It’s Rivalry Week and our college football picks and predictions give you extra incentive to fill your holiday weekend with football viewing. Take advantage of some early line values from the last Tuesday of midweek MACtion, as well as the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving and a slew of Black Friday games.
Week 13 College Football Picks and Predictions
With early line value, be sure to take advantage of every opportunity thrown your way. Especially those offered by sports books. DraftKings Sportsbook is throwing you $200 as a new user by betting $5 on a moneyline this week.
Bowling Green vs. Ohio (56.5 points)
Expect fireworks in this game as the Bowling Green Falcons can get back into the MAC Championship Game with a win over the Ohio Bobcats. However, Ohio’s offense has been on fire since October started, and they’ve won six straight.
Winners of five in their last seven and four of their last five, Bowling Green is no slouch, though. The Falcons are paced by Week 12 Team of the Week member Odieu Hiliare at receiver as Matt McDonald enters this matchup on the heels of a four-touchdown performance that saw him average 11 yards per pass attempt.
McDonald is having a career year in his fourth season with Bowling Green, doing so by shortening his release and clearly seeing the field the best he’s ever seen it. Going against an Ohio secondary that is arguably the worst in the nation, at least on paper, just means we’re set to see some points.
BGSU also allowed Toledo backup QB Tucker Gleason to score 35 points a week ago. Both Ohio and Bowling Green have allowed 26 total touchdowns through the air this season, tying for third-most in the country. With both quarterbacks having career years and the opposing defenses clearly struggling to defend the pass, 56.5 points seems incredibly low.
Prediction: Ohio 34, Bowling Green 30
Ball State (+2.5) vs. Miami (OH)
With a lot on the line for both teams, the winner of this matchup will become bowl eligible, and the other will finish their 2022 season with a losing record. Ball State has struggled offensively this season, scoring 21 points or fewer in four of their last six conference games.
Miami has also struggled on offense but recently found their groove with Brett Gabbert’s return and Aveon Smith rushing the ball well a week ago. For both programs, however, consistency is the key to success. Yet, neither team has found that to come easy in 2022.
The biggest advantage in this game is the rushing ability of Carson Steele for Ball State. The Cardinals running back has scored 12 touchdowns this year and is averaging over five yards per carry. The RedHawks are allowing just 116.4 yards per game on the ground, while Steele himself is averaging over 120 yards rushing.
Steele has run for over 100 yards in eight games this year. His bruising style physically dominates the opposing defense and ultimately wears them down. With a bowl game on the line, expect both defenses to buck up but Steele to ultimately take over.
Prediction: Ball State 28, Miami (OH) 27
Mississippi State (+3.5) vs. Ole Miss
The Egg Bowl has become a Thanksgiving staple for college football fans. The battle pits two of the most enigmatic coaches in the sport against one another. Mike Leach takes his Mississippi State Bulldogs to Oxford against Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels, each with something different to play for.
At one point, Ole Miss was 7-0 and looking on the outside in of a College Football Playoff berth. However, SEC play has caught up to them. They’ve dropped three of their last four and have just a three-point win against a hapless Texas A&M team since the middle of October.
Jaxson Dart has struggled to consistently find his receivers downfield in that stint, throwing five touchdowns over his last four games compared to 10 TDs in his previous six outings. Dart’s arm strength has never been in question, but when forced to look downfield, the errant throws are coming in droves.
Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes is fresh off setting the FBS record for career interceptions returned for touchdowns with his sixth career pick-six, and the Bulldogs know a thing or two about taking the football away.
Also, Ole Miss just allowed Arkansas to throw and run all over their defense as Raheim Sanders scored three touchdowns and KJ Jefferson threw three scores on their struggling defense. Is Kiffin eyeing the Auburn job and losing focus of this Ole Miss team?
The rumors continue to swirl and the Pirate can smell blood. Mississippi State exacts revenge from last season.
Prediction: Mississippi State 35, Ole Miss 31
Florida vs. Florida State (-7.5)
The Florida State Seminoles are red-hot. They’ve outscored their last four opponents by a combined margin of 173 to 39, and 14 of those points came in garbage time from Louisiana this past weekend.
Florida, on the other hand, is reeling from a loss to Vanderbilt for just the second time in program history. The Gators are lacking an identity and have one of the SEC’s worst defenses.
Despite FSU’s struggles with scrambling quarterbacks in recent history, this defense the Noles bring against Florida is different. Jammie Robinson sets the tone at his safety position, while DJ Lundy, Tatum Bethune, and the linebacking corps have set the edge brilliantly.
FSU has the athleticism and talent in all the right spots to mitigate the biggest strength that currently presents itself in UF QB Anthony Richardson‘s game: his legs. The Seminoles can get to double-digit wins with a victory against Florida and a bowl victory, you better believe that’s on their mind.
Noles take it to their rival Gators on Black Friday and give new head coach Billy Napier a real taste of this rivalry.
Prediction: Florida State 41, Florida 20
NC State vs. North Carolina (-6.5)
The North Carolina Tar Heels were left out in the cold on offense against Georgia Tech. Somehow, the Yellow Jackets ended UNC’s longshot bid to enter the College Football Playoff and were left struggling to even complete a pass late in the game.
However, those miscues were largely individual, as Drake Maye played well but was outdone by drops and quick interior pressure from Keion White. NC State has struggled to field a competent passing game since Devin Leary‘s season-ending injury, dropping three of their last five games and narrowly edging out Virginia Tech and Wake Forest by a combined 10 points.
The Wolfpack have scored just 30 points in their last two games, 20 of which came against a hapless Boston College defense despite a loss. It’s a dire situation for NC State offensively, while their defense has been put in unfavorable situations.
Against a high-powered UNC offense, that NC State defense will certainly be tested on deep shots and underneath passes. Watch for Josh Downs to have a field day over the middle with a depleted NC State linebacking corps missing several members.
Prediction: North Carolina 35, NC State 17