During the college football season, the Stadium staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice in this roundtable. Here are our thoughts on the Week 4 slate.
Note: Ben and Nate will discuss all of their college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
1. What is your favorite pick against the spread?
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: Texas A&M (-5.5) over Arkansas.
The Aggies were a winner for me last week against New Mexico (and completed the game in under three hours, which is always appreciated) and I’m ready to back Jimbo Fisher’s team again on Saturday against the Hogs. Texas A&M’s defense is for real: The Aggies are 5th in Bill Connelly’s SP+ defensive rankings, 14th in the FBS in sack rate and should be able to get after QB KJ Jefferson on passing downs. The turnaround Sam Pittman has engineered at Arkansas in just 22 months has been remarkable, but the Aggies are too strong and too deep.
Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: UCLA (-4.5) over Stanford.
After successfully riding with the Bruins in Week 1 and then fading them in Week 3, I’m getting back on the train this week on the road against Stanford. Sure, Stanford beat USC—which I think was more of a fluke than anything—and beat Vandy on the road, but they also had an average starting field position at the 37 yard line in that one. UCLA’s rushing attack will be good enough against Stanford’s 98th-ranked run defense, and their sixth-ranked red zone efficiency will help them put the Cardinal away.
Kate Constable, Stadium Host & Digital Producer: Western Kentucky (+9) over Indiana.
I bet against Indiana last week and that ended in my favor, so why not do it again? Although — don’t worry, Ben — this time I like Indiana to win, I just don’t think they’ll cover. After giving up a 14-0 first-half lead en route to a loss to Cincinnati last week, the Hoosiers are back on the road traveling to Western Kentucky for a night game. The Hilltoppers have one of the most high-powered offenses in the country, lead by transfer QB Bailey Zappe who has thrown for 859 total yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions over two games. With this type of output, Indiana really needs to limit WKU’s time of possession, which starts with Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr. holding on to the football. He’s throw six interceptions already this season.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: Texas A&M (-5.5) over Arkansas.
This is clearly my top bet on the college football board and I like the Aggies at anything less than a touchdown. It’s a perfect opportunity to buy low on Texas A&M and sell high on Arkansas on a neutral field. The reason we are getting a discount on the Aggies is starting QB Haynes King broke his leg in Week 2 and Zach Calzada is now under center. Calzada struggled when he was thrown into the narrow win against Colorado, but bounced back with a week to prepare against New Mexico last week. Even if Calzada struggles in this one, I’m confident that Texas A&M’s defense will make life difficult for Arkansas’ offense as Alex mentioned above. I’ll gladly take a cheap number on Texas A&M against an overvalued Arkansas team that is leaving campus for the first time this season.
2. What is another bet you like?
AS: West Virginia (+17) at Oklahoma.
I made this game Oklahoma -13, so I’m happy to take the extra points and West Virginia in this matchup. Neal Brown is quietly building a solid program in Morgantown after Dana Holgerson left the program high and dry, and Brown has a stud all-purpose back in Leddie Brown at his disposal (357 total yards, six total TD through three games) against the Sooners. OU is lucky to be 3-0 after sleepwalking against Nebraska, and I’m confident the back door will be open if West Virginia needs a late score to cover this number.
BW: Over 49.5 in Rutgers-Michigan.
In three home games this year, Michigan has averaged 47 points per game. And sure, Rutgers’ defense will be a step up in class, but its rush defense is pedestrian and with the recent suspension of starting CB Max Melton, there’s some room for the Maize and Blue to attack. With coach Jim Harbaugh certainly feeling the heat of the hot seat, we’ve seen him have no problem running up the score, with 63 points against NIU and 31 against Washington. Give me final scores of 34-17 and an over win.
KC: Over 61.5 in Texas Tech-Texas.
These are two very offensive-minded teams, ranking in the top half of the conference in scoring offense. Texas is going to look to establish the run game early and should find success against a Red Raiders’ defense that hasn’t faced a particularly strong run game yet. Offensively for Texas Tech, RBs Tahj Brooks and Xavier White have shown they can do some damage on the ground, both averaging seven yards per carry. Pair that with QB Tyler Shough — who’s completing 67% of his passes — and this Texas Tech team has the ability to put up points against anyone.
NJ: UTSA (+3) over Memphis.
