Exclusive trends I like in CFB Week 12

November 16, 2021 09:40 PM

As we get deeper into each football season, we know more about the teams each passing week — strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, key stats and other factors. This arms bettors with a weapon that perhaps they didn’t have at the outset of the season, and using trends is a good way to take advantage of this knowledge. It always helps to have a good database at your fingertips to be able to peg good and bad spots on each team’s schedule as to how they relate to those defining characteristics.

Well, for those with a VSiN all-access subscription, you have that database at your fingertips daily, and all you need to do is dig into your Point Spread Weekly matchups each week or visit the Exclusive Info pages for each sport at VSiN.com. Look for the Team Trends link under the Matchups tab.

I have dug through the extensive information available on VSiN.com to uncover some trends I think might define some of the games on this week’s college football schedule. I have picked these trends myself, and for each one I offer the records plus my own analysis as to why the angle has become so definitive and why it is so relevant this week.

Bettors have several sources for trends nowadays, including those offered in PSW on our matchup pages. As you look at these and continue to refine your routine for finding games on which to wager, consider the importance you put on trends. Will they stand the test of time? Do they carry over from season to season? Are they valid only as long as the current coach or key players are around? These are important questions to ask because of what seems to be increasing changeover from year to year. I tend to focus less on the records than I do on the foundational philosophies behind them. You might think otherwise, and I can tell you that neither of us is right 100 percent of the time.

Here are my 20 trends for college football games this weekend. They are in order by game board number. I have chosen angles from many of this week’s biggest games. Hopefully you will get a sense of the vast variance in trend analysis that VSiN offers from this small sample and how much deeper you can get into understanding teams and their favorable and unfavorable situational spots.



Central Michigan at Ball State

Game Line: CMU + 1.5

Central Michigan is 14-2-1 ATS (L17G) on Wednesday (win pct. 87.5 percent, + 11.8 units, ROI 63.1 percent, trend grade 89)

Analysis: While I don’t find this trend particularly foundational, the point that can’t really be argued is that the Chippewas tend to fare very well in these midweek MAC-tion games. Let’s face it, we are all betting these contests whether we admit it or not. CMU is the underdog here, and a live one at that, as Ball State has struggled all season to recapture its 2020 magic.


Memphis at Houston

Game Line: Houston -9.5

Memphis is 1-13-1 ATS (L15G) on road vs. decent teams outscoring opponents by more than 7.0 points per game (win pct. 92.9 percent, + 11.9 units, ROI 72.1 percent, trend grade 91)

Analysis: Anyone who has followed Memphis football in recent years knows the Tigers do their best work at home. Even in 2021, they are just 1-3 on the road. Here they face a tough Houston team that is undefeated in American Athletic Conference play and has outscored opponents by over 10 ppg. The Cougars are only a single-digit favorite. Doesn’t seem high enough.

Air Force at Nevada

Game Line: Nevada by 2

Nevada is 15-4 ATS (L5Y) at home in conference games (win pct. 78.9 percent, + 10.6 units, ROI 50.7 percent, trend grade 87)

Analysis: Nevada is another program that has been virtually unbeatable at home in recent years and far from it on the road. In 2021, the Wolf Pack have won all five home contests, averaging 43.2 ppg. On the road they are just 2-3 while scoring 26.6. Air Force has been tough on the road this season, but can the Falcons keep up if QB Carson Strong and the Nevada offense put up their usual numbers?

San Diego State at UNLV

Game Total: 41

San Diego State is 11-1 Under (L3Y) vs. lesser defensive teams allowing more than 29 ppg (win pct. 91.667 percent, + 9.9 units, ROI 75 percent, trend grade 87)

Analysis: This is an interesting trend in that it seems bettors would fall for it regularly. They expect the Aztecs to score well and produce Overs on totals when playing poor defensive teams. It has been quite the opposite, with Unders in 11 of the last 12 tries against teams allowing 29+  ppg. The fact that UNLV allows 266 yards per game passing and 8.4 yards per attempt means little to a San Diego State offense that gains just 140.8 ypg and 6.0 ypa. Expect a workmanlike effort by the Aztecs but not an explosive one.


SMU at Cincinnati

Game Line: Cincinnati by 12

Cincinnati is 12-3 ATS (L3Y) vs. high-scoring teams averaging 32 ppg or more (win pct. 80 percent, + 8.7 units, ROI 52.7 percent, trend grade 87)

Analysis: A few weeks ago, this game had the potential to be one of the biggest on the Week 12 slate. However, two recent losses by the Mustangs have taken off some of the luster. Still, it figures to be the toughest contest the Bearcats have had since facing Notre Dame on Oct. 2. SMU QB Tanner Mordecai has had a huge season, and the Mustangs are scoring 41.6 ppg, but recent history shows that those gaudy numbers don’t match up well with Cincinnati’s defensive strength.

