The college football bets you need to make in Rivalry Week

Nov 29, 2019 |
The college football bets you need to make in Rivalry Week
Auburn boasts one of the stoutest defensive units in the country, limiting opponents to 4.48 yards per play. Will Alabama need to dink-and-dunk its way to a victory in the Iron Bowl.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
Auburn boasts one of the stoutest defensive units in the country, limiting opponents to 4.48 yards per play. Will Alabama need to dink-and-dunk its way to a victory in the Iron Bowl.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Can you believe Rivalry Week is here already. The Game, the Iron Bowl, Bedlam and much more as most programs close out the regular season. We've spent all week compiling the best college football picks and predictions for Week 14 on spreads, totals, props and everything in between.

DINK-AND-DUNK DAY?

The Iron Bowl will be must-see TV this year as the Alabama Crimson Tide look to strengthen their College Football Playoff case against the host Auburn Tigers. The Crimson Tide will need an emphatic victory in their regular-season finale to earn consideration – and while they average 7.95 yards per play for the season, that mark is largely due to the big-play ability of now-injured QB Tua Tagovailoa. Mac Jones will play in the regular-season finale, and he's a significant step down in talent – and the Tigers boast one of the stoutest defensive units in the country, limiting opponents to 4.48 yards per play.

The Crimson Tide will happily take four singles over a home run if it means coming away with the win – but it should limit their offensive upside, leading us to favor the Under on their team total.

 

DEFENSES WITH AN AXE TO GRIND

Who will take home Paul Bunyan's Axe? The Badgers and Golden Gophers both hope to hoist the giant chopping tool as they resume their bitter rivalry in Saturday's regular-season finale – and this game could very well come down to which team makes fewer defensive mistakes. Not only has Minnesota cut its rushing yards allowed by roughly 50 per game from 2018 to now, it also shares the Big Ten lead in interceptions with 14. Wisconsin, meanwhile, ranks fourth in the country in sacks with 39 and ranks inside the top-7 nationally in total defense (270.3 yards per game) and points allowed (14.4).

Both teams will almost certainly sell out to stop the opponents' top offensive option – and that should make points scarce in a game that sees the winner advance to the Big Ten title game. We like the Under.

X-FACTOR

The Florida State Seminoles already have issues with their offensive line – and those problems could be magnified in their season finale as they tangle with the rival Florida Gators in Gainesville on Saturday evening. The visiting Seminoles have earned their bowl game eligibility despite ranking 122nd in the country in sacks allowed per game (3.27) and tied for 123rd in tackles for loss against (8.09). Not only has Florida racked up 38 sacks entering the final weekend of the regular season (tied for fifth-most in the country), it will see the return of standout pass rusher Jabari Zuniga (ankle), who has been limited to five games in 2019.

Florida State is in for a long evening courtesy the Gators' relentless pass rush. We're taking the home team to cover with ease.

IT’S BEDLAM TIME

Don't be surprised to see the Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys let loose as they wrap up their respective regular seasons with the latest chapter of their Bedlam rivalry. Both teams rank inside the top-25 in points per game, and have made a habit of saving some of their top offensive performances for their in-state encounters. The teams are 5-1-1 O/U in their last seven meetings despite four of those games carrying a total of 70 or higher; the list of shootouts includes a wild 48-47 Oklahoma victory last season in which the teams combined for an incredible 1,342 yards of total offense.

With both sides boasting elite-level playmakers and showing no signs of being able to slow down a top-flight opponent, the Over on this game might just be our favorite play of the weekend.

DTR A DNP?

The UCLA Bruins might roll with their backup quarterback for their season finale against visiting California on Saturday. Dorian Thompson-Robinson was held out of Tuesday's practice after suffering a leg injury in last weekend's loss to USC; he was re-taped and remained in the game until it got out of hand, but might not recover in time to face the Golden Bears. Thompson-Robinson has had an up-and-down season for the Bruins, completing fewer than 60 percent of his passes with 20 TDs and 11 interceptions. Austin Burton would likely get the start if Thompson-Robinson can't go.

With Cal having already secured bowl eligibility and UCLA having been eliminated, this game won't mean much to either side; we like the Under regardless if DTR plays, but it's an even strong option if he doesn't.

 

BRYAN’S BACK

Standout wide receiver Bryan Edwards could be back on the field for South Carolina's regular-season finale against powerhouse Clemson. Edwards hasn't played since undergoing arthroscopic surgery following a Nov. 9 loss to Appalachian State. Edwards sat out the Gamecocks' 30-6 loss to Texas A&M the following week, but has had an additional bye week to rest up and is listed as questionable for Saturday. Edwards' presence would assuredly invigorate a South Carolina offense that managed just six points against the Aggies in his absence; he leads the team in receiving yards (816) and touchdowns (six).

Clemson shouldn't have to work that hard whether South Carolina has Edwards in the fold or not – but that should work in the Gamecocks' favor from an ATS perspective. We like the home side to cover, particularly if Edwards returns.

WHOP SET TO RETURN

The latest edition of the Old Oaken Bucket battle between Indiana and Purdue should have one of its biggest playmakers in action. Hoosiers wide receiver Whop Philyor was held out of a Nov. 16 loss to the Michigan Wolverines while recovering from a head injury suffered a week earlier against Penn State. But Philyor is expected to return after missing just one game as Indiana wraps up its regular-season schedule with a visit to the rival Boilermakers. Philyor has been one of the most prolific receivers in the Big Ten this season, ranking third in the conference in receptions (61) and fifth in receiving yards (863).

Indiana is 4-0 O/U in its last four road games. Purdue has converted the Over more than two-thirds of the time in its past 8+ years worth of home games. And the teams have gone above the total five straight times at Ross-Ade Stadium. Add it all up, throw in a little Whop, and we like the Over here.

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