College Football Week 13 Predictions: Georgia, Texas Tech, Duke, Clemson, South Carolina and More

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After a slow start to the week that saw me lose both my weekday plays, I was able to bounce back with an 8-5 Saturday that saw the week turn a slight profit.  It was a frustrating week though as 2 of my 4-unit plays came up way short (Virginia +6, USF +7) in just really poor efforts by teams that acted like they had nothing to play for.

Week 13 brings us to what is the final week of the regular season for many teams, and a week that can be fraught with peril for handicappers.  While power rankings are a very useful tool for most of the season, here at the end it’s the situational angles that merit the most consideration for the astute handicapper.  As always I did my research early Sunday afternoon and compiled my numbers to bet the openers.  

This week it actually backfired a little bit as a few of my grabs actually ended up with better numbers, but nonetheless I saw good value and liked the situation for each of these plays.  Some of these were positional grabs, and I may actually end up buying out of a few.  I am hoping to have my card mostly finalized by Wednesday so that, like the rest of you, I can relax with my family during the Holiday weekend and watch the money come rolling in.  Good luck guys!

This week I’m changing my format just a bit, instead of posting everything that I have played at the opening price I played it at, I am just posting games I like at the currently available spread.  It doesn’t help you guys to see me post Texas A&M -16.5 (which I got)  when the current number is -22.  If you would like to see my entire card which  I post as I play the games, it is available on my twitter.

Week 13 Selections

***** Georgia Bulldogs -13 -110

*** North Carolina State – Boston College Over 54 -110

*** South Carolina – Clemson Over 61.5 -110

*** North Carolina Tar Heels -24 -110

** Texas Tech Red Raiders +3 -113

** Duke Blue Devils +6.5 -110

Week 13 Write-ups

**** Georgia Bulldogs -13 -110

A game where I actually played it early on and got a worse # (I laid -14) is a game that’s really appealing to me. What we have here  is a mismatch to me, and a  set of circumstances that facilitate the home chalk bringing home the bacon.

Rivalry games are always tough, and the fact that this series has been tightly contested over the last decade (the last 9 games all decided by 17 or less) is likely what brought this price down.  But I’m basing my play on a few factors that point to Georgia here.  I feel it’s a great advantage for UGA that they just played a Georgia Southern team that runs a very similar offense to GT, and will have a leg up in the difficult process that is playing defensive assignment football.  Georgia has a lot more defensive depth than most teams GT plays, so they should be more resistant to getting worn down by the GT option attack.

What really gets me excited about this game is the match-up of the Georgia offense against this  GT defense.  Defensively, GT is an absolute train wreck.  Here’s how they’ve fared against top 50 offenses this year:  gave up 49 to MTSU, gave up 42 to Miami, gave up 49 to Clemson, gave up 50 to UNC.  They only allowed 24 to Duke last week, but Duke’s offense is mostly a ball control offense that doesn’t hit many big plays (99th nationally in plays of 20+ yards).  In actuality they only were able to make Duke punt a few times and all in 4th quarter.  What they face this week is another nightmare match-up, a UGA offense that will whip them at the LOS and can throw or run the ball with equal effect.  Georgia ranks 4th nationally in plays over 20 yards against FBS teams, and will have tons of great match-ups to exploit against a  Jacket’s team that frequently blows assignments in the second level and is bad at tackling.  It will be an upset to me if UGA is forced to punt more than twice while this game is still competitive.

What we have with GT is a team that doesn’t have a habit of playing very many close games (none of their last 7 games were decided by 2 scores or less) who suddenly finds themselves playing for an ACC title next week going against a Georgia team who suddenly finds themselves right in the thick of the  national title hunt.  Georgia Tech has made a nice run down the stretch here, but their going up against a team that is just an awful match-up for them.   I feel like Georgia moves the ball  all day, and is able to get enough stops to get that option attack off the field and put GT in a situation where they have to chase the game.  My numbers made this game UGA -24, and I have no issue making a large play when I have the much better defense, more balanced offense, better personnel and  a team with absolutely everything to play for.   Georgia 48, GT 24.

*** North Carolina State –  Boston College Over 54 -110

Just a good match-up to see some points, two of the most pass-heavy offenses in the league going against defenses that aren’t all that good at defending the passing game.  Their is nothing to lose for Boston College here, I expect them to come out firing in what’s likely Frank Spaziani’s last game as HC.  North Carolina State has proven they can’t run the ball over and over again, and they will place an impetus on having senior  QB Mike Glennon go out with a bang (Tom O’Brien feels a deep personal connection to Glennon, he bet heavily on his success when he chose him over Russel Wilson 2 years ago).  NC State matches up well here as the 13th ranked passing team in the country, as against top 40 passing offenses BC has allowed 52 points to Miami, 45 to Clemson and 52 to Florida State (they haven’t seen any others).  NC State had a vaunted secondary coming into the season but they actually rank last in the league in my pass D rankings and should struggle against an underrated BC passing attack.  I’m looking for an aggressive gameplan from TOB against his former team as NCSU looks to finish 7-5 and lock into a good bowl game.  State 41, BC 23.

