While a few of the top teams in the country like the Alabama Crimson Tide are playing weak non-conference opponents in Week 12, many others are playing the biggest games of their season, including some that are not even in the national championship picture. Between coaches trying to save their jobs and players looking to come together down the final stretch, there’s still a lot for bettors to keep an eye on this week.
The Bears have lost three straight following a 6-0 start and are just trying to ride out the rest of the schedule at this point. There is little motivation in Waco because the team is already bowl eligible, so what is there to play for? Their opponent, the Wildcats, are 8-0 against the spread after a bye week since head coach Bill Snyder returned to the school. Take Kansas State.
Everybody praised head coach Brian Kelly when he led the Fighting Irish to the national championship game in his third year, now everybody wants him out en route to what looks like his first losing season in South Bend. This is a must-win game for Kelly and the Irish if they have any hopes of finishing at .500 and becoming bowl eligible. The Hokies are a good opponent in this situation considering they are just 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games on the road versus teams with losing records. Back Notre Dame.
The winner of this game remains in the mix for one of the four College Football Playoff spots, although the Sooners have no margin for error. They have to win out and do so impressively while hoping other top contenders lose twice too. The Mountaineers are the mystery team here and can work themselves into the conversation as well with a victory against Oklahoma. West Virginia has won five of six games against Big 12 opponents, also going 12-4 straight up in its last 16 after winning as an underdog, so bet the home team to pull off the upset as a small dog.
Over in the NFL, Week 11 offers bettors a much less competitive slate of games, at least on paper. While last week had 10 of 14 games with point spreads of three points or less, this week has seven with lines higher than six. So will the big favorites cover those large numbers, or will the underdogs have their day again on Sunday?
These are two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of what they are playing for this season. New York is primed for a run at the postseason and has won eight straight when favored by six points or more. Meanwhile, Chicago is playing for the top overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and has gone 0-5 straight up and against the spread in its last five on the road. Ride with the Giants in this lopsided NFC matchup.
While it’s not a sure bet that linebacker DeAndre Levy will play for Detroit when the team returns from its bye on Sunday against Jacksonville, the fact that he practiced for the first time in nine weeks is very positive. So is the fact that this team is tied atop the NFC North and hosting a bad Jaguars squad. The favored team is 5-0 SU and ATS in the past five meetings, which is really all you need to know before picking the side to cover the spread. The Lions will roar here.
That’s right, we’re going all chalk this week, and this one might be the strongest pick of all despite the double-digit spread. New England is 16-3 SU in its last 19 games off a loss, which may not seem too important because the team still needs to cover the spread. But Tom Brady will be playing near home and should be super pumped to bounce back in front of his family and friends. A very motivated Brady will get the job done and reward backers with an easy cover.