College Football Group of 5 Parlay: Week 12 Picks for New Mexico State vs. Auburn, Boise State vs. Utah State & More
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Temple quarterback EJ Warner.
Colorado State’s melt erased what would have been a winning week. Leading 22-3 late in the third quarter, the Rams just switched into cruise control, ultimately squeezing out a 22-19 win and an against-the-spread loss by the hook.
This week is an underdog delight with three upset-minded teams on the card and some of the nation’s best teams ATS.
Let's dive into my top college football Group of Five parlay for Week 12.
New Mexico State vs. Auburn
This is a special New Mexico State team for three reasons.
The first is that the Aggies have already clinched a spot in the Conference USA title game and are well on their way to being considered the greatest team in program history. Bill Connelly’s SP+ model has them ranked 66th nationally, the highest mark for an NMSU team.
Then there’s their work at the window. The Aggies are the second-most profitable team ATS in the entire country.
And finally, there’s QB1 Diego Pavia. The native son is approaching statue territory in Las Cruces, racking up eight multi-touchdown games this season. He now has an outside shot at a 1,000-yard season on the ground with four games (bowl included) remaining on the docket.
Jerry Kill’s team is playing with house money and having fun.
Meanwhile, Year 1 of the Hugh Freeze experience hasn’t been as fun on the Plains. Yes, the Tigers have hit six wins and are riding a winning streak, but I think that works against them laying a big number here.
There’s nothing to play for in this lookahead spot with the Iron Bowl next week. Getting in, staying healthy and getting out should be the frame of mind for Auburn.
New Mexico State really just needs to get 21 points to make this a solid bet, and I think it has the big play potential to do just that. Pavia is up-and-down as a passer, but as a team, this unit ranks 22nd in passing explosiveness this season.
And when it comes to running the football, the Aggies are one of the best in the Group of Five. They rank second in yards per carry nationally and an impressive sixth in Success Rate.
On the other side of the ball, NMSU makes opponents earn it. It limits the big play on defense, particularly through the air (37th). That’s mainly due to rock-solid coaching from Kill and his staff.
Recent wins over a ho-hum slate of Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Arkansas have inflated Auburn’s value a bit and pushed this number from 20.5 at open to 24.
I’m happy to grab the best number and ride with Pavia once again.
Play: New Mexico State +24 (Play to 22.5)
Temple vs. UAB
Last week we leaned into the "Fade Dilfer" experience with a service academy team that lacked an explosive offense. That turned into a sweat-free winner.
Let’s go back to the well and back a team with a quarterback that Dilfer called “the best passer in the conference.”
Temple has been feisty with E.J. Warner at quarterback this season. In his last three starts, the Owls have averaged 30 points per game. He’s personally put up 385 per game through the air with 12 touchdowns in those three contests.
Kurt Warner’s son has that “it” factor and can read defenses at an NFL level. Those aren’t just my thoughts; that’s pretty much what Dilfer said during his weekly presser.
He also conceded that Warner’s ability to read defenses quickly is going to make life very hard on his stop unit. Dilfer and his defense, which ranks dead last in Success Rate, are in big trouble here.
So, why are books giving the Owls a touchdown? Their defense is just horrific against the pass and has the potential to give up 40-plus in this game.
The only way that UAB fails to do that is if it shoots itself in the foot. Luckily, there’s proof that the Blazers are capable of doing just that. Extended lulls have haunted UAB’s offense in the past six quarters, helping it blow a huge lead against FAU and resulting in just six points against Navy.
If it sticks to that script, Temple could get a huge leg up in a potential barn-burner in Birmingham.
For those reasons, I’m on the Owls and would play them down to just below a touchdown at 6.5 points.
Play: Temple +7.5 (Play to 6.5)
Boise State vs. Utah State
Boise State is in crisis mode right now.
Its head coach has been fired. It has starters jumping into the portal midseason. Its best player is banged up and isn’t a lock to play in this game. And now, it's heading to play at one of the underrated Group of Five venues in Logan, Utah, against a team that needs one more win to achieve bowl eligibility.
This isn’t just a Boise fade. Utah State has secretly been a solid team all year long.
The Aggies have five wins on their rèsumé and quality losses to Iowa, James Madison and Fresno State. They scored 14 points against Iowa, which is no small feat. They had James Madison on the ropes for four quarters, falling by just a touchdown. And they kept things tight with Fresno, falling 37-32.
And if you’re looking for more than just moral victories, the Aggies have won their last two games with an electric offensive attack. Utah State has scored 73 points in the past two weeks. Its passing game is up to 16th in explosive plays generated, and this Boise secondary is a mess. The Broncos give up huge chunk plays through the air (109th in explosives allowed).
The Aggies have developed a strong receiving corps of Jalen Royals, Terrell Vaughn and Micah Davis. The trio has been unstoppable in its last two games, combining for 33 receptions, 353 yards and four touchdowns.
And finally, the Aggies are the most profitable home team ATS in the Mountain West dating all the way back to 2012, and they’re 4-1 at Maverik Stadium this season. I’ll take the better coach, the home-field advantage and the plus-money here.
Play: Utah State ML +140 (Play to +120)
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