Wednesday, July 28

The Six Pack: Alabama vs. Auburn, Notre Dame vs. North Carolina among best Week 13 college football picks – CBS Sports

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and it’s one that isn’t going to resemble your typical Thanksgiving holiday as people all across the country are trying to figure out the best way to celebrate the holiday given the current circumstances. I know that I’m sad I won’t be spending the day with the same people I usually do, but I also know that, as much as it stinks, I’m thankful to have those people in my life and I’m able to miss their company.

I’m also thankful that I still have football to watch, even if it’s not as much we usually see. So, if you’re like me and going to be home this weekend watching football on the couch, I’ve got six plays I like for the weekend. Of course, as has been the case for the last few weeks, the card is subject to change! Also, as I’ve done previously, if one of the following six games is canceled, I’ll do my best to find a replacement.

Now, let’s try to bounce back from The Six Pack’s worst performance in a while, as I went 2-4 last week. We’re still up on the season, though. But how about we add a little more to the account this weekend?

Games of the Week

No. 22 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama

Latest Odds:

Crimson Tide

Even before the Nick Saban news broke, my initial instinct when seeing the line for this game was, “that’s a lot of points for Auburn to be catching in the Iron Bowl!” I mean, we’ve all seen it before. Auburn has a way of making this game a lot more interesting than it should be when you least expect it, but those surprises tend to come when the game is played at Auburn. In Tuscaloosa, not so much. The last time this game was played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was a 26-point favorite and it beat the Tigers 52-21.

Still, 24.5 points is a lot of points in the Iron Bowl! Auburn is 4-3 ATS against Alabama since Gus Malzahn took over, but it’s only 1-2 ATS in Tuscaloosa. So, I think it’s best we ignore the spread entirely and instead go after the total because you know what I’ve noticed with this game the last couple of years? It’s high-scoring. I just told you about the 52-21 game in Tuscaloosa in 2018, and last year the final score was 48-45. Alabama’s defense has taken a step forward in recent weeks (basically since halftime against Georgia), but I can’t help but believe Gus has something in store for this game. He always does. It might not be enough to cover, but it should be enough to help nudge this game past the total. Alabama 45, Auburn 21 | The Pick: Over 62.5

No. 2 Notre Dame at No. 19 North Carolina (Friday)

Latest Odds:

Fighting Irish

Many of the people I work with and whose opinions I respect are on North Carolina on this matchup. I don’t like to ignore them because even if they’re just as dumb as I am, they do know what they’re talking about. But no matter what they say, I’m just not convinced. I don’t think North Carolina is all that good. If we look at the Tar Heels’ resume, it includes losses to Florida State and Virginia. Its best win is probably NC State — a respectable victor but not exactly one to boast on the resume. That said, I enjoy watching the Tar Heels play because their games are fun, but a significant reason for that is that it’s not good defensively.

The Heels allow 2.34 points per possession (77th nationally) and have a success rate of 53.1% against the run (104th nationally). Now, they’re better against the pass as their success rate of 61.3% ranks 19th, but they also allow 12.93 yards per reception (92nd). That tells you that it’s boom or bust, and when it busts, it really busts. Notre Dame, meanwhile, is much stronger on defense. So when I look at this matchup, I think the Heels are too good offensively not to put points on the board, but how often do they keep the Irish from doing the same? Probably not often enough. Notre Dame 37, North Carolina 24 | The Pick: Notre Dame -5

Lock of the Week

No. 13 Iowa State at No. 17 Texas (Friday)

The spread in this game is only a point for a reason, and depending on where you do your shopping, either side might be favored. But this should be a close game because these are two similar teams. Thankfully, I can avoid the spread and concentrate on the total. As long as that total is over 56, I like the under a lot. First of all, while the results have been uneven on the scoreboard since Tom Herman arrived in Austin, the under has been a solid play; it’s gone 20-14 in Texas’ Big 12 games under Herman. On the other side, Iowa State and the under have a passionate relationship. The under is 15-5-1 in the Cyclones’ last 21. The under has also managed to hit in each of the last five meetings between these two, and I like its odds of reaching six straight this weekend. Texas 27, Iowa State 24 | The Pick: Under 56.5

Sicko Game of the Week

Penn State at Michigan

Latest Odds:


I told you last week that if Michigan didn’t cover against Rutgers — not just win, but cover — then it was a lost cause. Well, Michigan beat Rutgers, but it needed three overtimes to do it and didn’t come close to covering. Now I’m supposed to trust the Wolverines as favorites? No thanks! I don’t care if I’m betting on a winless Penn State team here. The fact is that records aside, Penn State’s performed better than Michigan this season in a lot of areas. Penn State is 0-5 ATS this season, but the two times it has failed to cover as an underdog were against Ohio State and Iowa, two teams that are a lot better than this Michigan squad. I understand if you want nothing to do with this game, but you have to trust me on this one. Penn State is the right play. Penn State 28, Michigan 23 | The Pick: Penn State +2

Rock Fight of the Week

No. 8 Northwestern at Michigan State

Latest Odds:


Like, do you think Pat Fitzgerald is even interested in winning games by enough to cover the spread? I’m not convinced he is. Frankly, I think Fitzgerald is perfectly content to beat teams 13-3 and call it a day. It’s hard to blame him considering how badly his offense has struggled this year. The Wildcats are scoring only 1.95 points per possession this season, which ranks 84th nationally. That number doesn’t tell the entire story, though. You see, Northwestern averaged 3.91 points per possession in its opener against Maryland; in four games since, it’s averaging 1.56. Of course, both of those numbers are miles ahead of the 1.07 Michigan State’s offense is scoring per possession (122nd nationally), so, yeah, 20 points should be more than enough for the Wildcats on Saturday. Northwestern 23, Michigan State 10 | The Pick: Under 41.5

One More Under of the Week

Kansas State at Baylor

I swear, I didn’t go into this week planning to hunt for unders, they just stuck out like sore thumbs everywhere I looked. This is another spot where I saw the total and thought it was ambitious. This matchup isn’t dissimilar from the Northwestern-Michigan State game. Kansas State ranks 96th nationally in points per possession at 1.74, while Baylor’s ranked 100th at 1.7. Kansas State’s overall number is misleading, too. Skylar Thompson only played in the team’s first three games, and the Wildcats offense averaged 2.63 points per possession in those contests. In the five games they’ve played without Thompson, they’re averaging only 1.65 points per possession. Also, while neither team has an exceptional defense, they’ve fared much better on that side of the ball. The icing on the cake is that unders have cashed at a high rate with these two. Five of the last seven meetings have stayed under, and the under is 18-7-1 in Kansas State’s last 26 Big 12 games. It’s 13-6-1 in Baylor’s last 20 conference games too. Baylor 21, Kansas State 20 | The Pick: Under 46

SportsLine Pick of the Week

No. 4 Ohio State at Illinois

Latest Odds:


It’s Thanksgiving weekend, so why not make a little room for more? I’ve got another play for this weekend’s game between Ohio State and Illinois, but you’ll have to head over to my SportsLine page to find out what it is.

Games of the Week



Lock of the Week






Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 13? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned over $3,600 in profit over the past four-plus seasons — and find out.

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