College Football Week 12 Betting Guide: Odds, Picks and Value Bets

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystNovember 16, 2018

College Football Week 12 Betting Guide: Odds, Picks and Value Bets

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    Syracuse QB Eric Dungey
    Syracuse QB Eric DungeyAdrian Kraus/Associated Press

    There might only be two or three Week 12 college football games worth watching, but the good news is you don't have to watch the games to bet on them.

    Whether you prefer over/unders, spreads or moneyline multipliers, we've got you covered with tips on the best Week 12 bets. We're also recommending a few games that you don't want to touch with a 10-foot pole.

    Will TCU fail to cover the spread for an eighth consecutive week? Will firing Bobby Petrino do enough good for Louisville to avoid getting blown out by NC State? And how many overtimes would it take for Miami and Virginia Tech to combine for more than 50 points?

    We cover all that and more in this week's college football betting guide.

Moneyline Picks and Picks Against the Spread for AP Top 25 Games

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    Utah State QB Jordan Love
    Utah State QB Jordan LoveDarryl Oumi/Getty Images

    The Citadel at No. 1 Alabama: Alabama (-51.5 and -29104)

    Duke at No. 2 Clemson: Clemson (-28.5 and -7500)

    No. 12 Syracuse at No. 3 Notre Dame: Syracuse (+10.5) and Notre Dame (-380)

    Indiana at No. 4 Michigan: Indiana (+28.5) and Michigan (-7500)

    Massachusetts at No. 5 Georgia: Massachusetts (+41.5) and Georgia (-54464)

    Kansas at No. 6 Oklahoma: Oklahoma (-36 and -33000)

    Rice at No. 7 LSU: Rice (+42.5) and LSU (-39464)

    Arizona at No. 8 Washington State: Arizona (+10.5 and +330)

    No. 9 West Virginia at Oklahoma State: West Virginia (-4.5 and -198)

    No. 10 Ohio State at Maryland: Ohio State (-15.5 and -600)

    No. 24 Cincinnati at No. 11 UCF: UCF (-7 and -280)

    Idaho at No. 13 Florida: Florida (-40 and -9464)

    No. 14 Penn State at Rutgers: Penn State (-28 and -7000)

    No. 16 Iowa State at No. 15 Texas: Iowa State (+3 and +130)

    Middle Tennessee at No. 17 Kentucky: Kentucky (-16 and -650)

    Oregon State at No. 18 Washington: Oregon State (+33.5) and Washington (-20000)

    No. 19 Utah at Colorado: Utah (-7 and -280)

    No. 20 Boston College at Florida State: Boston College (-1.5 and -125)

    Arkansas at No. 21 Mississippi State: Arkansas (+21) and Mississippi State (-1539)

    No. 22 Northwestern at Minnesota: Northwestern (+1.5 and +100)

    No. 23 Utah State at Colorado State: Colorado State (+28) and Utah State (-7000)

    No. 25 Boise State at New Mexico: Boise State (-19.5 and -950)

    Last Week: 15-4 straight up, 12-7 against the spread

    Year-to-Date: 59-26 straight up, 42-42-1 against the spread


    For the moneylines, a minus means you need to bet that much in order to win $100, and a plus means a $100 bet would return that much profit.

Spreads to Bet

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    NC State RB Reggie Gallaspy II
    NC State RB Reggie Gallaspy IILance King/Getty Images

    North Carolina State (-16.5) at Louisville

    NC State has lost three of its last four games and inexplicably gave one away against Wake Forest last Thursday. But what could you have possibly seen out of Louisville in the past month to make you believe the Cardinals can stay within 16 points of anyone?

    Louisville has allowed at least 54 points in four of its last five games, and the lone exception was a 38-20 loss to a Boston College team playing without its biggest star, AJ Dillon. The Cardinals' average margin of defeat during that stretch was 33.2 points. And of their eight losses, the only one that wasn't by at least 18 points was a 28-24 home game against an equally disastrous Florida State.

    NC State isn't renowned for its run game, but anyone who can walk and chew gum at the same time is a candidate to destroy Louisville's front seven these days. Its last five opponents averaged 395.8 rushing yards and 5.2 rushing touchdowns. Expect a rare big day from Reggie Gallaspy II and Ricky Person Jr. as the Wolfpack trounce the Cardinals.


