Week 12 college football best bets, odds and game picks, including Washington vs Oregon State

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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.

Week 11 was another terrific week of college football, with compelling games and exciting finishes from start to finish. Following a 3-1 showing in Week 10, we had another frustrating 2-2 effort in the column last week (albeit with a pair of rocking-chair winners in UCF and San Jose State) — bringing us to 19-16 (54.3%) since Week 2. I’ve said all season that regression was to be expected after we cashed at an unsustainable 63% rate a year ago, but we have fared better in recent weeks so let’s keep it going!

We have a compelling slate ahead of us, including massive games in the Pac-12, Big 12 and SEC. With Saturday rapidly approaching, here is a look at my best bets for Week 12 of the college football season. And remember, you can check out all of our CFB predictions for the Week 12 games.

Oregon State Beavers ML over Washington Huskies (-110)

Odds taken from game preview published on November 13. Playable to Oregon State -2.5. 

This is a game that I’ve had circled for over a month now as Oregon State should capitalize on what is a great situational spot at home on Saturday. Washington is in the midst of its toughest stretch of games this season, having just defeated USC on the road in a 52-42 shootout before following that performance up with a 35-28 win in Seattle over a physical Utah team. The gauntlet rolls on this week, as the Huskies are now entering an environment in Corvallis that few teams emerge from victorious. In fact, Oregon State’s only loss at home in the last 2 seasons was a 3-point defeat to USC in 2022. We have already seen the likes of Utah and UCLA play poorly at Reser Stadium and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Washington fell victim to the Corvallis voodoo in front of a raucous crowd.

Styles make fights, and this is a game where the home team has more avenues to win this game. Oregon State’s top-25 EPA per dropback defense should cause some issues for Michael Penix Jr. and an elite Washington passing attack that’s only been slowed down by Arizona State to this point in the season. The Beavers weakness defensively is on the ground, but the Huskies offense is a pass-focused unit that only registered a dominant effort on the ground against USC’s porous defense back in Week 10. If Jonathan Smith’s defense consistently drops 8 and forces Washington to run the ball (effectively taking away the consistent threat of the explosive play in the process), that’ll play to the Beavers’ advantage. On the other side of the ball, Oregon State is a run-first offense that excels in the trenches, something that Washington’s defense has had major issues with all season long (108th in EPA per rush, bottom 10 in rushing success rate).

With an elite ground attack and a defense that can limit Washington’s explosiveness through the air, the game script for the Beavers is one that leads me to believe that they will get it done. Let’s take Oregon State as a short underdog to make a statement at home and potentially shake up the Pac-12 title race.

Be sure to check out our full Washington vs Oregon State predictions

Arizona Wildcats ML over Utah Utes (+100)

Odds available at Caesars Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to Arizona -120. 

While we didn’t get to the window with Arizona last week against Colorado, I’ve got no problem with going back to the well with the Wildcats this weekend. Jedd Fisch’s team has still been an ATM this season, and I’m not convinced that the betting market is accounting for what they have accomplished to this point. As I’ve said for over a month now, this is a different tea, with Noah Fifita under center and a trio of excellent wide receivers at his disposal. This offense is predicated on getting the ball out quickly and that is the best method of success against a Utah defense that was recently shredded by the quick passing attack of Oregon. The Utes are already a weaker team away from the friendly confines of Rice-Eccles Stadium and a trip to the desert is not a welcome one for a team that will be playing its second straight road game on Saturday.

The most underrated unit in this game is Arizona’s defense as the Wildcats are 37th in early-downs EPA, 32th in EPA per pass and 28th in EPA per rush (CFB-Graphs). That unit shouldn’t struggle this weekend against a Utah offense that is constantly behind the chains (123rd in early downs EPA), can’t throw the ball consistently (118th in EPA per dropback) and is banged up at the running back position as well. Outside of games against Washington, USC and Arizona State (all poor run defenses), this Utah offense has struggled to get anything going in conference play. All of these signals point to a win at home for the Wildcats, and I have full confidence in backing Fifita and this group over a Utah team with serious questions and significant injury concerns. Bear Down!

Check out this week’s top college football underdog picks

Money Line parlay: Kansas State over Kansas & SMU over Memphis (-115)

Odds available at Tipico Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -135. 

To round out the column this week, I’m targeting a couple of favorites over a touchdown in a money line parlay. While I do see value on both teams against the number, there is just enough QB uncertainty here to keep me off the spreads for both sides and stick to parlaying these teams on the money lines instead. I’ve been backing Kansas State for well over a month now and that won’t change here, as Chris Klieman’s group is rolling ever since Will Howard and the offensive line got rolling in October. The Wildcats are now up to 7th in EPA per rush and 17th in offensive EPA margin, in addition to scoring 30 or more points in each of their last 5 games. The Wildcats’ defense is one of the best in the nation against the run, which should force the Jayhawks’ expected starter Cole Ballard (their 3rd-string QB) to beat them through the air on crucial downs. That doesn’t bode well for Lance Leipold’s team in a rivalry that has been dominated by K-State in recent years.

We’ll be completing this parlay with SMU on the money line against Memphis. This Mustangs team is the best Group of 5 side for my money and I expect quarterback Preston Stone and company to make a statement on Saturday against a Memphis team that is allergic to playing any kind of defense. The Tigers are 114th in Pro Football Focus’ tackling grade, while sitting outside the top 100 in early downs EPA and EPA per rush (CFB-Graphs). That spells trouble against a Mustangs offense that is top 20 in success rate, 18th in EPA per play and 15th in early downs EPA on the season. On the other side, while Seth Henigan and the Memphis offense should see some success, SMU’s defense has been a top 20 unit in the nation all season long and has experience against higher-level competition (Oklahoma, TCU). I don’t see any resistance coming from Memphis’ defense here, so let’s back SMU to get the job done.

Be sure to check out all of our NCAAF Week 12 picks for the biggest games on Saturday

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