College Football

Early Lines to Jump On: College Football Week 4

By Will Helms

Last week we got a great lesson in closing line value, going 3-1 on our early lines. One of those (Cincinnati) covered our line (-20.5) but not the closing line (-23). Basically, we picked up an extra win by getting in early.

That’s our goal, so let’s have another winning week in college football.

Baylor (-1) @ Iowa State

I’m a Baylor fan right now. Outside of some kicking woes in a late-night Week 2 thriller against BYU, the Bears have had a really strong start to the season. The offense is strong behind quarterback Blake Shapen and a combination of some really good receivers.

The running game has been even stronger, averaging over 230 yards a game. Baylor has three backs that have picked up at least 100 yards and two touchdowns on the ground this year and rotates them well to keep them fresh.

I don’t dislike Iowa State, a competent 3-0 team, but the Cyclones don’t have a lot of firepower on offense right now. They squeaked by Iowa and beat an Ohio team that isn’t very good on offense. The issue will be that the Cyclones haven’t faced a strong offense yet this season.

It won’t be a blowout, but I’m expecting this line to continue moving in Baylor’s favor, so getting in at -1 is really nice.

Prediction: Baylor wins by a touchdown, 27-20.

Syracuse (-9.5) vs. Virginia

Syracuse hasn’t let us down yet this year, and we love the Orange again against a bad Virginia team. The Cavaliers look lost on offense this season and barely beat Old Dominion last weekend. Syracuse won a wild one against Purdue, thanks to a strong fourth-quarter performance on offense.

The Orange have been money in some of these closer ACC matchups in the past year, so we really like them to blow out the Cavaliers. Virginia will need to score a bunch to keep up with a strong Orange offense and I just don’t see how the Cavaliers will do that.

Expect Syracuse to rely a bit more on Sean Tucker this week. I’m expecting a huge game from the junior, who has been decent but not incredible this year. On the flip side, the Syracuse defense has been excellent and I can’t see the Virginia offense taking off in this game.

Prediction: Syracuse pulls away in the second half, 27-14.

Ohio State (-17.5) vs. Wisconsin

Ohio State looks unstoppable right now. Something changed in the locker room at halftime against Notre Dame, possibly that CJ Stroud and Marvin Harrison Jr. got together to talk about their connection.

Stroud has been fantastic in his last two games and the rest of the team has followed. Toledo is far better than some people think and Ohio State wiped the floor with them. It seems that the offense can score at will right now so for the Badgers to keep it within 17 they’ll need to put up some points.

That’s where the Ohio State defense comes into play. The Buckeyes have given up a few explosives, but teams have not been able to drive on them. Wisconsin isn’t explosive and has to be efficient to reach the end zone.

Unless Ryan Day eases up at the end (which he won’t) the Buckeyes should run away with this one. I really don’t think it’ll be close at any point.

Prediction: Ohio State rolls, 52-17.

North Carolina (+1) vs. Notre Dame

This one is on DraftKings where the line hasn’t moved as quickly as elsewhere. Notre Dame just isn’t very good and it seems the books are trying to give the Irish points based on name recognition. Drew Pyne was alright last week, but the offense didn’t look much better in a close win over California.

North Carolina seems like it can score on anyone and should get Josh Downs back this weekend. Any success from the Irish so far has been predicated on stopping the run and forcing quarterbacks into tough situations.

While Drake Maye is a freshman, he’s performed like anything but this season. I like the Tar Heels to move the ball pretty consistently Saturday, and it’ll be tough for the Irish to keep up. It’ll be close, but this line continues to move, so the sharps like the Tar Heels here.

They’re already 2-point favorites on FanDuel, so run over to DK to get some more value.

Prediction: The Tar Heels outlast the Irish, 28-21.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *