Welcome to The Old College Try. Each week, I’ll be here, attempting to grow a starting bankroll of $1,000 by making picks on NCAA football games. To see previous weeks’ picks, click the links below. All lines accurate as of Wednesday, 11/13

Previous Weeks: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

Week 12. Man, this season has flown by. Last week made it 8 positive weeks out of the first 11, and our season record sits at 33-25-1, good for just shy of 57%! Unfortunately, due to a major loss in Week 3, we are still slightly negative for the year with a bankroll of $890.72. That $1,000 mark continues to elude us, but we are back in striking range. Will this be the week the bankroll jumps back into the green?

I certainly hope so. With 6 picks this week, we have a full slate of games on tap. They range from big tests for undefeated squads to a forgettable contest involving the dregs of a weak conference. So whether you like to gamble on the playoff contenders or the also-rans, there’s something for every degenerate in our Week 12 best bets:

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The “Wrong Place at the Wrong Time” Collateral Damage of the Week

Alabama -17.5 at Mississippi State (-110)

Bet: $70 to win $63.64

Nick Saban is angry. Now, trends will tell you that the Tide haven’t been that great against the spread coming off of a loss in the past, but those Alabama teams didn’t have Tua or the rest of this offense. Knowing that they will need to play unimpeachable football for the rest of the season to have a chance at the Playoff, Saban will have the Crimson Tide out for blood in Starkville on Saturday.

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We know the Tide can put up a ton of points in a hurry, and I don’t think Mississippi State has the weapons to punish their defense. Add in a little extra motivation coming off of a loss against LSU and perhaps even some desperation as their title hopes become a bit less likely, and you have the recipe for a merciless beatdown. I’m rolling with the Tide this week. 



The “Why Even Pass?” Wildcat Win of the Week

Kentucky -10 at Vanderbilt (-110)

Bet: $70 to win $63.64

Man, that Kentucky loss was just brutal last Saturday. Up 13 to nothing in the first quarter, they gave up 17 straight points and failed to score for the rest of the game. And a week later, I’m going to tell you to take the team that failed to score for three quarters and bet on them as a 10-point favorite on the road? Absolutely.

Vanderbilt is bad. Really, really bad. In fact, I’m pretty sure they would be the worst SEC team of the last several years if the 2019 Arkansas Razorbacks didn’t exist. So yes, Kentucky’s offense is uninspiring – they are playing a wide receiver at quarterback, and all they can really do is run – but you still have to have the personnel to stop the run. Vanderbilt doesn’t, and at this point of the season I’m not sure what the Commodores have to play for anyway.

On top of all of this, Kentucky needs to win two out of its last three games to be bowl eligible. Give me the team that is better and more motivated – Kentucky should cover this one by a full touchdown.


Rivalry Game Under of the Week

Michigan State at Michigan Under 44.5 (-110)

Bet: $70 to win $63.64

The last two match ups for these teams have seen 28 and 24 total points scored. This year, even more than the last few years, the Spartans are a team without an offense. Their defense is still rock solid, and should hold up against a Michigan team that has improved a lot on the offensive side of the ball.

I don’t know that I’m comfortable taking  Michigan, even with the Spartans’ offensive shortcomings – this rivalry has a tends towards hard fought games even when one team should have a huge advantage.

The One You Don’t Want to Watch

Virginia Tech -5.5 at Georgia Tech

Bet: $70 to win $63.64

The Hokies started out the year horrendously, but they’ve rebounded over the last two weeks to a level of respectability. They played Notre Dame nearly to a draw, then just boat raced a solid Wake Forest team at home. Georgia Tech has also improved as the season has gone on, as you would expect from a team with a new head coach, but the Yellow Jackets are still a ways away.

Anything under a touchdown against a competent team (and I think Virginia Tech has become a competent team) and I have to fade the Yellow Jackets right now. So at 5.5, I’m happy to ride with VT.

Thursday Night Dog of the Week

UNC +4 at Pittsburgh

Bet: $70 to win $63.64

It’s pretty tough to trust Pittsburgh as more than a field goal favorite against anyone. The Panther’s are 107th in the country in yards per play, so it’s not too hard for opponents to keep the game close. UNC’s offense, while not explosive, has been much more competent, and I expect the Tar Heels to win outright.

The biggest concern here is that Pittsburgh has been a disruptive defense with a strong pass rush. They get to the quarterback regularly, and North Carolina has relied a lot on freshman QB Sam Howell making plays.  While the Pittsburgh pass rush does give me pause, I’m going to stick with my gut here and take four points with the Heels.


The Disrespected Dog of the Week

Minnesota Moneyline at Iowa (+140)

Bet: $60 to win $84

Yeah, there’s a chance of a letdown after a huge win over Penn State last week, and it does scare me a bit to go chasing Minnesota after losing money betting against the Gophers last week – but did you watch Minnesota play last week? Rashod Bateman toyed with a secondary that is at least as talented as the one Iowa will trot out this week. The rest of the offense looked pretty good as well.

I understand the skepticism from Vegas. Iowa certainly has a history of catching teams by surprise at home, but I’m not sure how you can catch a team by surprise as a 3 point favorite. I would hesitate to take Minnesota if they were even a small favorite, but as a dog here? I have to take the Gophers even if they are going to be an extremely public side.


Can We Bet on the Dawgs?



Yeah, you can. But I wouldn’t throw the house on it. The numbers say the Dawgs are the better side, but going to Auburn is always a tricky proposition, and everyone on TV will tell you that Kirby has lost all three of his road games against SEC West opponents.

I’ll be putting some money on the Dawgs personally, and I think they will cover the 3 point spread, but I can’t recommend it as one of our best bets this week.

Thank you to everyone who has made it to Week 12 of The Old College Try. I really appreciate all of you who read every week, and especially those who have shared the posts. If you’re looking to talk football or gambling, you can comment below or find me on twitter @slapnslide. Best of luck on all your bets this weekend, and I’ll see you back here next week as we draw closer and closer to Bowl Season.


Bankroll: $890.72

Total Bets: Risking $410 to win $402.20