College Football Moneyline Underdogs Picks for Week 12: Bet Army vs. Coastal Carolina, UNLV vs. Air Force (Nov. 18)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: UNLV’s Jayden Maiava.
For the sixth straight season on our college football betting podcast, Big Bets on Campus, Collin Wilson and I pick our two favorite moneyline underdogs for each week's slate.
After back-to-back donuts, I got us back on the board with UCF in an absolute romp. However, Collin couldn't get us the sweep, as one of his home run shots finally got boat-raced with FIU going down, 40-6, against Middle Tennessee in embarrassing fashion.
We've essentially pushed money back and forth for 11 weeks, so hopefully we can close strong over our three final chances of the 2023 season.
- 2018-22: 60-98, +8.3 units
- 2023: 8-14, +0.20 units
- Overall: 68-110, +8.5 units
This week, Collin and I are rolling with a pair of underdogs in afternoon games involving service academies. You won't even have to change the channel if you're riding along with us.
If you're feeling lucky, a parlay of both pays 5-1 odds.
Stuckey: Army +150
A service academy underdog will always pique my interest on the moneyline with their style leading to more variance in games with fewer possessions.
Not only that, I'm not sure Coastal Carolina gets off the bus for this late-season matchup on the road for a noon kick since this game ultimately means absolutely nothing to the Chants. They've already reached bowl eligibility and have their biggest game of the season on deck against James Madison with a chance to clinch the division.
As a result, they could potentially come out a bit disinterested after likely spending a good part of the week preparing for the Dukes.
That's the last thing you ever want during the week leading up to a triple-option team. Preparing for these unique offenses that teams rarely ever see requires maximum preparation, discipline and attention to detail.
Conversely, I have absolutely no worries about Army's motivation. For one, service academies always show up — it's why they are 70% ATS historically in bowl games where motivation holds so much weight.
Plus, Army needs this game for an outside shot at a bowl while also exacting revenge for a 38-28 loss in Conway last season.
Additionally, Coastal may sit out a few key players who have nagging injuries with next week in mind, including star quarterback Grayson McCall and backup Jarrett Guest. Third-string signal-caller Ethan Vasko has fared pretty well in relief over the past two games, but he's a massive drop-off from McCall.
Plus, Army now has two games of film on the freshman, assuming he does indeed get the nod under center again.
From a matchup standpoint, Coastal Carolina's run defense has struggled immensely all season.
Just take a look at some of these national rankings, which don't bode well on paper against Army's triple-option attack, which should sustain long drives and control the clock throughout the contest.
- 98th in Line Yards
- 95th in Rush Play Success Rate
- 120th Power Success Rate
- 90th Yards Per Carry Allowed
For what it's worth, as an underdog of more than a field goal, Army head coach Jeff Monken owns a career 28-13-1 ATS (68.3%) record, covering by an average of over six points per game on average. Out of 571 coaches in our Action Labs database, Monken is the fifth-most profitable in this spot since 2005, which doesn't shock me in the least.
Give me the home running dog with a plus matchup in a great situational spot against a potentially unprepared and undermanned Coastal club.
Pick: Army ML +150
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Wilson: UNLV +140
I like the upstart Rebels, who are the nation's most profitable team against the number, in a battle of two teams heading in separate directions to determine the pole position in the Mountain West standings.
UNLV has become the surprise team of the conference under first-year head coach Barry Odom.
After a lengthy tenure as Missouri's head coach and Arkansas' defensive coordinator, Odom has brought his style of defense to the Rebels. Odom runs a light box with nickel packages to play max protect against explosives.
Considering the opponent, the UNLV defense will lean on its rush explosives allowed rank of 19th.
Although the Rebels have no prior history of facing fullback dive and pull lead concepts, the job will certainly be easier against an Air Force team that may not have starting quarterback Zac Larrier available after he left with an injury early in last week's upset loss in Hawaii.
Plus, the way to attack this UNLV defense is through the air, which Air Force simply can't take advantage of.
More importantly, UNLV's dynamic offense has significant edges across the board.
Coordinator Brennan Marion is expected to be high on the list of coaching searches in the next couple of weeks. The inventor of the Go-Go offense executes a heavy rush attack that pivots from two-tight end to two-running back personnel from down to down.
The three-headed monster of Vincent Davis Jr., Jai’Den Thomas and Donavyn Lester all average three yards after contact, creating 58 missed tackles this season. Even quarterback Jayden Maiava had his most rushing attempts of the season in Week 11 against Wyoming.
The Rebels also feature the league's best receiver in Ricky White, who has already eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards on the season. The Falcons have nobody on the outside who can cover the former Michigan State transfer.
Air Force is reeling after two consecutive losses with 10 total turnovers against Hawaii and Army. Don't expect things to go any smoother this week with backup quarterback Jensen Jones, who has yet to display the ability to run the triple option offense or throw downfield, which should allow Odom to load the box.
The Rebels, who have already played a number of games in altitude this year, should keep it rolling in Colorado Springs.
Pick: UNLV ML +140