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B/R College Football 2021 Betting Locks with Adam Kramer: Week 12

Adam Kramer@kegsneggsNational College Football Lead WriterNovember 18, 2021

Kansas State wide receiver Malik Knowles, right, celebrates with running back Deuce Vaughn after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA football basketball game against Kansas Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Three winning weeks in a row. That is the expectation, and that is precisely what has transpired. Whether you're a first-timer or a regular of our CFB Locks of the Week, that is what I plan to deliver until there are no more games remaining. 

After a Texas-like stretch of picks against the spread, I have found my inner Georgia. 

For a while in Week 11, it looked like I might produce a special weekend. The late games were not as kind, but I'll gladly take 6-4-1. (Although it was awfully close to an 8-2-1.) 

Still, I'll lean into it. After chasing .500 for the past two months, picks against the spread now sit at 54-54-2.

Now, I am not proud of .500. I expect better. You deserve better. But after digging an early hole, it feels good to be climbing out at just the right time.

Before I get to my Week 12 picks, here is what went right and wrong last week.

The Good: Baylor (+5.5) vs. Oklahoma: Did you play the money line as well? I certainly hope so. I liked the Bears plus the points, and I also said they would win outright. This one was relatively stress free, which was not the case elsewhere. 

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The Bad: Auburn (-5.5) vs. Mississippi State: At one point, Auburn led 28-3. I felt pretty comfortable about the outcome at that point. Mike Leach's team then responded by outscoring the Tigers 40-6 from that point on. Woof.

Can we make it four winning weeks in a row? 

Let's find out.

     

Cincinnati (-10.5) vs. SMU 

Jeff Dean/Associated Press

I know what you're thinking, and I can't exactly blame you for it. 

Cincinnati has been largely unimpressive over the past month. The Bearcats have not covered the spread since October 16. Sure, they have won every game, which is more than most can say. But it doesn't feel like much has come easy. 

That's about to change against perhaps the second-toughest opponent Cincinnati will face all year. SMU is 8-2, and the Mustangs just destroyed Central Florida in Week 11. (That was at home, which is important.) 

On the road this season, SMU is 1-4 against the spread. Both of its losses, against Houston and Memphis, occurred away from home.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, has only played at home once since October 16. While coming home might not solve all of the Bearcats' problems, it should help a great deal. 

Cincinnati (finally) delivers an impressive win.

     

Utah (-3) vs. Oregon

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

I have a confession to make. I love betting Utah at home.

I especially love betting Utah at home in this very specific spot.

Perhaps you disagree. Considering how flat the Utes looked against Arizona last weekend—allowing the Wildcats to hang around and falling well short of covering the 24-point spread—some of that is understandable.

But don't fixate on the outcome. It was a classic lookahead game.

Utah has looked superb at home in its past two games, beating Arizona State and UCLA convincingly. Oregon is, of course, a much better team. Although I don't believe that will matter.

Oregon, while still only with one loss, has not looked like a dominant team of late. While the Ducks covered against Washington and Washington State in their past two games, neither game came particularly easy. 

Though many will likely jump on a top-five team getting points, don't fall for the trap. 

Utah wins this game. No, it's not an upset. Let's not call it that. They are favored, and I am here for it.

      

Kansas State (-1) vs. Baylor

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Baylor, thank you. Last week was lovely. Your efforts against Oklahoma were superb, and it's largely been a wonderful year after a lackluster 2020.

With that being said, I'm going the other way this week. As always, it's not personal. It's only business. 

This point spread is a bit jarring. Given the Bears' most recent victory, Dave Aranda's squad is likely to be a popular selection this week. 

But Kansas State, especially at home, is a real threat. The Wildcats have put together a solid season, and after losing three straight games, K-State has won—and covered—each of its the past four games.

The smallest player on the field is a big reason why. Running back Deuce Vaughn, who stands 5'6", has eclipsed 100 rushing yards in the past three games while also becoming a threat to catch passes with 40 receptions for 427 yards this season. His stardom could blossom after this outcome. 

As for the game itself, this venue has always had a knack for producing upsets and generating chaos. Kansas State is 5-1 against the spread at home in 2021.

On Saturday, that will become 6-1.

      

Washington State (-16) vs. Arizona

Andy Nelson/Associated Press

The Cougars might actually be a pretty decent football team. 

Amid the controversial departure of head coach Nick Rolovich and a chaotic year, Washington State has been incredibly kind to gamblers. Although the Cougars could not cover the spread against Oregon on Saturday, it required a rather bizarre sequence of events for that to take place.

Before that, Washington State had covered six consecutive games. The Cougars put up valiant fights against Utah, BYU and Arizona State. And while they are 5-5, it's a respectable 5-5. 

On the topic of valiant efforts, enter Arizona. The Wildcats' performance against Utah should be commended. In fact, they've played far more competitive football of late. But the majority of those quality performances have come at home, and this road trip could change that momentum greatly.

Wazzu has plenty to play for—bowl eligibility for starters. Jake Dickert, the interim head coach, is also stating a case to keep the job for good.

I originally locked this bet in at -14. I like it enough that I'll stick with it.

Washington State wins comfortably. 

       

Liberty (-4.5) vs. Louisiana

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

Before the season began, this point spread would have sounded about right.

Since then, however, it's been a bit of a winding road for Liberty. Hugh Freeze's team has shown flashes. Although the loss to Louisiana-Monroe as a 33-point favorite, one of the biggest upsets in recent memory, was a crushing one. 

Liberty hung tough with (and covered against) Ole Miss in its last game. In light of the Rebels' recent win over Texas A&M, that result feels a bit more meaningful. Throw in a well-timed bye before the home stretch, and morale should be high. 

Louisiana, outside of a Week 1 loss to Texas, has been solid all year. The Ragin' Cajuns have won nine in a row. This, however, will be a dramatic step up in competition. 

It's been a weird year for Liberty QB Malik Willis, who wasn't sharp against Ole Miss. I expect we see a far better importance this week with a heavy emphasis on the run.

That will be enough. 

Liberty 34, Louisiana 24. 

      

Other Games on the Card

Arizona State at Oregon State (Over 59): Both of these offenses can pack a punch. The fact that this total is in the 50s is good enough for me; I could see this game getting wild.

USC (+3) vs. UCLA: Given USC's recent struggles, the public is likely to be all over UCLA. But this point spread feels, well, odd, and I am going to give the Trojans a shot in their Super Bowl.

TCU (-21) vs. Kansas: The Jayhawks were superb last week. TCU was bad. This sport is weird like that sometimes. Kansas experiences a letdown after a massive win.

Navy (+4) vs. East Carolina: More than anything, I like the timing of this game. East Carolina delivered a nice win over Memphis, but Navy will be fresh off a bye. Midshipmen by a touchdown.

Wyoming at Utah State (Under 52.5): Both of these defenses can play a little bit. In fact, Wyoming's might be quite good. It's an obscure game, although I don't have any issue with those.

     

Odds via DraftKings and accurate as of Wednesday.

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