    Middle Tennessee at Kentucky (-16)

    Laying this many points is a lot of faith to put in a team that hasn't scored more than 17 in a game since September.

    But those games were against SEC defensesmost of which are well-equipped to shut down even an elite running back. That's not the case with Middle Tennessee, which got blown out by both Vanderbilt (by 28 points) and Georgia (by 42) this season. The Blue Raiders also allowed 272 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Florida Atlantic.

    MTSU is 7-3, but mostly because it has spent the past month bloating itself against Charlotte, Old Dominion, UTEP and Western Kentuckythree of which rank in the bottom eight nationally in scoring offense.

    That's all a long-winded way to say Benny Snell Jr. is gonna run wild in this one. And MTSU's offense—though it looked potent against UTEP, ODU and Tennessee-Martin—is going to have a hard time scoring more than once against this upper-echelon defense.


    Boston College (-1.5) at Florida State

    The only explanation for this line is that bettors are afraid to believe in Boston College with QB Anthony Brown questionable to play after suffering an injury last week against Clemson.

    But Notre Dame had little trouble smashing Florida State with its backup QB this past week. Yes, Brandon Wimbush is better and has way more experience than EJ Perry, but the point is Florida State is a laughingstock right now.

    The 'Noles have lost their last three games by a combined margin of 97 points. Were it not for a last-minute touchdown against NC State, all three of those games would have been decided by at least 26 points. Their run game is still a disaster, and now they have to face a BC defense limiting opponents to 3.7 yards per carry.

    Speaking of defense, Boston College has an excellent pass-rushing duo in Wyatt Ray and Zach Allen, who should cause all sorts of problems for an offensive line made of Swiss cheese.

    It might be an ugly, low-scoring game, but the Eagles should win it.


    Last Week's Picks (2-1)

    Syracuse -21 vs. Louisville (actual: Syracuse by 31)
    Kentucky -6 at Tennessee (actual: Tennessee by 17)
    West Virginia -12 vs. TCU (actual: West Virginia by 37)

    Year to Date: 6-8-1

Stay-Away Games

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    Alabama head coach Nick Saban
    Alabama head coach Nick SabanJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Citadel at Alabama (-51.5)

    If Nick Saban wanted to, Alabama could probably win this game by over 100. But what purpose would that serve? The Crimson Tide don't need style points. All they need to do is get through the week without any injuries.

    Thus, you probably won't see any of Alabama's best rusher, Najee Harris, because he is already dealing with a minor ankle injury. You probably won't see Tua Tagovailoa beyond the third Alabama possession because of his knee and quad issues. And it's unclear if Jalen Hurts will even suit up after he underwent minor ankle surgery a few weeks ago.

    So, odds are you're betting on whether or not Mac Jones and Brian Robinson Jr. lead Alabama in the fourth quarter to a 49-0 or 56-0 victory. Just stay away from this one.


    UAB at Texas A&M (-17)

    UAB is 9-1 and has a scoring margin of 199 points, but who have the Blazers played in preparation for this game?

    It's annoying when people use the "yeah but who has Bama played?" retort, but it's a legitimate question here. Alabama-Birmingham has only faced three teams with six or more wins. It was blown out by Coastal Carolina, it eked out a win over North Texas and it handled its business against Louisiana Tech. And just because those teams are bowl-eligible doesn't mean they're any good.

    But what if UAB actually is a Top 25-caliber team and it just hasn't gotten the chance to prove it yet? If you're feeling frisky, maybe make a small bet on UAB on the moneyline just in case, but no outcome in this game would be that stunning.


    Oregon State at Washington (-33.5)

    Washington is 7-3, but it is just 2-8 against the spread and has not covered since Week 5. But betting against Washington in this game would mean trusting Oregon State's defensewhich has allowed 45.1 points per game this seasonto keep this one somewhat interesting.

    There must be better ways to throw your money away.

