A 6-5 record in Week 3 (6-5, +$60) was my second consecutive winning week in college football betting picks, including a loss on a Missouri wager that I locked in before anyone knew QB James Franklin would miss the game against Arizona State. I sit at 19-18 (-$70) for the year, thanks in large part to an awful Week 1.
Week 4 features quite a few marquee games. Some offer betting value. Others do not.
Arizona at Oregon -23: Oregon's defense has seen everything Oregon can do for years in practice since the Ducks are also a spread team. A team in Year 1 of the spread option takes its show on the road to open up conference play against a much more talented and experienced team. I'll take Oregon.
Rutgers +7 at Arkansas: Rutgers seems to be well-coached. Arkansas is not. Rutgers is playing for a very nice season. Arkansas is not. We still don't know if Tyler Wilson will play for Arkansas, or if Arkansas even cares about its season after a loss to Louisiana Monroe and a 52-0 blowout by Alabama.
Memphis at Duke -22.5: I am not entirely sold on this Duke team, but they can score, and Memphis is truly an awful team. This line should be closer to four touchdowns than three. Duke's secondary is a slight concern here with the back-door cover.
USF at Ball State +11: Ball State can score. USF looked pretty bad hosting Rutgers last Thursday. But this play is primarily playing on the look-ahead angle. USF has its biggest home game in the history of the program next week when Florida State comes to town. Ball State will have a big edge in motivation here, and it wouldn't shock me to see an outright win.
Kansas at NIU -9.5: The only reason this line isn't double digits is name recognition, as Kansas plays in the Big XII. Northern Illinois is clearly the better team. It's also difficult to see Kansas getting up for this game, and NIU should have the edge in motivation. The better team, with a motivation edge, playing at home? I'll take that.
Eastern Michigan +33.5 at Michigan State: I am aware that Eastern Michigan is terrible. But Michigan State is coming off a crushing home loss to Notre Dame, and has Ohio State on deck. The Spartans aren't likely to come out focused, and it's tough to see them running Bell too many times, as Saturday would be a good chance to save his legs.
Syracuse +2 at Minnesota: Syracuse is one of the best two-loss teams in the country and has been getting quality quarterback play. As for home field advantage, Minnesota is offering $10 tickets. Minnesota's offense just hasn't put it together, and I like Syracuse here as a live underdog.
Temple +9 at Penn State: The only thing that gives me doubt about this play is that Temple found a way to lose to Maryland. OK, I lied. There's another reason: Temple hasn't won in Happy Valley in my lifetime or my father's lifetime. This line implies that Penn State is roughly five points better on a neutral field than Temple. I don't buy that.
Miami at Georgia Tech -14: Miami should probably be 1-2 right now with a loss to Boston College and a closer loss to Kansas State. Instead, the Canes are 2-1, after getting lucky v. BC and very unlucky at Kansas State.
Louisiana Tech at Illinois -2: Without its quarterback, Illinois is a much different team. The Illini should have him back this week, and while I like La. Tech, I think Illinois will take it to them early.
San Jose State +3.5 at San Diego State: San Jose State hung tough with Stanford for a while. San Diego State isn't a juggernaut. I don't see the reasoning behind SDSU being favored by more than a field goal.
Vanderbilt at Georgia Under 54.5: I am a big believer in Georgia's defense, and a non-believer in Vanderbilt's offense.
Utah at Arizona State Under 50: Utah's defense is very good, while Arizona State's isn't awful. Utah's offense is, however, fairly inept. Despite Arizona State wanting to play at an accelerated pace, I expect this game to be low scoring.
Notes on games I'm not betting:
Clemson at Florida State -14.5: I think Clemson's offense and Florida State's defense is basically a wash, and that Clemson's defense is not as good as FSU's offense. The 'Noles are also at home. However, it's tough to tell just how good (bad?) opponents like Auburn and Wake Forest (without its best defensive player) really are. With roughly four points given for home field advantage, this line implies FSU is 10 or 11 points better on a neutral site.
Kansas State at Oklahoma -14: Kansas State is not quite as good as its blowout of Miami would indicate (fumble luck played a large role), and it struggled for a time with North Texas. Oklahoma handled the WIldcats last season, and is very good at home, but has offensive and defensive line issues of its own.
Michigan at Notre Dame -5: Is Michigan's defense any good? Was Notre Dame's inept offensive performance a result of Michigan State's defense, or some growing pains? The Irish's secondary is paper thin, and I expect it will have trouble covering when Denard Robinson scrambles, but I can't trust Michigan's defense.
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