A 6-1-1 week last week basically got us back to even after a horrific Week 2. As much as I love the slate this week from a viewership standpoint, I hate it is a bettor. There’s not a lot of great spots, but I tried to give a few thoughts on the bigger games of the week.
STANFORD (+10.5) over Oregon – 2u
Stanford/Oregon under 58 – 1u
I just can’t pass it up. I hate it, but it must be done. Stanford stock might be at an all-time low since 2009 and we’re buying. It’s equally as much of a sell on Oregon as anything. The Ducks are as untrustworthy on the road as anybody. They’re 4-11-1 ATS their last 16 on the road. and 4-12 SU. I’d like to believe in Oregon, but no way can you take them here with how little they’ve proven away from Autzen Stadium. Mario Cristobal seems like a fine guy, but the way he handled the end of that Auburn game is a prime example of why it’s hard to trust him.
Last week, I discredited David Shaw coming off a loss as part of my justification for taking UCF. That turned out to be correct. What I like here is Stanford as a home dog. They’re 9-0 ATS and 8-1 SU in their last nine games as a home dog. Shaw himself is 4-0 ATS and SU and has covered by an average of 17 PPG.
Kentucky (+6) over MISSISSIPPI STATE – 2u
In short: I don’t think Mississippi State is very good, with or without Tommy Stevens. I’m not sure Kentucky has proven much yet either, but I think they’re fairly even teams and the line is about three points off. And that’s assuming Tommy Stevens will play and at 100%, which seems optimistic at the moment.
I didn’t think it was a huge deal that UK lost Terry Wilson at QB. Sawyer Smith showed some real flashes in his first start last week, but the obvious flaw was 3 INTs. I’d expect him to be better this week, especially against a weaker D than he played last week against Florida.
The Kentucky defense has been fairly solid so far. Stevens won’t be at full strength for the Bulldogs if he plays. I think MSU will need to rely on the run game and that’s where the Cats should succeed on defense. They gave up 2.4 YPC last week until a last minute end-around gave the Gators a 76 yard touchdown.
Cats are 5-2 ATS and 5-2 SU in their last seven as a road dog of a TD or less with a +11.4 average ATS margin.
ATS: 9-8-2 (-0.3u)
Leans / Thoughts On Other Games
USC (+3.5) over Utah
This is always a tricky one. Utah should win, but USC still has the talent on the perimeter if Slovis can get the ball out to his weapons.
Cal (+2.5) over OLE MISS
Just a couple of years ago, the total on this game probably would’ve been in the 70s. Now, it’s 41.5. That’s wild. I feel like Cal has grown much more accustomed to this style of play, but this game kicks off at 9 AM local time for them.
Michigan (+3.5) over WISCONSIN
I hope I’m wrong about this one. But, compared to the preseason line, the spread on this game has swung so much based on how they’ve played against mediocre-to-bad teams. The Badgers have gone 110-0 against their opponents, but USF is on an epic slide and CMU is one of the worst teams in CFB. Michigan was just okay against MTSU and went to double OT against Army.
Army’s a tricky opponent and I don’t think you can make a big difference in evaluation on the Wolverines just because they struggled against a unique opponent.
The Badgers clearly have looked better so far, but it feels like the market has overreacted to games that are fairly meaningless.
NORTHWESTERN (+9) over Michigan State
This is the biggest rat line I’ve seen in a while. NW doesn’t deserve to be this big of a dog based on recent history, but the offense has looked horrendous. MSU has at least shown flashes on offense this year.
Washington (-6.5) over BYU
If you’re just comparing lines, the USC -4 line in the same situation compared to the Huskies only being favored by 6.5 at BYU is sketchy. That essentially suggests that UW would only be favored by 2.5 over USC on a neutral and I’d take the Huskies for 5 units in that situation. But on the flip side, it feels like Vegas is starting to adjust to the Cougars and UW really hasn’t proven much so far.
Louisville (+6.5) over FLORIDA STATE
I think the teams have been pretty comparable so far, if not favoring the Cards as a better team. However, this feels like a game where FSU exercises some demons for me and Louisville hasn’t had a road game yet.
Auburn (+3.5) over TEXAS A&M
Have you heard it’s Bo Nix’s first true road game as a true freshman QB? It’s a factor, but an uncappable one. A&M is on their backup RB. This game has been unpredictable the last few years.
PITT (+11) over UCF
I can’t trust Pat Narduzzi as far as I can throw him, but the Pitt D has had a good showing so far. I’m not actually about to bet against Taylor Gabriel and this UCF O though.
Illinois (+13.5) over NEBRASKA
My gut instinct was to take the Illini and my numbers supported it, but it’s hard to trust that defense against an offense that could be very explosive.
GEORGIA (-14.5) over Notre Dame
I’m a supporter of the Irish long-term this season against their schedule, but this is setting up against them. Their D is relatively weak up the middle and they have to go against one of the best running games in the country and it’s a rare night game in Athens.
Louisiana (+3.5) over OHIO
I think the Cajuns have been better through three weeks and I think they can run all over the Bobcats. They’ve also been great as a road dog of less than a touchdown. However, I can’t fully commit with their recent performances against mobile QBs. Nathan Rourke might be able to put Ohio on his back here.
RUTGERS (+8) over Boston College
This probably would’ve been a play, but is now a complete stay-away with McLane Carter out at QB for Rutgers. BC just got rocked at home by Kansas, but Arthur Sitkowski is one of the worst Power 5 QBs I’ve ever seen and he’ll get the start for the Scarlet Knights.
SMU (+9.5) over TCU
I really wanted to take the Stangs here, but their history against TCU scared me off. They’ve actually covered the spread their last two trips to Fort Worth, but they’ve been much bigger spreads. TCU is just 2-14 ATS their last 16 ATS as home favorites and I think the Frogs have an inflated status after crushing a damaged Purdue team, but the talent disparity is big here.
West Virginia (-4) over KANSAS
I’m still of the belief that Kansas pretty much sucks and that game last week was more of an indictment of Boston College. I think WVU is still much more talented, despite the amount of replacements they had to make this year.
Baylor (-26.5) over RICE
I like Baylor a lot this week, but it’s just not in my nature to lay 26.5 on the road.