College Football Best Bets: Our Staff’s 6 Favorite Picks for Saturday Week 12
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Patrick O’Brien
- Looking for quick college football betting picks? Our staff compiled their six favorite bets for Saturday's Week 12 slate.
- From Alabama vs. Mississippi State to Air Force vs. Colorado State, we've got you covered.
If you’re looking for a few late additions to your college football betting card, you’ve come to the right place.
Six of our staff members boiled down the slate to one play for your convenience. But they certainly don’t lack depth of analysis.
From Alabama vs. Mississippi State to Colorado State vs. Air Force, here are our six favorite bets for college football Week 12.
College Football Betting Picks, Week 12
Odds as of Friday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
John Ewing: Mississippi State +17 vs. Alabama
- Odds: Alabama -17
- Over/Under: 61
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Starkville, Miss.
Alabama lost last Saturday to LSU in a shootout. It was just the fifth loss for the Tide in the past five years. Nick Saban’s team rarely comes up short and is expected to bounce back on Saturday against Mississippi State.
Oddsmakers list Bama as 17.5-point favorites on the road in Starkville. More than 80% of spread tickets are on the Crimson Tide in one of the most heavily bet games of the weekend. The public expects Alabama to cover, but history suggests it won’t be that easy.
Since 2005, it has been profitable to fade ranked teams after a loss.
A $100 bettor following this strategy has returned a profit of $4,080.
Of course, Saban isn’t your average coach, but even the Hall of Famer has struggled in this scenario. Since 2005, following a regular season loss Saban’s teams have gone 1-10 ATS.
Oddsmakers know recreational bettors will expect a ranked team to bounce back after a poor performance the price may be a little too steep.
Sharps are on Mississippi State as well. Despite the lopsided action on Bama, the line has moved from Bulldogs +19 to +17.
Pick: Mississippi State +17 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Collin Wilson: Mississippi State +17.5
I’m with John here.
Tua Tagovailoa has spent Week 12 practices dressed in full pads watching from the sidelines. It is a catch-22 for the Crimson Tide, as the absence of the Heisman contender hurts Alabama on Saturday, but playing Tagovailoa could result in further injury that will keep him out of the Iron Bowl.
Whether Alabama has Tua or Mac Jones under center, the skill position players for Alabama are the best in the country. DeVonta Smith had over 200 yards receiving against two of the best cornerbacks in the nation for LSU.
But there would be a steep drop-off with Mac Jones, as Alabama would no longer thrive with fly, post and corner routes. Jones would have to settle for plenty of flat, comeback and curl patterns against Mississippi State.
While the Bulldogs are 114th in defensive passing success rate, there is hope of containing the explosiveness.
When Mississippi State has the ball, there is reason to think the ground game can have success against a young Alabama defense. The Bulldogs are 13th in Line Yards and 20th in Stuff Rate.
This suggests Joe Moorhead’s team will have success on the ground and possibly limit possessions from the Alabama offense.
With the Jefferson Pilot 11 a.m. local time slot, this game is a perfect candidate for Alabama to struggle after a grueling loss to LSU. Cowbell may be just good enough on the ground to keep this one close with Tua sidelined.
Pick: Mississippi State +17.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Stuckey: Missouri +7
- Odds: Florida -7
- Over/Under: 51
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
- Location: Columbia, Missouri
First off, this is a terrible situational spot for Florida. With almost zero shot at an SEC championship or college football playoff appearance and a bye on deck, the Gators will travel to Columbia for a 11 a.m. local time kick against the 5-4 Missouri Tigers.
If that doesn’t scream flat spot, you can also add in the expected forecast with temperatures in the low 40s‚ much lower than the mid-70s average temperature these Gators have played in this year.
Situationally, it’s an enormous edge for Missouri, which has had a very odd season. With a postseason ban appeal hanging over their heads all season, I feel as if the team has lacked motivation at times, particularly on the road. That would explain otherwise inexplicable losses at Vanderbilt and Wyoming earlier in the season. They also lost at Kentucky, although Kelly Bryant got hurt early on and that game was played in a monsoon.
In a very inconsistent season for Missouri, the one constant has been its play at home. The competition hasn’t been elite but this team has looked energized and focused from the jump in every home game this season.
- Home games: 5-0 +144 net points
- Road games: 0-4 -62 net points
I expect a max effort game from the Tigers, who should have Kelly Bryant (who missed last week against Georgia) back under center for this one and potentially their leading receiver Johnathan Johnson.
Missouri also matches up pretty well on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers probably have the most underrated defense in the country. I have Missouri with a higher rated defense than Florida, although by an immaterial margin.
