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We’re already up to Week 4 of the college football season, with red-hot Oklahoma State and surprising Mississippi State among the teams taking the field this weekend. Covers checks in on the opening lines with Dave Mason, brand manager for offshore sportsbook BetOnline.ag.
No. 15 Texas Christian Horned Frogs at No. 7 Oklahoma State Cowboys (-9.5)
Oklahoma State got some preseason hype and delivered on it through the first three weeks. The Cowboys won and cashed in all three games, boatracing Pittsburgh 59-21 Saturday as a 10.5-point road favorite.
Texas Christian had little trouble in the first three weeks, as well. The Horned Frogs (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) nabbed a 28-7 road win over SEC outfit Arkansas in Week 2, then let Southern Methodist hang around for a half Saturday before rumbling to a 56-36 home win as a 22-point favorite.
This game saw a big move after the opening line went up Sunday night.
“Early Oklahoma State bettors got some great value as the number went from -9.5 up to -13,” Mason said. “The public pounded the Cowboys in each of the first three weeks and cashed (all three). The early bettors are counting on another Oklahoma State cover, as only 23 percent of the bettors are on TCU so far.”
No. 19 Mississippi State Bulldogs at No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs (-6.5)
Mississippi State is surprisingly out of the gate 3-0 SU and ATS, and easily its most impressive win came Saturday against a well-regarded Louisiana State squad. The Bulldogs scored the final 30 points of the game, rolling to a 37-7 victory as a 7.5-point home underdog.
Georgia is also 3-0 SU (2-1 ATS), including a big 20-19 victory at Notre Dame as a 5.5-point pup in Week 2. These Bulldogs faced much lighter-weight competition Saturday, coasting past Samford 42-14 while falling short as a hefty 33-point favorite.
“This game is getting the most early action by far,” Mason said. “With Mississippi State’s impressive shellacking of LSU, in addition to its flawless 3-0 record ATS, it’s not surprising that 64 percent of the early bettors are taking the 6 and a hook.”
UCLA Bruins at Stanford Cardinal (-8)
These two teams both looked promising entering the season, but now both have some things to figure out in Week 4. Stanford (1-2 SU and ATS) drew a lot of action in Week 2 at Southern California, but got drubbed 42-24 as a 3.5-point pup. The hangover lasted through Week 3, when the Cardinal traveled to San Diego State and were dealt a 20-17 upset laying 8.5 points Saturday night.
UCLA made a miraculous Week 1 comeback to beat visiting Texas A&M, and QB Josh Rosen and Co. seemed to really get rolling in a 56-23 Week 2 wipeout of Hawaii giving 24 points at home. But Saturday at Memphis, the Bruins (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) let the Tigers go up and down the field all day, losing a shootout 48-45 as a 2.5-point favorite.
“UCLA’s outright loss to Memphis was one of the best games of the weekend for the house,” Mason said of an outcome that bolstered BetOnline’s bottom line. “This number is jumping all over the place, with two-way informed action. Sharp accounts immediately hit Stanford -8, quickly moving the Cardinal up to 10-point chalk. Smart money then took the points from there, betting it back down to 7.5. Overall, the early bettors are split, with 55 percent on UCLA.”
BetOnline.ag saw a little more Bruins money late Sunday evening, as the number went down to 7.
No. 5 Penn State Nittany Lions at Iowa Hawkeyes (+12)
Penn State is picking up where it left off last season, when it surprisingly won the Big Ten championship and gave an equally red-hot Southern Cal team all it could handle before losing the Rose Bowl 52-49 as a 7-point ‘dog. The Nittany Lions are 3-0 SU this year (2-0-1 ATS), with 19 points the smallest margin of victory, and they tuned up for this Big Ten opener with a 56-0 bashing of Georgia Southern as a 37-point chalk Saturday.
Iowa is 3-0 SU (1-2 ATS) and also got a relatively easy tuneup game for this matchup. The Hawkeyes topped North Texas 31-14 Saturday giving 19.5 points at home.
“Over the first three weeks of the season, the Nittany Lions have been a popular bet for the public,” Mason said. “It’s definitely a step up in competition this weekend against the 3-0 Hawkeyes. Sixty-six percent of the early bettors are taking the points.”