Syracuse at NC State

Game Line: Syracuse + 11.5

Syracuse is 14-5 ATS (L5Y) vs. strong teams outscoring opponents by more than 10.0 ppg (win pct. 73.7 percent, + 8.5 units, ROI 40.7 percent, trend grade 84)

Analysis: Syracuse has been a pleasant surprise in 2021, covering eight of 10 games. However, the Orange will have to win one of their final two games against NC State or Pittsburgh to become bowl-eligible. Anyone discounting their chances to pull an upset or two needs to look closely at this trend to see just how competitive coach Dino Babers’ team has been against its best opponents lately.

Michigan State at Ohio State

Game Line: Michigan State + 19

Ohio State is 0-7 ATS (L7G) before playing Michigan (win pct. 100 percent, + 7 units, ROI 90.9 percent, trend grade 86)

Analysis: There are rivalries in college football and then there is Michigan-Ohio State, perhaps the biggest in all the land. It’s no wonder the Buckeyes get caught looking ahead to the Wolverines. It has happened in seven straight seasons, as they have failed to cover the pre-Michigan game each time. This week’s opponent is no slouch, as the Spartans will certainly be hungry to pull the upset. There is such a thing as lookahead and letdown in college football. This trend is a perfect example.

Michigan at Maryland

Game Line: Michigan by 15

Maryland is 1-14 ATS (L15G) vs. prolific-scoring teams averaging 34 ppg or more (win pct. 93.3 percent, + 12.9 units, ROI 78.2 percent, trend grade 91)

Analysis: For as much as Maryland’s offense would appear to be more explosive this season than in years past, the Terps are still averaging only 26.9 ppg, typical for them over the last seven years. Those numbers are low by college football standards, so it should come as no surprise that Maryland has not matched up well against the explosive offenses it has faced in recent seasons. This 1-14 ATS angle against teams scoring 34+  ppg will come into play Saturday when coach Mike Locksley’s team hosts Michigan.

Florida State at Boston College

Game Line: Boston College by 2.5

Florida State is 4-14-1 ATS (L5Y) vs. strong defensive teams allowing fewer than 20 ppg (win pct. 77.778 percent, + 9.6 units, ROI 45.9 percent, trend grade 86)

Analysis: There was a time in the middle part of the last decade and before that Florida State’s defense was feared like no other. That unit always boasted fantastic athletes all over the field. That is no more, as the Seminoles have allowed about 30 ppg over the last four seasons. They haven’t matched up well with strong opposing defenses. This week, host Boston College allows just 19.9 ppg and will be playing as a very short favorite over an FSU team that might still be celebrating its win over rival Miami.

Purdue at Northwestern

Game Line: Purdue by 11

Purdue is 15-0 ATS (L15G) on road vs. decent passing defenses yielding fewer than 6.50 yards per attempt (win pct. 100 percent, + 15 units, ROI 90.9 percent, trend grade 94)

Analysis: Purdue has been a very good road team in recent years and has matched up very well with the best opposing pass defenses it has faced. Northwestern might not boast the same defense it did last year, but the Wildcats are still allowing only 6.5 yards per pass attempt. The Boilermakers will be looking for their 16th straight point-spread win in such matchups, and despite an 11-point chalk line, they figure to be the better option.

Wake Forest at Clemson

Game Total: 55.5 

Clemson is 13-2 Under (L15G) at home vs. good teams with 80 percent or better winning percentage (win pct. 86.7 percent, + 10.8 units, ROI 65.5 percent, trend grade 89)

Analysis: This trend figures to be fairly important on two fronts. Not only does it allow totals bettors to take advantage of a solid angle, but an Under result figures to be the only way the Tigers will possibly cover a line in which they are favored by 3.5 points. There’s no way they will beat the Demon Deacons in a shootout, with coach Dave Clawson’s team scoring over 20 ppg more this season. Wake Forest can clinch a spot in the ACC title game with a win, and that would end Clemson’ reign of dominance over the Atlantic Division for most of the last decade.  

Nebraska at Wisconsin

Game Total: 41

Wisconsin is 12-3 Over (L15G) at home vs. strong rushing teams averaging more than 4.7 yards per carry (win pct. 80 percent, + 8.7 units, ROI 52.7 percent, trend grade 82)

Analysis: Nebraska has been a very competitive team this season, with all seven losses by nine or fewer points. As a 9.5-point dog versus surging Wisconsin, it would seem that oddsmakers are expecting another tight game. Wisconsin has woken up since its 1-3 start, ripping off six straight wins while scoring 31.3 ppg. With a low total of 41 and the Cornhuskers a very capable and balanced offensive team, I don’t anticipate one of those typical late-season Big Ten slugfests.

