In the table below, you'll find the Adjusted Thor Line (ATL), a system I devised for determining line value. Check back Thursday for this week’s official plays.
All lines courtesy of PointsBet Sportsbook.
|Day||Away||Home||PB Line||ATL||ATL side||Line value|
|10/8||Tulane Green Wave||Houston Cougars||-6.5||-8.0||Houston Cougars||1.5|
|10/9||Louisville Cardinals||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||4||4.1||N/A||N/A|
|10/10||Texas Longhorns||Oklahoma Sooners||-1.5||-3.7||Oklahoma Sooners||2.2|
|10/10||UL Monroe Warhawks||Liberty Flames||-19||-11.9||UL Monroe Warhawks||7.1|
|10/10||Temple Owls||Navy Midshipmen||3||0.8||Navy Midshipmen||2.2|
|10/10||UTEP Miners||Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||-14.5||-13.5||UTEP Miners||1|
|10/10||Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||Florida International Panthers||-4||-3.3||N/A||N/A|
|10/10||Florida State Seminoles||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||-21||-19.8||Florida State Seminoles||1.2|
|10/10||Marshall Thundering Herd||Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||7||3.7||Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||3.3|
|10/10||Charlotte 49ers||North Texas Mean Green||3||1.5||North Texas Mean Green||1.5|
|10/10||Texas State Bobcats||Troy Trojans||-7.5||-6.8||N/A||N/A|
|10/10||NC State Wolfpack||Virginia Cavaliers||-9.5||-5.2||NC State Wolfpack||4.3|
|10/10||UTSA Roadrunners||BYU Cougars||-35||-27.7||UTSA Roadrunners||7.3|
|10/10||Tennessee Volunteers||Georgia Bulldogs||-12.5||-11.7||N/A||N/A|
|10/10||South Carolina Gamecocks||Vanderbilt Commodores||13||17.4||South Carolina Gamecocks||4.4|
|10/10||Missouri Tigers||LSU Tigers||-20.5||-15.3||Missouri Tigers||5.2|
|10/10||Mississippi State Bulldogs||Kentucky Wildcats||-2||-1.1||N/A||N/A|
|10/10||Florida Gators||Texas A&M Aggies||6.5||7.1||N/A||N/A|
|10/10||Arkansas Razorbacks||Auburn Tigers||-14||-16.3||Auburn Tigers||2.3|
|10/10||Alabama Crimson Tide||Ole Miss Rebels||23.5||18.0||Ole Miss Rebels||5.5|
|10/10||Texas Tech Red Raiders||Iowa State Cyclones||-12.5||-11.9||N/A||N/A|
|10/10||Kansas State Wildcats||TCU Horned Frogs||-9||-6.8||Kansas State Wildcats||2.2|
|10/10||Virginia Tech Hokies||North Carolina Tar Heels||-5||2.0||Virginia Tech Hokies||7|
|10/10||Pittsburgh Panthers||Boston College Eagles||6||8.0||Pittsburgh Panthers||2|
|10/10||Miami Hurricanes||Clemson Tigers||-14||-10.5||Miami Hurricanes||3.5|
|10/10||Duke Blue Devils||Syracuse Orange||2.5||0.8||Syracuse Orange||1.7|
|10/10||Florida Atlantic Owls||Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles||2.5||3.0||N/A||N/A|
|10/10||East Carolina Pirates||South Florida Bulls||-4.5||-3.1||East Carolina Pirates||1.5|
Remember the Cougars?
Houston Cougars (-6.5) vs. Tulane Green Wave (Thursday)
ATL: Houston -8.0
Pray for Dana Holgorsen that this one gets played!
Three previous games have been canceled on Holgo’s Cougars due to COVID-19. This will be Houston’s season opener. Tulane, coming off a bye, is 2-1.
Some good news for Holgo: Teams opening their season against teams that have already played are 21-7-2 ATS (75.0%) this season!
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the fact that Houston hasn’t played yet isn’t a disadvantage. Tulane doesn’t have any game film on the Cougars, and they’ve already put out plenty of their own.
ATL’s early line values
Liberty Flames (-19) vs. UL-Monroe Warhawks
ATL: Liberty -11.9
I’m admittedly a fan of 3-0 Liberty. But this line is objectively inflated.
