Gambling is a pretty brutal business. Perhaps that’s why it’s unwise to try and make a living out of it. I went 3-3 last week, and two of my losses came by a half-point (thanks, Alabama and Clemson!)
You’d think I would learn from such things and just walk away. But like the addict that I am, here we are again for Week 12 of the college football season. I can’t believe it, but we’re just one week away from the final regular-season week of the year. How the hell did we get here?
For the second-straight week, there’s not a whole lot going on. Next week is setting up to be great, but this week is once again very….meh. The Big Ten slate is awful, and the only real game with major College Football Playoff implications is being played at an MLB stadium in New York. What a time to be alive.
Let’s jump right into this week’s picks.
All lines via Bovada as of Thursday evening.
No. 9 West Virginia at Oklahoma State
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, Okla.)
Line: WVU -5
The Pick: Ohio State fans should be rooting hard for the Cowboys here. They couldn’t get it done last week against Oklahoma, but an Oklahoma State upset of West Virginia would clear out one team currently ranked ahead of the Buckeyes. (If this happens, Ohio State fans would then want WVU to beat Oklahoma next week).
I question whether or not Mike Gundy’s team can get it done, though. When a team invests so much into a rivalry game on the road and comes up short, it’s often very difficult to get up for the next week’s game. It doesn’t help matters the team coming into Stillwater this weekend is really good.
These Big 12 games are always somewhat nutty, but I’m skeptical Oklahoma State can get back up for this one to contend with another great team. I like laying the points here and going with WVU.
No. 16 Iowa State at No. 15 Texas
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, Texas)
Line: Texas -3
The Pick: Big game here as both of these teams are still alive for a Big 12 championship game berth. Iowa State gets in with a win over Texas and then an Oklahoma win over West Virginia next week. The Longhorns can make it with a win over the Cyclones and a Mountaineers victory over the Sooners.
I like Iowa State in this matchup. Winners of five straight, the Cyclones are rolling a bit right now. Texas, meanwhile, has lost two of its last three. Texas was back, but now it’s not back.
These two teams are pretty evenly matched, and I know the game is in Austin, but I like taking the points here.
No. 24 Cincinnati at No. 11 UCF
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Spectrum Stadium (Orlando, Fla.)
Line: UCF -7
The Pick: It’s been a hell of a season for Luke Fickell and the Bearcats but this will be by far their biggest test of the season.
Cincinnati’s defense is legit, but I don’t think it will be able to stop this potent UCF offense. Slow it down a bit, sure, but not completely stop it. The Bearcats will get some defensive stands but the Knights are still going to score. Will Cincinnati be able to score enough to keep up? I have my doubts. This is a good game but I’ll lay the points.
No. 12 Syracuse vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Yankee Stadium (New York, N.Y.)
Line: Notre Dame -9.5
The Pick: Hello darkness my old friend, it’s time to pick against Notre Dame again.
Look, I don’t have anything against the Irish. I just don’t think any team in the country outside of Alabama and Clemson is good enough to go 12-0. I’ve been burned a number of times this year picking against Notre Dame, what’s one more? The Orange win outright.
Indiana at No. 4 Michigan
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Line: Michigan -28.5
The Pick: It says quite a bit about this weekend’s slate we are picking a game with a 28-point spread, but it’s a pretty bland week in the Big Ten. Michigan hosts Indiana in what should be a real barnburner!
Not exactly. The Wolverines won’t get caught looking ahead to next weekend’s matchup with Ohio State. I expect a comfortable win here for the home team, but 28 points is a huge number for this game. I think Michigan wins easily but I’ll take IU to cover. Something like 38-14 looks about right to me.
No. 10 Ohio State at Maryland
When: noon Saturday
Where: Maryland Stadium (College Park, Md.)
Line: Ohio State -15
The Pick: Hey, look at that! Ohio State finally covered. It certainly wasn’t pretty, but all that matters is the money got deposited into your account if you bet on the Buckeyes last week.
Up next is Ohio State’s final game before The Game, and the Buckeyes are once again a double-digit favorite on the road. Ohio State has been a double-digit favorite away from home twice this season and the Buckeyes are 0-2 against the spread in those games.
Still, this Maryland teams feels like it’s about out of gas and now the Terps are down their starting quarterback. Ohio State needs a dominant performance and I think this may actually be the week it gets one. I like the Buckeyes to win rather easily here so I will lay the points.