College football Week 12 picks against spread: Michigan in spoiler role against Wisconsin
Week 12 of the college football season is here, and we have just two more weeks afterward until the end of the regular season.
This week doesn’t have a great slate. Michigan at Wisconsin is the best bet on the schedule, and it’s mostly about not tripping up heading into rivalry week. It’s also about trying to do better.
We were 1-9 against the spread last week with all the shakeups. That's not good enough.
We're going to take a crack at it with three weeks to go. Each week, Sporting News college football writer Bill Bender will pick 10 marquee games against the spread. We're ready for Week 12. Time to get back up:
Straight up: 6-4
Against the spread: 1-9
Straight up: 85-25, .772
Against the spread: 59-51, .537
And now the picks (lines provided courtesy of VegasInsider.com as of Nov. 13; lines reflect consensus picks unless noted):
1 Virginia at Miami (-19.5)
Noon, Saturday, ESPN
Is this the potential letdown game for Miami after back-to-back top-15 victories? The Cavaliers have had an up-and-down season but have lost three of their last four and haven't been great against the spread. Mark Richt will keep the Hurricanes focused here with bigger prizes in mind down the line.
Miami wins 35-14 and covers the spread
2 Nebraska at Penn State (-26)
4 p.m., Saturday, Fox Sports 1
The Huskers lost by 33 at Minnesota last week, and the Nittany Lions' best bet to stay in the College Football Playoff conversation is to run it up at home. This could be Saquon Barkley's last game in Beaver Stadium.
Penn State wins 45-17 and covers the spread
3 Kentucky at Georgia (-21.5)
3:30 p.m., Saturday, CBS
Georgia can't lose again, and it faces at Kentucky team that lost 27-24 in last year’s matchup. This is a measuring stick game for the Wildcats, whose only blowout loss was a 45-7 clunker at Mississippi State. We like the Bulldogs to get back on track, and the spead is right on the line.
Georgia wins 34-14 but fails to cover the spread
4 Texas at West Virginia (-3.5)
12 p.m., Saturday, ESPN
Texas needs one win to clinch bowl eligibility under first-year coach Tom Herman, but it will have to come on the road. The Mountaineers have won a pair of close games the last two weeks and get the chance to play spoiler at Oklahoma in the regular-season finale. The Longhorns are 3-1 as an underdog, but they miss here in another close one.
West Virginia wins 31-24 and covers the spread
5 Navy at Notre Dame (-18)
3:30 p.m., Saturday, NBC
Notre Dame is likely out of the playoff race after a 41-8 loss to Miami and now must face a Navy team and that patented option offense. Remember, the Midshipmen have won four of the last 10, including last year's 28-27 victory. Navy's last eight games have been decided by 10 points or fewer.
Notre Dame wins 34-21 but fails to cover the spread
6 FIU at FAU (-14.5)
3 p.m., Saturday, ESPN3
Lane Kiffin vs. Butch Davis. Yep, we’re picking the Owls vs. Golden Panthers. Florida Atlantic can wrap up the Conference USA East title with a win here. The Owls have covered in five of their last six wins, but this is the highest spread yet.
Florida Atlantic wins 38-27 but fails to cover the spread
7 LSU (-15.5) at Tennessee
7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN
What kind of atmosphere will they have at Neyland Stadium for this one with interim coach Brady Hoke? The Vols are 0-5 against the spread as an underdog this year, and are coming off a 33-point loss at Missouri. Maybe Hoke fires this team up with a let-it-all-hang-out game and they hang around for a half. We’ll see.LSU wins 31-17 but fails to cover the spread
8 Cal at Stanford (-16)
8 p.m., Saturday, FOX
This is chance for Justin Wilcox to change the tenor of a one-sided rivalry Stanford has dominated with seven straight victories. It's also a chance for Bryce Love to make another statement that pushes him back into that Heisman Trophy conversation. Cal hangs around, but the Cardinal take the Big Game again.
Stanford wins 41-27 but fails to cover the spread
9 UCLA at USC (-16)
8 p.m., Saturday, ABC
The Trojans are the longshot College Football Playoff hope for the Pac-12, and if that’s going to happen they need to put on a big number in the regular-season finale against rival UCLA. The Bruins' up-and-down season leads us to believe this could be fun. It’s the shootout we’ve been waiting on, even if the stakes aren’t what we expected.
USC wins 45-34 but fails to cover the spread
10 Michigan at Wisconsin (-7.5)
Noon, Saturday, FOX
Here’s the big opponent the Badgers have been waiting for all season. The Wolverines have found a quarterback in Brandon Peters, and this was a tight game last year in Ann Arbor. The line already dropped 2.5 points. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Wolverines pulled the upset here, but we’ll stick with the home team in a close one.
Wisconsin wins 24-20 but fails to cover the spread