Many of the biggest college football rivalry games kickoff this Saturday and run through next Thanksgiving weekend. On Saturday, Nov. 19 it’s ‘Bedlam’ when the Oklahoma State Cowboys visit Norman to tackle their rival Oklahoma Sooners.
Betting on the biggest college football games and rivalries drives major money and handles at the leading online sportsbooks. This weekend, the Oklahoma State at Oklahoma game in Norman and crosstown rivalry between USC and UCLA in Los Angeles will generate more money and major wagers with both games on national TV.
Current college football odds and betting lines at FanDuel Sportsbook
No. 22 Oklahoma State at Oklahoma | 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Line: Oklahoma -7.5 and Total 66.5
No. 6 USC at No. 17 UCLA | 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX
Line: USC -2.5 and Total 76.5
Types of bets and how to read the odds
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma
This is the first “Bedlam” series game for Oklahoma first-year head coach Brent Venables. It’s the 18th for Mike Gundy as head coach of Oklahoma State. The Cowboys (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) fell out of the College Football Playoff rankings following a pair of one-sided losses to Kansas State and Kansas. But Oklahoma State played Kansas without star QB Spencer Sanders, who suffered a shoulder injury against Kansas State. He came off the bench last week and tossed a go-ahead TD pass in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys 20-14 win over Iowa State, the Big 12’s best defense. Sanders replaced Gunner Gundy, who was making his first career star and is the son of Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy.
Both the Cowboys and Sooners defenses are deficient and among the very worst in the Big 12. Oklahoma (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) is dead last in rush defense (200 YPG) and Oklahoma State is last in pass defense (290 YPG). The Sooners offense is explosive with QB Dillon Gabriel in the lineup, but laying these points is a big risk with such a deficient defense and especially in a big rivalry game. With QB Sanders starting, the Cowboys were good enough to lead undefeated TCU on the road 30-16 into the fourth quarter before falling 43-40 in double overtime. The following week, Oklahoma State showed their resiliency and took down Texas 41-34 while rolling up 530 yards offense and 32 first downs.
Comparing scores is not a good way of evaluating teams and performances. The bookmakers count on bettors to make bad decisions and bets based on their emotions and on final scores and not yards, game-changing plays, turnovers, injuries and other impactful plays or situations. But it’s worth noting that Oklahoma was beaten badly by TCU (55-24) and Texas (49-0) and lost to both Baylor and West Virginia in their last two games.
Oklahoma has a streak of 23 consecutive years with a winning record. Only Boise State’s 24 is longer. The Sooners’ current bowl streak that began in 1999 also stands at 23 straight — two below Georgia’s 25 in a row. A loss to Oklahoma State and next week at Texas Tech ends the Sooners streaks.
Oklahoma State has taken more than 2/3 of the spread bets and money (handle) as the underdog at a number of leading legal US online sportsbooks.
USC at UCLA
The crosstown rivalry game in Los Angeles is another big one with a battle for the Victory Bell and more on the line in the Pac-12 standings. I provide a Pac-12 betting preview of the USC-UCLA game along with the other big battle between No. 10 Utah and No. 12 Oregon for FanDuel Sportsbook
USC (9-1, 7-1 Pac 12) controls their destiny to the Pac 12 championship game and a win gets them in. UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) needs to win and get help in tiebreakers after the Bruins blew it last week losing to Arizona as a 20-point home favorite.
But a large majority of bettors are counting on the Bruins to bounce back and win, according to data received from leading online sportsbooks like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars.
“Even on the lookaheads, bettors were big fans of UCLA,” Caesars Sportsbook reports. “It’s been half and half with sharps on USC this season, they either love them or they hate them. In this matchup, they hate them.”
Other notable rivalry games this weekend include:
- Iowa at Minnesota (-2.5) for the Floyd of Rosedale Bronze Pig
- Stanford at Cal (-5.5)
Joe Starkey will call his final Big Game this week as he prepares for retirement after 48 seasons as the voice of the Cal Golden Bears.
Top 25 CFB Playoff Rankings and Week 12 Games
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change. Current betting lines on favorites from FanDuel Sportsbook. All times Eastern for games Sat., Nov. 19.
No. 1 Georgia (-22.5) at Kentucky | 3:30 pm | CBS
No. 2 Ohio State (-27.5) at Maryland | 3:30 pm | ABC
No. 3 Michigan (-18) vs. Illinois | 12pm | ABC
No. 4 TCU (-2.5) at Baylor | 12 pm | FOX
No. 5 Tennessee (-21.5) at South Carolina | 7 pm | ESPN
No. 6 LSU (-14.5) vs. UAB | 9 pm | ESPN2
No. 7 USC (-2.5) at No. 16 UCLA | 8 pm | FOX
No. 8 Alabama (-44.5) vs. Austin Peay | 12 pm | SEC Network
No. 10 Utah (-2) at No. 12 Oregon | 10:30 pm | ESPN
No. 9 Clemson (-18.5) vs. Miami | 3:30 pm | ESPN
No. 11 Penn State (-19.5) at Rutgers | 3:30 pm | Big Ten Network
No. 13 North Carolina (-21) vs. Georgia Tech | 5:30 pm | ESPN2
No. 14 Ole Miss (-2.5) at Arkansas | 6:30 pm | SEC Network
No. 15 Kansas State (-7.5) at West Virginia | 2 pm | Big 12 Now
No. 17 Washington (-30.5) vs. Colorado | 9 pm | Pac 12 Network
No. 18 Notre Dame (-20.5) vs. Boston College | 2:30 pm | NBC
No. 19 Florida State (-24) vs. Louisiana | 12 pm | ESPN3
No. 20 UCF (-16) vs. Navy | 11 am | ESPN2
No. 21 Tulane (-3.5) vs. SMU | 7:30 pm | ESPN (Thursday)
No. 22 Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (-7.5) | 7:30 pm | ABC
No. 23 Oregon State (-7.5) at Arizona State | 2:15 pm | ESPN2
No. 24 NC State at Louisville (-4) | 3:30 pm | ACC Network
No. 25 Cincinnati (-16.5) at Temple | 4 pm | ESPNU
Under the radar and outside of the power conferences and Top 25, Boise State (-14) at Wyoming will decide the Mountain division entry into the Mountain West championship game. A Boise State win and they are in while Wyoming needs to beat Boise and then win again at Fresno State next week or have Boise State lose at home to Utah State.
Last week’s Border War battle rivalry game for the Bronze Boot between the Wyoming Cowboys and Colorado State Rams left some scars and many players injured. That border battle shows just how meaningful these rivalry games are even when a team like CSU is suffering through a miserable losing season. The Rams came up short 14-13 but covered the point spread as a 7.5-point underdog. That doesn’t matter to the players, coaches, alumni, friends, family and fans, but it does to bettors.
And these bigger rivalry games will generate big betting handles at the sportsbooks over the next 10 days.
You can bet on it.