I finished 19-10-1 last week. My strategy of staying away from Pac 12 games paid off. I did end up picking one…and lost. I don’t know what it is about that conference, but I have little confidence in my handicapping ability in the Pac 12 this season. I’ve done very well with the conference in the past, but I (sort of) know when to throw in the towel. I STILL ended up picking a Pac 12 game again this week…I just couldn’t help myself.
Last week’s experiment of picking 30 games worked in my favor. I picked an additional five games this week as well. It made my attempt at avoiding the Pac 12 rather difficult.
We at ‘America’s White Boy’ pick 30 college football games against the spread in Week 12 of the NCAA Football season (November 18th, 2017). We also pick some smaller conference games.
Purdue at Iowa (-7.5) – My pick is Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa came off a huge upset win at home over Ohio State, and then the next week, just rolled over and died late in the game against Wisconsin. The exact moment was when Wisconsin ran a fumble in for a touchdown in the third quarter. The Badgers then scored two more touchdowns to win by 24 points. The Hawkeyes had trouble moving the ball on offense all game, but their defense was keeping them in the game…they even scored on a pick-six. Purdue is coming off a ten-point loss at Northwestern. They started sophomore QB Elijah Sindelar who threw for 376 yards. He will not do that this week. He’s had trouble with turnovers in the past and the Boilermakers haven’t faced a really good defense since they faced the Badgers and only put up nine points in that game. Iowa is tough at home (3-0-1 ATS). This cover will be dependent on the Hawkeyes forcing turnovers. I think Iowa’s defense will dominate Purdue, so I’m taking Iowa to cover at home.
Rutgers at Indiana (-11) – My pick is Indiana Hoosiers
Vegas wants you to take Rutgers here, I truly believe that. These teams have been trending in opposite directions for quite some time. Rutgers have covered five-straight games and in seven of the last eight games. Indiana is 2-7-1 ATS on the season and haven’t covered a game since Week 3. That being said, both teams are barely earning those accolades. Indiana has lost two games by a half-point and two of Rutgers wins against the spread were by a point or less. You shouldn’t be hung up on their records ATS in this game. Rutgers have mostly been keeping games against other Big Ten teams within the spread…but they are by no means good. Indiana is starting QB Richard Lagow again after freshman QB Peyton Ramsey injured his ankle. Lagow has had success at IU and played pretty well at Illinois last week. The Hoosiers are a more balanced with Lagow as quarterback. I think there is value here and this line will probably end up near -14 before kickoff. I’m taking the Hoosiers to cover at home.
Virginia at Miami (FL) (-19.5) – My pick is Miami Hurricanes
The Hurricanes are coming off an insane performance in their 41-8 win over Notre Dame. I honestly knew they were going to win the game after Irish QB Brandon Wimbush threw his first interception of the game. The players just came out with intensity and the crowd was nuts. I worry they may not bring that sort of energy against Virginia. The Cavaliers do struggle with mobile quarterbacks and will have a hard time stopping Miami QB Malik Rosier. I was once pretty high on UVA, but I pivoted after their 41-10 loss at home to Boston College. This cover could be close, but I’ll take the Canes to cover at home.
Mississippi State at Arkansas (+11.5) – My pick is Mississippi State Bulldogs
I know Auburn beating Georgia and Miami beating Notre Dame were huge wins last week, but if Mississippi State could have held onto their late lead over Alabama, it would have been the biggest win of the year. The Crimson Tide are just on a different level than everyone else, so it was an impressive performance by the Bulldogs. MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald doesn’t get the acknowledgement as other top SEC players, but if he’s off, Mississippi State doesn’t win. He’s their MVP and he is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the SEC. Luckily, they’ve won (and covered) every game they were favored in this year. Arkansas is a low-level SEC team this season. They can’t seem to establish the run like in year’s past and their defense is bad. They are coming off a really bad beating at LSU and the week before they only beat Coastal Carolina by a single point. The Razorbacks are reeling and won’t be up to the task against the Bulldogs.
Texas at West Virginia (-3.5) – My pick is West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia is coming off two solid wins over Iowa State and at Kansas State. West Virginia QB Will Grier has resurrected his career since transferring from Florida. He has thrown for 3,440 yards and 34 touchdowns this season. He does struggle when he tries to do too much. His defense has been keeping games manageable, so he is just making the throws and taking what is given to him. His 316-yard performance against Iowa State’s defense was pretty darn impressive. Texas got QB Sam Ehlinger back last week, but barely played. Texas head coach Tom Herman said that he didn’t want to rush him back from the concussion too fast. I expect him to start this week’s game. Texas QB Shane Buechele did an alright job starting again, but the offense just runs better with Ehlinger. That being said, I like WVU a lot more than Texas right now. I have to take the Mountaineers to cover at home.
