Three weeks into the college football season, I have called 10 outright underdogs in 12 games. Last week was stellar, hitting a three-team underdog parlay at +1215!
Here’s the thing. Early weeks are great because the available data on teams is limited. If data is limited for you, it is also limited to books. A few weeks into the season, we really start to see what the teams are morphing into, and data becomes more defined. Same concept, if you have more data accessible, so do the books. Essentially, lines become more sharp as the season progresses. As always, bet smart, limit your plays, and stay controlled with your bankroll. Here’s what I like for Week 4 of the college football season.
Close your eyes because it’s not pretty.
Louisville at Florida State +2.5, +100
The Seminoles have looked awful in an 0-3 start to the season, losing back-to-back home games to Notre Dame and FCS squad Jacksonville State, followed by a double-digit 35-14 loss at Wake Forest.
One problem, among many, has been turnovers. Between Florida State’s two quarterbacks, UCF transfer McKenzie Milton and Jordan Travis, they've have thrown a combined five touchdowns along with seven interceptions. My math tells me that having more interceptions than touchdown passes is never a good thing.
Good news for the Noles, the Cardinals defense has only intercepted three total passes and generated just five total sacks. Facing less quarterback pressure against a team that is 114th in takeaways and 111th in passing defense could help the Noles' cause this week.
Even more, Louisville is 94th in rushing yards allowed, giving up 188 ground yards to Ole Miss and 212 to UCF. This is an opportunity for Jashaun Corbin and Treshaun Ward to shine. C’mon, Noles!
Iowa State at Baylor +7, +210
The Cyclones were the Big 12 team to watch entering the season. However, Iowa State is starting out shaky after a narrow 16-10 win over an FCS school and a 27-17 loss to Iowa where the Cyclones never really looked like they had a shot.
Baylor has faced some lesser opponents in Texas State and Kansas but the Bears do have the pieces to contend, particularly in the run game. Baylor has a trio of running backs capable of making big plays, including leading rusher Abram Smith, who has accounted for five of the 11 total rushing scores.
There are five players on the Bears team who have 100 yards or more rushing or receiving, while Iowa State has just three and one is RB Breece Hall. It’s a lot easier to game plan when you’re facing a team with fewer weapons to account for. If Baylor can keep Hall in check, then there’s an opportunity to generate an interception or two.
There’s not a lot to like this week so it’s best to not force anything and keep things light. Other games I considered:
LSU at Mississippi State +2, -105 (+3, +110)
Texas A&M at Arkansas +4.5, +165 (+5.5, +185)
Kansas State +5.5, +190 at Oklahoma State (+7, +200)
Kent State +14.5, +450 at Maryland
North Carolina -13 (-11.5) at Georgia Tech
I said I would back off on double-digit dogs. Kent State, however, is very much live.
On the rest, I’m laying off because of the line moves. In parenthesis is what the line was at, numbers I would much rather have. I’ve said it before, if you are late to the party, too bad, there’s no more punch for you. Plenty of football left. Don’t play a worse number! Even if it works out, longterm, it’s bad business.