The Warhawks, 0-4, were more competitive in last week’s 35-30 loss to Georgia Southern than they’ve been all season. ULM may have a player on its hands in sophomore QB Colby Suits, who’s performed admirably behind an awful offensive line (1,043 yards on 63.4% completions and a 6/2 TD/INT through four games).
If this young, unpredictable, unprecedented season has taught us anything, it’s to trust your gut and numbers on underdogs. Period.
Underdogs are 66-43-2 ATS (60.6%) in college football this season. That’s a significant hit rate on a sample size over 100 games.
LSU Tigers (-20.5) vs. Missouri Tigers
ATL: LSU -15.3
LSU announced this week that future NFL defensive linemen Glen Logan, a 3rd-Team All-SEC performer last year, will return to the starting lineup on Saturday after he was held out of the first two games for undisclosed reasons.
The Tigers also may be getting starting LT Dare Rosenthal back after Rosenthal missed last Saturday’s 41-7 win over Vanderbilt. That would be nice, because HC Ed Orgeron deemed starting OG Ed Ingram questionable to play against Missouri.
It’s also worth noting that LSU’s pass defense was much better against Vanderbilt, with future Round 1 CB Derek Stingley Jr. back in the lineup. Stingley missed the Mississippi State game, and LSU got summarily roasted through the air.
ATL believes Missouri is an early-week ATS value. But with LSU having another week to rebuild its identity after having lost a metric ton of talent and coaching brainpower over the offseason, and with Vincent and Logan back, it’s also probably true that ATL might be slightly undervaluing the defending champs.
This is a Saturday night game in Baton Rouge. Without the ability to pack the stadium, that doesn’t mean as much for LSU as it used to. But LSU is aided by the fact that Missouri is on its second-consecutive road trip.
BYU Cougars (-35) vs. UTSA Roadrunners
ATL: BYU -27.7
ATL is showing over a touchdown of line value on UTSA (3-1), which lost its first game but covered last week in a 21-13 loss to UAB.
But the Roadrunners are playing their second consecutive road game in a tough venue, and BYU, which is led by one of the fastest-rising NFL Draft prospects in the nation, QB Zach Wilson, leads the nation in success rate offensively.
Not only that, but UTSA’s limited, run-dominant offense will be awaiting a gameday call on whether starting QB Frank Harris can return from injury.
Ole Miss Rebels (+23.5) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
ATL: Bama -18.0
I’m a fan of this year’s Ole Miss team – they’ll be able to move the ball on any defense. ATL believes the Rebels are getting 5.5 points of line value here, and Alabama, as you know, has struggled at times in Oxford under Nick Saban.
In addition, Alabama hosts Georgia one week from today in one of the regular season’s most anticipated matchups. Will the Tide overlook the Rebels? Even if they don’t, will Saban run up the score on former lieutenant Lane Kiffin?
Will he even get the chance? Kiffin’s Tennessee Volunteers gave Saban’s Crimson Tide the stiffest test they’ve ever gotten from an unranked opponent on the road, with the Vols losing 12-10 in 2009.
Remember our 2020 underdog stat above (69-39-2 ATS)? Home teams are only 50-58-2 ATS (46.3%) in 2020. But home dogs are 22-11-1 ATS (66.6%)! To me, this game is Ole Miss or stay-away. I should note that this line dropped below the 24-point threshold on Tuesday, a sign that sharp bettors have already grabbed Ole Miss shares.
Vanderbilt Commodores (+13) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
ATL: USC -17.4
If you can stomach South Carolina as a 13-point favorite in a back-to-back road spot, ATL believes you’ll be scooping up an investment opportunity. ATL rarely sees this much line value on a double-digit road favorite.
South Carolina gave up four passing TDs to Kyle Trask but covered last week in a 38-24 loss to Florida. Vandy was thoroughly uncompetitive in a blowout loss to LSU.
Wrong team favored?
North Carolina Tar Heels (-5) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
ATL: VT -2.0
In Virginia Tech’s opener, ATL believed they had 10 points of line value as 6.5-point favorites over NC State. The Hokies covered easily, winning 45-24.
This week, ATL believes the Hokies should be favored over UNC in a matchup of 2-0 ACC teams. Instead, VT is five-point 'dogs.
The Tar Heels are going to have issues with Virginia Tech’s front-seven, which returned all seven starters. Last year’s game between these teams went into 6OT, with Virginia Tech winning 43-41 as 3.5-point home ‘dogs.
