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Friday, 15 November 2019

College Football Week 12 Picks 2019 (November 16th)

The second of the College Football PlayOff Rankings were produced during the week and no one will be disputing the Number 1 team being the LSU Tigers after knocking off the Alabama Crimson Tide in Week 11.

The Clemson Tigers didn't need to worry for too long about their first Ranking as they returned to the top four- they have the inside track to the PlayOffs along with the Ohio State Buckeyes and both teams winning out will be involved in the Semi Final games in December.

More interesting was the Georgia Bulldogs being placed above the Crimson Tide- I can understand why Alabama have slipped down the Rankings, but a narrow home loss with a hobbled Quarter Back against the top team in College Football has to be seen as a better loss than the one the Bulldogs have against the South Carolina Gamecocks.

In saying that Georgia are in control of their own destiny as they will be in as SEC Champions if they can run the table. I don't mind them being Number 4 right now because a defeat would knock the Bulldogs out, while winning out will have them entering the PlayOffs, and I am not someone who gets as carried away by the Rankings at this time in November rather than the week of the Championship Games.

Week 11 was another good one for the College Football Picks but I really won't be happy unless I can finish the regular season with three more winning weeks. That will set things up for a solid chance of being in a positive position for the season going into the Championship Games before the Bowl Season begins.

Alabama Crimson Tide @ Mississippi State Bulldogs Pick: With a number of the other Power 5 Conferences potentially having one loss Champions or worse, the feeling in Week 11 was the loser of the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers big game in the SEC would still have an opportunity to earn a spot in the College Football PlayOffs. The Crimson Tide were beaten at home with a hobbled Tua Tagovailoa at Quarter Back, but it was only a five point loss and Nick Saban has seen his team selected for the PlayOffs even in years when they have not played in the SEC Championship Game.

It is almost certain that the Crimson Tide will miss out on the Conference Championship Game again barring the LSU Tigers completely taking their foot off the gas in the last three weeks of the season. That is very unlikely and all Alabama can do is win their last three games impressively and hope things break their way.

This certainly feels a long shot when you think of the relatively weak schedule Alabama have had in 2019. It might change if Auburn are able to beat Georgia this week ahead of the Iron Bowl being played in Week 14, but ultimately Saban and the Coaches have to focus their team and get them ready to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs snapped a four game losing run when beating the Arkansas Razorbacks two weeks ago and they are coming in off a Bye Week. However they are still only 4-5 for the season and will need to win two of their last three games to be eligible for a Bowl game and that won't be easy with Alabama first up and the regular season closing with the Egg Bowl against rivals Mississippi.

It has been a surprisingly disappointing season for the Bulldogs who finished 8-5 in 2018, but they will still believe a winning year is achievable. Erratic Quarter Back play has not helped and Tommy Stevens is not going to find it easy to get back on track here especially with the feeling that the Crimson Tide Defensive unit should be playing with some anger.

The pass rush pressure and the ability to create turnovers is not going to be appealing to Stevens at Quarter Back and Alabama should be pretty comfortable on this side of the ball as they right the wrongs Joe Burrow put on them in Week 11. Kylin Hill could be important for the Bulldogs to at least make sure Stevens is in third and manageable spots at the very least, but running against Alabama has been a real test in recent times even if this Defensive Line might be one of the weaker Lines we have seen in Tuscaloosa under Nick Saban.

Righting wrongs of last week will also be down to the Alabama Offensive unit having struggled in the first half before coming up slightly short in the second. The injury to Tagovailoa means his status is still up in the air, but Mac Jones showed he can perform in relief at Quarter Back and I do think the Crimson Tide will be ok on the day.

Jones should be able to make plays with his arm if he is asked to come into this game, but the Crimson Tide can ease any worries for whichever Quarter Back gets the call to start the game. The Mississippi State Defensive Line has not been able to stop the run much at all this season and so you can imagine Alabama pounding the rock and taking a few big shots to keep the chains moving and also leave themselves in a position to win and cover in this match.

One concern has to be the awful record Alabama have against the spread when coming off a loss- you might assume they would be fired up and ready to go the next week, but that has not been the case although I do think the situation here is very clear that they need to put some style points on the board.

LSU won by 23 points here while being set as the favourites by the exact same number and I think Saban won't be calling off the dogs until he can surpass that margin. It has never been easy playing in Starkville and the Bulldogs being off a Bye is a benefit for them, but I think Alabama can be backed to win and cover this line which has moved a few points in their favour.

Michigan State Spartans @ Michigan Wolverines Pick: At the start of the 2019 season the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans must have felt this could be a big one for them. With doubts about the Ohio State Buckeyes, these two would have looked as their rivalry game being a potential decider for the Big Ten East title and a place in the Conference Championship Game, but things have not worked out as expected.

Firstly the Buckeyes are much stronger than most thought they would be, but the bigger problem has been both the Wolverines and Spartans have not been as good as advertised. Michigan head into Week 12 with a 7-2 record, but are looking short of the top teams in this Division, while the Spartans are at 4-5 and have Head Coach Mark Dantonio feeling the pressure of the seat warming up underneath him.

