The 2021 college football season has been profitable thus far, and Week 12 offers four opening lines that are must plays. Consider these your four core picks for Week 12.
With MACtion in full swing and key conference battles continuing, we're really hitting the lines hard. This is our final push before bowl season.
With the last quarter of the season here, it's time to scour the trends and advanced numbers to find advantages. I can't recall another season as difficult to predict. Let's dive in.
Here’s a look at my top four picks centered around the early Week 12 college football lines and odds (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale):
Week 12 College Football Opening Lines and Picks
Florida State vs. Boston College
Date/Time: Saturday, November 20, noon ETTV: ACC NetworkLocation: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
Opening Line: Boston College -2
The Saturday afternoon ACC battle between the 4-6 Seminoles and 6-4 Eagles isn't one set to decide anything important but there's potentially some great value. The Eagles are a much better team than their record indicates, as quarterback Phil Jurkovec returned from injury two weeks ago. The difference in play between Jurkovec and his backup, Dennis Grosel, cannot be overstated.
BC is facing a Florida State team with two somewhat quality wins all season but is favored by only two points. I think oddsmakers are looking to capitalize on bettors overvaluing the Seminoles' victory over Miami last week. FSU has a non-existent passing game, and its defense is certainly below average.
The Eagles should win this game fairly comfortably since they have the better defense and quarterback.
PICK: Boston College -2 (-110) ???
Iowa State at Oklahoma
Date/Time: Saturday, November 20, noon ETTV: FOXLocation: Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
Opening Line: Oklahoma -5
Admittedly, I've been waiting to make this pick all year. I thought this would be Iowa State's year to win the Big 12 and shock the Sooners' dominant run. It hasn't worked out that way as the Cyclones are 6-4. However, all but one of their losses were one-score games and the team had the chances to win outright.
Iowa State is at times excellent on offense and defense but rarely at the same time. Oklahoma is reeling after a 27-14 loss to Baylor, and this is the most vulnerable we've seen the Sooners under head coach Lincoln Riley. I think the Cyclones have a good shot at winning this outright once the moneyline is posted.
PICK: Iowa State +5 (-110) ????
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
Date/Time: Saturday, November 20, 8 p.m. ETTV: FOXLocation: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
Opening Line: Oklahoma State -10.5
The 9-1 Oklahoma State Cowboys continue to stack up wins. Their 63-17 drubbing of TCU has given them three straight blowout victories. They're trending upward on both sides of the ball, thanks to a fantastic rushing unit and incredibly stout overall defense.
Texas Tech is feisty as usual, too. The Red Raiders' offensive output has been inconsistent, though, and their pass defense is generally terrible. This will be a good game where the Raiders fall apart in the second half as the talent difference shows.
PICK: Oklahoma State -10.5 (-110) ?????
SMU vs. Cincinnati
Date/Time: Saturday, November 20, 3:30 p.m. ETTV: ESPNLocation: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Opening Line: Cincinnati -12
If Cincinnati is going to lose, this is the game. The Bearcats' excellent defense and running game with RB Jerome Ford starring has made them a tough foe, but the dominance factor isn't necessarily there. Modest wins in three of their last four games have seemingly ended their playoff hopes barring a barrage of losses by their peers.
SMU has been spotted 12 points on the line, and I like those odds thanks to the passing prowess of QB Tanner Mordecai. He'll have his work cut out for him against the fifth-ranked pass defense and sixth-ranked scoring unit of the Bearcats, but Cincinnati has to exploit SMU's flaws for there to be a huge amount of stress on Mordecai.
Finally, it's time for Bearcats QB Desmond Ridder to show up as he faces the 122nd-ranked pass defense of the Mustangs. He must be more impactful than he has been for most of his career for Cincinnati to cover in a win by two or more scores.
PICK: SMU +12 (-110) ???
SEE ALSO: All College Football Picks
Picks made on 11/15/21 at 1 a.m. ET.