Week 12 College Football Predictions: 5 Situational Spots to Bet on Saturday Evening
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Cornerback Simeon Harris #15 of the Colorado Buffaloes
- The Week 12 evening games are here, and Stuckey wasted no time diving in.
- He has bets for five games on Saturday night, including Ole Miss vs. Arkansas and USC vs. UCLA.
- Check out all five of his situational spots to bet for Saturday evening below.
Week 12 NCAAF Situational Spots ⋅ Saturday Night
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 night's primetime kickoff window (7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET). Find my top picks for Saturday morning and afternoon via the two articles linked below:
Arkansas +2.5 vs. Ole Miss
This looks like a great spot to back Arkansas at home against an Ole Miss team that might be a bit deflated after blowing a golden opportunity to beat Alabama last week with the Egg Bowl looming next Friday night.
Plus, any shot at a division crown is now gone.
Meanwhile, Arkansas should come out super motivated at home against a team it lost to by one last year after a failed two-point conversion.
Still trying to get to bowl eligibility, the Razorbacks battled hard last week against LSU. Despite being shorthanded, they should've won that game, according to postgame win expectancy.
Arkansas not only may return starting right tackle Dalton Wagner and versatile defensive back Myles Slusher, but quarterback KJ Jefferson could also come back from injury. He's been one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country, and the drop-off to the backups is pretty stark.
I'd guess Jefferson starts, which would provide a huge boost to the offense. He practiced early this week, and Sam Pittman said
he expects him to play on Saturday. Plus, Jefferson is from Mississippi. In the offseason, he stated he really wanted to beat the Mississippi teams. Well, he didn't play against Mississippi State in a loss, so I'm sure he's itching to get another shot at Ole Miss after his six-touchdown effort fell short by a point last season.
Keep in mind Arkansas has five losses, but two came with Jefferson sidelined, including last week's three-point loss to LSU. The Hogs also lost a pair of other games by a combined four points to Liberty and Texas A&M with the latter being very unlucky.
They've been quite unfortunate in close games, which may be part of the reason I show line value here. The situational spot only helps.
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman has an impressive 13-6 ATS record (68.4%) as an underdog, covering by 4.5 points per game. That includes a 9-3 ATS (75%) mark against top-20 teams with a perfect 7-0 mark excluding games against Alabama and Georgia.
UCLA +1.5 vs. USC
I believe UCLA's loss against Arizona last week has given us value with the Bruins this week. The Wildcats actually deserved that win, but Chip Kelly's crew might have been caught peeking ahead to this matchup.
I've also been waiting for an opportunity to fade USC, which has played only two top-30 teams, losing at Utah and pulling out a lucky win at Oregon State.
These teams profile very similarly. They both boast top-10 offenses and horrid defenses. However, I think the USC defense and special teams are a bit worse.
USC should have success moving it on the ground, which sets up everything in a Lincoln Riley offense. However, it won't have the services of star running back Travis Dye and both star wideouts (Mario Williams and Jordan Addison) may not be 100% healthy.
UCLA should also run wild behind its elite offensive line against a USC defense that ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in EPA per Rush, Rush Success Rate and Opportunity Rate. That spells trouble against a Bruins offense that ranks first in the country in yards per rush (6.3).
USC also hasn't seen a true mobile quarterback in 2022. Dorian Thompson-Robinson's mobility and scrambling ability could play a major role against a USC defensive front that can put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Lastly, the turnover regression monster could show up and bite USC on Saturday night. On the season, USC has an FBS-best +17 turnover margin that simply isn't sustainable. For reference, UCLA sits at +3.
Chip Kelly is 16-8-2 ATS (66.7%) as a conference underdog, covering by 8.2 points per game. That includes a 9-0-1 ATS mark as a short underdog between 1-3 points.
Colorado State +22.5 vs. Air Force
Fading a Service Academy laying over two touchdowns is just as appetizing as taking one as the dog in that scenario. A game with limited possessions just makes it so much tougher to build bigger margins.
Plus, I don't think the market has fully caught up to Colorado State's offensive improvement in recent weeks. First, Clay Millen has returned under center from injury, which is a massive upgrade over the incompetent backups that saw action while he missed time.
Additionally, this offense overall has just improved as the season has progressed, as one logically would anticipate for a team transitioning to a brand new offensive scheme in the first year of a new regime.