Oregon at Utah

Game Line: Oregon + 3

Oregon is 21-7-1 ATS (L10Y) on road vs. teams with winning records (win pct. 75 percent, + 13.3 units, ROI 41.7 percent, trend grade 85)

Analysis: A good chance exists that we see a rematch in a couple of weeks at the Pac-12 title game. Oregon has been decidedly better away from home in recent seasons, particularly when it comes to beating point spreads. I’m a bit perplexed as to why Utah is a full field goal favorite, with the Ducks looking to protect their spot in the CFP rankings. I’ll ride the trend and look for another impressive road performance by coach Mario Cristobal’s team. 


Game Total: 66

USC is 11-4 Under (L15G) vs. decent-scoring teams averaging 30 ppg or more (win pct. 73.333 percent, + 6.6 units, ROI 40 percent, trend grade 79)

Analysis: Most bettors would tend to look for an explosive contest when teams that score and allow about 30 ppg hook up. However, this trend about how USC plays against good-scoring teams would suggest otherwise. In addition, this rivalry, especially in recent games at USC, have been defensive struggles. In fact, before the rare 52-35 shootout in 2019, there hadn’t been an Over in the games played at USC since 2005, a span covering six other contests.

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss

Game Line: Ole Miss by 37

Mississippi is 10-0 ATS (L10G) vs. anemic teams being outscored by more than 13.5 points per game (win pct. 100 percent, + 10 units, ROI 90.9 percent, trend grade 91)

Analysis: For as much as it might feel like unfamiliar territory to back Ole Miss as a 37-point favorite, the Rebels do have a rich recent history of pummeling anemic teams. Believe me, Vandy is an anemic team, scoring just 15.1 ppg while allowing 35.4 and still looking for its first conference win. Ole Miss has been very impressive on both sides of the ball and still has a good shot at reaching a New Year’s Six game. Expect coach Lane Kiffin’s team to use the momentum from last week’s win over Texas A&M as a springboard for this one.

Arkansas at Alabama

Game Line: Alabama by 20.5

Arkansas is 3-12 ATS (L15G) on road vs. strong defensive teams allowing fewer than 20 ppg (win pct. 80 percent, + 8.7 units, ROI 52.7 percent, trend grade 82)

Analysis: Teams not accustomed to playing on the big stage in recent years tend to struggle against their best opponents. Arkansas has had trouble with good defensive teams, and for as much as Alabama has been increasingly known for its prolific offense, the last four games in particular have showcased the Tide’s studs on the other side of the ball. Coach Nick Saban’s team has allowed just 50 points combined in those four contests. At the same time, the Razorbacks’ offense seems to be trending downward from the way it opened the season. It adds up to a convincing Tide win.

Louisiana-Monroe at LSU

Game Line: LSU by 29

LSU is 22-8-1 ATS (L10Y) vs. weak rushing defenses yielding more than 5.0 yards per carry (win pct. 73.3 percent, + 13.2 units, ROI 38.7 percent, trend grade 84)

Analysis: It doesn’t seem far-fetched that when LSU physically dominates its opponent and runs the football well that it covers a lot of point spreads. Well, after a murderer’s row schedule the last seven games, the load lightens a lot for the Tigers this week against lowly ULM. Expect LSU to take out a month and a half of frustration.

Kansas at TCU

Game Total: 66

Kansas is 21-2-1 Under (L24G) vs. weak rushing defenses yielding more than 5.0 yards per carry (win pct. 91.304 percent, + 18.8 units, ROI 71.2 percent, trend grade 93)

Analysis: After last week’s monumental 57-56 upset of Texas, oddsmakers are setting up bettors to expect another shootout for Kansas against TCU. That would be the natural presumption, right? Especially since TCU allows 5.4 yards per carry. Well, historically, the Jayhawks offense has tended to disappoint, even against the weakest defensive opponents. I don’t expect this game to get near the 66 on the total.

UAB at Texas-San Antonio

Game Line: UTSA by 4.5

UTSA is 8-0 ATS (L2Y) vs. strong passing teams averaging more than 7.90 yards per attempt (win pct. 100 percent, + 8 units, ROI 90.9 percent, trend grade 86)

Analysis: UAB boasts one of the most efficient pass offenses in college football, averaging 9.8 ppg. Lately that hasn’t mattered to UTSA, which has shown the balance offensively to counter such attacks. The ability to beat great offensive teams is one of the key reasons the Roadrunners have assumed control of Conference USA. Of course, with the West Division crown on the line this week, I expect another great outing for UTSA.

Colorado State at Hawaii

Game Line: Colorado State by 1.5

Hawaii is 15-34 ATS (L10Y) vs. teams with losing records (win pct. 69.4 percent, + 17.5 units, ROI 32.5 percent, trend grade 83)

Analysis: A telltale sign of an inconsistent program is its inability to put away lesser opponents. Hawaii’s 15-34 ATS record over the last 10 seasons against teams with losing records speaks for itself. Even oddsmakers are suspicious now, installing Colorado State as a road favorite despite a lesser won-lost record.

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