We braved the workweek, we suffered through Tulsa vs. Tulane on Thursday night, stayed up deep into the night for Friday Night Lights … and now, we’ve arrived:

Saturday. College. Football.

Of course, the road to Saturday has been wrought with more peril than simply MACtion-being-MACtion: We’ve also had to cope with losing huge games off the Week 12 schedule due to the increasingly pervasive effects felt from COVID-19. This week has seen more cancellations than any other.

Yet, rather than mourning the losses, instead, let us be thankful for the games that yet remain. So, in that spirit, our staff has broken down the odds and highlighted their favorite betting spots for the Week 12 Saturday college football slate. From the noons to the eve, we’ve got you covered with our nine best bets across the entire slate of college football action on Saturday.

Saturday College Football Best Bets for Week 12:

Check our top Saturday picks below, each of which comes from one of the following nine games. Click any of the games below to navigate to a specific matchup.

All listed odds have been updated as of Friday night and via DraftKings. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.

Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

by Matt Wispe

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 12
Ohio State Odds -20.5 [BET NOW]
Indiana Odds +20.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -1000 / +600 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 67 [BET NOW]
Time 12 p.m. ET
(Photo Credit: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Catching an Ohio State team coming off of an unwanted bye week is a disaster for Indiana. Its offense, in a limited sample size, has been the best in the country. It ranks first in overall Success Rate and ninth in points per opportunity.  Defensively, it’s been above-average stopping the run with a 21% Stuff Rate and holding opposing lines to 2.62 yards per attempt. But its passing defense has been exploitable.

But Indiana, despite its explosive passing display last week, only holds a Passing Success Rate of 40.3% and may not be equipped to exploit it.

Indiana’s 4-0 record rightfully places it inside of the top 10, but despite the name value, its opponents are 1-13, this season. The Hoosiers’ win over Penn State was also incredibly fluky. Their offense has an overall Success Rate of 37.5% with a particular weakness in the running game. Their line only generates 2.189 yards per attempt and their Rushing Success Rate sits at 34.4%.

Ohio State has allowed teams to get back into games in the second half over the last two weeks, but it’s been strong in the first half. Against Penn State, it led by 15 at half, and against Rutgers, it led by 32. Both of these covered the first-half spreads, but the Buckeyes ended up failing to cover the 37-point spread against Rutgers, and it appeared they let their foot off of the gas. The 20.5 spread for the game is still likely a strong bet, but the Buckeyes have proven they’ll come out of the gates strong.

Pick: Ohio State -10.5 1H.

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by Darin Gardner

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 12
North Texas Odds +1.5 [BET NOW]
Rice Odds -1.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +100 / -121 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 64 [BET NOW]
Time 2 p.m. ET
(Photo Credit: Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

North Texas has what you want when betting an over on a team total: pace and explosiveness. North Texas is one of only nine teams to average at least 80 plays per game and currently ranks sixth in that department. The Mean Green also gain at least 20 yards on 10.6% of their plays, which ranks fifth in the nation. In addition to the offense’s explosiveness, it also ranks 22nd in Success Rate.

The Mean Green are led by quarterback Austin Aune, who currently ranks seventh among all Group of Five quarterbacks in Pro Football Focus grade and 16th nationally in EPA per throw. Wide receiver Jaelon Darden is also PFF’s highest-graded Group of Five receiver. North Texas has been held under 30 points only once this season, and in that game, it still managed to generate 6.8 yards per play.

We really don’t know much about Rice at all this year, as it has only played two games, which came against two of the worst teams in the country. It lost 40-34 to a horrendous Middle Tennessee team but then blew out Southern Mississippi, 30-6. Rice currently ranks 46th in Success Rate allowed on defense, but those numbers are probably inflated from playing two terrible offenses. Last season, the Owls ranked 96th in SP+ defensive rating.

North Texas’ team total is currently sitting in a dead zone, and a lot of books do not open up team totals until late in the week. I would look for the best price you can get at anything under 34. If you have one book that’s offering 31.5 at -125 and another that has 32.5 at even money, definitely look for the 32.5.

Pick: North Texas Team Total Over 32.

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by Mike Calabrese

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 12
Cincinnati Odds -4.5 [BET NOW]
UCF Odds +4.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -186 / +148 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 65.5 [BET NOW]
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
(Photo Credit: Conor Kvatek/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

Cincinnati has squared off with two of the top three offenses in the AAC (Memphis, SMU) and surrendered a grand total of 23 points. Luke Fickell’s defense has a Havoc rating of 16th nationally, which means UC is creating negative yardage plays, defending passes or taking the ball away on a whopping 20.71% of its defensive snaps. Yes, UCF’s pace is a major concern. The Knights lead the nation with 88.9 offensive snaps per game, a figure that is heavily contributing to TAN’s projection on this game (72.7).