Just take a look at what the Rams have done over the past two games. In a 28-16 loss to San Jose State, they actually outgained the Spartans, 468-355 (6.7-5.6 yards per play edge).
CSU followed that performance up with an unlucky loss (90% postgame win expectancy) against Wyoming in which it outgained the Cowboys, 372-236 with a 6.3-4.5 yards per play advantage.
From a matchup perspective, Colorado State wants to throw the ball with Millen. That's how teams can move the ball on an Air Force defense that struggles more in coverage. Look for stud wide receiver Tory Horton to have a big day.
The Falcons also don't generate a ton of pressure, which may give the Rams' horrid offensive line a break.
On the other side of the ball, Air Force obviously runs as much as any team in the country. That actually plays into the hands of Colorado State, which has had much more success defending the run.
Lastly, big conference dogs with low totals in this range have historically cashed at a 60% rate over the past 30 seasons.
It's also worth noting that Air Force won't have its normal altitude advantage against a team that plays its home games in Fort Collins (both altitudes over 5,000 feet).
Since 2005, service academies have gone 37-57-2 ATS (41.6%) as favorites of more than two touchdowns, including an even worse clip of 20-30-2 ATS (40%) when laying over three touchdowns.
UAB +15 at LSU
Last week, LSU escaped Fayetteville with a fortunate win against a shorthanded Arkansas squad. With that victory, it clinched the SEC West Division and a berth in the SEC title game.
Considering that game followed its thrilling overtime victory over Alabama, the young Tigers could come out a bit flat.
Meanwhile, UAB is still fighting for bowl eligibility. And with a conference title game appearance out of reach, this becomes the Blazers' Super Bowl.
More importantly, I believe UAB is undervalued in the market with quarterback Dylan Hopkins back after missing time with injury. He's significantly better than backup Jacob Zeno, who came in against Western Kentucky in relief of the injured Hopkins and eventually blew the lead in a three-point loss.
UAB then dropped its next two games with Zeno starting before blowing out North Texas last week in Hopkins' return.
The Blazers sit at 5-5 on the season with five one-possession losses — three of which came without Hopkins. I actually graded them as a winner in their two other losses. Meanwhile, all five victories have come by at least two touchdowns.
They've certainly been unlucky in close games and in the turnover department (-8 in five one-possession losses), which has depressed their current market value, in my opinion.
From a matchup perspective, UAB features one of the nation's best running backs in DeWayne McBride, who averages an astounding 6.9 yards per carry. He leads a methodical, run-heavy offense that can shorten games and set up explosive passing opportunities.
UAB can have success on the ground against an LSU defense that ranks outside the top 100 in EPA per Rush.
On the other side of the ball, UAB has an excellent defense that I rank in the top 35 nationally. It has a shutdown secondary that can at least hang with the LSU receivers on the outside.
The run defense has some holes, but the Blazers have excelled at containing mobile quarterbacks. That's critical against Jayden Daniels.
You will always hear a lot about the LSU's home-field advantage in prime-time games, but that gets priced into the market. Since 2005, the Tigers are just 41-45 ATS in night games (7 p.m. ET or later start time) in Death Valley, including just 2-6 against nonconference opponents in similar November scheduling spots.
Not even the 2019 covering machine squad with Joe Burrow covered against Rice. Historically, SEC teams have covered at around a 45% clip in this spot.
Colorado +31 vs. Washington
This is sandwich city for the Huskies after upsetting Oregon with the Apple Cup against in-state rival Washington State on deck.
You really have to hold your nose to pull the trigger on the Buffs. They're a very bad football team.
However, they may have some success running the ball against a vulnerable Huskies defense that ranks in the bottom 15 nationally in Rush Success Rate. That would keep the high-flying UW offense on the sidelines for stretches — a necessity for this putrid Colorado defense that won't get many stops.
For what it's worth, Colorado does have an extra day of preparation after playing last Friday night.
Ultimately, I just think this line is a touch high after Washington's high-profile win, especially after accounting for the spot.
Since 2005, no team has been less profitable on the road than Colorado, which enjoys an altitude edge at home. Over that span, it has gone 31-60 ATS (34.1%), failing to cover by 3.75 points on average. That includes a 1-6 ATS mark as an underdog of 30-plus points.
This season, Colorado and Cincinnati are the two least-profitable teams to back away from home at 0-5 ATS (UAB, NC State and Indiana are also winless against the number on the road but in fewer games).