The calendar has flipped to October and there are several more buying and selling opportunities in college football. Here are two teams to buy and two teams to sell going forward.
Teams to Buy
There is rarely an opportunity to buy Notre Dame since they are a well-known program that casual bettors gravitate towards. However, things are looking very promising for Notre Dame going forward.
The Fighting Irish limped to a 3-0 start by holding off Michigan, Ball State and Vanderbilt before Brian Kelly finally made a quarterback change, inserting Ian Book as the starter in place of Brandon Wimbush. Book accounted for five total touchdowns in a win at Wake Forest, throwing four touchdown passes as Notre Dame handled Stanford 38-17. Book is a better passer, which allows the Notre Dame receivers make the big plays that they couldn’t with Wimbush under center.
An underrated factor in Notre Dame’s win over Stanford was the much-needed rest that the defense was allowed. In the previous three wins, the Notre Dame defense was on the field for over 85 plays per game on average. Last week, they were only required for 51 plays and held Stanford to 229 yards.
This added rest should be helpful when Notre Dame travels to face Virginia Tech in a primetime game on Saturday night. The opening line for this game had Notre Dame as a 1.5-point favorite. Money stormed in on the Fighting Irish. The line is now Notre Dame -5.5 and will likely stay over a field goal and under a touchdown all week.
The line is probably too high to bet with confidence now, but I would still lean with Notre Dame. This is one of the toughest games left on their schedule. If they are able to take control of the game in the second half, Kelly would be wise to keep scoring. Notre Dame could use all the “style points” they can get since they are one of the only teams in the country that don’t have a conference championship game. A perfect season should be enough to get Notre Dame in the Playoff because of their national brand, but they’ll still look to pad their resume with every opportunity they get.
One of the most intriguing matchups of Week 6 is No. 13 Kentucky taking a trip face Texas A&M. The Aggies are unranked but are a 5.5-point favorite against the ranked Wildcats. I think this is a great opportunity to buy on Texas A&M and would wait until closer to kickoff because casual bettors will take Kentucky as underdogs because they see a ranking next to their name.
Texas A&M is 3-2 with the losses coming to Clemson and Alabama within the first four weeks of the season. This was always going to be a tough task in Jimbo Fisher’s first season, and the Aggies covered the spread in both games. Texas A&M struggled putting away Arkansas last week, but a letdown was anticipated after the game at Alabama. Now the Aggies return home and their tough early-season slate should help this team get better as the year goes on.
Kentucky is coming off of two huge home wins against Mississippi State and South Carolina. They also won at Florida earlier this year to snap a 31-game losing streak against the Gators. The rest of the conference is now noticing Kentucky because of those wins, putting a target on their back. Things will be much different when they have to play in College Station. Texas A&M won’t take them lightly; the Aggies will deservedly enter the rankings with a convincing win on Saturday.
Teams to Sell
Colorado was one of the teams that debuted in the AP Top 25 this week, currently ranked No. 21 after a 4-0 start. If you look a little closer at the teams they played, you might question why they are ranked. They beat Colorado State, Nebraska and UCLA, who are a combined 1-12 this season. Their other win was against FCS opponent New Hampshire.
Colorado was in a favorable situation last week as they were coming off a bye week against an UCLA team that is still figuring out how to run Chip Kelly’s offense. The Buffaloes were at home, which is an added edge because of the altitude in Boulder. Colorado won that game 38-16 to enter the rankings.
While you should look to sell Colorado, this may not yet be the week to do it. They are currently a 2.5-point favorite against Herm Edwards and Arizona State at home on Saturday, and the altitude could make things tough for the Sun Devils.
There will be other opportunities to fade the Buffaloes. They have back-to-back road games at USC and Washington within six days of each other. The USC game is in Week 6, coming off the Trojans’ bye week. I’m hoping Colorado wins this week so they stay ranked, making extra line value to bet against them later this month.
The least impressive top-10 team in the country has been Auburn through five weeks. They are ranked No. 8 due in large part to their opening week win over Washington in Atlanta. It was an important victory, but the reason for the win had to do more with Washington’s red zone deficiencies than Auburn playing well.
The rest of Auburn’s month included losing as double-digit favorites to LSU at home and limping past Southern Miss with a 24-13 win. The Tigers’ offense only produced 4.9 yards per play.
The Tigers are 4-1 and leave their campus for the first time in about a month after four straight home games. They play on the road against a Mississippi State team that has had their own offensive struggles. The Bulldogs had a combined 13 points in losses to Kentucky and Florida. However, Auburn is a 3.5-point favorite in this game and I think this line should be closer to a pick ‘em. I would start selling Auburn this week and continue to bet against them the rest of the season.