This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
The only thing more chaotic than college football is college football betting. This week will be no different. In the last two weeks, teams in the top-25 have been upset 12 times, creating an ever-changing landscape in the race for the College Football Playoffs.
It's been fun, if you enjoy chaos and parity like I do. Alabama is on the outside looking in, with the likes of TCU and Tennessee vying for a spot in the dance. Narratives matter, so let's make some bets with them in mind.
Best Betting Picks For College Football Week 12
TCU vs. Baylor: TCU -2.5 (-115)
If there has been a golden goose in college football this year, it's been the TCU Horned Frogs. No team has been better against the spread – they carry an 8-1-1 record ATS (.899) on their way to being one of four teams with a 10-0 record. They boast one of the best wide receivers in the country in Quentin Johnston, a thumping running back in Kendre Miller, and rarely turn over the ball – quarterback Max Duggan has thrown 25 touchdowns and only two interceptions this year.
This offense can strike from anywhere on the field, averaging 38.4 points per game (10th), while also ripping off 5.5 yards per carry (10th). Cinderella has turned into the Belle of the ball, and you better believe I'm riding with them again this week.
Kansas vs. Texas: Kansas +9 (-110)
Do I think Texas wins this game? Yeah, probably. But much like TCU, Kansas has covered at a strong 7-2-1 clip this season. I like elite talent, and it doesn't get much more elite than Texas running back Bijan Robinson. He's a surefire first round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and should go in the top-10. Robinson ran for over 100 yards in seven-straight games heading into last week, and then TCU (see above, I love them) managed to limit him to a pedestrian 29 yards on the ground. His rushing performance last week was his lowest output since October 10, 2020.
Even if Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers can bounce back from his recent woes and if Robinson returns to elite form, The Kansas offense averages 34.8 points per game (19th), 7.0 yards per play (6th), and converts 50.0% of their third down attempts (10th). There could be plenty of points in this game, but I expect Kansas to keep this closer to a one-score game and will be backing them to cover.
Tennessee vs. South Carolina: Tennessee -21.5 (-110)
Join me, and let's take a stroll down narrative street. Prior to last weekend, sat atop the first iteration of the College Football Playoff rankings. They were immediately tasked with a matchup against Georgia, who seemed offended by their ranking and took it out on the Vols, winning 27-13. Two weeks later, Tennessee sits at fifth in the rankings, and needs to not only win, but win handily to have a chance of climbing back into the group of four that makes it to the playoffs. They'll also likely need some help, but they need to control what they can control.
Tennessee is a balanced team, dominating on offense and holding their own on defense as well. Their 45.4 points per game on offense ranks second nationally, while their 526.8 yards per game tops the list. Quarterback Hendoon Hooker has been lethal this season, and his connection with wide receiver Jalin Hyatt has produced 1,116 yards and 15 touchdowns in 10 games. Against a vulnerable South Carolina defense that has struggled against good offenses, Tennessee should be able to run away with this one.
Ohio State vs. Maryland: Ohio -27.5 (-110)
Ohio State is good at football. That's about the extent of the analysis you need here, but I'll give you more anyways. Quarterback CJ Stroud is in contention for the first overall pick in next year's draft, and has Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, two elite receiving options, at his disposal. Ohio State is first in scoring, first in points per play, first in yards per play, fourth in yards per rush, fifth in yards per game… you get it. Through the air or on the ground, they win.
Their defense is no slouch either. They continuously put the kibosh on opposing offenses, holding them to 15.6 points per game (7th). They rank top-10 in opponent yards per game, points per play, third-down conversion, and passing yards per game. Despite all this, Ohio State is only 5-4-1 ATS this season. Fortunately for them, Maryland hasn't covered the spread in five straight games, and just got shut out 30-0 by Penn State last weekend. I'm backing Ohio State to continue their march to the playoffs (and for Stroud to solidify himself as the Heisman favorite, if you're into that sort of thing).
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If you're in Maryland or Ohio, I'm sorry to say that you can't get in on the betting action for your matchup this weekend. Good news, however – sports betting is just around the corner in both of your states.