Week 3 might have been a little underwhelming when it came to marquee matchups, but it was quite the success for my college football betting model. After a poor Week 2, we bounced back in a big way as we had a chance to sweep the card before Arizona State had an unreported quarterback injury that ultimately doomed us. Either way, I’m feeling comfortable with how the model is projecting teams at this point in the season.
Some of you have asked about totals after noticing that I haven’t played any so far this season. Well, that changes this week. With the new clock rules, I wanted to get a better feel for how totals were going to be affected before hopping into the market. Three weeks have gone by and I’m feeling a little more comfortable with projecting pace and pass/run splits so I’m going to fire on a few this week. I’ll still want more data points, definitely more conference games, before I fire on a full card of totals, but we are dipping our toes.
Last week’s record: 5-1, +3.95 units
Season record: 10-10, -0.47 units, -2.2% ROI
Week 4 college football best bets
Please make sure to shop around at various sportsbooks for the best possible number. Over the course of the season, a half point here or five cents there will add up.
Worst line to bet is the final number that I would make a bet at. For example, if I bet under 49.5 and the “worst line to bet” is 49 -110, I would not make that bet at 48.5 -110 or 49 -115.
All bets are to win one unit on favorites and risk one unit on underdogs unless otherwise noted. All odds are from BetMGM and are locked when the pick was made. Click here for live odds.
Coastal Carolina -6.5 (-110) vs. Georgia State
Thursday night Fun Belt action! Georgia State has had an impressive start to the year, but this is a step up in class compared to the rest of its schedule. Grayson McCall is still a fantastic college quarterback and he’s the difference maker in this game for Coastal Carolina. My number is closer to 10 here so anything under a touchdown is great value.
Worst line to bet: Coastal Carolina -7 (-110)
Pitt +7.5 (-110) vs. North Carolina
This is a hold-your-nose special. Pitt looked like absolute garbage against West Virginia last week and yet, here I am taking them against the second-most talented quarterback in all of college football. I just can’t get to this number. I think this should be closer to a field goal and the fact that we get a touchdown with the hook is too good to pass up. I’m sure I won’t regret this come Saturday.
Worst line to bet: Pitt +7 (-110)
BYU at Kansas over 56 (-110)
Kansas has one of the most efficient offenses in the country so I’m not discouraged by their poor performance against Nevada last week. Honestly, it wasn’t even that bad of a performance and they should have scored more considering they turned in 99th and 95th percentile efforts among offensive success rate and EPA/Play. I’m confident Kansas will put up points which should make BYU play with some urgency.
Worst line to bet: Over 57.5 (-110)
Alabama -7 (-110) vs. Ole Miss (to win 1.5 units)
Jalen Milroe is back in the starting lineup this week and it’s enough for me to hop on the Crimson Tide. Milroe has his faults, but he’s likely the best athlete on the field when he’s under center. This isn’t the Alabama we are used to seeing, but with Milroe starting, they’re still pretty good.
Worst line to bet: Alabama -9.5 (-110)
Cincinnati +14 (-110) vs. Oklahoma
Cincinnati just lost at home to Miami Ohio in overtime, but did outgain Miami by almost 200 yards. Oklahoma has looked super impressive this year, and has moved up in my projections because of it, but the schedule has been a little weak. Cincinnati should be the best defense the Sooners have faced so far this season and I’m willing to bet they can slow down the Sooners enough to stay within the number.
Worst line to bet: Cincinnati +14 (-110)
Oregon State -2.5 (-110) at Washington State
I’m all aboard the Beaver train. Oregon State has dismantled everyone it has played this year and I think the Beavers are really well-coached under Jonathan Smith. Washington State beat Wisconsin, but the Badgers just struggled to put away Georgia Southern with a plus-six turnover margin. I think the Beavers are the right side here.
Worst line to bet: Oregon State -3 (-110)
UCF +6.5 (-110) at Kansas State
I would love to have a full touchdown here, but I think it’s more likely we see UCF money going forward than not so I’m hopping in now. John Rhys Plumlee is likely out for UCF, but backup quarterback Timmy McClain is plenty fine in Gus Malzahn’s offense. My model tends to think Kansas State is a little overrated — it was very close to being against them last week — and I think UCF is a little underrated heading into its Big 12 debut.
Worst line to bet: UCF +6 (-110)
USF moneyline (+120) vs. Rice (risk 0.5 units)
The spread might get to a field goal so I’m halving my risk on the moneyline here. I think the wrong team is favored here. Sure, Alabama’s quarterback situation was a mess last week, but USF held its own, which is impressive considering the talent deficit. And if you remember, USF outgained Western Kentucky only to have a three-turnover deficit do them in. My model thinks the betting market is underrating the Bulls right now.
Worst line to bet: USF ML (+110)
Cal +21.5 (-110) at Washington
Another hold-your-nose special, but my model loves Washington and I still can’t get to this number. I think the spread is a little inflated because Washington beat up a Michigan State team that had outside issues so I’m skeptical that data point will be predictive going forward. Sure, Cal looked brutal last week against Idaho, but hopefully that was because they were looking ahead to Washington this week.
Worst line to bet: Cal +21 (-110)
Ohio at Bowling Green over 46.5 (-110)
This number might come down a little, but 45.5 through 46.5 is kind of dead so I’m not too worried here. Either way, I think this is an overreaction to how slow Bowling Green played against Michigan last week (I think they just wanted the game to be over with) and Ohio going up against a good defense for Iowa State. My model thinks this game gets into the 50s more often than not, which makes for an easy play on the over here.
Worst line to bet: Over 46.5 (-110)
Middle Tennessee -2.5 (-110) vs. Colorado State
I’m not a huge guy when it comes to “situational spots” but if there was ever a time for a let down spot, this is it for Colorado State after an overtime loss to Colorado. Honestly, that may have been their Super Bowl. Luckily for me, my model has Middle Tennessee by 3.5 in this game so I don’t need to factor in the situation to have value here. On the flip side, Middle Tennessee got smoked by Alabama, but played a solid Missouri team tough and should be, at minimum, favored by three in this game.
Worst line to bet: Middle Tennessee -3 (-110)
Western Kentucky +3.5 (-110) at Troy
I’m not going to get too discouraged by Western Kentucky getting annihilated by Ohio State last week, but I am concerned about Troy getting absolutely dominated by James Madison’s defense. Troy ran 13 times for just 32 yards. Western Kentucky isn’t as stout on defense, but that’s concerning when you pair it with the six sacks surrendered in that game. I think Western Kentucky’s offense scores enough here and gets us to the window.
Worst line to bet: Western Kentucky +3 (-110)
James Madison -5.5 (-110) at Utah State
James Madison’s offense gives me some pause while laying points, but I’m a big fan of the defense. The Dukes just dominated Troy’s offense last week and Utah State should be an easier matchup. Maybe the Dukes aren’t able to score enough to cover this many points, but my numbers make this north of a touchdown so this is an easy choice for me.
Worst line to bet: James Madison -6.5 (-110)
(Photo of Jalen Milroe: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)