After three weeks of betting lines that I wasn’t thrilled about, we have lots of great value bets to choose among for Week 12.
With November being the last month of regular season college football, we only have two full weeks of college football left. Luckily, the Week 12 card is loaded with bets that I like from Group of 5 conference games.
Below, I discuss four games that I am betting on.
All odds and lines are current as of Tuesday, November 16, at 1:30 p.m. ET.
CFB Week 12 Predictions
Kent State (5-5) @ Akron (2-8)
For Week 12 MACtion, only Kent State and Akron are playing on Saturday. In what is expected to be a lopsided game, the matchup between the Golden Flashes and Zips is surprisingly intriguing from a betting angle.
Kent State currently has a 5-5 record. If they lose the next two games, they won’t be eligible for a bowl game. However, if Kent wins its next two games, then they will be playing in the MAC Conference Championship.
Akron, on the other hand, has a 2-8 record with their only wins coming against Bowling Green and FCS Bryant. As a result, the Zips fired coach Tom Arth after losing to Ball State two weeks ago.
On the surface, this looks like an easy win for Kent State. However, there is more parity between these teams than it appears.
In their last five games — all of which were all against MAC opponents — the Zips went 4-1 against the spread. Usually, I am hesitant to look at trends since they tend to be static noise rather than a signal.
However, I believe this trend is a signal. Akron is undervalued by the betting markets.
Against the equally terrible Bowling Green, the Zips won outright as 14-point underdogs. Even though Akron was a 20-point underdog against Miami-Ohio, they still covered despite losing by 13 points.
In their last two weeks, the Zips lost by less than a touchdown against Ball State and Western Michigan despite being 20+ point underdogs.
Kent State, as one of the favorites to win the MAC before the season, has been a disappointment. The Golden Flashes lost last week against Central Michigan by 24 points despite being only a 2.5-point underdog. Additionally, Kent State has underwhelming wins against Northern Illinois, Buffalo, Bowling Green, and Ohio.
Stylistically, Kent State plays an up-tempo style of offense. As a result, they can frequently run up the score and cover as heavy favorites or end up losing by a wide margin.
The Golden Flashes allow 39.8 points per game, which is the eighth-worst mark in the FBS. Unsurprisingly, Akron allows 41.4 points per game, which is fifth-worst.
As evidenced by the high total, we should see a high-scoring game. Recently Akron has been able to put points on the board and keep games close.
We could see a major upset on Saturday afternoon.
Kent State vs Akron Prediction: Kent State 35, Akron 45
Best Bet: Akron Moneyline (+420) at FanDuel (would bet up to +325)
Wager: 1 Unit
Kent State should win, but Akron should be competitive and might even take this one if a few things go their way.
The Golden Flashes could allow more turnovers than expected and Akron could easily capitalize. In my opinion, Akron has been unlucky this season rather than awful.
It is worth taking a flyer on Akron winning outright, as Kent State may come in unprepared.
Best Bet: Akron +13.5 (-110) at BetMGM (would bet up to +13)
Wager: 1 Unit
While Akron should lose on Saturday, it is unlikely that they lose my more than two touchdowns. Ideally, I would want to bet on Akron at 14 points or better, but 13.5 points is fine with me.
For Kent State to cover they need to jump to an early lead and for Akron to give up early. While it is possible that a demoralized Zips team could phone it in on Saturday, based on their strong performance last week against Western Michigan, I believe that Akron will play a competitive game.
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Florida Atlantic (5-5) @ Western Kentucky (6-4)
Western Kentucky has undergone a complete makeover this season.
Last year, the Hilltoppers went 5-6 and averaged only 19.5 points per game — one of the lowest marks in the FBS. This season, WKU has a 6-4 record and is averaging 39.4 points per game, the seventh-most in the FBS and the most in Conference USA.
Currently WKU is in first place in the Conference USA East Division with a 5-1 conference record, while FAU is in third place with a 3-3 record. On paper, Florida Atlantic seems comparable to Western Kentucky, but the gap between both teams is very wide.
Currently, the Hilltoppers have an average scoring margin of +10, which ranks No. 25 in the FBS. The Owls have an average scoring margin of +1.1, which is decent. However, Western Kentucky’s style of play makes blowout wins more likely.
Offensively, WKU wants to air it out. Western Kentucky passes on 68% of plays, which is the second-most in the FBS. They also average 76.3 offensive plays per game which is ranks No. 17. With an offense that passes the ball and runs more plays than the typical team, WKU winning or losing by large margins is typical.
While Florida Atlantic has only limited opposing quarterbacks to completing 57.3% of their passes, they will have their hands full against Western Kentucky.
WKU quarterback Bailey Zappe is completing 70.8% of his passes and has 42 passing touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Additionally, Zappe is averaging 417 passing yards per game.
