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College Football Week 12 Best Bets: Michigan vs Maryland, Penn State vs Rutgers, plus Iowa, Pitt

Highlights: Michigan grinds past Penn State
No. 3 Michigan used its dominant run game, powered by star running back Blake Corum, to remain undefeated in a 24-15 victory over No. 10 Penn State in Happy Valley.

Vaughn Dalzell breaks down how he’s betting on the Boston College Eagles and Pittsburgh Panthers, plus Michigan versus Maryland, Penn State versus Rutgers, and Illinois at Iowa!

Boston College at Pittsburgh (-2): O/U 47.0

It’s Senior Night for Pitt as the Panthers welcome Boston College to town for the second-to-last game of the 2023 season, a contest that I will be on the sidelines in attendance for!

Boston College won five straight games until its 48-22 loss at home to Virginia Tech. Boston College is 2-1 following a loss this year, but those wins came over Holy Cross (31-28) and Virginia (27-24).

However, Pitt’s favored despite being 2-8 on the season with four-straight losses coming against Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Florida State, and Syracuse, much more difficult competition than Boston College.

The Eagles sport a 3-1 road record, but those road wins were at Army, Georgia Tech, and Syracuse, not the most hostile crowds. While Pitt isn’t very hostile, Senior Night will provide a spark and an incentive for fans and players.

Boston College ranks 101st in offensive passing efficiency compared to 97 on defense, 82nd in third-down defense (40.4%), and 129th in red-zone defense (96.9%) or second-to-last. The Eagles allowed 31 red zone scores on 32 opponent attempts.

Pitt is 18th in red-zone defense (75%). 48th in third-down defense (36.6%), and 33rd in sacks (25). The Panthers’ defense was annihilated last week versus Syracuse, but Boston College is not as dynamic on offense as the Orange, especially on the road.

Give me Pitt on the ML at -130 odds on Senior Night. The Panthers being favored is telling to me. I would play this out to -140. H2P!

Pick: Pitt ML (1u)
*all odds courtesy of BetMGM

Michigan (-19) at Maryland: O/U 50.5

Michigan beat Penn State on the road last week, 24-15, while Maryland beat Nebraska on the road, 13-10.

Maryland lost four straight before beating Nebraska last week and managed 17 or fewer points in three out of the past five games. The Terps scored 15 at home to Penn State and 17 points on the road at Ohio State.

The Terps’ Team Total is set at 15.5 against Michigan, so we have to bet whether or not Michigan’s defense will outdo Penn State and Ohio State.

Maryland owns the 77th-ranked red zone offense (82.5%), ranks 25th on third-downs (44.9%), and 54th in passing efficiency, which is similar to Penn State from last week.

I played Maryland’s Team Total Under 15.5 at -113 odds and would go down to 14.5 for 1.5 units. 13.5 or lower would be 1 unit for +100 or better.

Michigan is 10-1 all-time versus Maryland with seven straight victories. The Wolverines held the Terps to 10 or fewer points in four out of the last seven meetings.

Pick: Maryland Team Total Under 15.5 (1.5u)
*all odds courtesy of BetMGM

Rutgers at Penn State (-20.5): O/U 43.5

Rutgers is coming off a 22-0 loss at Iowa, while Penn State dropped a 24-15 contest at home versus Michigan, so both teams are entering this one bruised and battered.

While at Penn State versus Michigan, I said a few times throughout the game that Rutgers might not score the following week on Penn State’s defense... and senior night! I am sticking to it.

Penn State is No. 1 in turnover margin (+15), owns the second-most sacks in the country at 38, and ranks second in total defense (239.7 ypg). The Nittany Lions are tied 7th at passing yards allowed (162.5), 7th in time of possession (33.0 mpg), and 16th n third-down defense (30.4%).

There is a lot here that sets up well for Penn State to run away with this game and dominate. Rutgers is already bowl-eligible and has one remaining home game versus Maryland next week, so this is a chalked-up loss for the Scarlett Knights.

The Rutgers offense is tied for 92nd in third-down offense (36%), 122nd in offensive team passing efficiency, and 76th in red zone offense (82.9%). Penn State is 26-1 all-time versus Rutgers and held Rutgers to 10 or fewer points in nine consecutive meetings.

I played Rutgers Team Total Under 10.5 at -120 odds and would go out to -140 on this. The line should be 9.5, which is worth a play for 1 unit.

Pick: Rutgers Team Total Under 10.5 (1.5u)
*all odds courtesy of BetMGM

Illinois at Iowa (-3.5): O/U 30.5

Illinois beat Iowa, 9-6, last season, breaking an eight-game losing streak versus the Hawkeyes, but Iowa will look for revenge at home this season coming off a shutout home win versus Rutgers (22-0).

In the last four meetings, we’ve had combined scores of 15, 55, 56, and 29 points, so either high-scoring or low-scoring, no in-betweens. I have to go with low-scoring here.

Iowa ranks 129th in offensive passing efficiency, 124th in third-down offense (30%), and last in total offense (243.0 ypg). Illinois ranks 91st in third-down offense (36.1%), 91st in rushing offense (134.5 ypg), and tied 110th in turnover margin (-6).

Don’t expect much offense at all, especially with Luke Altmeyer (57.0 QBR) and Deacon Hill (14.8 QBR) at QB. I am going to run it back on Iowa’s Under without hesitation. Iowa put up 22 points last week, and I doubt it will happen again.

I played the Under 30.5 at -110 odds and would go down to 28.0 and 28.5, where we played this total last week.

Pick: Under 30.5 (1u)
*all odds courtesy of BetMGM

Season Record: 55-33-1 (62.5%) +21.16 units

Join in the college football conversation this Saturday at 11 AM ET. From sides to totals to props, get ready for the weekend of college football with the NBC Sports College Football Betting Q&A.