I have confidence, however, that Cincy can dictate the tempo at the Bounce House on Saturday afternoon, just as it did at home in 2019. The Bearcats edged the Knights in the time of possession battle and ultimately forced UCF to play its game last season. In the second half of its 27-24 victory, Cincy strung together a pair of 10+ play drives and forced UCF into three three-and-outs. That’s how you neutralize tempo.

I’m also skeptical of Cincinnati hitting as many long plays from scrimmage as it has this year. Cincy finished 54th in plays of 30+ yards last season but find itself in the top 15 in 2020. Desmond Ridder, in particular, has broken a handful of long runs stemming from the read option, a byproduct of missed assignments by the defense. UCF has shored up its defense in recent weeks, holding Houston and Temple to just 17 points and 362 total yards per game. I’m not ready to anoint Randy Shannon’s defense as anything approaching “good,” but the Knights’ defense has now cracked the top 30 in defensive Havoc rating.

I’m banking on a repeat performance from last season and a slight regression from Ridder as he faces off against a disruptive and improving UCF defense.

Pick: Under 63.5 or better.

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by Ace DeCardano

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 12
San Diego State Odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
Nevada Odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -136 / +110 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 46.5 [BET NOW]
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
(Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Image)

What happens when a team returns nine starters from one of last season’s best defenses? In the case of the San Diego State Aztecs, you get a defense that allows 3.7 yards per play! This number is the best in all of college football.

On Saturday, they face a fraudulent 4-0 Nevada team. Since it has yet to play a team with a pulse, I’d usually say it hasn’t been tested. The problem is that it has been tested against opponents with one combined win. The Wolf Pack beat Wyoming (SP+ ranking of 82nd in FBS) in overtime, survived a close game against UNLV (124 SP+ ranking) and trailed at halftime last week to New Mexico (117th SP+ ranking).

They’ll most certainly continue to be tested this week against an attacking 3-3-5 defense whose concepts are even beginning to take the SEC by storm. Former defensive coordinator Zach Arnett took the defense to Mississippi State and despite offensive ineptitude, the Bulldogs are having a tremendous year on that side of the ball. The defense that stymies the SEC will most certainly overpower Nevada in the coveted 3:30 ET CBS game. Did I mention the nine returning Aztec starters?

As long as SDSU QB Carson Baker protects the football, RB Greg Bell and the ground game will provide enough offense to win.

Pick: San Diego State -1.

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by Mike Ianniello

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 12
Wisconsin Odds -7.5 [BET NOW]
Northwestern Odds +7.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -335 / +255 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 44 [BET NOW]
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
(Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

There was a lot of uncertainty about how Wisconsin would perform last week after battling a COVID outbreak for the previous two weeks. The Badgers lost both their head coach and starting quarterback to quarantine protocols. Well, Wisconsin went into Ann Arbor and completely bullied Michigan for four quarters for a 49-11 blowout victory.

The big question coming into this season was what the Wisconsin run game would look like without Jonathan Taylor. While that question wasn’t answered in the first game, it was answered last Saturday. It’s still good. The Badgers ran for 341 yards, 6.7 yards per carry and five touchdowns behind a dominant offensive line. Wisconsin deployed a running back by committee approach, as four different players accumulated at least 65 yards on the ground.

Graham Mertz returned from COVID-19 protocol, and while he looked a bit rusty, he still threw two touchdowns and no interceptions and now will have a full week of practice to get back into rhythm.

While it’s only been two games, the Badgers offense looks to be firing on all cylinders, ranking first in the nation in Passing Success and third in Rushing Success. While Northwestern has a terrific defense, the best offense they have played is probably Nebraska, so the Badgers will present its toughest task.

On defense, it’s more of the same for Wisconsin. It ranks No. 1 in the country against the rush and No. 1 in the country against the pass. Is that good? The Northwestern offense has been much better than last season’s debacle with the boost of Peyton Ramsey under center, but the Wildcats have struggled to run the ball, ranking 110th in Rushing Success.

With a low game total, this game will be decided in the trenches like old school Big Ten football, and that is where Wisconsin has a big advantage. The Badgers defensive line ranks third in the country in Havoc created, first in Power Success, 28th in Stuff Rate and 39th in Line Yards. The Northwestern offensive line has been pushed around this season, ranking 84th in Havoc allowed, 106th in Stuff Rate and 116th in Line Yards. Wisconsin should win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

SP+ makes this line Wisconsin -15.5 and ESPN’s College Football Power Index (FPI) makes the spread 15.8, so we are still getting value on Wisconsin. In what will likely be a low-scoring game, finding the best number is key, so try and find a -7 if you can, but I would take this up to -8.5.

Pick: Wisconsin -7.5 (up to -8.5).

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by Pat McMahon

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 12
Pittsburgh Odds +3 [BET NOW]
Virginia Tech Odds -3 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +118 / -143 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 54 [BET NOW]
Time 4 p.m. ET
TV ACC Network
(Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

This game will come down to a matchup of strengths, as Virginia Tech’s elite rushing offense meets Pitt’s elite rushing defense. The Hokies have been able to get what they want on the ground all season and boast the eighth-best rushing offense in college football. Behind the dynamic duo of Hendon Hooker and Khalil Herbert, the Hokies are averaging an impressive 6.1 yards per carry.

As strong as the Hokies’ running game has been, they may have finally met their match in this run-stuffing Pittsburgh defense. The Panthers have one of the most talented front sevens in the country, and they’ve given opposing offensive line fits. Pittsburgh is allowing just 78.8 yards rush yards per game and holding opponents to a ridiculous 2.2 yards per carry.

The top rushing team the Panthers have faced to date was Notre Dame, and they limited the Irish to only 115 yards on the ground and 2.3 yards per carry. They also held D’Eriq King and the Miami offense in check, surrendering just 4.5 yards per play in their loss to the Hurricanes.

The Panthers will be able to slow down the Hokies on the ground and put pressure on Hooker to make plays through the air. Passing on the Panthers isn’t an easy task either, as the Pitt secondary is giving up under 220 yards per game through the air and has picked off 11 passes.

Pitt was without quarterback Kenny Pickett in the losses to Notre Dame and Miami, and the offense simply couldn’t get anything going without him. Pickett has since gotten healthy and returned to the lineup, and it gave the Panthers a big post in their 41-17 win at Florida State.

The Pitt offense is far from elite, but it’s much more efficient with Pickett in the lineup. The Panthers play at a deliberate pace and will look to control the tempo and keep the Virginia Tech offense off the field as much as possible.

The total of 55 looks too high with a pair of run-heavy offenses squaring off. Pittsburgh in particular will look to take their time and keep the clock moving when they are on the field, and should have some success in doing so with Pickett playing. The Panthers have all the tools to make it a frustrating afternoon for Virginia Tech and can pull off the upset at home in a low-scoring affair.

Pick: Pitt +3.5 | Under 55

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by Patrick Strollo

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 12
Kansas State Odds +12 [BET NOW]
Iowa State Odds -12 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +380 / -530 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 47 [BET NOW]
Time 4 p.m. ET
(Photo Credit: Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

The Kansas State Wildcats face the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, Iowa, at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. This rivalry game, referred to as “Farmageddon,” has been played 103 times with Iowa State leading the all-time series, 50-49-4. The two Big 12 teams have met annually since 1917.

The Kansas State offense has been focused around true freshman Will Howard after he stepped in for injured quarterback Skylar Thompson. The Wildcats are currently ranked 80th in FBS passing offense. They average 217 yards per game through the air. They have thrown for nine touchdowns this season and are averaging 29.14 points per game.

The Wildcat offense has an offensive passing play PPA of 0.26, which is better than the conference average of 0.21. The Wildcat defense holds a defensive PPA per play of 0.14, which is weaker than the Big 12 average of 0.12.

Iowa State comes into the game with the nation’s leading rusher in running back Breece Hall, and capable junior quarterback Brock Purdy has thrown for 1,477 yards and 10 scores so far this season. The Cyclones have been averaging 32.86 points per game and are 72nd in FBS passing offense.

The balanced Cyclone offense has an offensive PPA per play of 0.23, which is second in the Big 12 and above the conference average of 0.14. The Cyclone defense has a defensive PPA per play of 0.11 which is slightly better than the conference average of 0.12.

The Wildcats will look to come into this game with a pass-focused offense against a Cyclone defense that has had trouble defending the pass at times this season. The Cyclones will continue with their run-first identity to create passing opportunities. Early running success against the Wildcats should create ample downfield opportunities for Purdy as the game progresses.

Both teams come into the matchup with average defenses and the ability to score. The weather forecast is showing above freezing temps, no rain and winds below 10 mph. My model has the total for this game at 56 points, which is 9.5 points higher than the over/under. Take the over, as both teams should find success passing the ball in Farmageddon. Play this to 48 points.

Pick: Over 46.5 (up to 48).

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by Stuckey

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 12
Oklahoma Odds -7 [BET NOW]
Oklahoma State Odds +7 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -275 / +195 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 59 [BET NOW]
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
(Photo Credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Oklahoma State comes into Bedlam sporting a 5-1 record with a top-15 national ranking. However, it hasn’t gotten there with how you’d normally expect with an explosive offense. The Pokes are averaging only 5.4 yards per play, which ranks 84th in the country. In four of their five wins, they scored 20, 24, 16 and 27. The strength of this team is now the defense, which really has no weaknesses on any level.

Getting back to the offense. So, why are star running back Chubba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace (who’s also banged up) having worse years than expected? It’s all about the poor offensive line, which has completely stifled this offense. Just take a look at some of these musical chairs:

Left tackle Jake Springfield (started four games) is not on the depth chart this week after injury. Josh Sills has had to move from LG to LT and freshman Preston Wilson to LG. RT Teven Jenkins is an NFL prospect but got banged up in the last game (true freshman backup). Jenkins had to move to the right side after Hunter Anthony went down. Sophomore RG Hunter Woodard has started since Cole Birmingham went down in the opener. Also, returning starter Dylan Galloway opted out. Starting guard Bryce Bray and backup Jacob Farrell were dismissed as well.

The results?

They rank 104th in Line Yards and 117th in Passing Down Line Yards. That’s not good for Hubbard and especially for QB Spencer Sanders, who really struggles when under pressure. There’s just no continuity up front.

So, the question becomes whether or not Oklahoma’s defense can take advantage. You bet. The Sooners defense has been trending up of late and is just a whole different animal with star DE Ronnie Perkins now back in the mix, which allows Isaiah Thomas to slide into the middle and has a very positive trickle-down effect. LB Nik Bonitto has been one of the best in the nation at pressuring QBs.

This defensive front is simply rolling right now under aggressive defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. The Sooners rank 12th in Line Yards and eighth in Passing Down Sack Rate. They’re also ranked eighth nationally in sacks (3.71) and 13th in TFL (8.1). That could be very problematic for an OSU offense that ranks 93rd in sacks allowed.

This Oklahoma defense is fully capable of disrupting the Oklahoma State offense all night long in Norman.

On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma will put together a few impressive drives, but this Oklahoma State defense is the real deal. I think it can do enough to keep this from getting too out of hand.

Pick: Under 59 or better.

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by BJ Cunningham

ncaa-college football-betting-odds-picks-week 12
Liberty Odds +5.5 [BET NOW]
NC State Odds -5.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +148 / -195 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 65 [BET NOW]
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
(Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Liberty’s offense is clicking on all cylinders, especially on the ground. The Flames rank 11th in Rushing Success, per College Football Data, and carry the ball for 5.5 yards per attempt this season. The ground game is led by senior running back Joshua Mack, who is already averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

Auburn transfer Malik Willis has been very efficient under center for the Flames, throwing the ball for 9.1 yards per attempt and rushing for 7.1 yards per carry, including nine touchdowns.

Liberty should have no trouble moving the ball against an NC State defense that has been average against the run and horrendous versus the pass. That Wolfpack unit ranks 70th in Defensive Rushing Success, allowing 4.4 yards per carry, while their secondary is allowing 8.7 yards per attempt.

To make matters worse, two of NC State’s starters in the secondary are out for the year, and it could be without a third in this contest. Starting safety Tanner Ingle is questionable, and if he’s out, the Wolfpack are going to have a long day trying to defend Wills and the Liberty passing attack.

The Wolfpack offense has really improved since Tim Beck took over as offensive coordinator and completely opened up the offense. Starting quarterback Devin Leary went down with a season-ending injury against Duke, but junior backup Bailey Hockman has filled in nicely. Hockman is throwing the ball for 7.9 yards per attempt in his three starts. However, he’s still a backup.

The Flames have struggled defensively this season because they are undersized. Their linebacking corps averages only 220 pounds and has been an issue when they face Power Five offenses, as Virginia Tech was able to gain 7.21 yards per play against them two weeks ago.

Even though Liberty is going to struggle to stop NC State, its offense is far superior, so I think it’ll be able to outpace the Wolfpack in this game. I have Liberty projected as -4.61 favorites, so I think there’s plenty of value on the Flames at +4.

Pick: Liberty +4 or better.

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