Believe it or not, the final week of the college football season is here, and Luckett’s Locks will wrap up the year.
That’s probably for the best.
After a 4-5 against the spread (ATS) weekend, our season total drops to 38-46-2 here at Luckett’s Locks. Not much has gone right, but it’s time to go down swinging as all of us give thanks for turkey.
A bonus edition of Luckett’s Locks is here as our weekends will be littered with high-quality football. Let’s finish the season on a strong note.
Here are the best plays on the Week 13 card.
Ole Miss @ Mississippi State Under 64
There is just no way we can start this beautiful weekend without touching on the Egg Bowl. Over in Oxford, Ole Miss is one win away from a 10-2 regular season and a New Year’s Six berth. Matt Corral has been excellent all season, and the Rebs keep finding ways to win.
In Starkville, the Bulldogs won 4 out of 5 as the lightbulb appears to have gone off for Will Rogers. The sophomore quarterback leads college football in completion percentage (76.1%) and has averaged at least 7.5 yards per attempt in each of the last four games.
Most will expect points in bunches, but it’s time to go against the grain. The under is 6-0 in the last six Ole Miss games. Every total over 55 has been 5-0 to the under in each Mississippi State game. The Ole Miss offense is not as explosive as you think, and Mississippi State is more ball control than tempo.
The under tickets cash in what should be a fun Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night.
Miami, Ohio (PK) @ Kent State
In the last game of the season, Miami (Ohio) and Kent State will be playing for a division title and a chance to play for a MAC championship next week. The RedHawks have the best defense in MAC teaming up with a very efficient offense. That is a dangerous combination.
At Kent State, the Golden Flashes are dangerous on offense, but the defense can be really bad. A powerful rushing attack is leading the way as Kent State has three rushers over 500 yards this season and a veteran quarterback who does not make mistakes.
Good offense vs. good defense is the major storyline, but the road team has a significant advantage on the other side of the football. Miami (Ohio) will have a big day on offense, and that will be the difference.
Take the small road dog as the RedHawks will travel to Detroit to go after their second conference title in three seasons.
Miami (-21.5) @ Duke
No one is really sure if Manny Diaz will have a job after Saturday, but the Hurricanes have looked improved over the last month of the season. The U is 4-1 in their last five conference games, and redshirt freshman Tyler Van Dyke looks like the quarterback of the future.
Meanwhile, this will likely be David Cutcliffe’s final game at Duke. The offense still has major issues, and the Blue Devils appear to have the worst defense in college football.
Duke is 0-5 ATS since Oct. 9 and hasn’t come close to competing in recent weeks. Miami is on a 4-2 ATS run and has a bunch of young players fighting trying to prove themselves.
Van Dyke has another big day passing, and Miami rolls on the road. Lay the double-digits.
Penn State @ Michigan State Under 51.5
James Franklin has signed a contract extension, and the eighth-year head coach is staying in Happy Valley. On the field, Penn State has all kinds of issues on offense as the Nittany Lions 118th in success rate. Meanwhile, the defense remains strong under star coordinator Brent Pry.
Mel Tucker just signed his monster extension, but Michigan State is 1-2 since their monster home win over Michigan. The Spartans are banged up and their inefficient offense can struggle when the big play is taken away.
In a cold-weather Big Ten game, Penn State has the defense to slow down Michigan State. Penn State has an offense that has all kinds of issues scoring points. The under is 9-2 in Penn State games this season and records another victory on Saturday afternoon.
Jump on another under.
Oregon State (+7) @ Oregon
The Beavers are one of the biggest surprises in college football under third-year head coach Jonathan Smith. Oregon State is a win and Washington State loss away from heading to the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Beavers do it with the offense as this rushing attack is going over 225 yards per game.
Once again, Oregon blew a chance at making it to the playoff with a Week 12 road loss in conference play. The Ducks now sit at 9-2 and must again play the what-if game. The offense remains solid under Joe Moorhead, but the defense has really struggled to stop the run.
Expect points in bunches at Autzen Stadium. The Beavers match up well with the Ducks and should have a shot at victory. Oregon State is 12-4 as a road dog in their last 16 tries, and Oregon has struggled as a favorite.
Give us the road dog Beavers in what should be an exciting rivalry game.
Texas A&M (-6.5) @ LSU
At one time, Jimbo Fisher again appeared to be the top target for LSU in another coaching carousel. However, all signs point to that not happening. Behind a top-notch defense and strong rushing attack, the Aggies can lock up a Citrus Bowl bid and 9-3 record with a win in Tiger Stadium.
Ed Orgeron’s time at LSU has come to an end, but the Tigers have one more shot at glory with Coach O. LSU is an inefficient team, but the defense has made some strides in recent weeks, and the offense has not been terrible.
A&M is 7-1 as a road favorite under Fisher, and the Aggies get another big road win on Saturday night in Death Valley.
Pittsburgh @ Syracuse Over 57.5
Pitt is well on its way to the ACC Championship as Pat Narduzzi’s squad attempts to wrap up a 10-2 season. Super senior Kenny Pickett has been one of the best quarterbacks in college football, but the defense has had issues stopping the run.
After tough road losses to Louisville and NC State, Dino Babers and his program find themselves needing a victory on senior day to secure a bowl bid. Luckily, the Orange have one of the best rushing attacks in college football led by Sean Tucker.
Pitt is the better team, and the Panthers have scored points on everyone. However, Pitt will get Syracuse’s best shot in the Carrier Dome. The Panthers struggle to stop the run, and that could help this game turn into a shootout.
Luckett’s Locks is banking on that as this one turns into a shootout.
California (+6.5) @ UCLA
The Cal football program has a lot of issues. Head coach Justin Wilcox may be looking for a ticket out of Berkely, but the Golden Bears can still finish strong. The offense is improved, and the defense is still great at getting off the field without allowing points.
Chip Kelly needs one more win to finish 8-4, but his tenure tells us to tread lightly. The Bruins have been just blah this season, and a bad defense is the main reason not to go all-in on UCLA.
Cal is on a 14-4 ATS run as a road dog with an unblemished record this season. Wilcox’s squad collects another cover on Saturday night as the Golden Bears are a live dog at the Rose Bowl.
Best Bet: Notre Dame (-19.5) @ Stanford
The Irish have a double-digit win season once again under Brian Kelly and are contenders for the playoff. Notre Dame keeps improving every week on offense, and the defense under new coordinator Marcus Freeman has been elite at getting stops in scoring territory.
A horrible year continues at Stanford as David Shaw just does not seem to have the answers. The early signing period has really done a number on recruiting for the Cardinal and that is showing up on the field. Stanford is legitimately bad on both offense and defense.
Once again, Notre Dame is hitting their stride in November. That means we can lay the double-digits.
Irish win in an absolute blowout in Palo Alto.
Turkey Special: Bills (-6.5) @ Saints
We can’t get out of Luckett’s Locks without giving out at least one NFL pick. For now, we’ll keep it simple.
Despite the 6-4 record, the Buffalo Bills are still legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The AFC East team has a top offense and defense, but Sean McDermott’s squad has left everyone wanting more.
Meanwhile, the Saints sit at 5-5, but Sean Payton is coaching his “you know what” off. New Orleans has lost three in a row as this Saints team starts to fall back to Earth after the hot start.
The Bills are backed into a corner after losing 2 out of 3 and being embarrassed by both the Jaguars and Colts. A motivated Buffalo team will show up to the Superdome on Thanksgiving night looking to prove a point.
Lay the points as Josh Allen and the Bills issue a statement on the road.