Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 | 2 a.m.
A savior has emerged for what’s been a disappointing, if not dreadful, college football regular season betting-wise. C.J. Stroud is that savior.
The Ohio State freshman was our top play to win the Heisman Trophy at 16-to-1 to coming into the season. Now he’s a -265 (risking $2.50 to win $1) favorite to win college football’s most prestigious award at Circa Sports after a six-touchdown performance in a 56-7 win over Michigan State last week.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is the only other threat still in the conversation, and he’s available at +220 (risking $1 to win $2.20). For those who followed the column’s advice and fired on Stroud, it might be worth hedging with a small play on Young at that price.
I can use any college football profit I can get at this point coming off another mediocre week where I went 25-32 picking every game against the spread including 4-5 on plays. That brings the season total to 324-302-8 (65-71 on plays, 111-90-2 on leans and 148-141-6 on guesses).
This is the last full slate of the season, but between the postseason and future positions, there’s still plenty of opportunity to get the ledger into the black. Stroud could lead the way.
Read below for picks on every Week 12 game. Lines are the best available at publication time in Las Vegas on the chosen side. Picks are labeled with three separate confidence categories
Boise State -3 at San Diego State, over/under: 44.5. I’m sitting on a 12-to-1 San Diego State conference future and thought this matchup may present to an opportunity to arbitrage. The number has made that impossible, however, as it looks like a gross overestimation of Boise State. The Aztecs have been the better team, and should be a slight favorite. Lean: San Diego State +3.
Ohio State -8.5 at Michigan, over/under: 63.5. Ohio State’s incredible performance last week has added a couple points to this spread. Maybe the Buckeyes continue on their trajectory and blow out another opponent, but a good way for a bettor to go broke in the long term is by backing teams when they’re at their peak in the market. Lean: Michigan +8.5.
Alabama -20 at Auburn, over/under: 56. Auburn is in the middle of a complete collapse, but if anything could break the Tigers out of it, it would seem to be a game against their archrivals. This number was trending about a touchdown lower a couple weeks ago, and though some upward movement is necessary, it might have gone too far. Guess: Auburn +20.
Penn State pick’em at Michigan State, over/under: 51.5. The Nittany Lions’ midseason slump was in large part because of a rash of injuries that are now cleared up. The Spartans, meanwhile, saw a significant injury report lengthen out of the loss to the Buckeyes. Lean: Penn State pick’em.
Wisconsin -6.5 at Minnesota, over/under: 38.5. Over the second half of the season, Wisconsin has outgained opponents by nearly 3 yards per play. If the Badgers’ power rating was weighted slightly more towards recent results, they’d be one of the best teams in the nation — and have a point spread here on the other side of 7. Play: Wisconsin -6.5.
Oklahoma +4.5 at Oklahoma State, over/under: 50.5. Despite recent results, which indicate the Cowboys are a deserved favorite here, there’s still a talent discrepancy in the Sooners’ favor. It’s that way almost every year, which is the biggest reason Oklahoma has won seven straight in the series. Play: Oklahoma +4.5
Iowa -1.5 at Nebraska, over/under: 41. The Cornhuskers are the best 3-8 of all-time, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched them. They’ve been every bit as efficient as Iowa overall despite so many late-game letdowns and shouldn’t be a home underdog here. Play: Nebraska +1.5.
Florida International +10.5 at Southern Miss, over/under: 45.5. The opportunities to fade teams that have totally bottomed out, if not quit on the season, don’t come around all that often. One such opportunity is here with the Golden Panthers, which have lost by an average of 36 points per game the last four weeks and look lost since the firing of Butch Davis. Play: Southern Miss -10.5.
Virginia Tech +7.5 at Virginia, over/under: 62.5. This is quite the large adjustment for the Hokies being without recently fired coach Justin Fuente, as this line projected around 3 for most of the year. Play: Virginia Tech +7.5.
Arizona +20 at Arizona State, over/under: 52.5. The Sun Devils won last year’s Territorial Cup 70-7, and the gap between the two teams has only widened since then. Arizona State has underperformed this regular season but can go out on a high against the rival. Play: Arizona State -20.
Pittsburgh -12 at Syracuse, over/under: 57.5. Syracuse’s defense has regressed in a big way the last two weeks, which is a big problem against a Pittsburgh offense rated eighth in the nation by the SP+ ratings. The Panthers haven’t failed to cover a road game all season. Play: Pittsburgh -12.
Play: Kansas State +3 at Texas
Play: Ole Miss +2 at Mississippi State
Play: Washington +1.5 vs. Washington State
Lean: Texas Tech +14.5 at Baylor
Lean: UAB -13 vs. UTEP
Lean: Marshall pick’em vs. Western Kentucky
Lean: SMU -6.5 vs. Tulsa
Lean: Oregon -6.5 vs. Oregon State
Lean: Charlotte +10 at Old Dominion
Lean: Louisiana Tech -3.5 at Rice
Lean: Miami (Ohio) +1.5 at Kent State
Lean: South Alabama +15.5 vs. Coastal Carolina
Lean: Missouri +14.5 at Arkansas
Lean: Boston College +5.5 vs. Wake Forest
Lean: BYU -6.5 at USC
Lean: Eastern Michigan +9 at Central Michigan
Lean: Cincinnati -13.5 at East Carolina
Lean: Wyoming -9.5 vs. Hawaii
Lean: Toledo -28 vs. Akron
Lean: San Jose State +8 vs. Fresno State
Lean: Illinois -6.5 vs. Northwestern
Lean: Clemson -11.5 at South Carolina
Lean: Indiana +16 at Purdue
Lean: West Virginia -15.5 vs. Kansas
Lean: Kentucky +3 at Louisville
Guess: Iowa State -14.5 vs. TCU
Guess: LSU +6.5 vs. Texas A&M
Guess: California +7.5 vs. UCLA
Guess: Temple +13 vs. Navy
Guess: Colorado State +5.5 vs. UNR
Guess: Georgia Tech +35.5 vs. Georgia
Guess: Florida -2 vs. Florida State
Guess: Troy +6.5 at Georgia State
Guess: Ohio -5.5 at Bowling Green
Guess: North Carolina +6 at North Carolina State
Guess: Utah -23 vs. Colorado
Guess: Utah State -15 at New Mexico
Guess: Louisiana -21.5 vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Guess: Vanderbilt +32 at Tennessee
Guess: Houston -32.5 at Connecticut
Guess: UNLV +18.5 at Air Force
Guess: Liberty -3.5 vs. Army
Guess: Texas State +2.5 at Arkansas State
Guess: Florida Atlantic -3.5 vs. Middle Tennessee State
Guess: Duke +22 vs. Miami
Guess: Tulane +6 at Memphis
Guess: Rutgers pick’em vs. Maryland
Guess: UTSA -10.5 at North Texas
Guess: UMass +6.5 at New Mexico State
Guess: Stanford +19.5 vs. Notre Dame
Guess: Georgia Southern +25 at Appalachian State
Guess: South Florida +18.5 at UCF