College Football Rivalry Weekend is here and we have a pair of big game NCAAF bets to close out the regular season on top.
NCAAF Rivalry Weekend Betting Picks
(5) Alabama Crimson Tide vs (16) Auburn Tigers
Saturday, Jordan-Hare Stadium | 3:30 PM EST
The Iron Bowl has become one of College Football’s most anticipated games during NCAAF rivalry weekend. The Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide face off in an SEC Slobberknocker, kicking off at 3:30 PM EST at Auburn. The Tigers are +4 home dogs to the fifth-ranked team in the nation despite the Tide starting their 2nd string QB.
The Tigers have the luxury of home-field advantage in this season’s Iron Bowl to go along with the advantage of Tua Tagovailoa lost to injury. If Auburn can fully exploit both of those things than they might have a legit chance at an outright upset win. This would not only knock Alabama totally out of playoff contention but would also help Auburn qualify for a higher quality bowl to play in. The Tigers will be relying heavily on their defense as I don’t think their offense has enough firepower to beat Bama on their own.
Lucky for Auburn, their defense has been rock-solid all season long and I see no reason that should change in the last week of the season. They have allowed opposing squads to average just 16 points per game. Sure, this is the best team they have faced so far, but the others haven’t exactly been pushovers, especially LSU.
The Tigers have a real shot at becoming one of the big stories of the season if they pull out a straight-up win on Saturday. They would be keeping Bama out of the CFP for the first time since its inception. This will require one hell of a game from Bo Nix, a better game than he has played all year perhaps. In truth, he has struggled against other ranked SEC teams. In three such games this year against (8) Florida, (1) LSU and (4) Georgia, Nix completed just 56 passes, 547 passing yards (182 YPG), 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Even with Alabama expected to score fewer points with Jones under center, Nix will have to step up and improve these numbers to give his team a real shot at victory.
Alabama will be forced to turn to Mac Jones for the remainder of their games this year with Tua sidelined indefinitely. The redshirt sophomore has a ton of experience on the practice field but a small amount of actual in-game action. While this doesn’t neuter the Tide’s offense all that much, it is a noticeable step down from Tua and Auburn will have chances to force him into turnover situations.
Auburn currently holds a 9-3 ATS record and a 6-1 mark in their last 7 home games. Despite this, I still like Alabama to cover this short spread on Saturday’s NCAAF rivalry weekend game. I think that Mac Jones is experienced enough and has enough talent surrounding him that the Tide sees the end zone early and often. I also expect Bo Nix to struggle against this strong defense which has given so many quarterbacks trouble this year. Nick Saban knows he needs this win for a shot at the playoffs and will have his team well prepared and ready.
Best Bet: Alabama Crimson Tide -4 (-105)
(2) Ohio State Buckeyes vs (10) Michigan Wolverines
Saturday, Michigan Stadium | 12:00 PM EST
Despite their No. 2 ranking by the Associated Press, I believe the Ohio State Buckeyes are the best team in the nation top to bottom. They rank first in points scored per game by their offense at 49.6 PPG, almost 3 points more than their next closest competitor. Not only are they an offensive powerhouse but their defense ranks third in the nation at points given up at 10.4 PPG. This is also the largest gap between the two numbers for any team in the country with a 32.2 point differential. For those mathematically challenged, that means the Buckeyes have outscored opponents by an average of 32.2 points per game.
Head Coach Ryan Day has done an exceptional job in his first year at the helm. He took a team that saw significant personnel turnover, namely Urban Meyer, and kept them atop the rankings with the little issue since day one. His final hurdle of the regular season comes in the form of long-time rival Michigan Wolverines. Can Day continue the success which Meyer was able to produce against the Wolverines?
Michigan has really emerged as a legit threat to the Buckeyes over the last couple of months of the season after a tough loss to Penn State. Their offense looks like one of the best in the nation after an extremely slow start to the year. It appeared back in September that this game would be a cakewalk for Ohio State, but it seems the tides have turned in favor of the Maize and Blue.
The weather is expected to be pretty rough in Ann Arbor this weekend, full of cold and rain. This will hurt the Wolverines the most with Chase Young and an amazing secondary to contend with. I don’t think this game ends in a blowout like last year’s disaster. But I also don’t see Michigan keeping things close enough to finish the game in a position to cover.
Best Bet: Ohio State Buckeyes -9 (-107)
That’s it for our college football picks for the NCAAF Rivalry Weekend. Good luck everyone!