*** North Carolina Tar Heels -24 -110

A game I played at open at -23  takes on added value with the news of Maryland’s defection to the Big 10.  I feel like this UNC team who isn’t going bowling has no reason to hold back, and a team that likes to run up the score (5 of their 7 wins by DD) won’t feel bad by pressing their advantage well into the second half.  Not to mention it’s a chance to run up the  numbers of All-american candidate Gio Bernard (something Fedora proved last week he enjoys doing).   Maryland started the year as a team who was pretty stout defensively yet offensively challenged.  As the injuries have piled up the offense has gotten worse and they really don’t match up well with NC here (they can’t throw the ball well enough to take advantage of a poor UNC secondary).  I also feel like Maryland has weakened defensively, part of it is injuries but there schedule was backloaded with the better offenses in the league.  The last 3 weeks they’ve played the best 3 rushing attacks in the league in GT, Clemson and FSU and I feel like their pretty beaten up.  Bottom line here is we have an electric offense that likes try to push  tempo going against a team that is really beaten up and won’t be able to exploit their opponents main defensive weakness.  I feel like  UNC can name their score here, and they will try to make it ugly if they are able.  UNC 45, Maryland 10.

*** Clemson – South Carolina Over 61.5 -110

Clemson will get points, their offense is truly elite. In some ways their like Oregon, but their have much better offensive balance and can throw the ball if SCAR wins the battle at the LOS. Boyd has really grown as a passer, you can tell he has a ton of confidence in both his offensive system and the players surrounding them. But they haven’t faced very much resistance in the ACC, they just have better and deeper talent than everyone save for FSU so when you add in a system that is designed to exploit 1v1 match-ups they should be getting TD’s 75% of the time. Against SCAR, it is definitely going to be tougher, the Cocks just have better and more physical talent defensively (especially up front) than almost everyone they’ve seen, save for Tallahassee. But when I look at who South Carolina has played, they just haven’t seen very many offenses I would consider explosive yet are still giving up a fairly high number of points.  I think Clemson moves the ball here, albeit not as freely as they do most of the time in the ACC.

Defensively, Clemson is still a MAC level unit. I think a big part of it is going against their own offense in practice, when you have to constantly defend the spread you just don’t get good practice defending against the smash-mouth style of offense.  South Carolina is missing Lattimore but I’m still pretty impressed with Kenny Miles and I’m confident that the Cocks will be able to run the football. Clemson really struggles in space defensively, and though South Carolina can be vanilla offensively I look for them to try and mix it up here to spread Clemson out a bit. I’ve seen enough of SCAR this year to feel like whoever is playing QB will have pretty good protection when he drops back against a below average Clemson pass rush, and is accurate to hit guys in space, which should happen often enough.

Clemson’s defensive “surge” directly coincided with playing some of the worst and most one dimensional offenses in the league. Last week we saw what happens when they face an offense that has some dynamic playmakers and a QB who can get them the ball. I feel like it takes 35+ to win this game, and I don’t think either team is head-and-shoulders above the other. I took South Carolina +4 for a small bit, but I’m using the over here to really butter my bread.

** Texas Tech Red Raiders +3 -113

Taking a shot here with fading Baylor in a massive letdown spot following the big win over #1 Kansas State and now finds themselves traveling to a neutral-site game in Cowboy Stadium.  Texas Tech is limping a bit into the finish line but matches up well here; they have the nations top ranked passing attack in ypg going against a Baylor defense that ranks 122nd in that category.  I’m giving TT more sympathy than some for their late season struggles; they coincided with a step up in opponent class and a schedule that they just weren’t ready for talent-wise.  Baylor is a much better fit for them, and I’m willing to take a shot with a free FG against a team that has struggled outside of Waco (just 1-4 away from Waco and allowing 44.8 points per game in those 5).  My spreadsheet made TTU a -12 point favorite, and though I hate their form of late, I’ll take the points against the Bears in the letdown spot with the better defense and the team playing their final regular season game (Baylor plays OSU next week).

** Duke Blue Devils +6.5 -108

A line I just don’t get, once Miami declared themselves bowl ineligible on Monday this one actually went up and has almost hit 7.  But why?  Last year Miami was in a very similar situation after declaring themselves bowl ineligible in the final week of the season, and they wound up losing at home as DD chalk to a bad BC team.  This year not only are the bowl ineligible, but they’ve also denied themselves a shot at the ACC title game which they would have made it to had they won.  For a team that’s really young, I just don’t know how they get over what has to be a huge letdown against a Duke team trying to get back into the positive side of the ledger after a run against some of the league’s better teams.  I’ll take nearly a TD at home with the better defense and a team with a semblance of something to play for (sending a decorated senior class out in style).   Devils 37 Miami 31

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