College Football Picks: Best Bets for Week 12

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It’s time to examine the Week 12 college football betting board and find some matchups that present contrarian value. If you are new to using a contrarian approach for sports betting then give yourself a primer by reviewing our first edition posted 8 weeks ago.

As a refresher, the three steps we use for choosing contrarian sides to play are:

1. The public is heavy on one side of the game

2. The betting volume is high

3. The line stays at or reverses from the opening number (a good indicator of sharp money)

Looking at no. 3; you will need to continue to monitor line movement for a game you are interested in playing. Just because a line has exhibited reverse line movement doesn’t always mean it will always stay below the opening number. The public can be responsible for inflating the number back up after sharp money has hit. We always need to pay attention to line movement to get the best number possible.

For more general college football betting tips, check out RotoGrinders college football betting guide.

Last week’s plays went 4-3 ATS, and 2-3-2 in beating the closing number.

College Football Picks Week 12

Alabama vs. Mississippi State (12:00 p.m. Eastern)

Alabama will likely be without Tua Tagovailoa as they look to rest his ankle in preparation for their showdown with Auburn next week in the Iron Bowl. With Mac Jones at quarterback for the Crimson Tide, we should expect a much more conservative approach with the offense. There should be plenty of short passes in the flats from Jones instead of the constant deep ball threat, as seen with Tua. Mississippi State will be looking to keep the ball on the ground on offense as they rank 22nd in the nation in rushing and will be facing a young Alabama defensive line that is only 6th in the conference and 33rd in the country against the rush. Also, the Bulldogs will be coming off a bye week, while Alabama is coming off their physically draining game against LSU last week. The line opened at Alabama -19.5 and now sits as low as 17.5 at certain books. A whopping 90% of the public is backing Alabama. It doesn’t get much more contrarian than this.

The Pick: Mississippi State +18.5

Michigan State vs. Michigan (12:00 p.m. Eastern)

Last week Michigan State made me sick when they blew a 31-10 lead against Illinois with 11 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. This week they will be on the road taking on Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines have been dominant since their loss to Penn State, while the Spartans have continued to struggle. However, the average margin of victory between these two teams over the past ten years has been 11.8 points. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is also 4-1 against Michigan in Ann Arbor. I know it will sound cliché when I say you can throw out the stats for this game, but it was just two years ago when unranked Michigan State beat No. 7 Michigan 14-10 in Ann Arbor. 65% of the public is siding with the Wolverines. The line opened at Michigan -14.5 but has since reversed down to 13.5 at some books. It seems that smart money also believes this game will be closer than many assume.

The Pick: Michigan State +14

Florida vs. Missouri (12:00 p.m. Eastern)

The No. 11th ranked Florida Gators opened as only 6.5 point favorites against 5-4 Missouri. Upon seeing this I was sure this would be a contrarian play, as the line was begging for action on Florida. The picks in my articles shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but instead they should be used as a tool to help you make more informed bets. 75% of the public are backing Florida, but the line reversed down to 5.5 at some of the sharper books before a buyback on Florida occurred. For those who were thinking about backing Florida, this should be enough info to tell you to stay away unless you can get a number at 5 or better. Currently the value lies with Missouri; they are ranked 4th in the nation against the pass and will be facing a Florida team that has all but abandoned the running game.

The Pick: Missouri +7

Texas vs. Iowa State (3:30 p.m. Eastern)

Texas will be looking to stay alive for a spot in the Big 12 title game this weekend in Ames. Iowa State nearly pulled off a miraculous second-half comeback last week against Oklahoma, losing 41-42 after failing to convert a 2-point conversion for the win. Iowa State opened at -6.5 and has since moved to -7 despite 77% of the public backing Texas. Iowa State should have no problems moving the ball against a Texas team that ranks 124th in the nation against the pass. I would not play Iowa State at any number higher than 7.

The Pick: Iowa State -7

Georgia vs. Auburn (3:30 p.m. Eastern)

Whether you like the SEC or not the national spotlight will once again be on the conference (I happen to be that guy who will shun watching in-state teams play if there happens to be big SEC matchup) Auburn will look to keep its new years day bowl hopes alive while also spoiling Georgia’s playoff hopes. Georgia opened at -2.5 and currently has 65% of the public backing them. The line has reached the key number of 3 on multiple occasions, and that is when the sharp money has come in on Auburn, pushing the number back to 2.5. This game should be a low-scoring affair; the total currently sits at 40.5, and turnovers tend to decide games in these situations. Auburn sits in the top 30 for turnovers gained, while Georgia is ranked 106th. Also, Fromm has continued to struggle with his accuracy, and I don’t see him correcting this issue on the road at Auburn. I see this game as a coin flip and will take Auburn at home with the 3 points.

The Pick: Auburn +3

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My College Football Betting Card

  • Mississippi State +18.5
  • Michigan State +4
  • Missouri +7
  • Iowa State -7
  • Auburn +3

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

About the Author

  • James Ivy (LiverpoolReds)

  • James Ivy will soon begin his career as a history teacher. Ivy has always been interested in the forces that drive sports betting markets. His favorite sports to watch and bet on are soccer and Formula 1. When he’s not watching sports, you can find him behind a steering wheel sim racing or viewing films in the Criterion Collection.

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