As the college football regular season approaches the end, now is the time to target teams that are fighting for bowl eligibility or could play spoiler to opponents fighting to make bowls. These are the wagers to make for Week 12 of the season.
Florida State (-24) vs. Louisiana
Is Florida State … good? Yes! Not only do the Seminoles possess a top-20 offense, but it is complemented by a top-10 defense. Quarterback Jordan Travis has improved his completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception ratio and yards per pass attempt every season. Travis has mobility and can push the ball downfield. That spells trouble against a Louisiana team that just hasn’t been the same without head coach Billy Napier, who is now at Florida.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are 5-5 on the season with three losses on the road. In two of those losses, Louisiana allowed over 400 yards of offense, including a 33-21 defeat to Rice. The Seminoles are a different class of competition. After losing to Clemson, the FSU defense held its next three opponents to 22 total points. Lay the points.
Middle Tennessee (+6) vs. Florida Atlantic
Both Middle Tennessee and FAU are seeking bowl eligibility. Middle Tennessee starting quarterback Chase Cunningham could return, however, backup Nicholas Vattiato has been serviceable in his absence with a 24-14 win over Charlotte, completing 22 of 29 passes for 203 yards. It’s the defense, however, that has me interested in the Blue Raiders. What Middle Tennessee may lack in offense, it makes up for in defense, forcing two turnovers in that win over Charlotte and ranking 22nd in takeaways this season. Middle is 34th in opponent yards per carry, allowing an average of 3.8 yards, and is 20th in sacks with DE Jordan Ferguson leading the pass rush.
What I like about Middle Tennessee’s offense is that as a pass-heavy unit (45th in passing, 115th in rushing), RB Frank Peasant has now rushed for at least 84 yards in three straight games. The run game is starting to come into play, which could bode well against FAU’s 113th ranked rushing defense. Grab the points with the better defense and sprinkle that +180 moneyline.
UAB (+15) at LSU
UAB is the fifth-best rushing attack in the country, led by RB DeWayne McBride, who is averaging 6.9 yards per carry and leads the team in scores. However, this is more of a fade of LSU, which doesn’t need to cover the spread and may be looking to preserve players' health. Why? The Tigers are a live long shot to contend for a College Football Playoff spot after locking up a spot in the SEC championship game against Georgia. Thy need to win here but don’t break.
The Blazers have a good rushing offense that can control the clock and can keep pace in a high-scoring affair, losing to high-powered UTSA 44-38 in double-overtime. The Blazers also have a strong enough defense, holding the third-best passing attack in the FBS in Western Kentucky to 128 passing yards.
Is LSU a step up in class? Sure, but the Blazers can absolutely contend. If UAB catches LSU sleeping, a +485 upset could be in play.