Rivalry fuels college football. Whether it’s the tension between the two teams on the field or the school crowds’ competition of who can chant louder to decide which is the better university, it’s what Division 1 is all about. Some of the most anticipated games of the year are typically held during Week 13 – better known as Rivalry Week.
Whether it’s intrastate or naturally born, in these matchups, rankings, odds to make the CFP and opinions on the better teams are thrown out the window. The incentive is simply to take down the opponent in a heated rivalry that’s been burning for decades. For some of the smaller schools, it’s the matchup they work and play the hardest for. And passionate fans fulfill the duties of the 12th man as home teams win 58.5 percent of the time during the meetings.
So, the question remains, what is the best way to bet on college football’s Rivalry Week? Rich in football history, let’s take a look back at the trends and outcomes for past and recent years to note any trends that could lead you to wager on the best, most profitable Week 13 college football bets.
Rivalry Week Betting Tips: ATS
The favorites have the upper hand with a 1,040-331-1 SU record, winning nearly 76 percent of the rivalry contests. But the beatings aren’t as bad as you’d think. The underdogs are 648-701-23 ATS in Rivalry Week, covering their lines 48 percent of the time and making things interesting on the field and on the scoreboard. Nothing stings more than a blowout against your archenemy.
Last season brought a few jaw-dropping results during Rivalry Week. The No. 5 Michigan Wolverines put an end to their eight-year skid by defeating the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes 42-27, covering the +6.5 spread in the outright win in snowy conditions at Michigan Stadium. The Buckeyes had won the two previous matchups by a combined 52 points.
The annual Iron Bowl featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers was a true nail-biter. For a second, fans thought it would never end as it headed into quadruple overtime. Eventually, the unranked Tigers came up short to the No. 3 Tide in a 24-22 finish but managed to cover the +20.5 spread quite easily. The Big 12 saw a shakeup too as the Oklahoma State Cowboys took over the Bedlam Series for the first time in seven years by taking down the Oklahoma Sooners 37-33.
Rivalry Week Betting Tips: Game Totals
You wouldn’t be crazy to assume Rivalry Week results would be overflowing with point totals going OVER. The players should have a little extra pep in their step, trying to perform their best against teams they hate by shutting them up with a blowout. But, with a 583-568-10 record, the UNDER hits just over 50 percent of the time.
What Teams Go Head-To-Head During Rivalry Week?
There’s a massive slate of rivalry games for fans to watch. To narrow the list down, saving you from reading all day and giving you extra time to watch football, we’ve handpicked some of this season’s most anticipated meetings during Week 13’s Rivalry Week.
Ohio State Vs Michigan
When: Saturday, November 26, 12 noon ET
Where: Ohio Stadium
The Buckeyes, currently ranked No. 2, are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings with the Wolverines. This year, kickoff will be at Ohio Stadium for the first time since 2018. Notably, the OVER has hit in eight straight contests, including last year when the teams eclipsed the Sportsbook 64.5-point total. A lot is at stake this year as both squads enter the game undefeated with hopes of claiming the Big Ten East title and punching their ticket to the College Football Playoff. According to online sportsbook Sportsbook, Ohio State is the 7.5-point favorite with the total set at 56 points.
Ole Miss vs Mississippi State
When: Thursday, November 24, 7 p.m. ET
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Leading the series 6-4 SU in the past 10 meetings, the Ole Miss Rebels were undefeated up until Week 8 and had a reasonable chance at the CFP for the first time. Then they fell to LSU, took another loss to Alabama two weeks later and then were embarrassed by Arkansas. So any good vibes have been thrown out the window. There were rumors of Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin leaving – but that has been debunked.
That’s news to me Jon. 🤦♂️. Nice sources 🚫👿🪑🍽 https://t.co/P8rdpxEk0p— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 22, 2022
A negative atmosphere off the field definitely affects what happens on it. With the Mississippi State Bulldogs an even 5-5 ATS, they are liking where they stand to earn a win for the first time since 2019. These teams tend toward low-scoring tilts, with the UNDER hitting in five straight years. With the Rebels tumbling downhill quickly, this matchup could result in a plus-money underdog win for the Bulldogs, who enter at +105 at Sportsbook.
Alabama vs Auburn
When: Saturday, November 26, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium
It’ll be interesting to see how these teams follow up last season’s quadruple overtime in this year’s Iron Bowl. It’s no secret that Alabama (9-2) is shockingly having a tough couple of months – based on the high standards it has set for itself. The Crimson Tide will likely miss the CFP for just the second time since 2014. Auburn, though 3-7 SU in the last 10 meetings, has covered the spread in four of the last six – and that was when Alabama was ranked in the top three of the AP Top 25. The UNDER has hit in five of the last seven. The Tigers enter as +22 underdogs, which seems a little exaggerated. Auburn will fight to take back what it nearly had in 2021.
Oregon vs Oregon State
When: Saturday, November 26, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Reser Stadium
This rivalry is looking good this year because the No. 9 Oregon Ducks and No. 21 Oregon State Beavers are both ranked as they prepare for kickoff. The Ducks, 8-2 SU in the past 10 matchups against the Beavers, still have a chance at claiming the Pac-12 title if they win this week. Two of the last three times Oregon State has hosted at Reser Stadium, they have won outright and covered the spread. The Beavers are 11-0 ATS in their last 11 games at home. They enter the rivalry game as 3-point underdogs.
Notre Dame vs USC
When: Saturday, November 26, 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: LA Memorial Coliseum
The No. 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish can break a lot of hearts this weekend as they visit the No. 6 USC Trojans. The Irish, on a five-game hot streak, have won the annual rivalry game four straight years. The Trojans, who have earned a spot in the Pac-12 championship, need this win if they want to slide into CFP contention once one of Michigan or Ohio State loses. USC is 6-0 in its last six matchups at LA Memorial Coliseum. This is the first time since 2012 that Notre Dame enters as the underdog, with the line currently set at +5.5. The UNDER has hit in three consecutive matchups.
How To Bet Rivalry Week Games
Short answer, expect the favorites to win – especially if it’s a ranked vs unranked matchup. The most notable rivalries feature teams that usually get a sniff at the CFP and are national championship hopefuls. Any blemish on their records could snatch that away. The safest bet is to bet the underdog against the spread. The spreads and favorites may reflect the other 12 weeks of the season well. But there’s something special in the air during Rivalry Week and those scoreboard gaps are too close for comfort.