Best bets college football Week 12: KU, K-State, MU, Big 12

Kansas quarterback Jason Bean runs for a touchdown during the first half against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Lawrence.

Kansas quarterback Jason Bean runs for a touchdown during the first half against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Lawrence.

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Every week, Kansas State beat writer Kellis Robinett takes a look at the entire college football schedule and breaks down a dozen or so games that are worth betting on.

Here are his thoughts on various betting lines and games for Week 12:

Texas (-9.5) at Kansas

If Jason Bean or Jalon Daniels starts at quarterback on Saturday this feels like a good spot to back the Jayhawks. Kansas is 7-2-1 against the spread this season and owns a 4-1 record at home with its only loss coming by seven against No. 4 TCU. Lance Leipold’s team is going to be motivated to win on senior day and to prove its win at Texas last season was not fluke. The Longhorns are coming off a demoralizing 17-10 loss to the Horned Frogs that greatly diminished their hopes of reaching the Big 12 championship game. This could be a let down spot for them. Texas has also struggled on the road, going 1-2 this season with its only victory coming by seven at K-State. All bets are off if KU has to play his third-string quarterback, but the Jayhawks can cover and maybe even pull off an outright upset (+255) with Bean or Daniels.

New Mexico State (-28.5) at Missouri

There are only a handful of teams in all of college football that are bad enough to make me consider laying this many points with the Tigers. New Mexico State is one of them. The Aggies aren’t just bad. They are really bad. In their two other road games against power-conference teams this season they lost to Minnesota 38-0 and Wisconsin 66-7. They have won four games since then, but those victories came against Hawaii, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Lamar. The Tigers should win this game easily. Question is: Can they win by 30? That’s a tough call. Missouri was unable to cover this number against Louisiana Tech (52-24) or Abilene Christian (34-17) earlier this season. Maybe it’s best to stay away. But I’m leaning toward the Tigers. They need two more wins for bowl eligibility and they won’t hesitate to run up the score and feel good about themselves after losing 66-24 at Tennessee last week.

Kansas State (-7.5) at West Virginia

This is only the second time K-State has been a road favorite this season. Its first experience ended in a push at Iowa State when the Wildcats were favored by a single point and won 10-9. West Virginia is used to being a home underdog. It pulled off an upset against Oklahoma last weekend and also beat Baylor earlier in the season. The Mountaineers were on their way to covering a seven-point spread at home against TCU, too, until the Horned Frogs threw a fluky touchdown pass in the final minute rather than simply run out the clock, because the Mountaineers jumped offsides on a late play . TCU won 41-31. This is another tough call, but I’m leaning K-State. The offense is better with Will Howard running the show and the Wildcats have been a strong road team all season.

Around the Big 12

TCU (-2.5) at Baylor: Bet against the Horned Frogs at your own peril. They are 8-1-1 against the spread this season and show no signs of letting up on the road against one of their biggest rivals.

Oklahoma State (+7.5) at Oklahoma: The Cowboys are the team to back here if Spencer Sanders is their starting quarterback. I don’t trust the Sooners to beat anyone by eight points, let alone a ranked opponent that will be highly motivated to win on Saturday. This also feels like an under with a high points total of 68 1/2.

Texas Tech (+3.5) at Iowa State: Laying points with Iowa State’s offense is always scary, but that is the recommendation here. The Red Raiders stink on the road. They are 0-4 away from Lubbock this season with all four losses coming by double digits. I don’t trust them to play well in Ames, especially at night with a low of 7 degrees.

Best Bets

Last week should have gone better. Fresno State led UNLV by 10 in the final minute, but the Rebels kicked a last-second field goal to lose by seven and ruin my bet. Iowa State was also in control of its game against Oklahoma State until Spencer Sanders, who was thought to be inactive, came off the bench in the second half and led the Cowboys to a win. I was that close to 4-1 and ended up 2-3. Let’s hope for better luck this time around!

Fresno State (-22) at Nevada: I’m going back to the well. The Bulldogs shouldn’t be in danger of surrendering a backdoor cover this week. I expect them to hold a much larger lead over one of the worst teams in all of college football. Nevada was in a similar spot last week and couldn’t come close to covering a 21-point spread against Boise Sate. Pick: Fresno State.

Texas Tech at Iowa State (O/U 48): As much I like the Cyclones in this game, I like the under even more. You have the best defense in the Big 12 going against a team that doesn’t play well on the road or know what it’s like to play in the cold. The potential for this game devolving into a rock fight is very high. The under has hit in six straight Iowa State games. Pick: Under.

UTSA (-12.5) at Rice: The Road Runners have won seven straight games behind an explosive passing attack. I have them ranked in my top 25. You better believe I’m backing UTSA against a middling opponent that allows 8.3 yards per pass.

Tennessee (-21.5) at South Carolina: This weekly betting column might as well be a Volunteers fan account. I am including Tennessee again, because it is all about style points for Rocky Top at the moment. Its only hope of reaching the playoff is to win by gigantic margins the rest of the way and impress the selection committee by any means possible. Josh Heupel isn’t taking his foot off the gas. The Vols dropped 66 points on Mizzou last week. South Carolina is the next victim.

Navy (+17) at UCF: I tried to fade Navy earlier this season in what looked like a difficult road game and quickly realized that was an awful strategy. Whenever a service academy is catching more than touchdowns, you should bet on the service academy. Navy is a perfect 5-0 against the spread in road games this season. Now it gets UCF fresh off three straight emotional victories against Cincinnati, Memphis and Tulane. Defending the triple-option after that stretch of games won’t be easy. I fully expect the Knights to win, but not by 18 points.

Last week: 2-3. Season record ATS: 27-27-1.

Other lines worth considering

These suggestions went 5-2 last week!

Connecticut (+10.5) at Army: The Huskies are a cover machine. They at 9-2 ATS this season and have covered in seven straight games. Now they are catching double digits against a service academy. Pick: UConn.

USC (-3) at UCLA: The Bruins suffered an upset loss against Arizona last week, but that only makes me want to back them more in this spot. Dorian Thompson-Robinson and company were clearly looking ahead to this rivalry game. Pick: UCLA.

UMass (+33.5) at Texas A&M: The Aggies have been a colossal disappointment this season, but they have an enormous talent advantage over the Minutemen. It’s not hard to see Texas A&M taking out lots of frustration on UMass and winning by 50. Pick: Texas A&M.

UAB (+14.5) at LSU: The Blazers haven’t covered the spread in a road game all season. I don’t see that changing against the Tigers, who (much like Tennessee) need all the style points they can get right now. Pick: USL.

Boston College (+21.5) at Notre Dame: Boston College has been surprisingly good with Emmett Morehead at quarterback the past two weeks, covering against Duke and then pulling off a road upset against North Carolina State. I will back the Golden Eagles catching this many points, especially when you consider Notre Dame is 0-5 against the spread as a favorite this season. Pick: BC.

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Kellis Robinett covers Kansas State athletics for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. A winner of more than a dozen national writing awards, he lives in Manhattan with his wife and four children.

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