Easy Over/Unders

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    Temple RB Ryquell Armstead
    Temple RB Ryquell ArmsteadMaddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Easy Over: South Florida at Temple (Over 61)

    Temple's last two games were a 59-49 win over Houston and a 52-40 loss to UCF. That's an average of 100 total points per game. The Owls also had an 80-point total against Boston College and a 65-pointer against Buffalo, so they are no stranger to high-scoring games involving teams with good offense and less-than-stellar defense.

    Same goes for South Florida, which has allowed at least 30 points in five of its last six games, averaging a combined total of 70.7 points during that stretch. Two of those games went over 90, and the only one that fell shy of 56 was a 25-24 Friday night stinker against a bad Tulsa offense.

    For the season, the Bulls have averaged 32.3 points on offense and allowed 31.3 on defense. Temple isn't much different with marks of 34.3 and 27.2, respectively. All signs point to this one hitting the over by the end of the third quarter.

    Last week's pick: Vanderbilt at Missouri (line: opened at 59, closed at 65; actual: 61)


    Easy Under: Miami at Virginia Tech (Under 51.5)

    Turns out that unders are my wheelhouse. I've hit four in a row, and each of the last three came at least two touchdowns shy of the total. Three of those four games were in the MAC, and Bowling Green at Akron with a total of 50.5 certainly was enticing for this week.

    But how are we supposed to believe Miami and Virginia Tech are going to combine for at least 52 points when neither one has scored more than 28 in a game since September?

    (And, man, remember three months ago when we thought this game might decide who wins the ACC Coastal Division?)

    Maybe Miami's offense will get back on track a bit against a Virginia Tech defense that can't stop anyone lately, but it's also possible the Hokies get held to single digits by a Hurricanes D that has remained impressive in spite of their four-game losing streak.

    Four consecutive Miami games have had a total of 48 points or fewer. That streak stretches to five this week.

    Last week's pick: Bowling Green at Central Michigan (line: 51; actual: 37)

    Year-to-Date Over/Unders: 7-3

Best Moneyline Value Bets

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    Arizona RB J.J. Taylor
    Arizona RB J.J. TaylorRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Five teams won outright last week as double-digit underdogs, including UNLV overcoming a 24-point spread at San Diego State and paying 13-1 at some books.

    Generally speaking, a 10-point dog that wins outright pays 3-1 on the moneyline and a 17.5-point dog will pay around 6-1, so there's a lot of value in this zone. Here are three significant underdogs who could pull off the upset and put a nice chunk of change in your pocket.


    Colgate (+300) at Army

    There are a bunch of FBS vs. FCS games this week that will be complete and utter blowouts.

    This is not one of them.

    Colgate is 9-0 and has beaten its last seven opponents by a combined score of 253-9. That's right. The Raiders have averaged 36.1 points while allowing 1.3.

    Army will provide much more of a challenge to this defense than Fordham or Georgetown did, but it has to be worth noting that Colgate's last three opponents combined for negative-14 rushing yards on 76 carries. Getting 3-1 odds on that defense sounds good.


    Arizona (+330) at Washington State

    This is my "come on, there's no way every Top 10 team wins again this week, right?" upset pick.

    After a brutal start to the season, Arizona seems to be piecing things together. The Wildcats averaged 21.7 points against their first six FBS opponents, never scoring more than 35. But they lit up Oregon and Colorado in back-to-back weeks for more than 40 points in each game.

    Khalil Tate is passing much better than he had been, and J.J. Taylor is suddenly No. 4 in the nation in rushing yards thanks to 558 in his last three games.

    The last time Wazzu faced a top-five rusher, Oregon State's Jermar Jefferson racked up 138 yards and four touchdowns. And though Arizona's defense isn't anything special, it will provide a lot more resistance than Oregon State's did. The Wildcats might pull off the stunner and finally eliminate the Pac-12 from the College Football Playoff conversation.


    Illinois (+475) vs. Iowa

    I don't love this pick, but getting almost 5-1 odds on Iowa to lose looks like a wise investment right about now.

    The Hawkeyes have lost three in a row and haven't reached 400 yards of total offense in any of their last four games. Meanwhile, Illinois has scored at least 33 points in three straight, averaging 549.3 yards of offense in those contests.

