A big clash of top-10 programs highlights Week 4 on the college football schedule. Covers checks in on the opening odds and early action, with insights from Matt Chaprales, head of content for PointsBetUSA in New Jersey.
Georgia reached the College Football Playoff title game two years ago and is trying to burnish its credentials for this year’s CFP. The Bulldogs (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) have played three lightweights so far, including in Week 3, when they thumped Arkansas State 55-0 as 32.5-point home favorites.
Notre Dame landed a spot in last season’s CFP semifinals, where it got completely outclassed by Clemson in a 30-3 loss. The Fighting Irish (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) punished hapless New Mexico 66-14 as 34.5-point home faves Saturday.
Bulldogs backers didn’t wait long to get out of the gate, moving the line 2 points to -14 by Monday night.
“Huge early-season game with major playoff implications,” Chaprales said. “A loss effectively kills Notre Dame’s chances, while Georgia would face a significant uphill climb. We took some Georgia action at the opener of 12, moved quickly to 12.5 and then straight through 13 to 13.5. Despite both teams being ranked in the top 10, this number – along with the direction it’s moved – underscores just how far apart the market thinks they are.”
Michigan had a Week 3 bye and probably needed it after surviving a major home upset bid in Week 2. The Wolverines (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS) went off as 21.5-point favorites against Army and never led until overtime, coming away with a 24-21 victory.
Wisconsin also comes into this noon ET Saturday clash well-rested off a Week 3 bye. The Badgers (2-0 SU and ATS) won their first two games by a combined 110-0, including a 61-0 Week 2 victory over Central Michigan laying 34 points at home.
“On one side, you have a public team in Michigan that hasn’t looked great – 0-2 ATS, nearly lost outright at home to Army – and on the other, a Wisconsin squad that’s tossed a pair of perfect games against minnows so far,” Chaprales said. “Recreational bettors will nonetheless likely be interested in the Wolverines at plus money.”
Early bettors apparently like the host Badgers, though, with the line moving to -3.5, back to -3, then returning to -3.5.
Auburn got a resume-building win over Oregon in Week 1, then moved to 3-0 SU and ATS with wins over a couple of lesser lights. In Week 3, the Tigers crunched Kent State 55-16, cashing as hefty 36-point faves.
Texas A&M (2-1 SU) has also been good to bettors so far, cashing in all three of its outings, including a 24-10 Week 2 loss catching 16.5 points at No. 1 Clemson. The Aggies faced FCS foe Lamar in Week 3 and ran it up 62-3 giving 45 points at home.
The line ticked up a half-point to A&M -4 for this Southeastern Conference showdown, set for 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
“Key conference opener that could determine the direction each of these programs is headed,” Chaprales said. “Auburn and true freshman quarterback Bo Nix passed their first test of season by sliding past Oregon, while A&M didn’t put up much resistance against Clemson a few weeks ago, needing a last-second touchdown to get the backdoor cover. Slight adjustment off the opener of 3.5, but minimal activity since.”
Southern Cal lost starting quarterback JT Daniels (ACL) in Week 1, and while true freshman Kedon Slovis looked superb in Week 2 against Stanford, he looked his age in Week 3. Slovis threw three interceptions at Brigham Young, and the Trojans (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) fell just short 30-27 laying 5 points.
Utah rolled over that same BYU team in Week 1, on the road no less, with a 30-12 victory as a 5-point chalk. The Utes (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) blanked Idaho State 31-0 giving 36.5 points at home Saturday.
This line bounced between Utah -3.5 and -4, sitting at the latter Monday night, for a Pac-12 After Dark clash at 9 p.m. ET Friday.
“This game was shaping up as Utah’s coming-out party, but USC’s loss to BYU put a damper on that,” Chaprales said. “The Pac-12 South figures to be Utah’s to lose this season, but needless to say, a slip-up in a high-profile prime-time spot would be very detrimental.”