The two biggest games in Week 13 of the college football season have major implications with regards to this year’s College Football Playoff field.
The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0) can probably still afford to lose Saturday’s annual Iron Bowl matchup with the Auburn Tigers (8-3) and make college football’s version of the Final Four for the third straight year, but that coupled with another setback in the SEC Championship Game may keep the defending national champions out.
The Crimson Tide, though, have rolled to wins and covers in four of their past five meetings with the Tigers, who are listed as 17.5-point underdogs for Saturday.
Over in the Big Ten, Saturday’s rivalry game between the Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1) and the Michigan Wolverines (10-1) also looms large, as the victors will likely solidify their spot in the CFP as the winners of the conference’s East Division while the losers will be looking for a lower-tier bowl game in which to play.
The Wolverines have lost 11 of the last 12 games in this series, going 2-7 against the spread in the previous nine. The Buckeyes are 6.5-point home chalk and have won nine in a row SU after consecutive road games.
Other college football Week 13 odds and betting trends . . .
LSU (-6) at Texas A&M (Thursday)
LSU is 5-0 SU and ATS in its last five games against Texas A&M.
Texas A&M is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games.
Washington (-6) at Washington State (Friday)
Washington is 0-4 ATS in its last four games after winning the previous game in a matchup.
Washington State is 6-0 ATS in its last six games after a loss.
Florida at Florida State (-6.5)
The visiting team is 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in its last five games in this matchup.
Florida State is 24-2 SU in its last 26 games at home.
South Carolina at Clemson (-24)
South Carolina is 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS in its last seven games against Clemson.
Clemson is 1-5 ATS in its last six games at home against teams with winning records.
Notre Dame at USC (-17)
Notre Dame is 2-5 SU and ATS in its last seven games on the road against USC.
USC is 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in its last six home games after winning two most recent at home.
Thanksgiving NFL Gambling Preview
The Detroit Lions (6-4) and Dallas Cowboys (9-1) may be two of the hottest teams in the NFC right now, but playing on Thanksgiving has not been kind to either of them lately despite being mainstays on the annual holiday slate.
The Lions and Cowboys are both home favorites against the Minnesota Vikings (6-4) and Washington Redskins (6-3-1), respectively, although each must overcome negative betting trends to keep rolling.
Detroit kicks off the action as 3-point betting favorites versus Minnesota at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com and won the first meeting 22-16 in overtime on the road in Week 9. The Lions are just 5-11 straight up when playing Thanksgiving games since 2000, with nine of the losses taking place over the past 12 years.
However, they have covered the number in their last four Turkey Day matchups after going a dismal 3-9 against the spread in their previous 12.
For Dallas, 7.5-point Thanksgiving favorites, the numbers have been equally disappointing recently. While the Cowboys are 8-8 SU on Thanksgiving since 2000, they have dropped three of their last four with an 0-5 mark ATS in the past five.
Of course America’s Team has hurt bettors a lot overall during that stretch, whether or not quarterback Tony Romo has been on the field. The big difference this year obviously has been the emergence of their two star rookies, Romo’s replacement Dak Prescott along with the league’s leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott.
The question everybody wants to know though heading into Week 12 is, will those trends continue this year? The personnel changes for the Lions and Cowboys alone should make you consider backing them. Detroit is 3-0 ATS on Thanksgiving with head coach Jim Caldwell, who is 24-18 SU overall in his third year at the helm.
In addition, Dallas looks like a completely different team without Romo, who played well at times and poorly on other occasions, especially in the team’s biggest games.
Last year, the Cowboys were routed 33-14 as one-point underdogs by the eventual NFC champion Carolina Panthers with Romo throwing three interceptions. The Lions were on the opposite end of the spectrum, crushing the Philadelphia Eagles 45-14 as three-point favorites behind Matthew Stafford’s 337 passing yards and five touchdowns.