South Florida Bulls (-4.5) vs. East Carolina Pirates
ATL: USF -3.1
USF pushed +21 last week in a 28-7 loss to Cincinnati. But the Bulls played more than well enough to cover – outside of being careless with the ball and languishing situationally.
The Bulls were intercepted five times, went 6-for-16 on 3rd- and 4th-downs, and somehow only managed seven points combined in seven trips past their own 40. Cincy converted over 60% of their 3rd- and 4th-down attempts. And that was that.
If the Bulls play just as well but stop shooting themselves in the foot, they’ll beat ECU by double-digits. It helps USF that this will be ECU’s second-consecutive road game.
Kentucky Wildcats (-2) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
ATL: UK -1.1
Fascinating matchup and complicated handicap.
Kentucky is 0-2 but should be at least 1-1.
Last week, the Wildcats lost to Ole Miss 42-41 when their kicker missed the game-tying extra point in OT. The Wildcats outplayed the Rebels in regulation, averaging 7.6 YPP and a 64% success rate to Ole Miss’ 6.9 YPP and 52% success rate.
In the opener, Kentucky lost 29-13 to Auburn. A controversial call at the end of the first half took a Chris Rodriguez TD off the board that would have put the Wildcats up 14-8 (Terry Wilson threw an awful INT a few plays later). Instead, Kentucky went into halftime down 8-7 and was outscored 14-0 in the fourth quarter in a 16-point loss.
That final misrepresented what took place on the field. Kentucky outgained Auburn 384-324. Last year, the Wildcats were 7-1 SU when outgaining its opponent. In addition to the lost Rodriguez TD, Kentucky botched a convertible fourth down, had a critical holding call that killed another drive, and lost a Terry Wilson fumble.
Mississippi State, meanwhile, was one of the nation’s most impressive teams in a shocking 10-point upset win on the road over LSU in the opener as KJ Costello set the SEC’s passing record. But last week, Costello was a mistake-machine and MSU fell flat in a loss as 17-point favorites over Arkansas.
We can’t recall a team springing an outright upset in the opener as 17-plus point underdogs and losing Game 2 as 17-plus point favorites, as Mississippi State just did. We have no idea what we’re going to get from Mike Leach’s squad this week. But Leach and company won’t be sneaking up on anyone else like they did on LSU. And Kentucky is desperate for its first win after what's happened the past two weeks.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-21) vs. Florida State Seminoles
ATL: ND -18.8
Notre Dame is dealing with serious COVID issues right now. University-wide. ND president John Jenkins was diagnosed positive last week, and the entire hall staff of one of ND’s dorms had to enter quarantine over the past week due to an outbreak.
Per NBC Sports’ Douglas Farmer, two new Fighting Irish players tested positive for the coronavirus this week, leaving Notre Dame without 11 players. To be fair, as Farmer noted, that’s down significantly from ND’s peak of 39 concurrent cases. And Notre Dame had a bye week to prepare contingencies.
Still, not good.
On the other side, FSU HC Mike Norvell is back to business after missing a game earlier this season when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. His team is also recovering returning to normal. Norvell said Tuesday there's a good chance DB Travis Jay and DT Robert Coop will return to the team in the "near future”, perhaps even in “days.”
FSU has had all sorts of issues moving the ball on the ground the past few seasons despite a procession of stud RBs due to horrific offensive line play. The Seminoles are averaging 130 rushing YPG on 3.66 YPC through two games, slightly off last year’s numbers; no surprise with a new staff and RB Cam Akers now in the NFL.
Notre Dame’s typically stellar run defense has allowed less than 3 YPC over its past four games. If the Seminoles are going to make a game of this, they’re likely going to have to have success through the air. FSU announced that Jordan Travis will start against the Irish. Travis will be the third FSU QB this year to draw a start.
Travis is probably going to need to beat Notre Dame CB Tariq Bracy at some point to accomplish that. Per PFF, Bracy ranks No. 3 in the country with 40 coverage snaps without allowing a reception this season.
FSU has started the season 0-3 ATS. Only four other teams are 0-3 ATS: Kansas, WKU, Appalachian State, and a surprising team we’ll discuss below. Will the Seminoles finally get off the schneid?
TCU Horned Frogs (-9) vs. Kansas State Wildcats
ATL: TCU -6.8
At first blush, the Wildcats might appear to be worth a look here catching more than a touchdown at TCU, especially with the Horned Frogs in a letdown spot after their upset win over Texas.
But the Wildcats may be due an off-week themselves after the enormous upset win over Oklahoma (which doesn’t seem as stunning in hindsight) and last week’s victory over an injury-plagued Texas Tech.
On top of that, earlier this week Kansas State signed HC Chris Klieman to a new 6-year, $23.5 million contract extension through 2026. It’s historically not a good idea to invest in a team the week they give their head coach an extension.
Navy Midshipmen (+3) at Temple Owls
ATL: Temple -0.8
Another interesting situational handicap, here.
This will be Temple’s first game of the season. Meanwhile, Navy is having one of the strangest seasons of any team in the FBS.
The Midshipmen were embarrassed in an early-September season-opening loss to BYU 55-3. Twelve days later, Navy fell behind 24-0 at halftime to Tulane. Navy then played a flawless second half to roar back and beat Tulane 27-24, the largest comeback in Navy history.
That second half performance in part informed why Navy was a seven-point road favorite over Air Force last week. There was also the issue of Air Force losing over 40 players due to COVID opt-outs, as well as its starting quarterback leaving the team in July.
But Air Force absolutely walloped Navy, winning 40-7.
If you’re scoring at home, the streaky Midshipmen have been outscored 119-10 in the 10 quarters outside of the second half of the Tulane game. Do we know what kind of team Navy is yet?
Recall from above: Teams opening their season against teams that have already played are 21-7-2 ATS (75.0%) this season. Last week's game against Air Force qualified for that system, and Navy finished 40 points away from pushing ATS!
Auburn Tigers (-14) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
ATL: Auburn -16.3
The Tigers looked horrible in a lopsided loss to Georgia last week. The Razorbacks, which stunned Mississippi State in a flat spot for MSU, may be in for a letdown spot of their own.
Auburn’s strong situational spot is further aided by the fact that this will be Arkansas’ second consecutive road game. This line dropped from Auburn -16 on Monday to Auburn -14 on Tuesday. Might have something to do with star WR Seth Williams and star LB K.J. Britt questionable for this game. Of course, stud Arkansas RB Rakeem Boyd is also questionable after he left the Mississippi State game with an injury.
If you're interested in investing, keep an eye on status reports on that trio this week.
Iowa State Cyclones (-12.5) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
ATL: ISU -11.9
TTU QB Alan Bowman is questionable with an ankle injury that knocked him out of the Kansas State loss. Utah State transfer Henry Colombi completed a bunch of passes (30-of-42) against the Wildcats.
But Colombi’s noodle arm handcuffed the offense. Only one of his completions went for over 25 yards, and Colombi averaged less than six yards per attempt while getting intercepted once. It didn't help that three of his receivers suffered injuries.
Iowa State is coming off an upset win of Oklahoma. ISU’s previous win over TCU looks more impressive today than it did then. The Cyclones are worth a long look if Bowman's status looks iffy later this week.
Clemson Tigers (-14) vs. Miami Hurricanes
ATL: Clemson -10.5
ATL believes bettors are short-changing Miami. And the upstart Hurricanes had a bye week to get ready for Clemson. Clemson is coming off a non-cover 41-23 win over Virginia.
Remember above when we mentioned that FSU, Kansas, WKU, Appy State and one other mystery team are the only programs in the nation 0-3 ATS? Clemson is the fifth.
They’ve been as impressive as ever early, but sports bettors are going to have to pay a tax to bet Clemson all year. That tax hasn’t proven justified yet.
And while I have you, were you aware that only two teams are 3-0 ATS? BYU and… you guessed it, the Miami Hurricanes!
Clemson hasn’t covered four straight games. Miami is 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games and 5-1 ATS in their last six against teams with winning records.
One last 2020 ATS trend to leave you with, out the door: Home favorites are only 28-47-1 ATS (37.3%) in 2020!
We'll either be backing the Hurricanes or enjoying this one as a fan. We'll give you that verdict along with the rest of the week's best bets on Thursday. See you then!
2020: 15-13-1 (53.6%) ATS
Lifetime (2014-Present): 555-482-17 (53.5%) ATS
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