All of that goes out of the window for one week though as the two teams look to show they are the dominant one around this part of the United States. The Wolverines are at home and they have the momentum with five wins from their last six games, while Michigan State were upset by the Illinois Fighting Illini last week to drop a fourth game in a row.

The Spartans have really struggled Offensively and Brian Lewerke has shown he has not quite had the answers at Quarter Back. In usual circumstances 251 passing yards and a couple of Touchdowns would be a positive from a Quarter Back, but Lewerke had three Interceptions in the loss to Illinois and he has struggled whenever he has faced the elite of the Big Ten.

Michigan State scored a grand total of 17 points in losses to Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State and I am struggling to see how they move the ball with any consistency in this game. Elijah Collins did have a big day running the ball for the Spartans last week, but it is going to be very difficult to establish the run against the Wolverines Defensive Line which can match up against any in College Football.

That only increases the pressure on Lewerke and facing this Secondary is going to be a huge challenge for the Quarter Back as he looks to try and convert from third and long through much of the day.

It means it will be down to the Michigan State Defensive unit to try and keep this one competitive and potentially earn the upset. The up-tempo Michigan Offense did look good the last couple of games, but they are facing one of the stronger Defenses out there and will have something to prove too.

Shea Patterson has not been the Quarter Back that Michigan fans would have expected, but this game might be on his shoulders as the Spartans Defensive Line have continued to be stout up front. I don't think Michigan will move too far away from the game plan and that is looking to pound the ball and set things up for the Quarter Back, but I do think the difference on the day should be the play that Patterson can produce ahead of Lewerke.

He is helped by the fact that the Michigan State Secondary has been having some issues with almost 250 passing yards allowed per game during their last three games. Teams have also been able to create short fields by preventing the Spartans Offense from picking up too much speed and I think that is going to be the case here.

The Wolverines have just started edging this rivalry back towards them in recent years and did beat Michigan State by 14 points last season. I think they have every chance of matching that margin again with the Spartans Offensive unit likely to be restricted.

You can't ignore the fact that Michigan have not played as well out of their Bye Week as you might expect, but even then the focus has been on the Spartans for two weeks and I think that shows up here. Michigan State are 1-4 against the spread in their last five road games and I will look for the Wolverines to make one or two big Defensive plays that allows them to pull clear.

Wisconsin Badgers @ Nebraska Cornhuskers Pick: A few weeks ago it felt like the Wisconsin Badgers were going to be driving towards a third Big Ten Championship Game in four years, but a couple of losses have just set them back. Not many could have predicted the kind of season the Minnesota Golden Gophers were going to be enjoying though and Wisconsin will need a favour in the next two weeks if they are going to make the Week 14 game against Minnesota be for a place in the Championship Game.

Paul Chryst will be reminding his players that that game will be all for nought if the Badgers are not able to at least win their next two games. Otherwise any slip up from the Golden Gophers will not really be acted on and so all of the focus is on this big game in Lincoln in Week 12.

At the start of the season you might have though this game would have massive Big Ten West implications for both the Badgers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but Scott Frost's second season has not gone as planned. Injuries haven't helped, but the Cornhuskers are a disappointing 4-5 in 2019 having finished 4-8 in 2018 and been expected to make a big leap this time around.

Nebraska are going to have to win at least one of the two games remaining at home when they will likely be an underdog both times. They are coming in off a Bye Week while Wisconsin were battling very hard to see off the Iowa Hawkeyes in Week 11, but the Cornhuskers are still a big underdog in this one.

Losing three games in a row will be a factor in the spread and Adrian Martinez has not found it easy to remain healthy at Quarter Back. They are going to need the dual-threat that Martinez offers, but finding a consistent rushing attack is key here for the Cornhuskers.

If they are not able to establish the ground game, Martinez is going to be feeling plenty of pressure from the Badgers pass rush which has helped the Secondary in being able to shut down drives. There will be times when Nebraska do put a couple of solid plays together, and those can extend drives, but consistency might be lacking for a team who scored just 14 points combined in losses to the Ohio State Buckeyes and Minnesota already this season.

You don't have to be a top Madden player to know what kind of plays the Badgers are going to rely on when they have the ball and the standard should be good for them in Week 12. Jonathan Taylor is one of the top Running Backs in College Football, although unlikely to match his 2018 production, and it was his performance which helped Wisconsin edge Iowa last week.

That was against a strong Defensive Line, but this week he faces a team who have allowed almost 5 yards per carry in their last three games. I expect Taylor to rip off some big runs which is going to ease the Nebraska pass rush and just open things up for Jack Coan who has been a little more than a game manager for the Badgers.

Coan doesn't have the big, eye-catching numbers, but he has been able to avoid turnovers and he should be able to find Receivers if the Cornhuskers try and load the box to stop Taylor running the ball. That will be important for Wisconsin who have won here the last time they visited and who look the better team overall going into this one.