Syracuse at Louisville (-13) – My pick is Syracuse Orange
Syracuse was without starting QB Eric Dungey last week against Wake Forest. They still managed to score 43 points, but gave up 64 in the loss. They were outscored 40-5 in the second-half after having the lead at halftime. They just couldn’t stop the run late in the game. Dungey will most likely play as his health is improving fast. Louisville is clearly not as good as last year and they’ve been struggling to cover spreads all season. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson is still very good and he is still putting up good numbers, but his defense is failing him. They’ve been pretty bad against ACC teams as they are 3-4 outright in the conference. Syracuse has been flying under the radar and have been keeping up with the best teams in the conference. I don’t think Louisville can cover a spread amount that teams like Clemson, Miami and NC State failed to do against Syracuse. I have to take the points.
LSU at Tennessee (+15.5) – My pick is LSU Tigers
LSU is one of the more inconsistent SEC teams in the conference. They’ve had fantastic games like beating Auburn, but also lost to Troy and lost to Mississippi State by 30 points. LSU is a dangerous team when RB Derrius Guice is playing well. He has had some big games for the Tigers and will need another one this weekend. LSU QB Danny Etling needs a running game as he doesn’t have the talent to take over games. This game could get ugly as Tennessee’s run defense is probably the worst in the SEC. I’m not sure how motivated they will be after they saw head coach Butch Jones get canned after last week’s 50-17 loss to Mizzou. The Vols also have trouble scoring points and I just don’t see them having much impact against LSU. I’m taking LSU to cover in Knoxville.
Texas A&M at Mississippi (-3) – My pick is Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss looked like a low-level SEC team early in conference play, then QB Shea Patterson tore a ligament in his knee. Many wrote them off as a cupcake opponent for the rest of the season. No one expected JUCO-transfer QB Jordan Ta’amu to play so damn well in relief. He has thrown 1,246 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 73.5% of his passes in less four full games. He is able to convert third-downs and keep the Rebels moving down the field. The quarterback also has four rushing touchdowns this season. Texas A&M is just trying to get through the season at this point. They have been playing two quarterbacks in games with QB Nick Starkel getting the most snaps. A&M QB Kellen Mond appears to be the quarterback of the future as he was a highly-touted recruit. He hasn’t done anything to impress me yet as he has been mediocre at best. The Aggies have been able to move the ball more effectively with Starkel at quarterback. I’m taking Ole Miss to cover as they have been playing more consistently with Ta’amu.
California at Stanford (-16) – My pick is Stanford Cardinal
I made an attempt to refrain from picking Pac 12 games last week and it was a successful week. I’ve just been ‘off’ with my handicapping of Pac 12 games…that being said, this line was too good too pass up. Stanford is coming off a huge 30-22 win over Washington. Cardinal RB Bryce Love is killing it this season as he ran for three touchdowns last week against the Huskies. Cal has been above average against the spread this season, but they have been all over the place. They went from beating Washington State by 34 points to losing to Colorado by more than two touchdowns. They are improved over last season, but I don’t trust them against Stanford. The Golden Bears are 1-3 ATS on the road while Stanford is 3-1 ATS at home…which adds onto my Stanford love. I’m taking Stanford to cover at home.
Buffalo at Ball State (+20) – My pick is Buffalo Bulls
I always pick a smaller conference game here. It was difficult to find a solid smaller conference game since many smaller schools play bigger programs this weekend. I had to pick a Thursday game. It saddens me to say this…Ball State is a horrible, horrible team. I went there and during my tenure at the school, the football team was awful. They only started to win games after I left. The Cardinals have been outscored 352 to 84 during their seven-game losing streak (they are also 0-7 ATS during this streak). Teams are scoring at will and Buffalo is no stranger to the end zone. The Bulls may not have the best offense in the MAC, but any team that plays Ball State looks like the freakin’ Pro Bowl team. I’m taking Buffalo to cover in Muncie.
Central Florida at Temple (+14) – My pick is Temple
Cincinnati at East Carolina (+3) – My pick is Cincinnati
Minnesota at Northwestern (-7.5) – My pick is Minnesota
Fresno State at Wyoming (+1) – My pick is Wyoming
Georgia Tech at Duke (+6) – My pick is Georgia Tech
Nebraska at Penn State (-26) – My pick is Penn State
Iowa State at Baylor (+9) – My pick is Iowa State
Hawaii at Utah State (-10.5) – My pick is Utah State
Oklahoma at Kansas (+37) – My pick is Oklahoma
Illinois at Ohio State (-41) – My pick is Illinois
Rice at Old Dominion (-8) – My pick is Old Dominion
Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky (+3) – My pick is Middle Tennessee
Tulsa at South Florida (-22) – My pick is South Florida
Charlotte at Southern Mississippi (-17) – My pick is Southern Miss
UMass at BYU (-4) – My pick is BYU
Kansas Stat at Oklahoma State (-20.5) – My pick is Kansas State
San Jose State at Colorado State (-33) – My pick is Colorado State
UAB at Florida (-10.5) – My pick is UAB
Army at North Texas (-2.5) – My pick is Army
New Mexico State at UL Lafayette (+4) – My pick is New Mexico State
Sweetbob’s college football picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.