The college football regular season is winding down, which is going to make handicapping even more difficult. There will be some games where both teams will be sufficiently motivated and it will be a pretty straightforward handicap, but there are also going to be some games where effort is going to be in question. Teams that can’t make a bowl game, have a lame-duck head coach or have a newer head coach looking ahead to next season with his own recruits are all hard to gauge at this point.
Not only will the results vary, but how those teams are viewed by the betting market will vary as well. You may be able to find some good line value if you can isolate the teams that are going to keep showing up and putting in the work, but you may also get burned by speculating. I’ll wind up with some of each. Most bettors will. We just hope that we’re on the right side more often than not.
My power ratings don’t necessarily account for the teams I think fall into the “quitting” category. That’s part of the handicapping process and you have to take each team on a case-by-case basis and evaluate the situation at hand. Live betting may be more beneficial at this time of the year so that you can actually see the teams between the lines rather than invest money into your speculations.
Here are my power ratings for Week 12:
Here are my Week 12 adjustments:
Up: Akron +1.5, Ohio +3.5, Ball State +1.5, Central Michigan +2, Kent State +2, Memphis +2, Louisiana +2, East Carolina +1.5, USC +2, UNLV +2, Florida State +2, Navy +2.5, Pitt +2, Tennessee +2, Vanderbilt +4, Marshall +2.5, Kansas State +2, Western Kentucky +2.5, Utah +1.5, Washington +2, Arizona +2.5, San Diego State +2, Auburn +2.5, Army +2, Mississippi State +2, UAB +2, UTSA +2.5, FAU +2, TCU +2, North Carolina +2, Hawaii +3, Michigan State +2
Down: Eastern Michigan -3, Miami (OH) -2, Buffalo -3, Tulsa -3, Fresno State -2, Syracuse -4, Virginia Tech -2, Notre Dame -2, Oklahoma -2, Maryland -2, NC State -2, Kentucky -2, Coastal Carolina -7 (McCall injury), App State -2, Illinois -3, Baylor -2.5, Arkansas State -5, Stanford -1.5, Oregon -2.5, UCLA -1.5, San Jose State -2, Texas A&M -3, Troy -3, Air Force -3, Middle Tennessee -2, FIU -4, Cincinnati -2.5, Nebraska -3.5, Texas -2, Wyoming -2, Cal -2, Virginia -3, Indiana -3
Injury: Tulsa -4 (if Brin out), Akron -5 (if Irons out), Louisville -7 (if Cunningham out), Kansas -4 (if Daniels out), Minnesota -3 (if Morgan out)
Some notes on the biggest adjustments:
Coastal Carolina -7: Grayson McCall is one of the most valuable QBs in the country for his team. I’m not sure if this is enough, but he’ll be out until at least the bowl game based on the timeline for his injury.
Arkansas State -5: A correction here after being off on last week’s line, but when you get outgained by 200 yards against UMass, you get a big adjustment.
Vanderbilt +4: What a huge win for the ‘Dores over Kentucky. They’ve been steadily getting better this season and Clark Lea is doing a remarkable job with a very tough gig in Nashville.
Syracuse -4: The Orange have really fallen off and QB Garrett Shrader is not healthy at all. The offense is really pathetic at this point and Shrader is operating well below 100%, so they were one of this week’s biggest drops.
FIU -4: As I’ve said in recent weeks, I wind up with bigger drops than increases at this time of the year. I think FIU’s lack of depth is really starting to show through at this point, as they’ve turned in a few really awful performances after appearing to turn a corner.
Ohio +3.5: The Bobcats look to be the class of the MAC this season. I hope this is the year for them to end that longstanding MAC Championship drought that dates back to 1968.
Nebraska -3.5: Casey Thompson is hurt. The team is falling apart under the interim and sweeping changes are coming. Nebraska is probably a good fade right now.
Here are my Week 12 spreads:
A few games to consider:
Tulane -3 (-7) vs. SMU: SMU has a terrific offense, but the defense leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Tulane this season. I will say that they do have one of my biggest home-field advantages, which is part of the reason why this line is off, but I still think there’s some line value here.
TCU -2 (-7) vs. Baylor: I know everybody wants to point fingers at TCU for beating backup QBs and nearly covering, but they keep finding ways to win. They’re well-coached, uber-talented and Baylor has been one of the biggest disappointments in the country for me this season. I really liked the Bears, but I’ve sold my stock.
Liberty -9 (-15.5) vs. Virginia Tech: Liberty lost to UConn and the optics of that are never good, but the Flames got Kaidon Salter back and badly outgained the Huskies. Virginia Tech is simply awful. I think this is a good bounce back spot for the Flames.
Minnesota -2.5 (-7) vs. Iowa: Yes, Iowa beat Wisconsin, but the Hawkeyes had 146 yards on 68 offensive plays. Minnesota is just better at everything, even if Tanner Morgan doesn’t go this week.
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