NCAAF Week 12 Top Picks for Early Games With Ranked Teams: Cooking With the Cajuns

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Michael Jefferson #8 of the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns reacts after catching a pass over Micah Abraham #6 of the Marshall Thundering Herd. Chris Graythen/Getty Images/AFP.

There’s nothing quite like getting up at the crack of noon on a Saturday. That’s still early enough to catch the first wave of college football games – if you’re in the Eastern Time Zone or the Atlantic for that matter.

Here are two 12:00 PM starts involving ranked teams that you should consider for your NCAAF picks.

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Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns vs. Florida State Seminoles

Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 12:00 PM EST at Bobby Bowden Field Doak Campbell Stadium

This game is just begging for a large bet on UL-Lafayette (5-5 SU, 6-4 ATS). They’re getting 24 points on the NCAAF odds board at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review), with +100 vigorish attached; Jeff Sagarin at The USA Today projects Florida State (7-3 SU and ATS) to win by roughly 16-21 points using his various metrics.

Who are we to argue? Okay, the consensus reports at press time show 95% of bettors on the No. 20 Seminoles, and it’s not like the betting public has paid all that much attention to FSU since head coach Jimbo Fisher skipped town to take the same job at Texas A&M. But 24 points is a lot of points.

Are the Seminoles Back?

Sort of. They are definitely back on the AP poll for the first time since 2018, briefly cracking the Top 25 in Week 5 before returning in Week 11. Mike Norvell is in his third year at the helm, and by law, year three is when coaches are supposed to harvest the fruit of their rebuilding efforts.

So far, so good. Florida State find themselves at No. 15 overall (No. 24 offense, No. 29 defense) on the F+ charts at Football Outsiders; they’re already guaranteed to go bowling after missing out the last two years, and it’s basically a coin flip that FSU will finish the regular season with nine wins.

All well and good, but 24 points? In a game where the total is only 51.5 points at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)? Against a Louisiana team with a relatively good defense – for the Sun Belt – at No. 40 on the F+ rankings? That is a big ask.

The Pick

The Ragin’ Cajuns might not have the same National Championship pedigree as Florida State, but they’re nothing to be sneezed at. Just ask the Marshall Thundering Herd, who hosted UL-Lafayette in Week 7 and lost 23-13 as 10.5-point favorites. Laissez les bon temps rouler.

NCAAF Pick: Louisiana +24 (+100) at Heritage Sports

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Louisiana +24 (+100)
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Austin Peay Governors vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 12:00 PM EST at Bryant-Denny Stadium

Never take your foot off the snake’s neck until you’ve confirmed the kill. Alabama may have two losses, but they still have a non-zero chance of reaching the College Football Playoff – just like the Governors have a non-zero chance of winning this matchup.

Can Alabama Still Make the CFP?

Of course. The Tide (8-2 SU, 5-5 ATS) are No. 8 on this week’s rankings, so if they win out and all the Top 4 seeds fall from grace, one of those spots has to go to ‘Bama. It could happen.

The “winning out” part is the easy part. Before their annual Iron Bowl matchup with Auburn, the Tide will face an FCS team in Austin Peay who have already wrapped up their regular season, finishing 7-3 overall and third in the ASUN Conference at 3-2.

Because the Governors represent the FCS, they usually don’t have any college football odds attached to their games – except when they play an FBS opponent. Here’s how they’ve fared since Scotty Walden took over as head coach:

  • 2021: Peay 17, Mississippi 57 (Push +37)
  • 2020: Peay 0, Pittsburgh 55 (Loss +30.5)
  • 2020: Peay 20, Cincinnati 55 (Win +39.5)

Not much to work with there. And most of the best sportsbooks at BMR don’t seem to be in a hurry to post their NCAAF lines for this must-see battle. But I can tell you at press time that Alabama is a 44.5-point favorite overseas with a total of 55.5.

The Pick

We have to go with ‘Bama for our college football picks. The Tide are 4-1 ATS in their last five games laying more than 44 points, and that includes both their November games, so there’s no reason to think they’ll take it easy in this “warm-up” for the Iron Bowl.

Having said that, we don’t have an estimate for how much potential profit margin this bet provides, so make it a fun-sized bet, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

NCAAF Pick: Alabama 41.5 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

Alabama 41.5 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.