College Football Odds & Early Bets for Week 12: 2 Picks for Louisiana vs. Florida State, Washington State vs. Arizona
John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Washington State quarterback Cam Ward.
Week 12 of the college football season is here, and we are headed into the stretch run with the College Football Playoff picture still needing to be sorted out after a huge Saturday of upsets, including the Pac-12 once again eating itself alive.
We all know the college football market moves a lot over the course of the week. Money pours in all over the place from the time lines open on Sunday afternoon until kickoff on Saturday. Week 12 is no exception.
Like any other sport, it's paramount to get the best price possible when betting on college football.
For example, a -6.5 favorite could move to -7.5 on Saturday morning, and then you run the risk of that team winning by one of the most likely outcomes — a seven-point victory — and you just lost your bet. It could have all been avoided if the bet was locked in at -6.5 on Monday morning.
I'm here to help you navigate the market by providing a few lines I'm buying right now — or other lines that I'm waiting to buy later in the week.
The hope for this piece is to beat the market, get the best price possible, and in the long run, save you some money with closing line value. To do that, we'll utilize our Action Network PRO projections, ESPN's SP+ and my own projections to create a consensus.
You hear all the time, "Process over results." The best way to know if the process is working is by closing line value (CLV), meaning how many points did you beat the closing line by?
I'll be keeping track of exactly how many points we've beaten the market by in recent weeks:
- Virginia +3.5 → +2.5
- Pittsburgh +1.5 → +1.5 closing line
- East Carolina +3.5 → +3 closing line
- Marshall -1.5 → -2.5 closing line
- Syracuse +3.5 → +3.5 closing line
- New Mexico +15.5 → +14.5 closing line
- Bowling Green +2.5 → +2.5 closing line
- UCLA -18.5 → -20 closing line
Now, let's dive into the Week 12 slate.
Louisiana vs. Florida State
-110o / -110u
|Florida State Odds|
-110o / -110u
How about an inflated line on a red-hot team in a look-ahead spot with its in-state rivals on deck?
Florida State has now ripped off three straight wins over Georgia Tech, Miami and Syracuse and has beaten them by a combined score of 124-22. While that's very impressive, it also caught Miami and Syracuse at their lowest points of the season.
Jordan Travis has been incredible this season. He has an 89.9 PFF passing grade and 20 big-time throws compared to only five turnover-worth plays. He's also averaging 8.9 yards per attempt.
Travis hasn't been called on to throw very much in the last two games since Florida State has been up by so much. This game is going to test him because the Ragin' Cajuns have an incredible secondary. Louisiana is allowing just 6.9 yards per attempt, ranks 25th in EPA/Pass Allowed and has the seventh-best coverage grade, per PFF.
Most importantly, it's 21st nationally in Finishing Drives Allowed, while Florida State sits just 54th in Offensive Finishing Drives.
Louisiana has struggled to move the ball on offense, ranking outside the top 100 in success rate. But let's not act like Florida State has some elite defense after giving up a combined six points to Syracuse and Miami.
The Seminoles are still 78th in Finishing Drives Allowed, so if the Ragin' Cajuns can get the ball into Seminole territory, they'll have a good chance of putting points on the board.
All three projection models have Florida State projected below -20, so I'd grab the Ragin' Cajuns at +24 now before this number moves.
Washington State vs. Arizona
|Washington State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Arizona picked up a program-defining win last Saturday in the Rose Bowl, beating UCLA by a score of 34-28.
It mainly had to do with Jayden de Laura playing the game of his life, going 23-of-29 for 312 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers.
I wrote about Arizona and de Laura last week, and the fact he's way overdue to turn the ball over still remains true. de Laura is an incredibly volatile quarterback who has a whopping 21 big-time throws and 24 turnover-worthy plays. He's astonishingly thrown only eight interceptions, but he's also fumbled the ball 11 times.
This is also a highly emotional game for him with his former team coming into town, so I'd imagine he will be very aggressive.
“Just watch. … It’s personal.” — Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura on facing his former team Washington State next week pic.twitter.com/7izkRd4DmF
— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) November 13, 2022
Washington State has a pretty good secondary that ranks top-30 in Passing Success Rate Allowed, EPA/Pass Allowed and PFF coverage grade.
Arizona has been running the ball pretty well this season, averaging 4.6 yards per carry and ranking 45th in EPA/Rush. However, Washington State has a really good run defense that's 14th in rushing explosiveness allowed and top-25 in Defensive Line Yards, Stuff Rate and EPA/Rush.
Cam Ward has been an electric dual-threat quarterback for Washington State, and the Cougars love to air it out, throwing the ball on over 60% of their offensive snaps.
Ward's overall numbers may not look great, as he's averaging just 6.8 yards per attempt. But that's because Washington State primarily relies on the short-to-intermediate passing game. On throws between 0-19 yards, Ward has a 76.1 PFF passing grade and owns an adjusted completion percentage over a 75%.
Arizona did hold Dorian Thompson-Robinson to just 5.9 yards per attempt last weekend, but it's been awful as a whole this season. The Wildcats rank 126th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 119th in EPA/Pass Allowed.
Arizona also can't stop the run to save its life, as UCLA went for 220 yards on six yards per carry last Saturday.
For the season, Arizona ranks dead last in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and second-to-last in EPA/Rush Allowed. PFF also has it graded as the worst run defense in college football.
Despite not running the ball that often, Washington State is incredibly effective when it does. The Cougars rank 27th in EPA/Rush and second in rushing explosiveness, so they should be able to run all over this Arizona defense.
This is a good sell-high spot on Arizona coming off that huge win at UCLA. All three projection models show value on the Cougars, so I would grab them at -4 now before it moves.