College football line moves and best bets for Week 6
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-6.5, 53.5) at Louisville Cardinals
Sam Hartman and the Irish escaped Durham with a 21-4 win and cover on Saturday, but they hit the road for a second consecutive week on Saturday. Notre Dame will face Louisville in a brutal sandwich spot this weekend. A home meeting with the Trojans looms on Oct. 14 looms, and the Irish do not want to be caught looking past a Cardinals team that has failed to cover three of four games.
Louisville will be a nice change of pace for Notre Dame, which just faced the sixth and second-best scoring defenses in the country in consecutive weeks. Ohio State and Duke also had very good secondaries which have limited Notre Dame wide receivers to 154 yards the last two games. Of the seven defenders who have dropped into coverage at least 114 times for Louisville, only two have a reception allowed rate of better than 57.1%, according to PFF. This could be a game in which Hartman and the passing attack open up after being held down for the last two weeks.
This will be a line worth monitoring throughout the week. Circa Sports and DraftKings both opened this line under a touchdown, and when Circa Sports went to a full seven-point spread it was bought back to 6.5 in the next 30 minutes. This is likely going to be the story until Saturday, with any seven lasting for only a few moments before the market comes in on the home underdog.
Central Florida Knights at Kansas Jayhawks (-3, 61.5)
Those who bet Kansas on Saturday were burned when Jason Bean started in place of Jalon Daniels after he experienced back tightness prior to the game. Daniels’ status for this week will be the focus for bettors, and that made this an interesting challenge for oddsmakers on Sunday. DraftKings trading manager Matt Grill told us on College Lines Revealed that Daniels could be worth 1.5-2.5 points to the spread, and it makes sense after the line for this game opened.
Circa Sports opened Kansas -5 but within three minutes the line was a field goal. Daniels is the highest graded quarterback in the Big 12 according to PFF. He has accounted for 811 total yards and five touchdowns this season, so it should come as no surprise that the market came in on the Knights with his status in doubt. This is also about the time UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was slated to return from a leg injury that has caused him to miss the last three games.
The Knights are coming off a wild loss to Baylor in which they were outscored 29-0 over the last 18:20 of the second half. UCF gave up 446 yards and allowed Baylor to convert 10-of-18 third downs. That is the second consecutive game in which the Knights have allowed more than 400 yards of offense. This is certainly a game that Daniels could excel in, should he be healthy.
Kentucky Wildcats at Georgia Bulldogs (-17, 44.5)
Georgia improved to 5-0 SU when it defeated Auburn 27-20 at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but it failed to cover the spread for the fifth time this season. The Bulldogs are failing to cover by 10.2 points per game, and are one of four teams in the country without a cover to their name. Georgia has really struggled against its two conference opponents - South Carolina and Auburn - but the numbers paint a slightly different picture.
The Bulldogs have totaled 879 yards in their two SEC wins, and outgained both opponents by an average of 131.5 yards per game. Georgia’s mistakes have really been its undoing. Against Auburn they committed two turnovers, both of which came on the Bulldogs’ side of the field. The Tigers made them pay with touchdown drives on both ensuing possessions. In the win over South Carolina, Georgia converted just 5-of-13 third downs and missed two field goal attempts. A more consistent effort likely leads to better performances from the No. 1 team in the country.
DraftKings was first to market with Georgia -17 on Sunday, but Circa Sports opened this line with the Bulldogs as 14-point favorites. The market has since settled in on Georgia -15 as the consensus number. The power rating on the Bulldogs is declining as they continue to fail to cover numbers. Those looking to back Georgia are buying near the bottom of the market this week.
LSU Tigers (-6.5, 64.5) at Missouri Tigers
LSU has a problem on defense. In the three games that the Tigers have failed to cover - two of which have been outright losses - they have allowed 542 yards and 43.7 points per game. LSU is now 116th in opponent yards per play this season (6.5) after the loss to Ole Miss, and Missouri is sound enough on offense to take advantage of poor play.
Brady Cook is the fifth-highest graded passer in the SEC according to PFF. He has thrown 11 touchdowns to just two turnover worthy plays, and he has yet to throw an interception this season. Cook also has an elite wide receiver to throw to in Luther Burden III who has caught 21 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. If given the opportunity Missouri can take advantage of this shoddy secondary.
Circa Sports and DraftKings opened this game with the line in favor of LSU, but under a touchdown. Circa Sports went to a full seven-point spread within 20 minutes of the opening, but there are still plenty of shops at 6.5 on LSU. This game will be a litmus test for the market’s love of LSU. The Tigers are just 2-3 ATS this season, but the market has been on them almost every week.
Maryland Terrapins at Ohio State Buckeyes (-19, 52.5)
Maryland improved to 5-0 SU/3-2 ATS when it beat Indiana 44-17 at College Park on Saturday. Taulia Tagovailoa leads the Big 10 in passing yards (1,473) and passing touchdowns (13) while averaging 8.6 yards per attempt. The betting market seems to be buying in on Maryland’s success too. Circa Sports opened this line at Ohio State -20 but it was bet down two points on Sunday. The Hoosiers were a test that the Terrapins offense passed with flying colors, but a trip to the Horseshoe to face one of the best defenses in the country is an entirely different task. Ohio State has allowed the fourth-fewest yards per play in the country (4.1) and the second-fewest points per game (9.0).
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (-9, 55.5) @ Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Hank Bachmeier has not played for Louisiana Tech since Sept. 16 when it lost to North Texas at home, but he could be nearing a return. Despite not starting on Saturday against UTEP Bachmeier was reportedly available as an emergency option for head coach Sonny Cumbie. Bachmeier’s potential return could be a reason why this number was bet down from -9 when it opened at Circa Sports to -7 which is the current consensus number. Western Kentucky is coming off a win and cover over Middle Tennessee and has covered its last two games, but the Hilltoppers are 1-3 SU/0-4 ATS in their last two road games. That includes two losses and failed covers this season.
Fresno State Bulldogs (-4, 45.5) at Wyoming Cowboys
In the preseason Wyoming was a team that I did not understand the hype on, and I could not have been more wrong in my doubts. The Cowboys come into this pivotal Mountain West game 3-1 SU/2-2-1 ATS on the season with a bruising running game that has averaged 185.8 yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry. That has been the driving force behind this successful start to the season, but Fresno State is going to be no pushover for this offensive line.
The Bulldogs are one of the best run defenses in the country. They have allowed just 83.3 yards per game and 2.7 yards per carry; both statistics rank better than 10th in the nation. Fresno State will be able to make Wyoming one-dimensional on offense, and if that happens this is not a passing attack that will threaten the Bulldogs’ secondary. Andrew Peasley has thrown for only 575 yards and 5.4 yards per attempt this season for the Cowboys. If the offense is in hands it will allow this Fresno State team to thrive.
VSiN senior editor Matt Youmans told us on College Lines Revealed that he made this line Fresno State -10 and that is much more in line with the Circa Sports opener of -7 on Sunday. The initial line move went toward Wyoming, but I am willing to go against that this week. The Bulldogs are my highest rated team in the Mountain West, and by my measure there is value in anything under a full touchdown.
Bet Recommendation: Fresno State (-6)