Believe it or not, we’re already into Week 3 of the college football season (the fourth week if you count Week 0). The vast majority of this weekend’s schedule is still mostly nonconference games with a smattering of conference matchups.
After a nice start to the season, we went 1-2 ATS with our Best Bets last weekend as we lost on Illinois +3.5 in a 34-23 loss at Kansas on Friday night and then lost Nebraska +3 at Colorado on Saturday as it was scoreless for the first quarter and a half before the Cornhuskers got run over by the Buffaloes 36-14. We salvaged the day with Arizona +9 covering in a 31-24 OT loss at Mississippi State.
We’re still on the plus side of the ledger at 5-4 ATS for +0.6 units. Let’s try to get back on the winning track with three plays this weekend, starting with another Friday nighter. As our VSiN colleague Pauly Howard said on “Follow the Money” on Thursday morning, this weekend’s card isn’t that strong but next week’s is great.
College Football Betting Splits | College Football Odds
Friday, September 15
Hopefully, regular readers will remember we had Utah State +23.5 vs. Iowa in Week 1 and covered in a 24-14 loss. The basic handicap of that game was that while Iowa’s defense is solid again, we didn’t expect the Hawkeyes’ offense to be able to score enough on the Utah State defense to cover such a big number – and the game played out according to plan. We love it when that happens!
The Aggies bounced back with a 78-28 rout vs. FCS school Idaho State in which QB Cooper Legas completed 14-of-16 for 125 yards and two TD passes (and added another rushing TD) before making way for the backups. Air Force routed FCS Robert Morris 42-7 in its opener and had a harder time before beating Sam Houston 13-3 last week. While this line isn’t as big as against Iowa, I expect Utah State to be in the game the whole way, especially as Air Force again doesn’t have much of a passing attack (QB Zachary Larrier completed just one pass vs. Sam Houston for 14 yards – and only two passes vs. Robert Morris) and will look to grind out a win. I’ll also take Utah State +280 on the moneyline.
Saturday, September 16
Appalachian State nearly pulled a major upset again before falling 40-34 at No. 17 North Carolina in double overtime. The public loves to bet on Appalachian State because of high-profile games like that, and that’s why we feel this line is overinflated and gives us value on the dog. This is definitely a contrarian play as 84% of the bets and 82% of the money is on App State -9.5 at DraftKings as of early Thursday afternoon, but the line has started to drop, indicating sharp money on the dog.
The public is also willing to fade 0-2 East Carolina, but we’ll make the case that the Pirates are actually taking a step down in class after losing 30-3 on the road at No. 2 Michigan and 31-13 vs. Marshall. Actually, Appalachian State is comparable to Marshall power-ratings-wise, but that also gives us hope as East Carolina was actually leading Marshall 13-10 heading into the fourth quarter and we just need the Pirates to stay within one score here.
We’ll continue to stay away from games involving Power Five teams this week (as most are still playing lower-level teams and laying lots of points). These are two teams we rarely back, but we’ll take the short dog. We give the edge to NMSU with revivor-of-programs Jerry Kill. He had an undisclosed health issue earlier this week but returned to practice on Wednesday (even if he ends up being out, that could be seen as a motivational edge as well). New Mexico is 1-1 while New Mexico State is 1-2, and it’s assumed the Lobos would be favored at home.
With the line so low, that looks like a sure sign that the oddsmakers see the Aggies as live dogs despite 78% of the bets and 82% of the money on New Mexico, yet they’re not moving the line. In addition, NMSU QB Diego Pavia had the Aggies leading Liberty 17-13 before losing 33-17, and we expect Pavia to have them leading this game at some point as well – and hopefully at the end.