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College Football Week 12 Picks: 4 Betting Spots for Saturday’s Early Games

College Football Week 12 Picks: 4 Betting Spots for Saturday’s Early Games article feature image

Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Texas A&M Aggies football team.

  • Week 12 is here, which means Stuckey has plenty of situational spots to bet.
  • Our expert likes four bets in the early kickoff window, including TCU vs. Baylor and Vanderbilt vs. Florida.
  • Check out Stuckey's top college football betting spots for Saturday's early games below.

Week 12 NCAAF Situational Spots ⋅ Saturday Morning

Just like I've done throughout the college football season, I will share my favorite spots for this week's games.

Last week's 10 spots finished 5-4-1 with a painful loss on USF after the Bulls decided not to kick the extra point in the final minute down 18 for the cover, instead opting for a failed two-point try. Maximum pain.

That brings the four-week running tally to 32-11-1 (74.4%).

Hopefully, we can avoid the regression monster for another week and keep it rolling through the end of the season. Although, there will always be rough weeks in this gig, so please wager responsibly.

Ultimately, the actual spread value still reigns supreme. No matter how great a situational spot appears on paper, you still have to factor in how much value the number holds. A good or bad spot may sway me one way or the other on a bet I'm on the fence for, but it's certainly more art than science.

My primary goal is to simply help you make one or two of those same tough wagering decisions while sharing a few key angles, notable matchups and injury situations for each particular game.

For Week 12, I have highlighted my 12 favorite situational betting spots, spanning from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET:

  • Early Kickoffs: 11 a.m. – Noon ET (4 picks)
  • Afternoon Kickoffs: 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. ET (3 picks)
  • Evening Kickoffs: 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. ET (5 picks)

This particular article focuses on my four favorite spots from Saturday's early kickoff window (11 a.m. to noon ET). Find my top picks for Saturday afternoon and evening via the two articles linked below:

Navy +17 vs. UCF

11 a.m. ET ⋅ ESPN2

Just like last week, we're starting off with Navy catching over two touchdowns.

That will always get my attention for one of the most run-heavy teams in the country that will bleed the clock and limit possessions, making it very tough to cover with any margin.

It's also not a great spot for UCF.

The Knights come home for an 11 a.m. local kick after two massive road wins against Memphis and Tulane to put them in the driver's seat for a spot in the AAC title game.

They also have a rivalry game with USF in the War on I-4. That could impact their focus and discipline, which is paramount against the triple option.

From a matchup perspective, I'm sure UCF will hit some explosive passing plays against a horrific Navy secondary. Everybody does.

However, in order to slow down the UCF offense, teams need to slow down its explosive ground game, led by quarterback John Rhys Plumlee. Navy is fully capable of doing just that, ranking in the top 25 nationally in the following rush defense categories:

  • Yards Per Rush (9th)
  • Line Yards (3rd)
  • Opportunity Rate (25th)
  • Power Success Rate (8th)
  • Stuff Rate (6th)
  • EPA per Rush
  • Rush Success Rate

Additionally, Navy is not afraid of the highway. Its defense and run game travel well. The Midshipmen are 5-0 against the spread away from home this year, covering by an average of 12 points per game. They closed as at least 12.5-point underdogs in all five contests, losing by margins of 3, 3, 3, 6 and 10.

The Mids could be down to their third-string quarterback in Massai Maynor, but he has the best arm of any quarterback on the roster. He gives them the best chance of hitting a handful of explosive passing plays through the air against a vulnerable UCF secondary.

Notable Nugget

Service academies are 41-22-2 (65.1%) ATS when catching more than two touchdowns since 2005, covering by over five points per game.

Texas A&M -33.5 vs. UMass

Noon ET ⋅ ESPN+

While everybody has been trying to identify the bottom of the market to buy low on Texas A&M, I've simply maintained my stance of fading Jimbo Fisher's bunch until the cows come home.

Well, I just saw the cows show up in my backyard.

I'm reluctantly going to try to catch the falling knife on an Aggies squad that just lost six straight games for the first time over the past 50 seasons.

I just think this is a get-right spot where the Aggies can take out all of their season-long frustrations on a team they will have a massive talent gap over.

