For the last two weeks, I have been using the SuperBook Games of the Year lines to start my handicap of some of the biggest games of the week. Before Week 3, the SuperBook released updated odds for all the remaining games that they originally handicapped in July.
And as we break down Week 4, I’m going to compare the two different Games of the Year lines with what the market currently has the game at.
Here’s my short handicap of five crucial conference games — and one matchup that could have College Football Playoff implications:
Utah (-4.5) at USC
July’s Game of the Year line: USC (-2)
Line before Week 3: Utah (-4)
It’s only Week 4, but this game feels like the Pac-12 South title will be decided in Southern California on Friday night. When looking at the line changes, there was enough preseason buzz on Utah to flip them to the favorites in this contest. On top of that, true freshman Kedon Slovis is now the starting quarterback for the Trojans after JT Daniels suffered a season-ending injury. Slovis led USC to a Week 2 win against Stanford, but threw three interceptions last week against BYU.
Both Utah and USC have a common opponent this year in BYU, and that can help us determine what the line should be in this game. Utah closed as a five-point favorite at BYU in Week 1 — as did USC in Week 3. That indicates that Utah and USC would be a pick ’em on a neutral field, but even with this game being played at USC, the Utes are favored by over a field goal. By reading the market, the line value seems to be on the Trojans if you were interested in making a wager.
Michigan at Wisconsin (-3)
July’s Game of the Year line: Michigan (-7.5)
Line before Week 3: Michigan (-1.5)
The line moves in this game show that the betting market has really fallen out of favor with Michigan after two lackluster showings. Offensive struggles against Middle Tennessee and needing overtime to beat Army have shifted this line by over 10 points since it was released in July. Throw in Wisconsin cruising in 49-0 and 61-0 wins over South Florida and Central Michigan, respectively, and the shift makes sense.
Both teams were on a bye in Week 3, but the line has continued to move in Wisconsin’s favor. I’m intrigued to see how Michigan’s offense will respond with extra time to prepare for this game. The pressure facing Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis has to be high with him knowing that Jim Harbaugh might want to take over the offense if the unit continues to struggle. It’s hard to trust Michigan in this spot, but it seems like a possible “buy low” opportunity if you still believe in the Wolverines.
Auburn at Texas A&M (-4)
July’s Game of the Year line: Texas A&M (-2.5)
Line before Week 3: Texas A&M (-6)
Not only is this a huge game between SEC West foes, but it’s also a must-win matchup if either team wants to win the division. Auburn pulled off a win (and miraculous cover) against Oregon in Week 1, while Texas A&M lost their marquee non-conference contest at Clemson in Week 2. The line seems right in this game with the two teams being evenly rated. Keep in mind that Texas A&M is probably getting four points due to their home-field advantage.
Oregon (-10.5) at Stanford
July’s Game of the Year line: Oregon (-2)
Line before Week 3: Oregon (-6.5)
This game might go overlooked, but it’s still an important one in the Pac-12 North. Stanford was dominated in a 45-27 loss at UCF in Week 3, with 17 of their points coming during garbage time in the fourth quarter. Their poor showing is the main factor for why this line has shifted four points in the last week. The Ducks are 2-7 in conference road games during the last two seasons, so they can’t overlook the Cardinal even though they are double-digit favorites.
Oklahoma State at Texas (-5)
July’s Game of the Year line: Texas (-11.5)
Line before Week 3: Texas (-4.5)
When Texas’ football hype was at its highest in the summer, the line opened with UT as a double-digit favorite. Since then, respected bettors buried the Longhorns to go under their win total of 9.5, and the excitement surrounding the program took a dip, which is why the line is now less than a touchdown against Oklahoma State. Considering that Texas lost their big non-conference game against LSU in Week 2, this becomes a vital game for the Longhorns as they start conference play. As for Oklahoma State, they’ve beat Oregon State, McNeese State and Tulsa in non-conference play, so there’s still plenty of unknowns when it comes to the Cowboys.
Notre Dame at Georgia (-14)
July’s Game of the Year line: Georgia (-11.5)
Line before Week 3: Georgia (-11.5)
The Game of the Year line has stayed consistent in this one, but there’s been early money on the Bulldogs after this line opened on Sunday. On the surface, it might seem like too big of a spread for a game between the No. 7 and No. 3 teams in the country, but I think this could be a great spot for the Bulldogs to prove that they’re one of the top programs in college football.