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College Football Betting: Analyzing Week 6’s Point Spread Moves

CFB

We’re approaching the halfway point of the college football season. Most odddsmakers and bettors will tell you they have a pretty good feel for a majority of teams but there are still a handful that offer differentiating opinions. Let’s discuss some of those teams in this week’s edition of early week point spread moves.


UCF at Cincinnati

CRIS Opener: UCF -3
CRIS Current: UCF -4
Analysis: This would have been a great play value-wise had UCF not laid an egg in its Week 4 loss to Pittsburgh; though the Knights’ weak strength of schedule likely would have kept the point spread under a touchdown. We also lose some value after Cincinnati went out and destroyed Marshall 52-14 as -4 road chalk. The Bearcats were seemingly punished for losing to juggernaut Ohio State in Week 2, 42-0. They’ve since fired back with back-to-back win and covers. In last year’s meeting, Cinci tried to play keep-away by running the football 55 times for 252 yards. But an uncharacteristically sloppy effort (3 fumbles, 9 penalties for 70 yards) aided in a comfortable 38-13 UCF victory.

Purdue at Penn State
CRIS Opener: Penn State -24
CRIS Current: Penn State -28
Analysis: One of many injury-related line moves with Purdue’s Rondale Moore and Elijah Sindelar ruled out. Adding to it is the disappearance of Purdue’s defense which allowed a staggering 8.7 ypp in last week’s loss to Minnesota. However, even without Moore and Sindelar, this point spread is heavily inflated thanks to Penn State’s 59-0 win over Maryland last week. Two weeks ago, against a mediocre Pitt squad, the Nittany Lions closed -17 and barely won, 17-10. I was regrettably on the Terps — one of the worst bets I’ve made all season — but am still not sold on Penn State. The hope here is for another blowout which will set up next week’s trip to Iowa as a prime bet against spot.

Tulane at Army
CRIS Opener: Tulane -1
CRIS Current: Tulane -3.5
Analysis: The overall opinion on Tulane has changed significantly since the start of the season. I remember laying -2.5 on the Green Wave at home in Week 1 against Florida International and now we see them -3.5 on the road against Army. And the Black Knights haven’t done anything to warrant a severe power rating decline. Week 1’s 14-7 win over Rice looked shaky at the time but the Owls recently showed to be improved with game efforts vs. Baylor and Louisiana Tech. Army also nearly pulled off an upset in Ann Arbor; say what you will about the Wolverines, it was still an impressive showing. Willie Fritz is obviously familiar with the option — both coaching it and facing Army and Navy four times since 2016 — and his squad comes in off a rare 15-day break having not played since September 19. Army also comes in off of a bye. Very difficult to envision this game being decided by more than a score.

Maryland at Rutgers
CRIS Opener: Maryland -11.5
CRIS Current: Maryland -13.5
Analysis: Pick your poison with this game. Rutgers ditched head coach Chris Ash as well as a handful of his assistants. Not only do you rarely see mid-season firings, they are even rarer with no bye week to help soften the blow. And in an even odder move, they tabbed tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile as interim head coach. As for Maryland, the Terps suckered numerous bettors including myself into thinking this year had upside rather than rebuild. Their Week 3 loss to Temple was in hindsight a red flag as the offense managed a paltry 4.0 ypp. And of course the dam broke in last week’s 59-0 loss to Penn State. Quarterback Josh Jackson looked gun shy in both games working behind a ultra-weak offensive line. Perhaps he’ll be more comfortable going up against a Rutgers defense that ranks 122nd in tackles for loss and 119th in sacks.

Oregon State at UCLA
CRIS Opener: UCLA -8.5
CRIS Current: UCLA -5.5
Analysis: UCLA’s starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson got knocked out of last week’s loss to Arizona and is currently listed as questionable. Offensively, the Bruins looked semi-decent with 445 total yards. The problem, as it has been all season outside of the infamous second half vs. Washington State, is scoring. This is the same Arizona team that allowed 45 to Hawaii and 41 to Northern Arizona. Squint a little and you’ll noticed that Oregon State is much improved. Last year the Beavers were outgained by over 2 yards per play. This year, even when you eliminate FCS Cal Poly, it’s a far more modest -0.6 ypp. And last week, OSU dominated the box score vs. Stanford (501-353 total yards) though somehow failed to win.

Northwestern at Nebraska
CRIS Opener: Nebraska -6.5
CRIS Current: Nebraska -7.5
Analysis: I was on Nebraska last week; the only positive was by the end of the first quarter, I knew my bet was toast. The Cornhuskers have played five games with only one (44-8 win vs. Northern Illinois) grading out a complete effort. I get that Ohio State is special and there is still a class difference but let’s not forget that last season, Nebraska actually had a shot at winning in Columbus. If anything that paints a clear picture that despite being in the much-revered Year 2 of an up-and-coming head coach regime, they have not improved. Northwestern meanwhile limps in 1-3 and off back-to-back games against two of the best defenses in the country. Things have gotten so bad that the defense basically called out the offense for stinking up the joint. Conventional wisdom says you can’t be scared to fire back with a team off a nationally televised stinker but while Northwestern’s struggles are based on a lack of talent, Nebraska’s are largely a lack of discipline and fundamentals — the exact opposite of Michigan State and Wisconsin and the exact profile that could allow the Wildcats to stick around.

Utah State at LSU
CRIS Opener: LSU -23.5
CRIS Current: LSU -28
Analysis: This was a bad opening number and perhaps a bad current one as well given how dominant LSU has looked thus far. Utah State also hasn’t looked nearly as potent as it did when it trucked through the MWC last year. Despite having a potential first round quarterback, the Aggies managed only 5 ypp in ho-hum wins over San Diego State and Colorado State (That’s on you, Gary Andersen!). Utah State does have a bye week upcoming meaning there’s no reason to think this is just a paycheck game. And the Bayou Bengals have a big game against No. 10 Florida on deck. That said, the opening line was no doubt giving a lot of respect to an underdog who my numbers show is not nearly as strong as last year’s 11-win outfit.

Andrew Lange

With significant market influence, Andrew Lange has produced a decade-long 58% winning rate on over 750 selections in college basketball. Using a low volume, high return approach, Lange's results in the NFL have been equally impressive with a 61% mark and over +49 units of profit on a 1, 1.5, and 2-unit scale since 2012.