College Football Picks: Texas A&M vs. Missouri

Jason Lake

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 6:19 PM GMT

Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 6:19 PM GMT

Nobody’s beaten up the college football betting lines worse than the Missouri Tigers this season. Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies will try to spoil the fun on Saturday night.

Who said the SEC was so tough? The Missouri Tigers (10-1 SU, 9-1-1 ATS) just came over from the Big 12 last year, and they’re already one win away from playing in the SEC championship game. All they have to do is beat the Texas A&M Aggies (8-3 SU, 5-6 ATS), who aren’t doing too badly themselves after making the jump from the Big 12. The college football lines for Saturday night’s matchup (7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN) have Missouri favored by 4.5 points at home with a total of 66.5.

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Tiger Worship

Our consensus reports show 64 percent of bettors on Missouri’s side, and no wonder. The Tigers are tied with the Wisconsin Badgers for the best ATS record in the FBS. The only time they failed to beat the college football spreads was in Week 9 against the South Carolina Gamecocks (+3 away), and that was in a game that went into overtime when Mizzou blew a 17-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

Having said all that, it’s possible the Tigers are overvalued in this situation. They’re No. 5 in the college football polls, but only No. 12 on the F/+ Combined Ratings at Football Outsiders (No. 22 offense, No. 10 defense, No. 84 special teams). Strength of schedule is the key point here. Mizzou is in the SEC’s weaker half, the East Division, and hasn’t had to play the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide or the No. 4 Auburn Tigers. Not yet, at least.

Be Good Johnny

The No. 21 Aggies, meanwhile, were placed in the West Division along with Alabama and Auburn – and the No. 17 LSU Tigers, who beat them 34-10 last week as 3.5-point home faves. Those are the only three teams Texas A&M has lost to this year. However, we can’t say the Aggies are underrated by any means. They’re No. 24 on the efficiency charts (No. 3 offense, No. 87 defense, No. 8 special teams) going into the last game of the regular season.

You may have heard about the Texas A&M quarterback. Johnny Manziel (69.1 CMP%, 5.5 yards per carry) is having another Heisman-quality campaign, although the chances of him winning his second trophy in two years have dimmed somewhat over the past couple of weeks. Manziel’s performance against LSU was his worst of the season: 16-of-41 for 224 yards with one TD throw and a pair of picks.

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College Football Picks: Week 14 Betting Odds Report

Sam I Am

The clash of styles in Saturday’s matchup certainly appears to favor the Tigers. Texas A&M hasn’t been keeping up on defense, allowing 31.2 points per game, or No. 89 out of the 125 FBS teams. The pass defense has been especially bad, but over the past few weeks, the Aggies have allowed opponents to run the ball, as well – including 324 yards rushing (!) by LSU.

At the other end of the field, Manziel will have to contend with a Tigers defensive line that features Michael Sam (10 sacks, one fumble return TD) and Kona Ealy (five sacks, one INT return TD). While most casual fans will be watching this game for Johnny Football, the scouts will be paying attention to the battle in the trenches between Sam and Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews. If Sam doesn’t get to Manziel, Ealy just might.

Manziel and the Aggies won last year’s matchup 59-29 as 23-point home faves, but that was without Mizzou QB James Franklin (67.3 CMP%, 4.5 yards per carry) in the mix. Franklin also missed four games this season with a shoulder injury – including the loss to South Carolina – before coming back strong last week against the then-No. 24 Mississippi Rebels. It’s all systems go for the Tigers in a game that could propel them into a BSC bowl. I’m on board for my college football picks.

College Football Pick: Take the Tigers –4.5 at Ladbrokes

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