Plus, after suffering a heartbreaking loss at Arkansas State, UMass heads to College Station for its third straight road game. That's not ideal this late in the season for a team that lacks depth.

Meanwhile, Texas A&M could get a few key skill position players back this week and is now two weeks removed from a bad flu outbreak that ran through its locker room.

Now, if A&M just doesn't show up at all, this has no chance. However, I'm willing to take that risk here since I do also show plenty of line value. If the Aggies have any remaining pride or care at all, they should hold UMass close to scoreless and put up at least 40.

Notable Nugget

Since 2005, nonconference dogs of 20-plus points in their third straight road game have gone just 23-38 ATS (37.7%).

Vanderbilt +14.5 vs. Florida

Noon ET ⋅ SEC Network

I think this is a good opportunity to fade Florida in a potential sleepy spot for a noon kick in Nashville against the Commodores, who still have dreams of getting to a bowl. I'm also sure they want to avenge an embarrassing 42-0 loss in Gainesville last year.

Meanwhile, the Gators clinched a bowl berth and have a big rivalry game against Florida State on deck.

When evaluating any Florida game, you have to look at the opponent's rush defense. Well, Vanderbilt has been much stronger in the department. Plus, I'm not sure Anthony Richardson can truly exploit its porous secondary.

On the other side of the ball, Vanderbilt can put up enough points to stay within this number against a very suspect Florida defense. The Gators also don't get much pressure, which is a major key if Mike Wright has to start once again for the injured AJ Swann.

Notable Nugget

Florida is 0 for its last 8 ATS as a road favorite, failing to cover by 14-plus points per game on average. That includes four consecutive outright losses — all as favorites of over touchdown.

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Baylor +2.5 vs. TCU

Noon ET ⋅ FOX

On the surface, this is a great spot to back Baylor.

Last week, TCU remained perfect with an upset win over Texas, while Baylor got absolutely embarrassed at home against Kansas State. Considering that had major Big 12 title implications, it was one of the most head-scratching efforts of the season.

It may be the perfect time to buy low on the Bears, who will look to avenge last season's loss at TCU in a complete role reversal after the Horned Frogs pulled off an upset to ruin Baylor's potential chance at a College Football Playoff berth.

Also, TCU just played its ninth-straight big game in nine weeks (with seven of the previous eight being close) over a stretch that started with a highly-anticipated road game against rival SMU. Historically, teams have suffered a bit of a decline in production in this spot.

The Frogs have to be gassed and feeling the effects — both mentally and physically — of that gauntlet without a breather over the past two months. For example, Max Duggan is dealing with a lingering calf injury.

You should get Baylor's best effort at home against a TCU team playing with all of the pressure. The Horned Frogs also remain overdue for a few bounces to go the other way in a close game.

In the interest of full transparency, maybe you should ignore my advice about fading TCU. I'm 2-0 backing the Horned Frogs — the most profitable team in the country — but 0-4 fading them. You'd think I'd learn my lesson by now, but then again, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

In fairness, West Virginia should've covered if not for an incredibly bad beat. Kansas State blew a big lead after its third-string quarterback played a couple of critical second-half drives. A similar thing happened with Texas Tech. TCU has undoubtedly benefited from opposing quarterback injuries and a few critical calls.

Now, I did bet Texas last week, which was a total dud. TCU was clearly the right side in a shockingly low-scoring affair. The Horned Frogs forced Quinn Ewers to beat them deep, and he couldn't connect on anything. It was eerily similar to his second-half performance against Oklahoma State.

I did upgrade TCU after that victory, but it's a team that still has flaws, especially on defense.

Now, there's an interesting dynamic with Sonny Dyke's group. If everybody says they're frauds, are they really frauds? The backup quarterback angle has also probably been overplayed. Some of the backups they've faced are more than capable.

As a result, I don't show as much value as I had anticipated. Although, my numbers still do like Baylor, especially if I can get +3 in a great situational spot.

Notable Nugget

Baylor head coach Dave Aranda is a perfect 5-0 ATS as an underdog against top-15 teams, covering by 12.5 points per game. That includes four consecutive outright wins over the past two seasons against opponents ranked fourth, fifth, eighth and 14th.

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