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Best College Football Picks for Week 12

Our weekly college football picks column managed to get back to its winning ways last week, correctly calling two of the three featured games. Wake Forest blew their big lead against North Carolina and lost outright but managed to cover the spread. Tulsa fell behind big but rallied in the second half to win and cover as home favorites. Arkansas kept us from a clean sweep, or maybe I should say Florida. The Gators had no hangover whatsoever after their big win over Georgia and dismantled the Hogs. The 2-1 week moves this column’s record to 16-17 on the season.

Thus far, there have been far fewer cancellations on the Week 12 slate than those college football bettors were forced to contend with a week ago. Fingers crossed that it stays that way. As we look to stay sharp and nail some more winners, here are my best college football picks for Week 12.

Hugh Freeze and Liberty are short underdogs in this week's college football picks.
Credit: Getty Images

Week 12 College Football Picks

All odds courtesy of Bovada Sportsbook

Appalachian State at Coastal Carolina (Under 48)

Appalachian State vs Coastal Carolina college football picks game odds

In what could very well be the biggest regular season game in the Sun Belt Conference this season, 15th-ranked Coastal Carolina puts their undefeated record on the line against the reigning conference champion Appalachian State. The Chanticleers opened as four-point home favorites and have drawn the early favor of the expert college football picks. The spread is now CCU -5.5 at Bovada Sportsbook. The total has also moved, trickling down from an opening 49.5 to an even 48 points.

App State earned a narrow win over Georgia State last weekend but paid a hefty price in the process as quarterback Zac Thomas was taken off the field in an ambulance in the fourth quarter. Backup Jacob Huesman was able to lead what proved to be the game-winning touchdown drive. The offense could be up against it this week though if Thomas (day-to-day) is unable to go. Fortunately, the Mountaineers possess a defense capable of dictating the outcome of any game. App State is allowing just 16.9 points per game (PPG) and 324.7 yards per game (YPG) on the season.

Speaking of good defenses, the Chanticleers come into Saturday’s home contest having gone 10 full quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown. Nicknamed the “Black Swarm”, CCU’s defensive numbers are more than on par with those of the Mountaineers (16.3 PPG, 309.6 YPG). Coastal Carolina will look to clamp down on the four-time conference champs and continue their historic 2020 season. Limiting turnovers could be a big part of the Chanticleers having success on Saturday. QB Grayson McCall’s 16:1 TD:INT ratio cannot be overlooked.

Appalachian State vs Coastal Carolina College Football Picks

Betting college football totals Under can be daunting, but everything points to a defensive-minded battle in Myrtle Beach on Saturday. In addition to the defensive statistics this season, historical trends for both teams heavily favor the Under. Act quickly before the current total number of 48 gets any lower.

Liberty (+3.5) at NC State

Liberty vs NC State college football picks

BYU may have the top-10 ranking next to their name, but they aren’t the only FBS Independent making noise on the gridiron this season. Liberty enters Saturday’s matchup at NC State with a perfect 7-0 record. Yet, the Flames still find themselves as short underdogs in the college football picks odds. Liberty is a 3.5-point spread at Bovada Sportsbook after an opening line of NC State -4.

Hugh Freeze’s squad will be looking to complete a trifecta sweep against ACC opponents this weekend. After downing Syracuse earlier in the season, the Flames upset Virginia Tech in unforgettable fashion two weeks ago. Quarterback Malik Willis has been churning out quality stat lines left and right. Fellow senior Joshua Mack has been getting it done on the ground as well, averaging 5.2 YPC. Liberty should have no trouble scoring against the Wolfpack’s suspect defense. The biggest test will be slowing down NC State’s own explosive offense.

Even without injured QB Devin Leary, the Wolfpack offense has continued humming with redshirt junior Bailey Hockman stepping in under center. Hockman has five touchdown passes over the last two games, and he will likely need a few more on Saturday if NC State is going to cover as college football picks favorites. The Wolfpack defense has been leaking points all season long, including giving up 45 to the same VA Tech team Liberty beat in a 21-point loss. And that was back when the Hokies were without QB Hendon Hooker.

Liberty vs North Carolina State College Football Picks

I really like the current spread of Liberty +3.5 because of getting the extra hook off the key number of three. This game very well could come down to a last-second kick, but the hook ensures a Liberty bet would still cash. The Flames have proven time and again that they can play with the big boys in the ACC. NC State’s problematic defense is added motivation to include Liberty among this week’s college football picks.

Bonus Pick: California (-3) at Oregon State

California vs Oregon State college football picks game odds

It was an ugly season-opener for Justin Wilcox’s California team. Known as a defensive-minded team, the Golden Bears were missing tackles all over the field against UCLA last week. With first game sloppiness and jitters now behind them, look for a much better performance this week in Corvallis.

Oregon State is also hungry for their first win as well after dropping their first two games. The current college football picks spread of Cal -3 is too much of an adjustment from the opening line in my opinion. After dealing with positive coronavirus cases, the Bears are expecting to have most players back in the fold this week. If this holds true, Cal is easily the superior team.

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