By: Austin Moehn
Week 12 of college football is upon us. This is the time of the year that teams are making pushes to conference titles and for some it’s a chance at The College Football Playoff. Last week, two of the four games I had were cancelled due to Covid related issues. We went 1-1 in those two but I still have had a good last week and a half. Out of my last seven college football picks, I’ve hit on five. I’m looking to keep it going this week as I give my best bets for three exciting games. Let’s get into it!
#7 Cincinnati at UCF (+5)
Kickoff: 3:30 ET
This matchup will be Cincinnati’s toughest and most important game so far in 2020. With a win, the Bearcats can secure the AAC regular season title and add UCF as a resume builder for the CFB playoff. All the Bearcats have done this year is dismantle team after team, especially the past four games where they have outscored their opponents 184-50. Cinncy’s defense is probably the best in college football as they have allowed on average only 12 points and 300 total yards. They have also been able to shutdown high scoring offenses like SMU and Memphis which nobody has done this year. Desmond Ridder and the offense have been great pounding the rock and will face a defense in UCF that allows 190 rush yards per game.
I was really high on the Golden Knights coming into this season. The offense has lived up to the expectations of being very productive but the defense has really struggled this year. On average they are allowing 28 points per game and a whopping 450 yards as they face a Bearcats team that is familiar with putting up a lot of points. Dillion Gabriel has quietly put up a stellar season throwing for 2,774 yards 23 touchdowns and only two interceptions. They also have a pretty good run game with running backs Greg McRae and Otis Anderson. This combination of offensive talent will test the shutdown defense of the Bearcats.
This season Cinncy has had great success (unintentional Borat reference) against pass heavy teams that struggle on defense. SMU and Memphis are built similarly to UCF and in those two games, the Bearcats dominated winning a combined score of 91-23. Another note is UCF lost to Tulsa earlier in the year. Tulsa plays similarly to Cincinnati by using the run game to wear out their opponents and a defense that causes problems. The difference is the Bearcats are a much better team than Tulsa. UCF has a more balanced attack compared to SMU and Memphis, but I think the Bearcats will still be able to slow them down and prevail in this one. I’m liking Cincinnati to cover -5 at (-110).
#10 Wisconsin at #19 Northwestern (+7.5)
Kickoff: 3:30 ET
In what has been a strange year for the BIG Ten, these two teams have emerged as the top contenders to Ohio State. Both teams have gotten out to great starts. Northwestern has been impressive getting off to a 4-0 start beating the likes of Iowa and Purdue. Wisconsin had Covid issues causing them to shut down for three weeks. They came back last week and gave Michigan a 49-11 beatdown at The Big House. Wisconsin and Northwestern’s defense have been fantastic by shutting down any sort of offense their opponents have had. Both allow very few points and barely any yardage. The one difference I’m seeing is on the offensive side of the ball. The offense for Wisconsin has been insanely productive with Freshman Graham Mertz and they are getting Garret Grosheck back from injury. Northwestern has been pretty average offensively so far but with having a few good running backs and a veteran quarterback, they have the ability to score.
I’m taking Wisconsin to cover -7.5 (-105) on the road. This isn’t the traditional Wisconsin team that will give it to their top back 30 times a game and struggle to pass. Mertz is able to keep defenses honest allowing the running game to see fewer defenders in the box. The Wildcats have yet to show an ability to score on good defenses like Wisconsin. It won’t help that the Badgers are getting back starters Rachad Wildgoose and Eric Burell from injury. Northwestern’s defense is very good and I think they will be able to slow down the Badgers just not enough to allow the offense to keep it close. Like I said before, give me the Badgers in this one.
Washington State at Stanford (-4.5)
Kickoff: 10:30 ET
Very few things are better than late night PAC-12 football and this one should be entertaining. Both of these teams have been very good offensively with Jayden de Laura leading the Cougars and Davis Mills under center for the Cardinals. While both teams have been able to score plenty of points, they have also allowed a lot of points. Through two games they both rank almost at the bottom in every defensive category. It doesn’t help that they’ve both played Oregon but still they need to improve. Stanford is 0-2 on the season and is coming off a tough 35-32 loss to Colorado. As mentioned before the Cardinal defense was vulnerable while the offense did it’s best to keep them in the game. Washington State is entering this week 1-1 and was very competitive against Oregon. After the third quarter the Ducks were only up by two before they were able to put up 22 in the fourth. Stanford looks to get its first win at home Saturday night.
This game will be high scoring. It will come down to whichever team will win the turnover battle, will win the game. The Cougars have been surprisingly good rushing the ball without Max Borghi and with him possibly being back, it makes Washington State even more dangerous. Stanford does have weapons on offense and a very good quarterback in Davis Mills, but I think they won’t be able to distance themselves from the Cougars. In what will be a back and forth game, I’m thinking Wazzu will be able to keep it close. Give me Washington State -4.5 (-110).
Austin’s 2020 Best Bets ATS record: (15-14)