Wisconsin don't have the best road record against the spread, but Nebraska have been pretty awful at home where they are overrated for the most part. The underdog has had the better of the recent series, but I think the favourite warrants their position and I believe the Badgers can win and cover.

Georgia Bulldogs @ Auburn Tigers Pick: There is every chance that the Auburn Tigers can surpass the eight wins they had in 2018 as they sit at 7-2 with three games left to play in the regular season. Their own chances of making it into the College Football PlayOffs are over, but the Auburn Tigers can play a huge spoiler for two other SEC teams still hoping to be invited into the top four as they host both the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide before the season is concluded.

First up is the Georgia Bulldogs who moved into the top four of the College Football Rankings thanks to their shut out win over the Missouri Tigers. It was something of a surprise to see the Bulldogs in that position when you think of the one loss they have on their resume, but Georgia know things are very clear for them.

If they run the table and win the SEC Championship they will be playing in the PlayOffs, but another defeat between now and then will likely be too much to overcome. Only two years ago Georgia were upset in a defeat to the Tigers here in Auburn, but they avenged that loss in the SEC Championship Game and were then beaten in the National Championship Game in a tight contest against the Crimson Tide.

This game does look the most difficult one left on the schedule for Georgia who have been struggling for Offensive consistency throughout the season. Jake Fromm has been a little better than a game manager for the Bulldogs, but the fans know they will need to see more out of the Quarter Back if they are going to push on and run the table as they are looking to do.

Throwing the ball against the Auburn Secondary is a big challenge for any Quarter Back in College Football and I do think Fromm is going to see some drives stall in this one without a strong support from D'Andre Swift when it comes to running the ball. Swift has been a huge part of the strong performances Georgia have had on the ground all season, but the Tigers are like many of the top teams in the SEC in being strong on the Defensive Line and that might give them a chance of the upset.

Of course any upset is going to be based on whether Auburn can challenge a Bulldogs Defensive unit that has been amongst the best in the College Football ranks. It has already been made clear that the battle in the trenches is going to be key as Auburn's Offensive Line will try and establish the run game against a Georgia Defensive Line which has held teams to 3 yards per carry over their last three games and have not allowed a rushing Touchdown all season.

It is very important for Auburn to run the ball and it has been made clear in the build up to this game they are going to focus on establishing the run as that sets up the rest of the Offense. This is also key for Quarter Back Bo Nix as he is facing up to arguably the best Defensive unit he will have faced all season.

Nix is experienced now having already faced Florida and LSU, but Auburn came up short in both games and I feel that is going to be the case in Week 12 too. However the 11 point loss to the Gators came on the road and Auburn pushed the LSU Tigers all the way in a road loss to the team Ranked Number 1 in College Football this past week.

Being at home will give Auburn a different feel and they are 7-1 against the spread in the last eight games here, while also being 5-0 against the spread coming out of a Bye Week. The Tigers are 6-2 against the spread as the home underdog under Head Coach Gus Malzahn and I do think they are going to have enough on both sides of the ball to really challenge a Georgia team who have been underwhelming from an Offensive point of view.

The Bulldogs have some fabulous trends behind them which have to be respected and this Defense is as good as it gets in College Football. However this feels like being a game which is going to go down to the wire and backing the home underdog with a full Field Goal start looks very appealing.

MY PICKS: Alabama Crimson Tide - 17.5 Points @ 1.85 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Michigan Wolverines - 13.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
Wisconsin Badgers - 14.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Auburn Tigers + 3 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Florida Gators - 7 Points @ 2.00 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Kentucky Wildcats - 10 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Stanford Cardinal + 11 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
South Carolina Gamecocks + 11.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
Baylor Bears + 10.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)

Week 11: 5-3, + 1.55 Units (8 Units Staked, + 19.38% Yield)
Week 10: 4-1, + 2.73 Units (5 Units Staked, + 54.60% Yield)
Week 9: 2-5, - 3.18 Units (7 Units Staked, - 45.43% Yield)
Week 8: 4-4-1, - 0.47 Units (9 Units Staked, - 5.22% Yield)
Week 7: 3-3, - 0.24 Units (6 Units Staked, - 4% Yield)
Week 6: 2-5, - 3.18 Units (7 Units Staked, - 45.42% Yield)
Week 5: 6-1, + 4.40 Units (7 Units Staked, + 62.86% Yield)
Week 4: 3-2, + 0.73 Units (5 Units Staked, + 14.60% Yield)
Week 3: 3-5, - 2.18 Units (8 Units Staked, - 27.25% Yield)
Week 2: 5-7, - 2.57 Units (12 Units Staked, - 21.42% Yield)
Week 1: 3-2, + 0.67 Units (5 Units Staked, + 13.40% Yield)

Season 2019: 40-38-1, - 1.74 Units (79 Units Staked, - 2.20% Yield)

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