Week 4 of the 2018 college football season shines a spotlight on USC-Washington State, Michigan-Nebraska, Missouri-Georgia, TCU-Texas, and Florida-Tennessee. Will long-term trends continue, or will more immediate realities override those betting trends? That is the basic question you will have to answer when you size up those various games and the tension points involved. That being said, here are the top five betting trends for NCAA Football this week.
Trojans are 3-14-1 ATS in their last 18 games overall. Cougars are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
The game on Friday night in Los Angeles certainly sets up well for Washington State. USC is playing on a short week, and it lost on a short week last year when playing Washington State on a Friday. It is true that the 2017 game against Wazzu was on the road, whereas this game is at home, but USC seems to have a much worse team in 2018 compared to 2017. Washington State is very much a mystery right now since it has not played a high-caliber opponent, but USC’s signs all look negative right now. Do you trust USC? Why would you want to at this stage of the season? Washington State is a very good bet to cover – it is getting 4.5 points in this one.
Wolverines are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games following a ATS loss. Cornhuskers are 1-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
The trends seem less important here than the bottom-line reality that Nebraska simply isn’t very good. The Huskers lost at home to Troy this past Saturday, and the really worrying part for Nebraska is that the coach of the winning team, Troy’s Neal Brown, said his team did not even play very well. What happens when a Nebraska opponent plays better? Michigan does not look like a complete team, but the UM defense is very solid, and Nebraska’s offensive line looked bad for much of the day against Troy. This is a terrible matchup for Nebraska’s offense, which means that as long as Michigan’s offense doesn’t make many big mistakes, the Wolverines should win comfortably.
Missouri Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games. Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games.
Missouri needs to hit the big pass and the big play against Georgia, something it did for a half last season, but not for a full game. It will be hard for Missouri to score often enough to win this game, but with Drew Lock at quarterback, Missouri at least has a chance. Georgia, though, has set the bar very high for the rest of the SEC East Division. Don’t expect Missouri to keep pace for 60 minutes – maybe 40 or 45, but not the whole game.
Horned Frogs are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Longhorns are 9-3-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
TCU might not have a great record against the spread in the situation it faces against Texas, while the Longhorns might have a great track record in this circumstance. However, TCU has been the team Texas has not been able to solve over the past several years. The Horned Frogs have had Texas’s number, and from judging Week 3 – when TCU played Ohio State and Texas played USC – TCU has a lot more speed and explosiveness on offense. TCU might be a little banged up after playing a team as good as Ohio State, but if the Horned Frogs compete well and don’t lose focus, they should prove that they are the better team in Week 4.
Gators are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up win of more than 20 points. Volunteers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven conference games.
Florida and Tennessee both have struggling offenses. Ignore Florida’s comfortable win over Colorado State. The Rams have a terrible defense and will not offer a good measuring stick for SEC competition. Moreover, Colorado State’s win over Arkansas looks a lot worse now that Arkansas got crushed at home by North Texas. Florida’s offensive line is highly suspect, and while Tennessee’s offense has been ugly so far this season, the Vols’ defense has looked sharp under new coach Jeremy Pruitt.
This feels like a game in which mistakes will decide the outcome more than big plays. Which team is more likely to make key mistakes in a battle of bad offenses and decent-to-good defenses? The team on the road. Florida is on the road. Tennessee therefore has the edge.
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