College Football Best Bets Week 13: Michigan vs Ohio State, and Iowa vs Nebraska


Vaughn Dalzell breaks down his favorite bets between Ohio State and Michigan, plus Iowa versus Nebraska.

Ohio State at Michigan (-3.5): O/U 46.5
The biggest game of the College Football season gifts the winner a Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff appearance, and with Michigan winning the past two, Ryan Day and Ohio State have their work cut out for them.

Jim Harbaugh will not be coaching on the sideline and after Michigan blew a 23-3 lead to Maryland, everyone is talking about how the Wolverines are not as good as previously expected. Don’t believe in recency bias too much because Michigan still owns the best defense in the country.

The Wolverines rank No. 1 in total defense (234.8 YPG), tied second for red zone defense (66.7%), and 14th in third-down defense (30.4%). In Ohio State’s two biggest games versus the top two defenses on their schedule, the Buckeyes scored 20 points against Penn State at home and 17 points on the road at Notre Dame.

Michigan’s defense will be Ohio State’s largest challenge and it’s a road game for the Buckeyes, which makes me trust Ohio State less. Ohio State scored 23, 17, 41, 24, and 35 points on the road this year for 28.0 PPG, not exactly a normal Ohio State offensive output.

I played the Wolverines’ ML at -164 odds and faded the Buckeyes’ Team Total of Under 21.5 at -120 odds. I would go down to 20.5 on the Ohio State Team Total and opt for the ML rather than -3.5 on Michigan’s spread.

I will be in the pressbox and rooting for Michigan. If this was -3, I’d be on the spread, but I will take the safe route with the ML.

Pick: Michigan ML (Risk 2u), Ohio State Team Total Under 21.5 (1u)
College Football
Iowa at Nebraska (-2.5): O/U 25.5
Iowa is in a significant letdown spot as they have clinched the Big Ten West Division and will face the winner of Ohio State and Michigan. With that being said, this game is pretty meaningless for Iowa, but for Nebraska, it’s everything.

The Cornhuskers are 5-6 on the season and on the brink of making a bowl game. With a win, Nebraska is bowl-eligible and Matt Rhule’s first season at the helm can be categorized as a success. The fact that the books make Nebraska a favorite here is pretty telling as well.

The Hawkeyes rank 6th in red zone defense (70.8%), 7th in total defense (281.4 YPG), and 18th in third-down defense (31.1%). Over the last seven games, Iowa has held opponents to 9.7 PPG, so Nebraska’s offense will have its work cut out of them.

On the road or a neutral field, Iowa’s offense has averaged 8.3 PPG over the past three games, so I expect another low-scoring performance on both sides of the ball for Iowa.

I played the Under 25.5 at -115 odds between the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers. I would go down to 24.0, which is the next key number. I also grabbed the Nebraska ML at -135 odds. I do not trust Iowa on the road and this is an all-out spot for Nebraska at home.

Pick: Under 25.5 (1u), Nebraska ML (1u)

Season Record: 58-36-1 (61.7%) +20.56 units

Join in the college football conversation this Black Friday at 11 AM ET. From sides to totals to props, get ready for the weekend of college football with the NBC Sports College Football Betting Q&A.

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