10 College Football Picks Against the Spread (ATS) for Week 12

Eric Dungey and Syracuse will test the Notre Dame defense

The Week 12 edition of college football picks against the spread is highlighted by the Notre Dame-Syracuse battle at Yankee Stadium. Elsewhere, it’s rivalry time in the Pac-12 as Stanford and Cal meet in Berkeley for the Big Game; Arkansas seeks its first SEC win when it makes the trip to Mississippi State; and SMU seeks to remain in first place in the AAC West as the Mustangs host Memphis. Here are 10 predictions for games against the spread.

 

Syracuse (+9) over Notre Dame (at Yankee Stadium)

It’s a compliment to Syracuse that this game, not Notre Dame’s dates with Florida State or USC, has been considered to be biggest test for the Irish down the stretch of the 2018 season. The Orange are 8–2 overall, with a four-point loss at Clemson and an overtime loss at Pitt the next week. They have scored 40 points or more in each of their last four games (all wins) and rank second to Clemson in the ACC in both total offense and scoring offense. Notre Dame will welcome Ian Book back to the lineup this week after he missed the win over Florida State with an injury. Notre Dame is the better team — and has a ton to play for — but Syracuse is good enough to make the Irish sweat. Notre Dame 34, Syracuse 27

 

SMU (+8.5) over Memphis

SMU controls its own destiny in the AAC West, which is quite an accomplishment after the Sonny Dykes era opened with three straight losses — at North Texas, vs. TCU and at Michigan. The Mustangs have two losses in the league, at UCF (no shame) and at home in overtime to Cincinnati. They have wins over Houston and at Tulane, the two teams they share the division lead with. Memphis is bowl-eligible but is still seeking its first win over a good team. The Tigers’ victims: Mercer, Georgia State, South Alabama, UConn, East Carolina and Tulsa. All but one of those wins (vs. ECU) was at home. SMU 41, Memphis 38

 

Kentucky (-14) over Middle Tennessee

With its SEC slate complete (a 5–3 record), Kentucky concludes the 2018 regular season against Middle Tennessee and Louisville. And despite the recent disappointment — back-to-back losses to Georgia and Tennessee — a nine-win regular season is still a very realistic possibility. Middle Tennessee is 0–2 against SEC foes this fall, losing to Vanderbilt 35–7 and Georgia 49–7. This is a good team that doesn’t have the size on the line of scrimmage to hold up against a physical SEC opponent. Kentucky 31, Middle Tennessee 14

 

Utah (-7) over Colorado

In perhaps its most impressive performance of the season, Utah managed to beat Oregon 32–25 last week without its starting quarterback and running back. The Utes will win the Pac-12 South with a win at Colorado and at least one loss from Arizona State, which closes its season at Oregon and at Arizona. Colorado, once 5–0, hasn’t won a game in over a month, and there are rumors swirling that coach Mike MacIntyre is on the way out. This is a good spot for Utah. Utah 34, Colorado 21

 

Stanford (-2) over California

There are big implications in The Big Game. Both teams are 6–4 overall, but Stanford is one game up on the Golden Bears in the Pac-12 standings (4–3 vs. 3–4). With a winnable finale (at home vs. struggling Colorado), California is in position to finishing with a winning record in league play for the first time since 2009. Stanford can get to 6–3 in the league with wins over Cal and Oregon State but has been eliminated from playing in the Pac-12 title game. The Cardinal have been a disappointment, but their four losses have come against Notre Dame, Utah, Washington State and Washington. Stanford 24, California 17

 

ULM (+9) over Arkansas State

ULM continued its late-season surge with a 38–10 win at South Alabama to improve to 6–4 overall and, more important, 4–2 in the Sun Belt. In league games, the Warhawks are outgaining their opponents by 1.4 yards per play, and they rank in the top three in both total offense and total defense. Arkansas State has recovered from a 1–3 start in the league by beating South Alabama and Coastal Carolina to get to .500 in the Sun Belt. They need to win this game over ULM to stay alive in the West Division race. ULM 34, Arkansas State 30

 

Nebraska (+2) over Michigan State

Offense hasn’t been the issue at Nebraska this season. The Cornhuskers have topped the 500-yard mark five times, including a 606-yard effort in last week’s 54–35 win over Illinois. Plus, they have scored at least 31 points in five straight games, including two with 50-plus. Defense has been the concern all season. In seven Big Ten games, they are allowing an average of 38.9 points and 498.7 yards per game (both 13th in the league). Michigan State has had the opposite issues; the Spartans have been stout on defense all season but have struggled to put points on the board in most league games. Nebraska 28, Michigan State 21

 

Nevada (-14.5) over San Jose State

Nevada has won three straight and is poised to close the regular season with an 8–4 mark if it takes care of business in the final two games — at San Jose State and at UNLV. The Wolf Pack have been solid defensively of late, holding Hawaii, San Diego State and Colorado State to an average of 18.6 points over the last three weeks. San Jose State has shown some improvement in 2018 — even though it’s won only one game — but will have a tough time keeping this game close. Nevada 34, San Jose State 14

 

Mississippi State (-20.5) over Arkansas

Mississippi State’s season to date has been a bit of disappointment, but there’s one thing that’s clear: The Bulldogs, for the most part, have beaten the teams they are supposed to beat — and done so with ease. Their FBS wins have come by 21 points (Kansas State), 46 (Louisiana), 14 (Auburn), 15 (Texas A&M) and 42 (Louisiana Tech). Arkansas has been competitive at times, but the Hogs are 0–6 in the SEC and will have a tough time matching State’s physicality at the line of scrimmage. Expect to see the Bulldogs run wild. Mississippi State 35, Arkansas 14

 

NC State (-16) over Louisville

The head coach has been dismissed, but don’t expect a big turnaround from Louisville. This is a flawed team that has struggled to compete in a down year in the ACC. Louisville is 1–9 against the spread this season and has failed to cover the last two weeks as dogs of 38 points (Clemson) and 20 points (Syracuse). NC State is also struggling, having lost three of four after a 5–0 start. Last Thursday night, the Pack let a late lead slip away in a 27–23 loss at home to Wake Forest. Despite the recent struggles, NC State is potent enough on offense to beat Louisville with ease. NC State 41, Louisville 20

 

Last week: 5–5

Season: 53–67

 
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