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The best college football gambling picks for week 12, including Michigan State

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The early betting lines often allow for the most value.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

All wagers at -110 odds and for 1 unit unless otherwise noted. My picks are in bold, with that team’s spread attached. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week.

Season record ATS: 135-108 (55.6%) (+1625)

Last week I went 11-10. I beat the closing line consistently, including across some key numbers, and no bet finished more than 0.5 points against me as compared to the closing line.

I often tell readers that the best bets can be found in the opening lines on Sunday afternoons. Lines tend to be sharper after they’ve been bet all week. Most of my plays are made early in the week. Note that some of the lines below have since changed.

Of course, if you’re trying to bet thousands of dollars on each game, the low limits (typically $250-500 max bets per game) early in the week can be a hindrance, but I’m figuring most of my readership is playing $100 per game or less. Bet Online and Bookmaker usually have the first odds up, around 3:30 each Sunday.

Because I make these wagers throughout the week, I order them by when they were made.

Picks made Friday, November 16

  • Boise State at New Mexico +20 (-105) (Friday game): Boise is a good football team, but this is a lot of points to lay in what should be a low-possession game.
  • Cincinnati at UCF -7: Cincinnati has been great to this column all season, thanks in large part to its excellent defense. But look closer. Which passing offense has Cincinnati faced which is good? I’ll wait.
  • FIU -5.5 (-111) at Charlotte: I have also been on Charlotte a lot this year, getting FIU at under a touchdown is too much value to pass up.
  • New Mexico State +24 at BYU: This is an example of patience. I said I wouldn’t bet this until it hit 24. Now it has.
  • Arkansas +21.5 at Mississippi State: This is a bit of a sandwich spot for MSU, as it just came off playing Alabama and has the Egg Bowl on deck. Oh, and MSU struggles to score points.
  • San Diego State at Fresno State -13: Fresno should be able to shut down the SDSU offense, giving its own offense enough chances to win by 20+.
  • UNLV +6.5 (+100) at Hawaii: I’ve been waiting for this to get to seven all week, but I’ll take this anyhow. UNLV with Armani Rogers is such a different team.

Picks made Sunday, November 11

  • Miami Ohio +9 at NIU (Wednesday): Miami Ohio at a TD or better is a play for me.
  • FAU at North Texas -3 (Thursday): Beware, FAU seems to have hit its stride in recent weeks. But I have to take North Texas at a field goal or better.
  • Tulane +13½ at Houston (Thursday): Tulane should not be catching close to two touchdowns.
  • Michigan State -2 at Nebraska: Nebraska has been hot lately, but this defense for MSU is one of the best it will have seen.
  • Miami Florida -3 (-115) at Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech’s defense is not good, and Miami’s is. I expect Miami to get enough stops to pull away.
  • Texas State +23 at Troy: Texas State is an improving team, and should be able to hang for a while at least.
  • Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss +2: Southern Miss could easily be favored here, so taking two points at home is obvious.
  • Rice +43.5 at LSU: LSU just played Alabama and a difficult road game at Arkansas. Now it has Texas A&M on deck. What a time to rest players.
  • Tulsa +4.5 at Navy: Navy’s defense is awful. I do not trust it to get stops. This is not an endorsement of Tulsa.
  • Stanford -1.5 at Cal: Cal’s defense is strong, but I cannot pass up the chance to take the Cardinal at under a field goal.
  • Northwestern at Minnesota +3: Minnesota should have a great shot for the upset.
  • UTSA at Marshall -22: I trust Marshall and think they’ll get the win by 30+.
  • Utah State -26 (-115) at Colorado State: Colorado State is very bad, and this is an auto bet for me at anything under 28.
  • Liberty +33 at Auburn: Liberty is a plucky underdog, and Auburn is in a great letdown/look-ahead spot with Georgia in the rear-view and Alabama on deck.
  • Middle Tennessee State +14.5 (-105) at Kentucky: MTSU is solid, and why on earth is Kentucky being trusted to lay double digits?
  • Massachusetts +45 at Georgia: Georgia has Georgia Tech on deck, and UMass is good enough to score seven to ten.
  • Texas Tech -4.5 at Kansas State: I did not want to bet on Jett Duffy, but this line is ridiculous. Anything single digits would be a play.
  • Virginia +7 (+100) at Georgia Tech: GT has looked great, but catching a touchdown at even money is too much to pass up. And UVA has had two weeks to prep given that it just played Liberty.
  • Pitt at Wake Forest +7: The Pitt train keeps robbing me, but I thought I adjusted my numbers enough, and Wake Forest is still a play.

What do you like this week?