It’s the third Saturday of November, historically a time when classic rivalry games are played, but in a pandemic season, those big games aren’t going to happen for a few more weeks, with a few exceptions. There is still a month left in the regular season before the bowls come along. While the rivalry games will have to wait in most places – but not the state of Oklahoma – there are still a number of very significant games being played this weekend. Let’s take a closer look at College Football Betting Week 12 matchups and the online betting lines.
Indiana Hoosiers vs Ohio State Buckeyes
College Football Betting Week 12 Odds: Ohio State -20.5
The Indiana Hoosiers are 4-0 and ranked in the top 10. Indiana has made what one would call a top-tier bowl game – in today’s parlance, a New Year’s Six bowl – only one time, over 50 years ago. The Hoosiers very rarely play huge games this late into a season, but here they are, No. 9 in the country and facing No. 3 Ohio State. It’s a huge opportunity for the Hoosiers to prove themselves on a national stage. No one expects them to win, so if they merely came close to Ohio State on Saturday, they would impress a lot of national observers.
It is hard to take Indiana seriously as a real threat to Ohio State. The Hoosiers are a good team – no one doubts that – but Indiana is not in the same league as Ohio State. IU needed a fortunate call on a game-ending play against Penn State, a team which is 0-4. Indiana has since beaten Rutgers, which just lost to lowly Illinois at home. The Hoosiers lost to a 1-3 Michigan team and a one-win Michigan State team as well. They really haven’t beaten an exceptionally good team, but they are winning the games they are supposed to win, and not every team in the country is reaching that modest standard. Indiana deserves to be ranked No. 9 because a lot of other teams aren’t taking care of business.
Yet, at the end of the day, Ohio State has Heisman Trophy contender Justin Fields and a load of extremely fast and talented players Indiana probably won’t be able to match up with. This game could be close after one half, but it’s hard to see Indiana keeping pace through 60 full minutes and four full quarters.
Cincinnati Bearcats vs UCF Knights
College Football Odds: Cincinnati -6
This could be the game of the year in the American Athletic Conference. UCF won the AAC in 2017 and 2018. Cincinnati lost to Memphis in last year’s AAC title game. Now, UCF will try to move up in the AAC standings and spoil Cincinnati’s unbeaten season, which would also be significant in the College Football Playoff race. Cincinnati is not favored to make the College Football Playoff, but as long as it remains unbeaten, it is still in the hunt. A loss to UCF would give BYU a greater shot at the playoff, and it would also put Boise State of the Mountain West Conference plus Coastal Carolina of the Sun Belt in position to win the Group of Five championship (which offers a New Year’s Six bowl berth). There are a lot of postseason questions whose answers might ride on the outcome of this game.
Dillon Gabriel is a fast, agile, strong-armed talent as the quarterback of UCF’s potent offense. He is more talented than Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder. However, Ridder has been extremely efficient in leading the Cincinnati offense. He is making great decisions and is getting the ball to a lot of different players, performing superbly in his role as game manager for coach Luke Fickell’s offense. Gabriel is more dazzling but also more mistake-prone. Ultimately, UCF has the talent to win, but not the consistency. The Knights have blown multiple leads this season of 14 or more points. Cincinnati probably won’t fall behind by 14 at any stage of this game, but the Bearcats are more likely to endure various ups and downs in this contest and make the biggest plays in the fourth quarter.
Wisconsin Badgers vs Northwestern Wildcats
College Football Odds: Wisconsin -7.5
When looking at the Big Ten Championship Game, Wisconsin or Northwestern has made the event in the last four seasons, with the Badgers going three times and Northwestern once. This Saturday’s game is almost certainly going to decide the Big Ten West Division champion for 2020. Northwestern looks very solid at this stage of the season. The Wildcats crushed Maryland in the season opener and then overcame a 17-0 deficit at Iowa. They have dealt with every challenge which has been placed in front of them. Wisconsin, though, might be a completely different beast. The Badgers looked overwhelmingly good this past Saturday in a 49-11 smackdown of Michigan. Wisconsin is very fast and very physical, and the Badgers might have too much power for Northwestern to handle here.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Oklahoma Sooners
College Football Odds: Oklahoma -7
The Oklahoma Sooners lost their first two Big 12 games this season, but they haven’t lost since. Oklahoma State has an aggressive defense which could wreak havoc against Oklahoma, but the Cowboys haven’t faced an offense as good as Oklahoma’s. Oklahoma State hasn’t won in this series since 2014. The game does figure to be close, since Oklahoma’s offensive line is not as strong as it was in 2019, but unless this game is a complete defensive slugfest, Oklahoma’s explosive offense has more firepower than the Cowboys’ own attack. Oklahoma State needs to keep this game in the 20s, while Oklahoma would love to see this game get into the high 30s or low 40s, so consider that when you’re betting this game and total in the sportsbook.
USC Trojans vs Utah Utes
College Football Betting Week 12 Odds: USC -3
The USC Trojans are 2-0 and have needed fourth-quarter comebacks to prevail in their two contests. They are living on the edge and playing to the level of their competition, a dangerous exercise. Quarterback Kedon Slovis has racked up plenty of passing yards but has not been nearly as accurate as he was last season. USC center Brett Neilon has been hurt, weakening an already-inconsistent offensive line. The Trojans face a lot of uncertainties here.
Yet, Utah faces even more question marks. The Utes haven’t played either of their first two scheduled games due to College Football COVID-19 complications. This Saturday would mark their first game of the season. Who knows how the Utes are going to respond to a long-delayed season opener and all the uncertainties swirling around them? Playing this game at home helps, but Utah won’t have fans on hand – fans aren’t being allowed (beyond friends and family members of athletes) in any of the Pac-12 stadiums this year.