Week 12 college football betting primer

This week’s attempt to halt a losing streak for the ages features a combination of high-profile matchups and under-the-radar showdowns. One game that didn’t make the list is the annual Florida State-Miami slugfest, which the Big Puma assures me will be won by his Hurricanes. Should that homer call the game correctly, maybe we’ll turn this column over to him next week.

Last week: 2-3

Season: 27-35 (.435)

Temple Owls (5-4, 2-2 road) at Penn State Nittany Lions (5-4, 2-3 home)

When: Saturday, 12:00pm ET
Open: Penn State -10
Current: Penn State -11 (Westgate)

Temple in 2014: 5-4 ATS, 6-3 to the UNDER
Penn State in 2014: 4-4-1 ATS, 6-3 to the UNDER

Christian HackenbergPSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg and the Nittany Lions are averaging just 20.3 points per game this season.

Analysis: This game features an offshore over/under of just 39 points, but an underdog that is catching 11. To summarize, we’re looking at a game that features two teams that play low-scoring football, a low total and a favorite that is laying double digits! Penn State ranks 112th in the nation in scoring this season (20.3 pts/gm) and has beaten Temple by an average of just 8.0 points per contest over the last three meetings between these two schools. Also of note, Temple is 6-2 ATS over its last eight road games, 12-5 ATS over its last 17 matchups overall and 8-2 ATS over its last ten showdowns following a loss. We’ll take the points here.

Notable trends: Temple is 6-1 ATS over its last seven games against teams with a winning record while Penn State is 2-7 ATS over its last nine games following a win.

Pick: Temple (+11)

Pittsburgh Panthers (4-5, 2-1 road) at North Carolina Tar Heels (4-5, 3-1 home)

When: Saturday, 12:30pm ET
Open: North Carolina -2
Current: North Carolina -2 (MGM)

Pittsburgh in 2014: 3-5-1 ATS, 4-4-1 to the OVER
North Carolina in 2014: 3-6 ATS, 4-4 to the OVER

Analysis: Pittsburgh ranks 18th in the nation in rushing (247.7 yds/gm) while North Carolina’s 126th-ranked scoring defense (41.9 pts/gm) has been gashed on the ground in conference play for an average of 218.6 yards per game this season. Big edge to the Panthers. In addition, Pittsburgh is 4-1-1 ATS over its last six road dates and 8-1 ATS over its last nine games when surrendering more than 40 points in the previous contest. It’s been a disastrous season for Larry Fedora and the Tar Heels and we don’t see how the UNC defense will be able to generate enough stops this weekend to defeat the Panthers, who are out for revenge following last year’s 34-27 loss to North Carolina.

Notable trends: Pittsburgh is 23-8-1 ATS over its last 32 games following a loss while North Carolina is 1-4 ATS over its last five games following an ATS loss.

Pick: Pittsburgh (+2)

#1 Mississippi State Bulldogs (9-0, 3-0 road) at #5 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1, 5-0 home)

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ET
Open: Alabama -7
Current: Alabama -8.5 (Westgate)

Mississippi State in 2014: 5-4 ATS, 5-4 to the OVER
Alabama in 2014: 3-6 ATS, 5-4 to the UNDER

Dak PrescottHeisman hopeful Dak Prescott has thrown 18 touchdown passes through nine games this season.

Analysis: The early action flowed in to support Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, who have won six straight in this series, but we’re looking to go the other way in this weekend’s marquee showdown. Alabama left it all on the line in last Saturday’s 20-13 overtime win at LSU, while Mississippi State cruised past Tennessee-Martin 45-16. Alabama will no doubt feel the effects of that slugfest during the second half against a Bulldogs team that currently ranks 16th in the nation in scoring defense (19.7 pts/gm). In addition to Mississippi State holding the edge at the quarterback position in this one, take note that the Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS over their last five road contests while Alabama is just 3-9-1 ATS over its last 13 games overall.

Notable trends: Alabama is 3-7 ATS over its last ten games following an ATS win while Mississippi State is 8-2 ATS over its last ten games against teams with a winning record.

Pick: Mississippi State (+8.5)

#23 Utah Utes (6-3, 3-1 road) at Stanford Cardinal (5-4, 4-1 home)

When: Saturday, 6:00pm ET
Open: Stanford -8
Current: Stanford -7.5 (Wynn)

Utah in 2014: 7-2 ATS, 5-3-1 to the UNDER
Stanford in 2014: 4-5 ATS, 6-2 to the UNDER

Analysis: Stanford’s had two weeks to get ready for a revenge game against a Utah team that defeated the Cardinal 27-21 last season in Salt Lake City. And while the Cardinal are rested and hungry, Utah is in an extremely difficult spot here. The Utes are at the tail end of a five-game stretch that featured a double overtime win at Oregon State, last-second come-from-behind victory over USC, overtime loss at Arizona State and a 51-27 throttling at the hands of Oregon last Saturday. A tough travel date off back-to-back losses against a rested team is a recipe for disaster. Additionally, take note that Stanford is 6-0 ATS over its last six games following a loss.

Notable trends: Utah is 0-6 ATS over its last six games when surrendering more than 200 rushing yards in the previous contest.

Pick: Stanford (-7.5)

North Texas Mean Green (3-6, 0-4 road) at UTEP Miners (5-4, 3-1 home)

When: Saturday, 10:00pm ET
Open: UTEP -6.5
Current: UTEP -6 (Stations)

North Texas in 2014: 3-6 ATS, 6-3 to the OVER
UTEP in 2014: 7-2 ATS, 5-4 to the UNDER

Analysis: There are a lot of elements at play that point to UTEP here, beginning with the fact that the Miners tanked a 27-14 third quarter lead over Western Kentucky last week to lose 35-27. That’s big because it means we’re going to get a hungry and motivated UTEP team on Saturday that is one win away from bowl eligibility, and it’s certainly worth noting that this is the best chance left on the schedule for UTEP to qualify for the postseason. We also have the revenge angle in play for this one, as North Texas smashed the Miners 41-7 in last November’s encounter between these two schools. Additionally, UTEP running back Aaron Jones (886 rushing yards, 8 TDs, 5.4 YPC average) is expected to return this week after missing the Western Kentucky matchup with a knee injury, which should provide a big boost to an offense that is scoring an average of 29.8 points per game this season. North Texas’ three wins in 2014 have come against teams with a combined record of 3-25 and bettors should take note that the Mean Green are 0-4 ATS over their last four road games, while UTEP is 5-0 ATS over its last five home contests.

Notable trends: North Texas is 11-25 ATS over its last 36 games against teams with a winning record.

Pick: UTEP (-6)

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