Even on the road against a formidable opponent, Western Kentucky should easily win.
Florida Atlantic vs Western Kentucky Prediction: Florida Atlantic 34, Western Kentucky 52
Best Bet: Western Kentucky -10 (-110) at Caesars (would bet up to -14)
Wager: 1 Unit
10 points is sometimes a lot to lay on a favorite in college football, but based on Western Kentucky’s explosive offense, expect them to cover. You need scoring to cover such a spread, and the oddsmakers have this one set at 64.5 points.
While the Over is a good bet, the Western Kentucky spread is an even better wager. If you can find a book that lets you parlay both the spread and Over, I would recommend that bet as well if at (+250) odds or better.
UAB (7-3) @ No. 15 UTSA (10-0)
Besides Western Kentucky, the best Conference-USA teams this season have been UAB and UTSA.
UTSA is undefeated and ranked No. 15 in the country. UAB has a 5-1 record in conference play with a 7-3 overall record. If UAB wins, they will be ahead of UTSA in the Conference-USA West division standings.
UTSA looks unbeatable on paper, but when you look at their past games, their record is underwhelming for an undefeated team.
While they had impressive non-conference upset wins against Illinois and Memphis, the rest of their record is unimpressive. They only beat Western Kentucky by six points, and UNLV by a touchdown.
Both the Road Runners and the Blazers have strong defenses. UAB allows only 23.9 points per game, while UTSA allows only 21.1. While UAB had an embarrassing loss against Rice this year, their only other losses came against Georgia and Liberty.
After last week’s 21-14 win against Marshall, UAB has shown an ability to win low-scoring games. If Saturday’s game follows suit, anybody can win based on something as minor as a turnover or a missed field goal.
UAB is worth is a shot.
UAB vs UTSA Prediction: UAB 24, UTSA 21
Best Bet: UAB Moneyline (+175) at Caesars (would bet up to +150)
Wager: 1 Unit
Going into the season, UAB was a co-favorite with UTSA to win Conference-USA. After ten games, both teams have lived up to their expectations, yet UAB is a (+175) underdog for Saturday’s game.
You must look for value as a bettor, and a (+175) underdog in a game that should be a tossup is a good pick. The Blazers should keep it close in a low-scoring game, and I would bet their moneyline up to (+150).
Best Bet: Under 54 (-110) at DraftKings (would bet up to 50.5)
Wager: 1 Unit
UAB can’t score, and they are great at stopping other teams from scoring. UTSA has a strong defense and an average offense. Based on that, it seems the point total at 54 points is too high.
If UAB wins, chances are the total goes Under. If UTSA wins, there is still a good chance that fewer than 53 points are scored.
I recommend a bet on the Under in addition to a moneyline wager on the Blazers.
Virginia (6-4) @ No. 21 Pittsburgh (8-2)
Of all the lucky wins this season, in my opinion Pittsburgh’s win against North Carolina last week was the luckiest. Pitt was up 23-7 at halftime, but UNC scored 16 unanswered points to bring the game to overtime.
In the first OT possession, Pitt scored a touchdown. Then for the second OT possession, the weather — which had been clear all night — turned uncontrollably stormy, and UNC couldn’t score. Had Pitt lost that game, I am not certain that they would be two touchdown favorites against Virginia this weekend.
Pitt has been good this season, but so has Virginia. The Cavaliers have a 6-4 record with wins against Louisville, Miami, and Illinois. Last week, UVA lost to Notre Dame, but I take that loss with a grain of salt.
Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong has been solid this season as he has 3,557 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, and only eight interceptions in nine games. However, Armstrong missed last week’s Notre Dame game, and as a result, Virginia scored only three points.
According to Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall, Armstrong is expected to practice this week and potentially be available for Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh.
With Virginia averaging 34.4 points per game — No. 19 in the FBS — they’ll have a chance to beat Pitt if Armstrong starts.
Virginia vs Pittsburgh Prediction: Virginia 38, Pittsburgh 35
Best Bet: Virginia +14 (-110) at Caesars (would bet up to +10)
Wager: 1 Unit
Pitt has earned the right to be a Top 25 team this season, but they have not demonstrated that they should cover as two touchdown favorites. Virginia, with Armstrong, has an electric offense that should be able to hang with Pitt.
Best Bet: Virginia Moneyline (+425) at Caesars (would bet up to +300)
Wager: 1 Unit
One good way to know if an underdog is worth betting on is to take the number 100 and divide it by their price, then add 100. This number is the breakeven odds.
Virginia has a breakeven price of only 20%. Based on what we have seen from Pitt and UVA, I believe that UVA has a greater chance than 20% of beating Pitt, assuming Armstrong starts.
If Pittsburgh jumps to a big lead, Virginia is one of the few teams that can score enough points to come back. I plan on betting on the Cavaliers if Armstrong is playing.