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Season record: 137-133.

I finally got some luck in close games, bringing my 2016 college football season picks record in spreads decided by a field goal or less to 18-28 and spreads decided by a single score at 53-63. That means I am 84-70 in spreads decided by more than a score, which is great. On the year, my wins are by an average of 14 points, while my losses are by an average of 11.

This week is another of huge spreads. The challenge is to strike the right balance between choking on chalk and falling for every dog. It is really important to look at what games teams have on deck after this week. Some will be focused on Week 13 instead of locking in to play Week 12. And that is not about game day, but rather what happens during the week of preparation.

Wednesday

1. Ball State +21 at Toledo: I am a bit surprised this is more than 17 or 18. Toledo also has the Western Michigan game on deck.

2. NIU at Eastern Michigan +3.5: Eastern Michigan is bowl eligible and a much improved team.

Thursday

3. Arkansas State at Troy -8.5: My numbers made this 17. Arkansas State has been improving of late, but Troy is still the best team in the Sun Belt.

4. ULM at App State -25.5: ULM is pretty bad and cannot stop the run. Appalachian State is a strong run team.

Saturday

5. UTEP at Rice -1: Rice was a winner for this column last week, and continues to be somewhat better than its record.

6. Texas Tech at Iowa State +3.5: I have this game as a pick ’em.

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