Winning College Football Picks in Week 12 Must Bet Matchups

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 12:20 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 12:20 PM UTC

Hard to believe it's the penultimate week of the college football season for some teams. There are still five unbeatens left. let's check our best college football picks inside.

#14 Michigan vs. Penn State 
Michigan had a wins total of 8.5 at sportsbooks entering the season so if you bet 'under' that total, as I did, then you have to have the Wolverines lose here as they are on eight wins and will be home underdogs next week in the regular-season finale against Ohio State. Luck has played a pretty big role in three of UM's past four games. The Wolverines were incredibly unlucky to lose on Oct. 17 at home to Michigan State, but they also had no right winning on Oct. 31 at Minnesota or Nov. 14 at Indiana but did on the game's final play. I'm still not sure how good this team is away from Ann Arbor as Michigan hasn't played a quality opponent on the road -- sorry, Maryland, Minnesota and Indiana aren't quality -- since a Week 1 24-17 loss at Utah. Penn State is unbeaten at home but hasn't played anyone of note in State College. You would have to give PSU the quarterback advantage here with Christian Hackenberg over Jake Rudock. But defenses are likely to rule the day. Michigan ranks No. 2 nationally in total defense and Penn State is 15th. The Wolverines allow 14.8 points per game and PSU 17.7. Surprised the total is 42 and not in the high 30s.

Hackenberg plays well in likely his final home game -- he's expected to declare for the draft -- so take the points as the college football pick, although I expect Penn State to win outright. Michigan is 2-5 ATS in its past seven on the road. PSU is 4-1 ATS in its past five at home. The home team has covered five of the past six meetings.

College Football Picks: Penn State +170 ML & +4 at Heritage

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#22 USC vs. #23 Oregon 
This looked like a potential Pac-12 Championship Game preview back in the summer but now the loser is probably not going to make it to that game. For sure Oregon won't with a loss -- it must win this week and next at home against Oregon State and have Stanford get upset by Cal on Saturday to win the Pac-12 North. USC is tied atop the South Division with Utah, although the Trojans still hold that tiebreaker. If USC loses here and Utah loses at UCLA on Saturday, we would have a three-way tie. Both the Trojans and Ducks are finding their stride after early struggles. USC has won four straight games, leading some to ask whether interim coach Clay Helton deserves the full-time job. USC players have begun a using #Helton2016 hashtag on social media. Oregon is back to the offensive juggernaut that was expected in also winning four straight. It upset Stanford 38-36 on the Farm last Saturday. Ducks QB Vernon Adams Jr., who is from Pasadena, Calif., grew up a fan of the Trojans and has an 'SC tattoo on his arm. Expect a total shootout here, especially with both questionable defenses missing key players. Oregon safety Tyree Robinson is out, which is not good considering the Ducks are 126th in the nation in passing yards allowed. Oregon has played better since Robinson moved from safety to cornerback and Charles Nelson moved from offense to start at safety. USC lost starting linebacker and leading tackler Cameron Smith and his backup, Lamar Dawson, to season-ending injuries last week vs. Colorado.

Oregon (and 'over' the total of 71 on the college football odds). USC is 7-16 ATS in its past 23 on the road. Oregon is 6-0 ATS in its past six November games. The favorite is 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings.

College Football Picks: Oregon -4 & Over 71.5 at Bet365

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#10 Baylor vs. #4 Oklahoma State 
If you are Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, don't you have to root hard against Baylor here? Because if the Bears do win this game over the unbeaten Cowboys, that means every Big 12 would have at least one loss and the conference could be left out of the College Football Playoff for a second straight season, which would cost the Big 12 millions of dollars. Remember, this could be the last year the Big 12 doesn't have a conference title game. Baylor freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham will play in Stillwater after injuring his back in the first quarter of last week's loss to Oklahoma, which killed the Bears' playoff hopes. But how healthy is he? That Baylor offense still is tops in the nation, but it hasn't looked quite the same since former staring QB Seth Russell was lost for the season. Baylor hasn't topped 34 points in the past two games -- it didn't score less than 45 in a game Russell started. As bad as that Baylor defense is, it might take 50 to win at OSU. The Pokes could easily have four losses right now but in their last home game they pummeled an unbeaten TCU team. Saturday's game marks the first matchup of AP Top 10 teams played in Boone Pickens Stadium since 1985. Baylor hasn’t won a game in Stillwater since 1939.

Oklahoma State. The average score of an Oklahoma State-Baylor game in Stillwater during the Mike Gundy/Art Briles era is OSU 49, Baylor 19. Baylor is 0-4 ATS in its past four Thursday games. OSU is 6-1 ATS in its past seven vs. teams with a winning record. Baylor is 0-8 ATS in its past eight at Oklahoma State. 

College Football Pick: Oklahoma State PK at Pinnacle

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