Three Underrated Week 12 NCAA Games
If we are being honest, there aren’t a ton of great matchups around the country this week because many schools are playing weaker opponents ahead of a season-ending rivalry game in Week 13. So here are three underrated college football betting picks to wager on.
Nebraska at Penn State
When: 4 PM ET
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Fox Sports Go streaming)
NCAAF Lines: Penn State -26
It’s the home finale for Penn State, which is trying to improve its bowl stock. Nebraska has been a huge disappointment at 4-6 and its players might have quite on Coach Mike Riley. New Nebraska AD Bill Moos said Monday that he won’t follow his colleagues at Tennessee and Florida by firing his head coach during the season.
You can read between the lines there as Moos didn’t say Riley would be back in 2018. Moos conducted a football coaching search at his previous job as well. He allowed Paul Wulff to complete Washington State’s 2011 season — the Cougars went 4-8 — before hiring Mike Leach after the season.
Riley says that redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien is preparing this week "as if he's going to start" at Penn State. With starting quarterback Tanner Lee going through concussion protocol, O'Brien is working with the first-team in practice this week. "I don't rule him in or out right now," Riley said of Lee. O'Brien played in the second half of last Saturday's 54-21 loss to Minnesota after Lee went down in the second quarter.
Penn State linebacker Manny Bowen remains out this week against after missing Saturday's game against Rutgers because of a violation of team rules (unspecified). Bowen started Penn State's first nine games and ranks third on the team in tackles (51). Brandon Smith likely will start again alongside Jason Cabinda and Koa Farmer.
Fresno State at Wyoming
When: 2 PM ET
NCAAF Lines: FSU -1.5
This is a game you will want to wait until right before kickoff to bet. That’s because the status of Wyoming QB Josh Allen, a likely first-round pick in the 2018 draft, is up in the air. Allen suffered an injury to his right (throwing) arm in Wyoming’s win over Air Force last weekend and is likely to be a game-time call, although Coach Craig Bohl is confident Allen will play.
Last season, Allen completed exactly 56 percent of his passes for 3,203 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Through 10 games this season, and with less of a supporting cast around him, the redshirt junior has hit on 56.2 percent of his attempts for 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Allen is from Firebaugh, Calif., 45 minutes west of Fresno, and grew up a Fresno State fan. The Bulldogs lead the West Division with a 5-1 conference record. Wyoming is also 5-1 in Mountain West play, but needs to win its final two games while Boise State loses its final two games to return to the Mountain West Football Championship Game. It will be Allen's first time playing against Fresno State.
The Bulldogs, who have compiled a 7-3 record this year, have the nation's best win improvement (+6). Wyoming ranks No. 1 in the nation in turnovers gained while Fresno State ranks No. 9 in turnovers lost. Saturday's contest will mark the 11th all-time meeting in a series that is tied, 5-5. The 'Dogs won their last trip to Laramie 48-10 in 2013.
Boston College vs. Connecticut
When: 7 PM ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
NCAAF Lines: BC -21.5
This game is being held at Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. Boston College needs one victory to get bowl eligible but will be without QB Anthony Brown the rest of the season after injuring his leg in the Eagles’ 17-14 loss to NC State on Saturday.
A redshirt freshman, Brown completed 134-of-258 passes (51.9 percent) for 1,367 yards with 11 touchdowns against nine interceptions while rushing 42 times for 210 yards and a touchdown. He threw only five passes in Saturday’s loss, and was replaced by senior Darius Wade, who hit 8-of-15 throws for 82 yards. A senior, Wade has thrown 40 passes this season.
UConn will start David Pindell at QB. In last week’s loss to Central Florida, Pindell, a junior who spent the past two seasons at Lackawanna (Pa.) College, was 18 of 31 for 201 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 96 yards. Bryant Shirreffs sustained a concussion the previous week against South Florida and did not make the trip to Orlando.
Boston College and Connecticut meet for the 14th time Saturday. The Eagles are 11-0-2 all-time against the Huskies. Last season, BC shutout UConn 30-0 in Chestnut Hill as the Eagles limited the Huskies to 121 yards of total offense. In the last 10 meetings, BC has won all 10 games and has outscored UConn, 297-59.
Penn State covers vs. the Huskers, Wyoming beats Fresno State as long as Allen plays, and BC takes care of UConn by four touchdowns.