Ben Rasa is back with his Week for NCAAF Bets: College Football Odds & Picks against the spread, including Michigan vs. Wisconsin and Oregon vs. Stanford!
After a few weeks of non-conference games we are starting to get into the thick of the season. That means conference matchups and less games with monster spreads that figure to be over by halftime. We have another gigantic slate of games and unlike late week some big matchups with Playoff implications. There is a full DFS slate to breakdown so make sure to check out the DFS Week 4 College Football article where we will talk about some individual players that you may want to roster on Saturday. This article is going to focus on a few games from a betting perspective and where I am leaning in the betting market.
Michigan at Wisconsin 12 PM EST : Wisconsin -3.5 O/U 44.5
One of the many big games on the Week 4 schedule. Michigan goes into Madison to take on Wisconsin in a huge Big 10 matchup.
There is no denying Michigan has looked shaky in their first two games. In opening week they played uninspired against an outmatched Middle Tennessee St team. To say they weren’t tested against Army would just be a lie, as it took a somewhat fortunate string of events to just get to OT. Michigan was able to survive Army in OT and then got the bye week to rest up and retool.
Jim Harbaugh needs to find a way to get QB Shea Patterson in space and allow him to make plays. It’s not going to be easy as Wisconsin has one of the best defenses around and it’s hard to think Michigan can get much going on the ground. That is going to force Patterson to make some plays and when called upon possibly step up with some big time throws late in this game.
Defensively Michigan is strong once again and really has to just find a way to stop the run. We know Wisconsin’s plan is to give RB Jonathan Taylor the ball 25+ times and really lean on him to produce. If they can force Wisco to play from behind and start to pass it will go a long way in grabbing a huge road win.
We know a lot of teams start out with inferior opponents and USF and Central Michigan would qualify as that for Wisconsin. However when you have outscored your opponents 110-0 thru two games you are doing something right and that’s where Wisconsin stands. They have looked incredibly sharp and we know how tough it is to play in Camp Randall. They want to control the clock and lean on their All-American RB Jonathan Taylor who is a Heisman trophy contender. As I mentioned earlier Michigan’s first priority has to be stop the run and force this Wisconsin passing game to produce.
This is going to be a slow moving game as evidence by a 44.5 total. Whoever can make some plays in the passing game and avoid turnovers is going to have the big advantage as both teams are run focused methodical offenses. Wisconsin is at home and has looked as impressive as you can so far, but I think that has caused some overreaction to their overall outlook. On the flip side the Michigan scare against Army has a lot of people soured on them and a +3.5 spread in this spot shows some of that. I expect off a bye Michigan to easily put out their best effort of 2019 and make a statement with a huge road win in Madison.
My Pick: Michigan +3.5 , Michigan ML +140
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Oregon at Stanford 7 PM EST: Oregon -10.5, O/U 57.5
Most people who are a big college football fan or an Oregon/Stanford fan probably remember this game last year. Personally it was my biggest bet of my college football season and when Oregon was up 24-7 and on the 1 yard line going in for another touchdown It felt like it was game over. A 95 yard fumble for a touchdown and some of the most insane late game meltdowns ended with a Stanford 38-31 OT win and a truly terrible beat. This year they face off once again, but this time it’s in Palo Alto.
Oregon is a team I’m definitely buying this year as their star QB and potential top pick Justin Herbert decided to return for his Senior season which immediately vaulted them into the conversation for dark horse playoff team. Those hopes took a major hit with the opening last second lose to Auburn, but there is still plenty to play for. The offense returns 10 starters so they have everything they need to be a high powered offensive unit. Furthermore this offensive line has 153 starts under their belt which is far and away the most in the nation and makes them arguably the best unit in the entire country. They are still a little banged up, but after beating Nevada 77-6 and Montana last week they should be primed to make a statement in their first PAC 12 game.
Stanford comes in 1-2 on the season and with a lot of issues. The defense hasn’t been your typical Cardinal unit giving up 45 points in back to back games. Furthermore Quarterback KJ Costello has been up and down so far this season. Last week against UCF he was just 21/44 for 199 and 1 TD 1 INT. Those numbers have to be much better if Stanford has any hope of hanging in. On the ground they need to find something out of RB Cameron Scarlett , but so far this season it has been a struggle.
Stanford is traditionally a defense juggernaut who relies on a hard nose running game to get the job done. Both USC and UCF have shown that this year Stanford doesn’t have the personnel on defense that they are used to deploying. Oregon’s loss at home in 2018 was one of the most gut wrenching I’ve see and from the comments already this week its clear they remember quite well. I think this is a statement game for the Ducks and they really put a hurt on an overmatched Cardinal team in their own stadium.
My Pick: Oregon -10.5 (shop around for -10 if you can find it)
Auburn at Texas A&M 3:30 PM EST : Texas A&M -3.5, O/U 47.5
Big SEC battle as undefeated Auburn travels to Aggieland to take on Jimbo Fischer’s Texas A&M Aggies. Both these teams have high hopes for the season and even though A&M has a loss on the schedule their goals within the conference begin now.
Auburn is 3-0 thanks to some heroics against Oregon and then a talent gap in their next two games. The Tigers are led by a true Freshman QB as Bo Nix won the starting job and will be in his first road game of the season. He has a stable of running backs behind him led by Ja’Tarvious Whitlow , and if one of these receivers can emerge they could be a quality offense despite having an inexperienced QB under center.
The Tigers return seven on defense and the strength of their team is the defensive line. They are going to need to control the line of scrimmage here and really disrupt what A&M wants to do on offense. Getting into a shootout on the road with a Freshman QB seems like a recipe for disaster and something Auburn will be trying to avoid.
Texas A&M Aggies
Texas A&M has crushed Texas St and Lamar so far this season which shouldn’t surprise anyone. They also have a loss on the schedule with a 24-10 result against the defending champion Clemson team. Honestly that shouldn’t surprise anyone either as they were on the road and although I thought they would hang in the game winning seemed like a stretch. They now get a marquee matchup in their stadium which is one of the hardest places to play in the country.
For the Aggies to win this game QB Kellen Mond has to play well. He is a dual threat playmaker who should be able to neutralize some of this pass rush with his legs. He has weapons on the outside with big physical receivers and that could cause Auburn some problems. The lead A&M back has been ruled out for the season so it looks like Isaiah Spiller is the next man up tasked with giving them production on the ground.
If Mond can avoid turnovers and get some time against this brutal front 7 then Texas A&M should have the advantage, especially at home. They can really put pressure on a QB who hasn’t faced this type of environment before and isn’t equipped with the best weapons around him. Auburn did beat Oregon who I was very high coming into the season, but this is a really tough spot having to go on the road against an A&M team who really should be desperate to avoid a 2-2 start.
My Pick: Texas A&M -3.5
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Good Luck everyone!
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