They say this is the toughest week of the college football season to bet. They say there are too many variables to consider when betting games on this weekend of the season every year. Emotions are running high with rivalry games and senior days. Some teams might be mentally checked out and not ready to play. Then there's the factor of so many players who don't get to spend the holiday with their families because they're too busy preparing with their team, and many are on the road. Finally, they say it's tougher because there are no secrets at this point in the season. The oddsmakers know who's who and how they play.
And they're right. This is the toughest weekend of the year to bet, but you know what? I don't care. It doesn't matter. Every week is tough to bet in this sport, but that hasn't stopped The Six Pack from crushing it all year. We went 5-1 again last week. Our confidence has never been higher. We are seeing the board with a clarity previously unimaginable to the human eye.
We will feast upon this slate the same way we'll feast on all those Thanksgiving sides and turkey. There won't be a single bit of meat left on the bone when we're done. Let's get it.
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Games of the Week
No. 2 Ohio State at No. 3 Michigan: I don't need to hype you up for this game. We all know what's on the line, and we all know the hate runs deep between these two. We also know that the hatred is usually layered over a foundation of respect, but I'm not convinced that layer is there this season. Either way, this will be a banger of a game and I've no idea who will win. That's why I'm avoiding the spread and attacking the total.
I don't know if you've noticed, but the winner of this game has averaged 43.6 points over the last nine meetings. I understand how incredible these defenses have been all year. I don't care. Both teams spend all season preparing for this game, bringing stuff out of the playbook they haven't used against anybody else. I watch nearly every game both these teams play every season, and every year I see them doing stuff in this game I haven't seen before. Now, the defenses are good enough that I don't expect the winner to crack 40 points, but I can see both teams getting to 30. Pick: Over 45.5 (-115)
No. 16 Oregon State at No. 6 Oregon (Friday): I don't know when we'll see this game again, so I plan to do my best to take it all in on Friday night. The Civil War has long been one of my favorite rivalries in this sport, even when there isn't as much on the line as there is in this one. Oregon must win to get to the Pac-12 Championship Game and keep its College Football Playoff dream alive. Oregon State would love nothing more than to wreck those dreams as a parting gift.
I fully expect the Beavers to make this game difficult. I think Oregon is the most complete team in the Pac-12, but I don't think it's unstoppable. While I've seen the Ducks blow out terrible teams, I've also seen them in tight games against good opponents. There was the Utah blowout, but the Utes were crushed by injuries all year and that was an awful matchup for them.
I also remember games against Washington State and USC when the Ducks had problems pulling away. Oregon State is better than both of them, and it has an offensive line that can dictate the pace better than most against the Ducks. This game comes down to the fourth quarter. Pick: Oregon State +14 (-108)
Lock of the Week
No. 17 Iowa at Nebraska (Friday): I'm sorry, but you'd have to be out of your mind to trust Nebraska as a favorite in this spot. I know the Cornhuskers ended their losing streak to Iowa last season and that the Iowa offense is an abomination, but there's no logic behind this. Iowa is a great wrestling school whose football team is like a wrestler who doesn't attack his opponent. Iowa fends off every advance and waits for its opponents to make a mistake, then it puts them in some kind of vice grip from which there is no escape.
Iowa football waits for you to mess up. Do you know what Nebraska does a lot? It messes up. The Cornhuskers lead the nation with 28 turnovers this season, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Nebraska has lost 13 fumbles, but it has fumbled 28 times total. You cannot put the ball at risk that often against Iowa and not pay for it. This will be close. It will be ugly. It will be low-scoring. And, in the end, Iowa will win, but we'll take the points. Pick: Iowa +2.5 (-105)
Under of the Week
Wisconsin at Minnesota: Remember before the season began and we were all excited about the Dairy Raid offense coming to Wisconsin? Well, that milk has gone bad. Wisconsin enters this game ranked No. 96 nationally in points per possession and No. 102 in EPA per play. Some of it is a lack of skill talent, but most of it is injuries. It's also gotten progressively worse as the season has gone on.
The same can be said of Minnesota. The Gophers have struggled mightily to move the ball against better defenses. This will be a game between two struggling offenses trying to do something they haven't had much success doing all season in cold, miserable conditions. First team to 17 wins. Pick: Under 42.5 (-110)
Team Total of the Week
Texas A&M at No. 14 LSU: It's clear LSU is doing everything possible to get Jayden Daniels a Heisman Trophy because the Tigers know they won't be playing on championship weekend and are out of the playoff picture. That's why you saw Daniels play 49 of 54 offensive snaps last week in a 56-14 blowout over Georgia State. This will be LSU's final game before the Heisman votes are cast, so it'll do everything it can to get Daniels some numbers here.
There's just one problem: The Texas A&M defense isn't the Georgia State defense. LSU's total for this game is set at 40.5 points, and while scoring 41 certainly isn't out of character for the Tigers, allowing 41 points would be out of character for the Aggies defense. Only Miami scored more than 40 points on the Aggies, back in Week 2. Ole Miss is the only other team that's even broken 30 (it finished with 38). Something tells me the Texas A&M defense isn't interested in helping out Daniels. Plus, the Aggies defense has allowed only 43 yards rushing to opposing quarterbacks this season. They won't stop Daniels entirely (nobody can), but they're much better equipped to take away one of his primary strengths. Pick: LSU Team Total Under 40.5 (-113)
My 2024 Bandwagon Team of the Week
Virginia Tech at Virginia: I'm putting it on the record now: If Anthony Colandrea is Virginia's starting QB next season, I will be all in on the Hoos. And by "all in," I mean I'll expect them to go over their preseason win total and cover a lot of spreads early in the season. I like Colandrea that much. But next season is a long way away and I'm not a patient man, so I'm starting the hype train right now by taking the Cavs as home dogs in this rivalry game.
No disrespect to coach Brent Pry, who did an excellent job salvaging the Hokies' season after a disastrous start, but I'm not ready to trust this team as a road favorite, even with a bowl berth on the line. Also, we can't forget the tragedy that struck Virginia last season that caused this game to be canceled. There is absolutely no way in the world I can bet against the Cavs in this spot considering everything you know they'll be putting into this game. Pick: Virginia +3 (-110)
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 13, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.