This is a great spot to fade Memphis because of a letdown after their big win over Mississippi State last week. That was Memphis’ most important game of the year because an SEC team traveled to their stadium and both schools are closely located geographically. Looking deeper at the box score, the Tigers were fortunate to win the game. Mississippi State had a 26-12 first down edge and a 468-246 total yards edge. Memphis started the game with a 49-yard fumble return for a touchdown and had a strange punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. UTSA is a very solid team this season in Conference USA led by QB Frank Harris, and they won at Illinois three weeks ago. I like the Roadrunners to win outright.
3. Which underdog of +200 or more on the moneyline has the best chance of an outright upset?
AS: Western Kentucky (+290) vs Indiana.
Let’s take a moment to bask in the glow of last week’s pick of Colorado State (+400) at Toledo. Drink it in!
Moving on, I’m going to take a shot with Western Kentucky this week hosting Indiana. QB Bailey Zappe (11.5 yards/pass attempt this season) leads one of the most entertaining units in the Group of 5, and Houchens-Smith Stadium will be rocking for WKU’s annual “Black Out” game. Indiana is reeling after starting the season 1-2, and QB Michael Penix Jr. just doesn’t look right (six INT through three games). I’m banking on a few more IU turnovers to help the Hilltoppers score the upset.
BW: Western Kentucky (+290) vs Indiana.
It pains me to do this to IU, but they’ve looked so poor this season offensively that WKU winning this at home seems like a possibility. Starting QB Michael Penix clearly isn’t 100 percent but head coach Tom Allen is still sticking with him as a starter. The defense is solid enough, but the Hoosiers have struggled on the road at times.
KC: Baylor (+220) over Iowa State.
NJ: Texas Tech (+300) over Texas.
It’s always a big game for Texas Tech when they face the biggest-name program in the state. This game is especially important after the Red Raiders squandered a 15-point lead with under three minutes left and lost to the Longhorns in overtime last season. Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough is a potential NFL prospect and transferred to the school from Oregon for games like this. I’m also not sold on Texas right now in Steve Sarkisian’s first season after their loss to Arkansas in Week 2. I can see this being an entertaining Big 12 shootout so I’ll take the 3/1 odds on the Red Raiders to win outright.
4. What is one bet you are tempted to make this week, but know you probably shouldn’t?
AS: Clemson (-9.5) at NC State
Clemson’s offense has been awful to start the year despite having an incredible track record. They’re averaging just 3.7 yards/play against two FBS opponents. While QB D.J. Uiagalelei has struggled, it’s the Clemson offensive line that shoulders most of the blame for the slow start. Another sign we’re in uncharted territory with the Tigers: If this line closes under 10, it will be just the second time Clemson is favored by single digits in their last 30 ACC games (Clemson hasn’t been a regular season underdog since 2016). Why do I hit you over the head with these stats? This has all the makings of a classic “buy low” spot on the Tigers, but I’m not ready to lay points on the road with Dabo Swinney’s team just yet.
BW: Rutgers (+20) over Michigan.
This is oh so tempting because I think Rutgers has gone under everyone’s radar as a solid-to-good team this season. They’re 3-0 ATS and appear to have a formidable defense. Michigan has also shown, under Harbaugh, to sometimes falter ATS. However, with some off-field issues plaguing the Scarlet Knights and a road game in the Big House, I’ll probably stay away from a side in this one.
KC: Notre Dame (+6.5) over Wisconsin.
During Notre Dame’s near upset at the hands of Toledo in Week 2, I tweeted that I would never again bet on the Irish. However, I’m definitely tempted to take Notre Dame with the points because I see this being a low-scoring game that’s decided by a field goal. I also think Notre Dame’s pass defense, which looked solid last week against Purdue, is going to give Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz some trouble, as he has yet to get into a groove offensively. All that said, I’m going to stay true to my word and stay away from this game. Notre Dame has given me one too many headaches already.
NJ: Tennessee (+18.5) over Florida.
This is a perfect time to fade Florida off a two-point loss at home to No. 1 Alabama. Florida gets to stay home, but now are a big favorite against a Tennessee team who had an easy game against Tennessee Tech last week. What is keeping me away from the Volunteers is that the line was +20 a few days ago, so I’m not getting the best of the number. I also don’t love the idea of backing Tennessee, who is going through yet another rebuild with a first-year head coach in Josh Heupel. Tennessee lost to Pittsburgh in Week 2 and Pittsburgh fell at home to Western Michigan last week so it makes me wonder how bad Tennessee might be as they enter conference play.