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Next Week’s Early Best Bets

Identifying Opening-Line Value for Week 4 in College Football

Week 3 of the college football season has ended and now it is time to focus on Week 4. That means checking out the entire board and getting a feel for the lines of the week. This is a great practice in your weekly routine because it allows you to pick up on late line movement over time and offers a better feel for the current slate and for betting football overall.

This week, I don’t see a ton of games that I expect to see bet heavily one way or the other until kickoff, so my guess is most closing line values will result from issues like injuries.

college football week 4
Justin Casterline/Getty Images/AFP

Kent State vs Maryland Over 66½

I think that this is a dull week at the sportsbooks. There are not a ton of games where I expect a bunch of significant line movement, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one juiced up over the course of the week after the under got hammered at the opening. Maryland’s offense has been inconsistent even within a given game.

The biggest concern to this total is that the book is kind of out there on the Terrapins’ offense. Drop seven and eight  guys into coverage and force them to run the ball and take easy yards underneath. Will Kent State do this, and even if they do, will it work? I think that Maryland has the athletes to make plays.

Kent State is a solid Group of Five offense with a legitimate NFL draft prospect at quarterback. However, the Golden Flashes have really taken a beating when it comes to their schedule. A game vs. Texas A&M and then Iowa is very, very tough for any team, especially upfront, and I think that their offense should operate much better against Maryland.

If you are looking to bet online in this game or any other game this weekend, click here.

UCLA vs Stanford Over 58½

I think that this line is just late to the trends of these offenses and maybe being a bit too tied to the initial opinions of each team. UCLA’s offense has been hit or miss but they are making more big plays in the passing game than I expected and that could continue in this game. I also think that the Bruins will run the ball well if there is an increased focus on limiting big plays in the passing game.

The Stanford offense looks much improved with a new QB at the helm, and I think that this could be the spark the Cardinal needed to compete in the Pac-12 . While Vanderbilt is a bad team and USC is probably overrated defensively, I think that the offense is clearly better than it was four weeks ago. Predicting college football odds and their movement can be tough, but I see this one eventually ending around 60 points.

Clemson vs N.C. State (+10)

Clemson’s offense looks genuinely horrible right now from a million different standpoints. The play-calling is just absurd and the Tigers clearly are in over their heads when it comes to coaching decisions about personnel. Will Shipley is their best offensive weapon at this point, and even he isn’t featured as much as he should be with this offense.

Clemson has spent the last five years recruiting big, contested-catch receivers that struggle to get separation like Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross, relative to other elite receivers. This means that we are stuck asking a freshman quarterback to throw up jump balls for his receivers, or we just don’t see any completions.

This is put on display when Clemson is running its very talented but slow receiver in jet sweeps and stuff like that, admitting it doesn’t have a true separator on the team to rely on in third-and-short passing situations.

To summarize this offense perfectly, here is what Paul Finebaum said about Clemson’s offense: “What offense?! They have no offense.” I couldn’t have said it any better than that.

On the other side of the ball, North Carolina State is a solid roster that should be able to hang in the trenches, and that is really what I am looking for here because I see ways that the Wolfpack can cover easily if they can provide any resistance against this horrible offense.

Kansas State (+6½) vs Oklahoma State

This game opened at a nine-point spread and was quickly bet down. Kansas State isn’t great, but neither is Oklahoma State, and I think that you could easily argue Kansas State has the most dynamic player in the game and that is the main premise of the bet here.

Kansas State has big-play potential. Is Oklahoma State going to run away with this game at any point? I can’t imagine that, but I could easily imagine a big play from Kansas State covering the spread and giving Oklahoma State a real scare.

Texas Tech (+8½) vs Texas

This game is all about the contrasting styles and how I expect each team to feature a unique game plan, which should result in a relatively slow pace. Running back Bijan Robinson is the best player in this game and should be relied upon to get his team the win here. If this does occur and Texas has decent success, I think that it looks like a close game throughout, even if the Longhorns are winning on the scoreboard. Texas Tech has the players to hang around, and I think that is why the line and sides are being bet down.

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