Preview and predictions for Week 12 NCAA Top 25 football betting
College football has some key games in Week 12 with next week's major rivalry games on deck. That's when we'll be providing more picks of interest with this week's Top 25 match-ups just chip-ins with opinions and leans. But check out the bonus picks, including other games with Top 25 teams.
Last week we chipped-in a few more picks and opinion winners on Michigan and Baylor including the moneyline in the Bears home upset of previously undefeated Oklahoma. In isolating college football's strong, balanced offensive teams, the Bears fit the profile and used their dominant running game to smack the Sooners with 296 rushing yards on 46 carries. Oklahoma had just 78 rushing yards and 182 passing as the hungry Bears defense welcomed freshman QB Caleb Williams to Waco with a whipping and two interceptions in the worst start of his young career. The Sooners had scored an average of 48 points per game in Williams other four starts and games.
The tough loser last week was in the ACC on NC State (+2.5), who outgained Wake Forest with 482 yards and had many chances to cash in with three interceptions of Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman. More to that story as NC State took money at the leading online sportsbooks, but blew their chances to capitalize and win.
Teams that out-rush their opponent by at least a 2/1 margin in a game are winning at nearly 80% ATS this season (nearly 300 game sample). Balanced offensive teams that both run and pass for at least 200 yards in a game are also nearly 80% ATS with more than 160 such games this season. We also see teams wearing down at this time of year, and deficient defensive teams are another way to use the stats and power teams against teams that are also out of bowl contention.
Here are the Week 12 college football Top 25 match-ups with lines from top online sportsbooks, including reduced juice shops. Compare the best spreads and moneylines, and become an OSGA VIP!
Week 12 AP Top 25 Match-ups
Saturday, Nov. 20
No. 7 Michigan State at No. 5 Ohio State / 12:00 p.m. ET / ABC
No. 21 Arkansas at No. 2 Alabama / 3:30 p.m. ET / CBS
No. 4 Oregon at No. 24 Utah / 7:30 p.m. ET / ABC
Michigan State at Ohio State
Line: Ohio State -19 and Total 68.5 at LooseLines, part of Jazz Sports
Big Ten title implications between teams that sit first and second in Big Ten East. The Buckeyes have the big rivalry showdown on deck at Michigan against the co-second place Wolverines, so these final games to determine who will play in the Big Ten Championship Game and also serve as College Football Playoff elimination games. Ohio State leads the nation in offense averaging 550 yards per game, 7.9 yards per play and 46.3 points per game. A first half bet on the Buckeye's might be of more interest as they build a lead like last week's pounding of Purdue, and then turn their focus to the huge game in Ann Arbor next week. Clearly Ohio State and Heisman Trophy favorite (+170 Jazz Sportsbook) quarterback CJ Stroud and his NFL-caliber receivers are explosive averaging 197 rushing and 353 passing yards per game. So many options for the Buckeye's offense against a very suspect Spartans defense that is among the worst in the power conferences with MSU allowing 460 yards per game vs FBS opponents and more than 1300 passing yards in its last three contests. The Spartans will try to control the ball with the nations leading rusher Kenneth Walker III averaging 147 yards per game with 17 rushing touchdowns. These teams have played five common opponents this season, and Ohio State is +34 points per game and +229 yards per game while Michigan State is just +7 PPG and -32 YPG. Yet, Ohio State does not have a championship caliber defense and the Buckeyes have allowed an average of more than 410 yards per game over their last three contests and Oregon ran all over them back in September in their biggest test against the run. Michigan State is 0-4 SU/ATS the last four years against Ohio State while getting out-scored 160-31. But the Buckeyes are 0-8 ATS the past eight years the game before playing rival Michigan. I would usually look towards a Top 10 team or winning and capable team taking so many points, but the Spartans are still fraudulent with their 9-1 record. A lean towards Ohio State to lay it if you play it as the Buckeye's, who are No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings, keep piling on the points with only turnovers and the lookahead situation to Michigan keeping this mildly competitive.
Lean: Ohio State
Arkansas at Alabama
Line: Alabama -21 and Total 58.5 at BookMaker
The 'Tide may roll and that would be fine. The more points the merrier with us looking towards Auburn in next week's Iron Bowl and the same projected line as this week's posted in advance by BetOnline with Auburn a huge home 'Dog. Why is Alabama playing New Mexico State last week and Mercer earlier this season? Payday and stats boost, as Alabama ranks top 2 in scoring margin and yards per game margin. The Arkansas defense is good enough and better pass defense performance will help the offense. The 'Tide did allow 246 rushing yards against Florida in a late close contest. The Hogs can move the ball on the ground well enough with their top 10 rushing attack averaging 228 YPG. Of course the 'Tide can Roll, but you're paying a premium and the situation and scheduling is not as favorable against this running 'Hog 'Dog.
Oregon at Utah
Line: Utah -3.5 and Total 59 at Heritage Sports
Oregon and Utah are on a collision course to meet in the Pac 12 Championship. But before that potential title tilt, we have this most competitively-line contest in Salt Lake City. Utah returns home off back-to-back road wins and the Utes offense firing having won six of their last seven games by an average of 19 points. Oregon is No. 4 in the latest College Football Playoff poll, and the Ducks are the more talented team taking points. However, Utah is 4-0 SU at home including 2-1 SU/ATS against Pac-12 opponents. After Oregon (9-1) beat Ohio State in early September, you saw how inflated lines can impact results as the Ducks went 3-1 SU and 0-4 ATS in their next four contests. Oregon has benefitted from a +9 turnover margin this year, but they do have the better special teams in this match-up. Of note is that Utah is 0-3 this season when allowing at least 200 rushing yards, and the Ducks have rushed for at least 200 yards in five of their last six games. Utah can also pound the ground with success, and the Ute's defense leads the Pac 12 in sacks and tackles for loss. Strong match-up and perhaps a tossup, making us side with the Ducks.
Opinion: Oregon plus the points and moneyline
Arizona State at Oregon State (+3.5) is another key Pac 12 battle between '200 club' offenses. Both teams have their big state rivalry games on deck, and this game feature's the Pac 12's top two rushers in the Beavers B.J. Baylor and Sun Devils Rashaad White. Arizona State has not fared well in colder weather losing five of their last seven in Pac 12 play when traveling later in the season. Arizona State is also the most penalized team in the Pac 12, and after a wild final few minutes to get the win last week at Washington, the Pitch Forks get turned on the Sun Devils in their second straight game in the great Northwest.
Iowa State (+3.5) at No. 12 Oklahoma was supposed to be a Big 12 defining game prior to the season, but the Cyclones (6-4) have not won their share and fell out of the top 10 despite a solid stats profile ranking highly in yards per game (128) and yards per play (1.58) margin. Iowa State Iowa State is also +1.7 net yards per play against FBS opponents to Oklahoma’s .7 net yards per play. Oklahoma has been overrated with a sub-par defense and we cashed in on Baylor last week and plan to do so again with Iowa State.
A few of next week's big rivalry games and betting lines are posted at BetOnline.
Alabama (-20.5) at Auburn
Ohio State (-7.5) at Michigan
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay