CFB Week 12 best bets: The 'Saturday 7'
Another 4-3 effort in the "Saturday 7" was tempered by the week's big games, which, depending on the number you got on Arkansas, either went 1-1 or 0-1-1. Our overall record sits at 74-55-2, and we're happy with 57.3% in day-to-day betting. In fact, using many of these picks, we finished 64th out of 411 contestants in the William Hill College Football Contest. The winners finished 52-28, showing novice bettors that "just" 65% is an incredibly high level of success.
Duke @ Pittsburgh (-7.5, 49)
Duke's ACC losses this season were in overtime at Georgia Tech and by three against ACC-undefeated North Carolina on a touchdown with 16 seconds left.
Speaking of 16 seconds, that was the time between Brennan Armstrong's pick-6s for Pitt to start the game last week. My guess is the Panthers won't have two defensive touchdowns on Duke's first two offensive plays and they won't be able to use a head start to grind the Blue Devils the way they did Virginia. As often is the case, Pat Narduzzi's team struggled to separate from Syracuse facing a backup quarterback at home the week before. Those back-to-back wins aren't all that impressive after losing three of four.
Pick: Duke +7.5
Boston College @ Notre Dame (-21, 42.5)
Notre Dame a big favorite, you say? We were all over Navy last week, as the Midshipmen gave the Fighting Irish a sweat, covering easily, which dropped Marcus Freeman to 0-5 as a double-digit favorite.
Boston College has turned to freshman quarterback Emmett Morehead, and he's been outstanding, with matching 330-yard games and an upset at North Carolina State last week. It would be very surprising if the Eagles went back to Phil Jurkovec. If they do, the former Irish quarterback will have enough to play for, and his teammates should support the senior captain.
Pick: Boston College +21
Texas @ Kansas (+8.5, 64)
In technically our last "Saturday 7" of the season (don't worry, we'll have more than enough best bets on Thanksgiving weekend), we'll go back to the team we profited most on at the start of the campaign: Kansas.
It was an understandable letdown last week after the Jayhawks clinched a bowl berth, but there's more than just a quiet murmur about Jalon Daniels' return. Backup Jason Bean went down against Texas Tech, but head coach Lance Leipold says Daniels has been going full-out in practice this week.
As is tradition, Texas tripped up last week in a game that meant everything to its season. While the Longhorns can still make the Big 12 Championship, what would give us any indication that they'll be up for winning by margin on the road?
Pick: Kansas +8.5
Miami @ No. 9 Clemson (-19, 48)
Clemson was in a battle with Louisville heading toward halftime before Malik Cunningham got hurt. Cardinals backup Brock Domann did very little on the way to a 22.1 QBR - boosted by a 31-yard touchdown with no time left on the clock that cut the final deficit to 15 points. Still, the Cards finished with 400 total yards, so it may be too soon to begin believing in a disappointing Clemson defense.
One win away from bowl eligibility, Miami finally got around to using freshman Jacurri Brown. The dual-threat quarterback is more of a rusher with 151 yards on 32 carries in a game-and-a-half of action. In conjunction with tailback Jaylan Knighton, the Hurricanes can emulate the problems that Syracuse and Florida State gave the Tigers, and given Mario Cristobal's group is still engaged in the season, the team will give a solid effort.
Pick: Miami +19
Louisiana-Monroe @ Troy (-14.5, 48)
It's deep down the board, but Louisiana-Monroe has quietly been a presence in the Sun Belt. Even before shocking Texas State and Georgia State, Chandler Rogers' offense put up over 400 yards against conference powers Coastal Carolina and South Alabama. Troy has a leg up on a trip to the SBC title game, so the pressure to win its last two games, but it doesn't need to do so by margin.
Pick: Louisiana-Monroe +14.5
No. 22 Cincinnati @ Temple (+17, 50.5)
Less than a year ago, expecting Temple to hang around with Cincinnati would have been laughable. However, the Bearcats' conference wins have come by an average of five points, and it should probably be fewer than that. That said, they're a home win away over Tulane next week from returning to the AAC title game. In fact, this game doesn't change that, as they'd hold a tiebreaker over the Green Wave at 6-2.
Meanwhile, Kurt Warner's son, E.J. Warner appears to be improving by the game, completing passes over 70% in the last two weeks. In a sleepy spot for Cincinnati, the Owls can stay within the number, and Warner is capable of a late drive to sneak in the back door.
Pick: Temple +17
No. 14 Ole Miss @ Arkansas (+2.5, 64.5)
KJ Jefferson was a last-minute scratch against LSU last week, but it didn't matter relative to the spread, as the Razorbacks pushed the early number of +3, covering all subsequent lines. The expectation is that he'll be back for Ole Miss, which was knocked out of SEC contention after a home loss to Alabama. Those all-in losses hurt, and the Razorbacks should bring the energy for their home finale, one win away from bowl eligibility.
Pick: Arkansas +2.5
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.