Pick Six: Iron Bowl, Michigan-Ohio State and more winners to be thankful for
Trust the Process as Tom Fornelli leads you toward his best bets for Week 13 of the season
It's Thanksgiving, so I don't want to take up too much of your time with an introduction. Pick Six went 3-3 last week, meaning I've gone 5-7 the last two weeks. It sucks, and I'm not happy about it, but I'm not worried, either. The Process is still The Process, and I trust it. You should, too, so here are this week's picks for you to mull over before diving face-first into that Thanksgiving spread.
All games are on Saturday unless otherwise noted.
Games of the Week
No. 6 Auburn (+4.5) vs. No. 1 Alabama: You'll notice a trend to my two picks in the Games of the Week. When it comes to rivalry week in college football, I tend to lean toward underdogs. Rivalry games just have a habit of being closer than we expect them to be because of the emotions involved. Well, when those underdogs are also the home team, they become even more attractive.
I do have other reasons for this pick, though. First of all, I don't get to say this very often, but I believe Alabama may be at a disadvantage in the trenches here. Injuries have hurt the Alabama offensive line, and I have concerns about it going against this Auburn front seven. On the other side of the ball, I have the same concerns about an Alabama front seven that's banged up going against the Auburn line and Kerryon Johnson.
Furthermore, Nick Saban's Alabama teams have struggled ATS in these games. During Saban's tenure at Alabama, his team has gone 19-6-1 ATS against ranked teams outside the SEC West. That's a remarkable stat that shows just how dominant the Tide have been. That trend flips when Alabama plays divisional opponents, though. When Alabama plays ranked teams within the SEC West, it's only 18-20-1 ATS. I expect it to be 18-21-1 following this weekend. I'm not entirely ready to call the Auburn upset, but I like the Tigers to cover. Alabama 24, Auburn 21
Michigan (+12) vs. No. 9 Ohio State: We have another situation here with a home underdog in a rivalry game, except this time the dog is of the double-digit variety. And that just makes Michigan even more attractive to me. Now, there's some concern since we don't know who will be Michigan's starting quarterback, but honestly, I don't think the difference between John O'Korn and Brandon Peters is all that noticeable. Michigan needs to run the ball to be competitive no matter who is playing quarterback. As for Ohio State, this is still a Buckeyes offense that has trouble spreading the field vertically, and the Michigan defense can significantly slow down Ohio State's ground attack.
Finally, much like Alabama under Saban, there's a trend with Ohio State and Urban Meyer that's difficult to ignore. When Ohio State is a double-digit favorite against Big Ten opponents, it's only 27-37 ATS. Compare that to 23-13 ATS when it's a double-digit favorite against nonconference opponents. Ohio State 27, Michigan 17
Lock of the Week
Kansas (+40) at No. 19 Oklahoma State: Yes, I'm taking Kansas as a Lock. It's crazy, I know, but as I mentioned here last week, underdogs of 30 points or more are covering 73 percent of the time. Last week there were six dogs of 30+ points, and they went 4-2 ATS. What needs to be noted, though, is that the two who didn't cover were FCS teams: Mercer and The Citadel. The FBS teams (Kansas, Illinois, San Jose State and UL-Monroe) all covered. Kansas will do the same this week. Oklahoma State 45, Kansas 10
Underdog of the Week
Pittsburgh (+13.5) vs. No. 2 Miami -- Friday: I love this for so many reasons, the biggest being that most people just can't see it happening. I only ask that you consider this intriguing trend before dismissing this. In the College Football Playoff era, undefeated teams are 25-43-1 ATS. This is because, as the season goes on, undefeated teams get a lot of love from the public, inflating the spread in their games. But look at that trend, see this spread, realize that Miami is 10-0, but it's only 5-5 ATS this season and trust the process. Miami 31, Pitt 20
Over of the Week
Indiana at Purdue (Over 51): Purdue and unders have been a trend that I love this season, but I am fading my feelings in this pick. This is an important game for both teams. Not only is there the rivalry aspect, but both are 5-6 and need a win for bowl eligibility. So there's a lot on the line here, and I'm expecting these two offenses to leave nothing on the field. Purdue 35, Indiana 31
Under of the Week
BYU at Hawaii (Under 49): These teams have both been quite dreadful in 2017, and I don't expect either one to be all that enthusiastic about playing this game. I also don't expect either offense to thrive, as the forecast calls for 20+mph winds during the game, and high winds and unders are the greatest romance since Romeo and Juliet. BYU 21, Hawaii 14
| ||Last Week||2017 Overall|
|Games of the week||2-0||16-8|
|Lock of the week||0-1||6-6|
|Underdog of the week||1-0||8-3-1|
|Over of the week||0-1||6-6|
|Under of the week||0-1||7-5|
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