The Tigers have an excellent secondary that constantly mixes up their looks which could cause problems for the young Kyle Trask. Missouri is only allowing 5.5 yards per pass attempt, which ranks fourth in the country.
- Ohio St 5.0
- Wisconsin 5.1
- Clemson 5.5
- Missouri 5.5
- Georgia 5.6
Missouri’s pass defense ranks in the top 10 in both explosiveness and success rate. And that’s how you contain a Florida offense that struggles to run the ball, averaging only 4.2 yards per carry (78th) and sitting outside the top 100 in rushing success rate.
Don’t expect the running game to get going behind a very young offensive line against a Missouri defense that also ranks in the top 15 in rushing success rate. The Missouri defensive line should dominate the line of scrimmage and the secondary can stick with the elite Florida receivers on the outside.
The Missouri defense has struggled to defend mobile quarterbacks all season (see: Kentucky game) but that won’t be a concern here.
This is the biggest home game of a lost season for a Tigers team that has thrived in Columbia all season while this is just a random road game before a bye week for Florida.
I think Missouri keeps this within one touchdown and wouldn’t be shocked to see the Tigers pull off the upset.
Kyle Miller: Indiana +14.5 at Penn State
- Odds: Penn State -14.5
- Over/Under: 54.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
- Location: State College, Pa.
I’ve been much lower on Penn State all season than the market and that looks to be the case once again this week. Last week I made Penn State a very small favorite against Minnesota and the Nittany Lions closed as 6.5-point road chalk.
That closing number, along with the box score favoring the Nittany Lions, actually made me raise their power rating a bit. Still, I make this week’s game just Penn State -10 so I’m happy to take the Hoosiers and two touchdowns.
My numbers really like Indiana in this game but I like the situational spot as well. The Hoosiers are coming off a bye week while Penn State must bounce back from a road loss to undefeated Minnesota. Indiana is a really good football team and I don’t think it’s getting nearly the respect that they deserve.
Indiana’s offense has been very impressive under offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer. Whether Michael Pennix Jr. or Peyton Ramsey line up behind center, the Hoosiers’ offense has been humming.
Pennix is out for the season but there’s been no drop off in production with Ramsey. We saw what a vertical explosive passing attack could do to Penn State’s defense last week against Minnesota and I expect more of the same in this matchup.
Pick: Indiana +14.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Sean Zerillo: ULM-Ga. Southern Under 57
- Odds: Ga. Southern -6.5
- Over/Under: 57
- Time: 3 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
The Action Network ratings project this total at 46 points, and though the majority of tickets (63%) have bet the over in this Sun Belt matchup, more of the cash (53%) is behind the under.
Wind speeds at kickoff should be north of 16 mph, which fits a profitable Pro System for windy unders that has hit at a 56.6% clip since 2005 — netting +$9,256 for a consistent $100 bettor.
Additionally, these two teams meet the criteria for the following Pro system regarding unders and rushing statistics — which requires that both teams run for more than 215 yards per game:
Georgia Southern ranks 11th in team rushing (256.2 yards per game) while Monroe ranks 23rd (216.4 yards per game).
Georgia Southern is what my colleague Stuckey would call a “snail” — ranking 121st out of 130 FBS teams at 64.8 plays per game, while Monroe works at a quicker pace (75 plays per game,23rd).
The Eagles should be able to control the tempo of the matchup with their option offense, as the Warhawks allow 5.86 yards per carry, in the bottom five amongst FBS defenses.
As a result, I bet Georgia Southern -6 (and would take anything under a touchdown) but would prefer to bet this under down to 55.5.
Pick: Under 57 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Steve Petrella: Colorado State 1H Moneyline (+245)/Full Game +10
- Odds: Air Force -10 at CSU
- Over/Under: 63.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
And we’re back. Our weekly tradition of finishing this piece with a first-half moneyline in some obscure west coast game.
There’s more variance in games with high totals. And there’s more variance in first halves than in full games. So it’s been profitable to take the first half moneyline with underdogs in projected shootouts.
Air Force has been excellent this year, but has been susceptible to big passing plays, and Colorado State’s offense has really come on as of late. The Rams have averaged at least 6.15 yards per play in their last three games, and have scored 35 or more in each.
Air Force the better team, but like I said, there’s lots of variance in first halves that are projected to be high scoring.
I’ll take a stab on CSU grabbing a halftime lead at +245, and also like the Rams to cover the full game +10 since the offense has really improved.
Picks: CSU 1H ML (+245), full game +10 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]