Week 12 College football best bets, odds and game picks, including USC vs UCLA: Time to back the Bruins

UCLA Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet (24) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half at the Rose Bowl.
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Caleb Wilfinger


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Deputy Editor for Pickswise with years of experience handicapping and giving out winning picks. Lover of all US sports and Southampton FC. For Caleb Wilfinger media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.
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With the 3rd edition of the College Football Playoff rankings released on Tuesday, the 2022 season is nearing the home stretch. Last weekend’s slate was another wild one, and we should have more great action in store for Week 12.

I bounced back with a 2-1 day in Week 11, which brought my best bets record to 19-11-1 over the last 10 weeks. Let’s keep the momentum going this week!

This week’s college football action kicked off on Tuesday and will go deep into Saturday night. While this week’s lines have been on the move since Sunday, there are still some good value bets of which to take advantage.

Let’s take a look at our best bets for Week 12 of the college football season.

We’ve got NCAAF picks for all the big games in Week 12!

UCLA Bruins ML over USC Trojans (+115)

Odds available at PointsBet Sportsbook at time of publishing

The lookahead line on this game had UCLA as a 1-point favorite, which seemed perfectly priced given the strengths and weaknesses of these teams. However, the Bruins are now a home underdog after they fell to Arizona last Saturday. That result didn’t bother me, as it was an obvious flat spot for UCLA. The Bruins clearly were looking ahead to hosting their crosstown rivals in a de-facto Pac-12 semifinal game. Early in the week, it’s clear that USC has all of UCLA’s focus. Dorian Thompson-Robinson even said that his team obviously “hates those guys” and wants to break 60 points. Given how elite their offense is and the weakness of the USC defense, the Bruins could do just that.

Thompson-Robinson, Zach Charbonett and this UCLA offense are still 5th in EPA per rush, while USC’s defense is 123rd in EPA per rush and 121st in rush success rate. The Bruins’ passing offense is just as deadly, while USC checks in at 102nd in opponent passing success rate. On offense, Caleb Williams is still brilliant and the Trojans should be able to break 35 points without a sweat. However, the loss of Travis Dye is a massive blow for the USC rushing attack, so the Bruins should be able to focus more on the passing game. In a game where both offenses are holding considerable advantages over the opposing defensive units, this one could come down to the last possession. With that being the case, it’s hard not to side with the home underdog. I’ve thought USC has been a paper tiger all season, and I won’t waver here.

UConn Huskies +10.5 over Army Black Knights (-105)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

To get the obvious out of the way, this isn’t a great spot for UConn. The Huskies are fresh off a momentous home victory as 14-point underdogs over Liberty, a result that made UConn bowl eligible for the first time in 12 years. This is a team that hadn’t won more than 3 games in a season or beaten a ranked opponent since 2015, so I’m sure the celebration will last a few days. And while that could create a tough turnaround in this matchup against Army, Jim Mora should have his team focused.

Despite facing a number of strong rushing attacks this season, the Huskies still rank 13th in opponent EPA per rush. And while this Army ground game is solid, it doesn’t produce a ton of explosiveness. The Black Knights run it well, but their offense is strictly one-dimensional. This lack of a passing game plagued Army in its 2 most recent losses, where the Black Knights tallied a combined 16 points. On the other side, this Black Knights defense is outside of the top 100 in most metrics, which doesn’t set up well against a UConn offense that is averaging 26 points over its last 5 games. While it’s not an ideal situational spot, UConn is 9-2 against the spread for a reason. The Huskies have outperformed the betting market and there’s every chance they’ll do it again on Saturday.

Be sure to check out our full UConn vs Army predictions

Kansas Jayhawks +9.5 over Texas Longhorns (-110)

Odds available at BetMGM Sportsbook at time of publishing 

There is some uncertainty at the quarterback position for Kansas. Both Jason Bean and Jalon Daniels are listed as day-to-day, but I suspect at least one of them will be available for Saturday’s contest. To me, this line indicates that Daniels or Bean are likely to suit up, and that’s all I need. First off, this is an extremely difficult spot for Texas to get fired up for. The Longhorns were just 7-point favorites in a primetime matchup against in-state rival TCU at home. However, Texas came up woefully short in that game, despite being the more talented team and one that the metrics preferred. Now after falling on their face in the national spotlight, this Longhorns team has 4 losses already on the season and needs serious help to qualify for the Big 12 Championship game.

Conversely, Kansas is coming off a deceiving loss to Texas Tech in which the Jayhawks did just as much to lose that game as the Red Raiders did to win it. Now they’ll get to host a powerhouse program in Texas on Senior Day. This is a game that will mean a lot to the Jayhawks, who have covered in 5 straight meetings against Texas. Giving Lance Leipold’s team nearly double digits is pretty appealing for a team that consistently shows up at home this season. Look for this Jayhawks group to keep things close.

Check out our best CFB Parlays for this week’s college football action

We offer a wide range of College Football Picks and College Football Predictions each week featuring the Power 5 teams and top matchups. Be sure to check out our College Football Best Bets for those top plays on this week’s schedule.

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