama Crimson Tide seem to be on the fast track of potentially playing a rematch with the LSU Tigers but will tangle with their heated rivals this week.
Don't think for a second that Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban doesn't remember jumping out to a 24-0 lead in last year's meeting, only to fall 28-27 due to the heroics of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton.
The Auburn Tigers have fallen into an interesting pattern, alternating wins and losses over their last seven games, which spells trouble here.
Last week's 35-16 win over Samford sets the Tigers up for disaster, but they can definitely stay within this inflated number.
Handicapper Line: Alabama Crimson (-19.5)
Pick: Auburn Tigers (+21.5)
Penn State Nittany Lions at Wisconsin Badgers
Sometimes you can develop a handicapper line and be nearly two touchdowns off, which sometimes signals that the oddsmakers have a better handle on the game than you do.
That's the case here after looking over things.
The Wisconsin Badgers have fallen off the public's radar due to failing to cover four out of their last five games, including a 28-17 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini as 14.5-point road favorites.
Penn State has been dealing with a range of emotions and comes in off a 20-14 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes as 6.5-point road underdogs.
The public is going to land squarely on the double-digit dog here, while I suggest backing the Badgers and their 15-5-1 ATS mark at home.
Handicapper Line: Wisconsin Badgers (-7.5)
Pick: Wisconsin Badgers (-16)
Florida State Seminoles at Florida Gators
Considering the home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings, taking the points is the only way to go.
Florida also hasn't forgotten about last year's 31-7 blowout loss as 2.5-point road underdogs in Tallahassee.
The Florida State Seminoles are coming off a disappointing 14-13 home loss to the Virginia Cavaliers, with quarterback E.J. Manuel throwing for 200 yards and a touchdown.
Motivation wins out.
Handicapper Line: Florida State Seminoles (-1)
Pick: Florida Gators (+3)
Clemson Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks
The Clemson Tigers have packed it in after dropping a 37-13 contest to the NC State Wolfpack, which also served as the team's third consecutive spread defeat.
From a situational standpoint, I'd often recommend backing a dog that's been favored for most of the year, but this team is also starting to show its age.
The South Carolina Gamecocks didn't want to show anything last week in beating The Citadel, saving all the wrinkles for this rivalry.
Handicapper Line: South Carolina Gamecocks (-7)
Pick: South Carolina Gamecocks (-3)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Cardinal
The Stanford Cardinal have failed to cover the spread in two consecutive games but comes in off a 31-28 win over the California Golden Bears as 17-point home favorites.
It's safe to say the oddsmakers have caught up to the boys from Palo Alto, CA.
Last year's meeting resulted in a 37-14 win by the Cardinal as four-point road favorites, but they outgained the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by just 53 yards.
Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly is one of the most dangerous underdog coaches in all of college football—something I'm willing to back here.
This happens to be Kelly's first opportunity in such a role in 2011.
Handicapper Line: Stanford Cardinal (-5.5)
Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+7)
UCLA Bruins at USC Trojans
The UCLA Bruins are catching the USC Trojans at the right time, but my handicapper line has fallen exactly on the number sent out by oddsmakers.
Still have to take the points against a team that's playing for something.
USC just won its bowl game by handing the Oregon Ducks a crushing loss.
Handicapper Line: USC Trojans (-15.5)
Pick: UCLA Bruins (+16.5)