With the start of the 2018 NCAA college football season just a few weeks away, collegiate gridiron gaming aficionados everywhere are gearing up for a fun-filled – and hopefully – profitable run through the regular season. In an effort to help you cash in early and often over the course of the coming season, I’m offering up some expert college football betting analysis on a pair of must-bet matchups on the NCAA Football Week 12 docket.
Let’s get to them right now.
NCAA Football Week 12 Must Bet Games – 2018 Season
Saturday, November 17
Ohio State at Maryland
Ohio State went 12-2 in 2017 to win the Big Ten East, but the Buckeyes are going to have a completely different look and feel as they enter 2018 for one huge reason. Gone, is do-it-all, superstar signal-caller J.T. Barrett. Still, Ohio State has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball and one of the game’s best head coaches. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been pegged as the successor to Barrett and he’s got a huge arm, though he’s clearly lacking in experience. There’s good news for Ohio State in the fact that running back J.K. Dobbins is a workhorse that rushed for a stellar 1,403 yards a year ago. With Mike Weber back as well, Meyer can lean on his rushing attack to relieve some pressure off of Haskins.
Ohio State has a pair of stars on the D-line in Nick Bosa and Chase Young, even though they do have question marks at linebacker. The secondary lost All-American Denzel ward to the NFL draft, but the Buckeyes have some major talent in cornerbacks Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade. Ohio State’s overall talent level will help them stay elite after ranking 15th nationally in points allowed (19.0 ppg) a year ago.
Maryland went 4-8 last season – after getting off to a positive 3-1 start no less. The Terrapins lost seven of their final eight games and have dropped four straight against the Buckeyes while allowing an identical 62 points in each of the last two meetings, including last season’s 62-14 loss to the Buckeyes as a 30.5-point road underdog.
The good news for Maryland is that they return all five starters on the offensive line and have quarterback Kasim Hill back to full health after he was lost for the season early on a year ago. Maryland needs to improve a defense that last in the Big Ten in allowing 37.1 points per game, but it won’t matter in this contest. Ohio State simply has too much talent to lose this game.
The Buckeyes will get the win for the fifth straight time, just know that it won’t come by more than, let’s say three touchdowns. The Terps have a healthy situation at quarterback and the Buckeyes are in the midst of change. Still, there’s no way Ohio State loses this annual matchup.
NCAAF Week 12 Betting Pick: Ohio State 38 Maryland 17
USC at UCLA
USC managed to go 11-3 last season to win the Pac-12 South division while UCLA posted a far more modest 6-7 mark to finish fourth in the South. The Trojans are going into 2018 with a new starting quarterback with strong-armed star Sam Darnold off to the NFL. UCLA is also going to have a new starter with signal-caller Josh Rosen joining Darnold as a first round pick.
USC got the win in this annual Pac-12 pairing a year ago and the Trojans have won three straight in this series. However, USC also needs to replace its leading rusher and wide receiver while UCLA will be far more explosive under former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly.
While Kelly flamed out in his stint in the NFL, he also posted a stupendous 46-7 mark at Oregon with three conference championships and an appearance in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game. I’m feeling like the Bruins are going to get the win in this one, because of the addition Kelly. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Matt Fink is the only passer on the USC roster that has appeared in a college game and that just doesn’t bode well for the Trojans.
NCAAF Week 12 Betting Pick: UCLA 31 USC 24
Stanford at Cal
Stanford went 9-5 to finish second to Washington in the Pac-12 North last year while Cal went 5-7 to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North. Stanford however, returns starting quarterback K.J. Costello and superstar running back Bryce Love, their top four receivers and four of their five starting offensive linemen.
Costello took over for former starter Keller Chryst last season and led Stanford to wins over Washington and Notre Dame and a Pac-12 North championship. Love is simply a NFL superstar waiting in the wings.
Cal is really starting over under new head coach Justin Wilcox after the school wisely parted ways with former coach Sonny Dykes. The biggest question mark the Bears have heading into 2018 is who their starting quarterback will be. Junior Chase Forrest and sophomore Ross Bowers have been in a neck-and-neck battle for almost the entire summer – and that is not a good thing.
Stanford has the big edge here at head coach, on defense and they’re the only team in this matchup with a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate!
NCAAF Week 12 Betting Pick: Stanford 27 Cal 20