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LSU big over Florida, and 19 more picks for Week 12 college football

With so many big games coming next week, teams must be careful to take care of business this week. Here are this week’s picks.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Arkansas Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

All wagers at -110 odds unless otherwise noted. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week.

Season record: 137-133.

I finally got some luck in close games, bringing my 2016 college football season picks record in spreads decided by a field goal or less to 18-28 and spreads decided by a single score at 53-63. That means I am 84-70 in spreads decided by more than a score, which is great. On the year, my wins are by an average of 14 points, while my losses are by an average of 11.

This week is another of huge spreads. The challenge is to strike the right balance between choking on chalk and falling for every dog. It is really important to look at what games teams have on deck after this week. Some will be focused on Week 13 instead of locking in to play Week 12. And that is not about game day, but rather what happens during the week of preparation.

Wednesday

1. Ball State +21 at Toledo: I am a bit surprised this is more than 17 or 18. Toledo also has the Western Michigan game on deck.

2. NIU at Eastern Michigan +3.5: Eastern Michigan is bowl eligible and a much improved team.

Thursday

3. Arkansas State at Troy -8.5: My numbers made this 17. Arkansas State has been improving of late, but Troy is still the best team in the Sun Belt.

4. ULM at App State -25.5: ULM is pretty bad and cannot stop the run. Appalachian State is a strong run team.

Saturday

5. UTEP at Rice -1: Rice was a winner for this column last week, and continues to be somewhat better than its record.

6. Texas Tech at Iowa State +3.5: I have this game as a pick ’em. Tech has to be emotionally spent, having played four single-score games in as many weeks.

7. Iowa -9.5 at Illinois: This feels incredibly public, as many people are surely betting on Iowa thanks to their upset win over Michigan, and I may be falling into the trap instead of springing it. However, this is soo much value to pass up.

8. UTSA +27 at Texas A&M: This is a major letdown/look-ahead sandwich spot for the Aggies, coming off a loss to Ole Miss with LSU on deck.

9. Oklahoma at West Virginia +3: Oklahoma has been playing well of late, but West Virginia plays defense, and this is a tough road trip.

10. UMass +30.5 at BYU: BYU running back Jamaal Williams might not play, and BYU does not often score much.

11. Louisiana Lafayette +23 at Georgia: Lafayette is off extra rest, having played Thursday, and Georgia could be looking ahead to its rivalry against Georgia Tech.

12. San Diego State at Wyoming +10: SDSU has been on fire of late, and Wyoming has not. But double digits at home is worth a pop.

13. New Mexico at Colorado State -4.5: I am extremely concerned about this wager, as CSU gave up 485 yards rushing to Air Force, but this is too much value to pass up.

14. Florida State at Syracuse +21: Florida State has a major look-ahead game on deck with the Gators. Syracuse is missing QB Eric Dungey, but the back door could be open. FSU has not been a good cover team when it leaves the state under Jimbo Fisher.

15. USF at SMU +13.5: USF has been good to the column, but this is a ton of points to lay with a defense that does not get stops.

16. Temple at Tulane +15.5: Tulane has been showing some life of late, and I am shocked this line is above two touchdowns.

17. Texas at Kansas +24: The concern is that Texas comes out and runs the ball all over the Jayhawks, but this is a large number to lay on the road, especially with TCU on deck.

18. Utah State -6.5 at Nevada: Nevada is a really bad team, and this is a cheap price.

19. Navy at ECU +7.5: I am taking the points in a game between two teams that can really score.

20. Florida at LSU -13.5: Florida's offense is pretty awful, and its defense is now injury-riddled.

A few games I am not betting, but thought about:

  • UNLV at Boise State -28: I really wanted to take Boise State here, but the number was too close to what I made it (30).
  • Louisville at Houston +14: If Houston QB Greg Ward is truly healthy, I like the Cougars here. But this column published on Tuesday, and right now, the info on him is limited.
  • Indiana +23 at Michigan: Michigan QB Wilton Speight getting injured changed this one, as the market overcorrected for his injury. I wanted to take Indiana and closer to four touchdowns, as the Wolverines do not need style points for Playoff purposes.
  • USC -10.5 at UCLA: Since Week 4, USC has played like a top-five team. This spread reflects that.