CFB Week 4: How to bet Notre Dame-Wisconsin and other marquee matchups
Sure things just don't exist, especially when it comes to college. Indiana squandered a 14-0 lead at home against Cincinnati last Saturday. Even after that lead was long gone, the Hoosiers still had first-and-goal at the two-yard line to set up a potential touchdown that would have put them back in front late in a game they were getting four points in. That's when Indiana fumbled the ball to seal its fate and leave us 1-3 with our picks last week, moving our record to 4-3 this season.
The schedule tends to be a bit choppy during the last weekend of September, as we wait for the calendars to turn to October, which mostly consists of conference action. As such, just three big games make the cut for Week 4:
The good news is there's room for bonus betting advice. Wisconsin's one notable game this season is a loss to Penn State. The Badgers had the ball for three-quarters of the contest versus the Nittany Lions and piled up first downs before Graham Mertz derailed their hopes. The loss caused the market to sour on Wisconsin from a season-long standpoint. The team is available at +1200 to win the Big Ten, with the Badgers' main hurdle to a division title being a home game against Iowa. Should they get to the conference championship, the odds will be much shorter against either Ohio State, Penn State, or Michigan.
As for this week, you can see what oddsmakers think of Wisconsin in the near term as they make it a 6.5-point favorite over Notre Dame. Admittedly, you have to double-check to ensure the Irish are still undefeated because it's been dicey this season. Notre Dame typically pushes teams around in the trenches, but it'll be getting pushed this week. And with Wisconsin's staff knowing all of Jack Coan's tendencies, the Badgers will get back on the national radar.
Pick: Wisconsin -6.5
Weird things happen when a game gets stopped for multiple hours like it did Saturday during the Clemson-Georgia Tech matchup, but few things would have been stranger than if the Yellow Jackets had pulled off the upset. Whether it's that odd result or the lack of offense against Georgia in the opener, there are reasons to be concerned about the Tigers this season. This looks like a very different Clemson team than the ones with Trevor Lawrence or Deshaun Watson.
If this is the Kelly Bryant version of the modern-day Tigers, they're vulnerable to an upset. That might come this week against an under-the-radar Wolfpack outfit that can put up points. The game total suggests relatively minimal scoring, which has more to do with the lack of confidence in the Tigers than anything else. It's worth taking a shot on Devin Leary and NC State to shock Dabo and Co.
Pick: N.C. State +10, ML (+300)
With acknowledgment of the likely beatdowns in Nashville and Lexington and a sneaky fun game in Stark Vegas, this week's lone matchup between ranked SEC schools takes place at "Jerry World" in Dallas. Simply put, Arkansas proved it can bring it in a step-up game after crushing Texas two weeks ago. Meanwhile, this is the first look at anything legit for Texas A&M. I'll dare Zach Calzada to make enough plays on the big stage, not just to win but also cover. Give me the Hogs to go riding high into Athens next week, where things get really serious between the hedges.
Pick: Arkansas +5
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on twitter @mrussauthentic.