College Football Week 12: Best bets for today’s games | NFL and NCAA Betting Picks | PFF

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College Football Week 12: Best bets for today’s games

Clemson corner back Mario Goodrich (31) celebrates with teammates after an interception during their game against UConn Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Jm Clemson 113221 013

There is only one more week before all of college football’s best rivalries flood the schedule and the conference championships get set in stone. Nonetheless, we still have a lovely slate of college football games Saturday, giving us plenty of opportunities make some cheddar.


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Below are my bets for Week 12. Please note that there is no model involved with these picks, as they are independent from PFF Greenline.

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KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES at AKRON ZIPS 

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 12:00 PM EST | ESPN+

The Pick: Akron +13.5

Akron has one of the most improved quarterbacks in college football — Zach Gibson — leading its offense. Gibson, who owned a 45.5 passing grade in 2019 and 2020 when on the field, has impressed in each of the six games he has played in this year (four starts). He has earned a 92.0 passing grade across 136 attempts in 2021, featuring nine big-time throws and only one turnover-worthy play. Gibson has withstood lackluster pass-protection and a poor environment overall to lead the Zips to +0.29 expected points added (EPA) per pass play when on the field. For reference, that’d be a top-10 mark nationally if he started all year long and sustained that level of play.

In the four games where Gibson has dropped back double-digit times, Akron has covered the spread each time, and the Zips have an opportunity to extend that streak to five this weekend on their home turf against a bottom-tier Kent State defense. The Golden Flashes rank 114th in EPA per pass play allowed this season and 119th in PFF’s defensive power ranking. Now, Kent State is in the same boat as Akron, as its promising offense will face Akron's bad defense. But is Kent State's offense two touchdowns better than Akron’s with Gibson leading the way? Not likely. I like the Zips to at least cover the spread.

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES at BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES 

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 12:00 PM EST | ACC Network

The Pick: Boston College -1.5

Boston College starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec is back.

Jurkovec suffered an injury to his throwing hand back in Week 2, and it looked like it would keep him out for the rest of the year. He defied the odds, though, and made his return to the starting lineup in Week 10. Last week against Georgia Tech in Week 11, Jurkovec snapped. He had one of the most impressive performances of the season, delivering a handful of big-time throws en route to an elite PFF grade. Jurkovec was ultra-aggressive with an 18.1 average depth of target. In the end, he led the Eagles to the third-most efficient passing offense of the PFF College era (Power Five only) and an 11-point win over Georgia Tech. While it’s unlikely he replicates that special performance, Jurkovec has every opportunity to have another strong outing at home against a Florida State defense that ranks 47th in EPA per pass play allowed for the season. 

In Jurkovec we trust.

WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS at CLEMSON TIGERS

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 12:00 PM EST | ESPN

The Pick: Wake Forest +4.5

Clemson defense is one of the 10 best in college football. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables is still putting the Tigers defense in a position to succeed — he’s still scheming up pressure at a high rate and receiving quality coverage on the backend with breakout outside corner Mario Goodrich leading the way. The Tigers have allowed 4.9 yards per play to opposing Power Five offenses in 2021 — the seventh-best mark in the country. They’ll give Wake Forest’s offense — which ranks top three in the Power Five in passing efficiency entering Week 12 — a good matchup. Clemson’s offense, however, is going to be an issue.

Wake Forest’s defense isn’t special. It ranks 30th of the 65 Power Five programs in EPA per pass allowed against Power Five competition, and it is has struggled against downfield passes. Clemson’s offense lacks the firepower to take advantage of any of Wake Forest's defensive flaws, though, as the Tigers have generated -0.18 EPA per pass play against Power Five defenses this season. Overall, they rank 58th in Power Five in explosive pass play rate for the season. Preseason concerns surrounding quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei’s inaccuracy have come to fruition, as he has earned a middling 64.4 passing grade entering Week 12. 

Wake Forest should keep this game within a field goal at a minimum and potentially could even win outright, which would end Clemson’s 31-game win streak at home.

OTHER BETS I LIKE TODAY

GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS at NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH 

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 2:30 PM EST | NBC

The Pick: UNDER 58.5

VANDERBILT COMMODORES at OLE MISS REBELS 

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 7:30 PM EST | SEC Network

The Pick: UNDER 64.5

NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES at KENTUCKY WILDCATS 

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 12:00 PM EST | SEC Network

The Pick: UNDER 60

PURDUE BOILERMAKERS at NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS 

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 12:00 PM EST | Big Ten Network

The Pick: OVER 47.5

LOUISIANA RAGIN’ CAJUNS at LIBERTY FLAMES

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 4:00 PM EST | ESPNU

The Pick: Louisiana +4.5

UL-MONROE WARHAWKS at LSU TIGERS

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 9:00 PM EST | ESPN2

The Pick: UL-Monroe +29

ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS at OREGON STATE BEAVERS

Saturday, Nov. 20th | 10:30 PM EST | ESPN

The Pick: Oregon State +3

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