    The reason I don't love it is that Illinois's defense has allowed 48.6 points over its last five games and Iowa's hasn't been bad during this losing streak. The Hawkeyes should win. But their uninspired play of late makes this one of this week's feasible upsets by a double-digit dog.

    Year-to-Date hits: Kansas +415 over TCU (Week 9), Northwestern +360 over Iowa (Week 11)

Noteworthy Line Movement

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    Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson
    Northwestern QB Clayton ThorsonJim Young/Associated Press

    UTSA at Marshall (-20 to -27.5)

    There was about a five-minute window on Sunday afternoon when you could have gotten this line at 20 on BetOnline before it quickly spiked to 23.5. But even if we ignore that first 3.5-point swing, enough money came in on Marshall throughout the week for this line to move another four points.

    UTSA QB Cordale Grundy is doubtful to play due to injury. He didn't play last week and he only played a few snaps the week before that. In those two games against UAB and FIU, UTSA lost by a combined score of 97-10.

    Meanwhile, Marshall has won three of its last four and has scored at least 20 in each game this season. There's a non-zero chance this one gets ugly in a hurry.


    Northwestern at Minnesota (+3.5 to -1.5)

    It says a lot about the current state of the Big Ten West that Northwestern just clinched the division with two games left to play and then gradually became an underdog against 5-5 Minnesota.

    Part of the reason this line moved 4.5 points away from the Wildcats is stud corner Montre Hartage will not play due to injury. However, that news was announced Monday and the line didn't move much until Wednesday afternoon, so that's clearly not the only reason.

    Did bettors just wake up in the middle of the week and decide to wager heavily on the Gophers because Northwestern doesn't really have anything to play for and because Minnesota is desperate to get the all-important sixth win here?


    San Diego State at Fresno State (-16 to -12.5)

    Following a disturbing home loss to UNLV, San Diego State opened as a 16-point underdog. But it seems bettors eventually remembered that the Aztecs are 2018's unofficial kings of too-close-for-comfort games.

    Eight consecutive SDSU contests have been decided by eight points or fewer. It doesn't matter if the Aztecs are upsetting Arizona State and Boise State or narrowly winning at home against inferior Air Force and San Jose State; this team has a knack for keeping things interesting until the final whistle.

    One would assume that Fresno Statewith its elite defense and its propensity for blowing out Mountain West teams not named Boise State—would win this game comfortably and clinch the division, but it's also not hard to understand why SDSU's involvement caused the spread to shrink.

Lock of the Week: Baylor (-2) vs. TCU

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    Baylor QB Charlie Brewer
    Baylor QB Charlie BrewerDavid K Purdy/Getty Images

    TCU at Baylor (-2)

    Have people seriously still not figured out that TCU is bad?

    Even before losing QB Shawn Robinson and WR/KR KaVontae Turpin for the year, this team was just OK. But in three games since then, the Horned Frogs have:

    • Lost to Kansas for the first time since joining the Big 12 in 2012.
    • Managed just 275 total yards in a one-point home win over a Kansas State team that is also in shambles.
    • Rushed for negative-seven yards in a blowout loss to West Virginia.

    This teamwhich has now failed to cover the spread in seven consecutive gameshas no business being just a two-point underdog on the road against a solid Baylor team that is trying to become bowl-eligible.

    Perhaps if the Bears hadn't drawn the short end of the Big 12 scheduling stick, they would already have six wins. Four of their five losses were road games against ranked conference foes: Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Iowa State.

    And they put up valiant fights against the Longhorns and Cyclones, outgaining Iowa State by 150 yards last Saturday and getting several shots at what would have been a game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds against Texas.

    Baylor should have little difficulty moving the ball against a TCU secondary that has allowed 16 passing touchdowns against three interceptions over its last eight games. And the Horned Frogs won't be able to keep things interesting with an offense that has been held below 300 total yards in four of its last six games.

    Last week's lock: Pittsburgh -2 vs. Virginia Tech (actual: The Panthers averaged an absurd 13.9 yards per play in a 30-point blowout of the Hokies.)

    Year-to-Date Locks: 3-2


    All moneylines, spreads and over/under totals are via OddsShark and are current through 12 p.m. ET on Thursday. 

    Kerry Miller covers college football and men's college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @kerrancejames.