Week 13 College Football Early Line Movement Analysis
All Lines Provided by BetMGM
13 Ole Miss (9-2 5-2 SEC) at Mississippi State (5-6 1-6 SEC) = Ole Miss -11.5 | 55.5 (Thursday)
Opened -10 | 57.5 in Las Vegas
Opened -14 | 56.5 Domestically
This game features one of the most notable line discrepancies of rivalry week, with Circa and FD presenting a 4-point arbitrage opportunity between their initial drops. Miss State benefited from the return of starting QB Will Rogers last week against Southern Miss, and expect to have RB Jo’quavious Marks back as well. Their return is a major boost for the Bulldogs’ chances of achieving bowl eligibility, as their listless offense ranks 119th in points per game (18.4), 125th in success rate (36.4%) and 117th in EPA/Play. Their defense isn’t much better, with former-HC/DC Zach Armstead allowing a brutal 31 PPG. MSU has earned just one SEC victory, and that was in a 7-3 slog against a terrible Arkansas team that still had ousted OC Dan Enos calling plays.
Ole Miss has beaten every team on their SEC West schedule except for Alabama and Georgia, thanks to the emergence of QB Jaxson Dart and an offense that averages 9.5 yards per pass (8th) and 3.1 points per drive (15th). They’ve posted a win expectancy of 72% or higher in each one of their nine victories except for LSU (32%), showing they are as good as any non-FCS Playoff contender in the country. With Mississippi State in disarray following the untimely passing of HC Mike Leach, I expect this line to climb closer to FanDuel’s opening line of 14.
Texas A&M (7-4 4-3 SEC) at 15 LSU (8-3 5-2 SEC) = LSU - 10.5 | 66.5
Opened -13.5 | 64.5 Domestically
Opened -8 | 68.5 in Vegas
Vegas and Domestic market leader FanDuel went to battle on this line, with a cavernous 5.5 difference in initial line pricing before the market settled around the 10.5 point mark we see at time of publishing. Texas A&M is playing Fresno State transfer third string quarterback Jaylen Henderson, who sports a middling 63.5 PFF passing grade with an unsightly 43% pressure-to-sack rate in his two starts. Texas A&M is in a transition from former HC Jimbo Fisher and occupies the middle-ground of the SEC West, beating bottom-dwellers like Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State and South Carolina while losing to Tennessee, Alabama and Ole Miss. The Aggies have relied on a stout run defense that ranks seventh nationally while the defense overall is pitching an elite 34.5% success rate (8th) while ranking 10th in EPA/Play.
A&M’s inexperience at QB could help to be overcome by facing off against one of the worst Power Five defensive units in the country, with LSU ranking 132nd in EPA/Play and 115th in success rate. The Tigers are ravaged by injuries in their secondary which have contributed to their defensive woes, as their 74% completion rate allowed in 3rd-and-long situations is the worst in the country. Attrition has depleted their defensive reserves despite having the eighth most talented defensive unit in the country according to 247Sports. Despite their defensive issues, Heisman-contending QB Jayden Daniels has propelled LSU to five wins in their last six games, with the lone loss coming to Alabama when Daniels got knocked out of the game with a concussion. They rank first nationally in yards per pass attempt (11.2) and EPA, while slotting second overall in yards per play and success rate.
I’m siding with FanDuel in thinking that this line should be closer to their -13.5 opener, but I think the value is on the Over 66.5 which has already ticked up two points from the FD Open.
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Iowa State (6-5 5-3 Big 12) at 21 Kansas State (8-3 6-2 Big 12) = Kansas State -10 | 47.5
Opened at -15 | 47.5
Iowa State gave top-10 Texas a pretty good run last weekend, posting a 38% win expectancy, and now have to play the defending Big 12 Champion Kansas State Wildcats who are a commanding 8-3 ATS in 2023. Vegas and the big domestics were on the same page opening this line in the two-touchdown range, but those numbers got steadily bet down as the public’s 78% Iowa State handle affected the market. The Cyclones utilize the short passing game to make up for an ineffective run game that ranks 99th in overall rushing performance. For perspective, QB Rocco Becht’s average target depth is 7.9 yards which ranks 73rd of 88 quarterbacks with 275 drop backs or more. ISU plays at the 118th slowest pace in the nation on offense to protect their excellent defense that checks in at 23rd in EPA/Play while fielding the 14th rated rush defense in the country.
The Wildcats are averaging a robust 38 PPG (10th), 3.2 points per drive (13th) and a 48% offensive success rate (13th) behind a devastating RB tandem of DJ Giddens and Treshaun Ward. The KSU defense is another bona fide unit that allows just 6.4 yards per pass (19th) with a 37% success rate (31st), as no team has thrown for more than 250 yards on them in the last five games. Kansas State does their best work with their backs against the goal line, allowing first downs on just 3% of rush attempts in the Red Zone this season (2nd in FBS) while their 29% Red Zone completion rate ranks third-best among Power 5 Teams.
Kansas State’s defense has a penchant for shutting teams down through the air, and Iowa State has one of the worst rush offenses in FBS. With that in mind, I’m projecting ISU to be running the clock heavily to try and slow down Kansas State’s potent offense. Since I think this is a bad style matchup for Iowa State’s offense, I think we see a lower scoring affair that favors the Under 48.5 points.
Other Notable Line Movement
2 Ohio State (11-0 8-0 Big Ten) at 3 Michigan (11-0 8-0 Big Ten) = MICHIGAN -3.5 | 46.5
Opened -5 | 47.5 (Was listed at Michigan -6 in the look ahead market last week)
20 North Carolina (8-3 4-3 ACC) at NC State (8-3 5-2 ACC) = NORTH CAROLINA -2.5 | 54.5
Opened -1 | 57.5
16 Arizona (8-3 6-2 Pac-12) at Arizona State 3-8 2-6 Pac-12) = ARIZONA -12.5 | 50.5
Opened -8 | 53.5
Houston (4-7 2-6 Big 12) at UCF (5-6 2-6 Big 12) - UCF - 13.5 | 60.5
Opened -9 | 61.5
Colorado (3-8 2-7 Pac-12) at Utah (7-4 4-4 Pac-12) - UTAH -21.5 | 52.5
Opened -18 | 52.5