Despite the craziness of this year’s college football schedule, one thing remains the same in 2020: Thanksgiving weekend offers a ton of great rivalry games. The big rivalries are an integral part of what makes college football such a huge draw. The traditions and fierce nature of these games make them all the more exciting to watch and bet on. Let’s look at the eight top rivalry renewals on tap for Saturday from a historical and betting perspective.
Auburn at Alabama (-25, total 62.5): The Iron Bowl is undoubtedly a top-five rivalry in college football, perhaps in all of college sports. It just might not feel like it Saturday, when Alabama will be playing as at least a 24-point favorite over Auburn. The Crimson Tide have been dominant in 2020, scoring nearly 50 points per game and winning by just over 30 per game. Auburn has been worse than expected, but has managed to piece together a three-game winning streak to move to 5-2. The line for the game, however, shows the national perception of the teams.
Do the huge point spread and the significance of the rivalry indicate the Tigers have a shot in this one? Recent history says no. Alabama has been favored in this game by double digits seven times since 2011, and has gone 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS.
Key series trend: Home teams are on runs of 3-0 ATS and 6-2 ATS.
Georgia (-21.5, 49.5) at South Carolina: The Clemson-South Carolina rivalry is the Gamecocks’ biggest, but with the SEC running a conference-only schedule in 2020, that game had to be shelved. No worries. Georgia is a close second in terms of teams that South Carolina fans loathe. In fact, this series has been described as Downright Dirty, New Fashioned Hate.
Unfortunately for the host Gamecocks, they will have to muster up every potential source of motivation just to compete with the heavily favored Bulldogs. South Carolina is struggling, having lost four straight games outright and against the number, while allowing 48-plus points in three of those. Georgia has unexpectedly lost twice this season and will need a minor miracle to still have a shot at the SEC title game. Pummeling the Gamecocks and avenging a 20-17 loss as 20.5-point favorites a year ago will be foremost on the Bulldogs’ minds.
Key series trend: Including the massive upset by South Carolina last year, road teams have won four straight ATS in this series.
Mississippi State at Ole Miss (-10, 68.5): The Egg Bowl used to be so big that it single-handedly occupied football fans’ viewing options on Thanksgiving night. The holiday football feast has expanded a lot in recent years and this rivalry has plummeted in significance on the national scale, so the game is now played Saturday afternoon. With neither team boasting a winning record, the only place you’ll be able to watch it is on the SEC Network. That’s unfortunate, too, as both teams began the season with great promise, welcoming in new coaches Mike Leach (MSU) and Lane Kiffin (Ole Miss). Perhaps these fiery personalities can put some flair back in the series, which in its heyday was best described as a “family feud.”
Key series trend: With MSU averaging a paltry 17.4 points per game and a lofty total in place, it should be noted that Under is 13-4-1 in the Egg Bowl since 2002.