It has been an extremely busy week around these parts, so the situational betting spots article for college football is coming to you a tad later this week. I really am proud of everything that our writers are putting together for us, so take a look around at what we’ve got going on. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of helpful things for this weekend and beyond.
Week 6 is here in the college football world and we’re getting to the point where look-ahead spots and sandwich spots reign supreme. With conference play comes rivalry games and with rivalry games come bad spots for college-aged athletes. That doesn’t mean that we’ll only be focused on those types of scenarios, but they will get a lot of run this week. Revenge angles are also present, though my personal belief is that they don’t mean quite as much.
Just to be clear, these aren’t auto plays. Just betting angles to consider across a variety of the college football card each week.
Here are some games to consider for Week 6:
Georgia Tech at Louisville – How’s this for crazy? The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Louisville Cardinals are both in the ACC and have been since the Cardinals joined the conference in 2014. They have never faced each other. Not in non-conference action or in conference play. It should come as no surprise that Georgia Tech is taking money this week. One of the worst spots, and we’ll have one of these next week in the Fun Belt, is facing the option on a short week. Louisville’s inept offense will have to maximize its limited number of possessions against the option this week.
Utah State at BYU – This isn’t The Holy War between BYU and Utah, but don’t tell Utah State that this isn’t a rivalry game between the Cougars and the Aggies. Over time, BYU is 48-36-3 against the boys from Logan. This is probably the best team that Matt Wells has had. Utah State has not won this game in consecutive years since 1973-74 to end a run of four straight. In fact, since that time, Utah State has only won this game five times. They’ve got one of their best cracks at it this season.
Northern Illinois at Ball State – To say that Northern Illinois has been a disappointment would be an understatement. However, it isn’t all the Huskies’ fault. Or Rod Carey’s, for that matter. NIU heads into this game against Ball State having played the 16th-toughest schedule in the country per Sagarin rankings. Furthermore, NIU has played teams like Iowa and Utah that really counterfeit the edges in the trenches that the Huskies have over most teams. Ball State, even with Notre Dame on the slate, has played the 118th-ranked schedule. NIU finally gets a crack at a clearly inferior team and one would think that they would relish in the opportunity.
Syracuse at Pitt – Let’s throw it back to some good old Big East action with Syracuse vs. Pitt. Pitt hasn’t played particularly well this season, but can get to 3-3 with an upset over Syracuse. The Orange are in a rough spot with back-to-back roadies and a trip to the Steel City off of that heartbreaking loss to Clemson last week. With the bye week looming, Syracuse should give its all in this one, but you just never know after last week’s game.
Old Dominion at Florida Atlantic – Hmm. It sure feels like the Owls lost more than offensive coordinator Kendal Briles as they look like a dramatically different team this season. However, they have the chance to unload on an inferior opponent this week. FAU is coming off of a heartbreaking loss to open conference play and they’d like to get back on the right track. Old Dominion is off of the biggest win in program history over Virginia Tech and then a close loss on the road at East Carolina. Look deeper, though, and that game wasn’t as close as the final score would suggest. On the road for a second straight week and with a longer trip from Norfolk to Boca, this game could get out of hand.
Indiana at Ohio State – Obvious spot is obvious. Ohio State is coming off of yet another emotional win against Penn State. When that was the case last season, Ohio State suffered the loss heard ‘round the world against Iowa that kept the Buckeyes out of the College Football Playoff. When the Buckeyes lost to Penn State in 2016, they hosted Northwestern as a 26-point favorite and won 24-20. Indiana has given Ohio State a lot of problems over the years. The Buckeyes won by 28 last year in the season opener, but that was a misleading final score, as the Buckeyes struggled badly in the first half. They won by 21 in 2016, 7 in 2015, and 15 in 2014.
Maryland at Michigan – The Wolverines were a lot more dominant than last week’s 20-17 win over Northwestern would suggest, but it turned out that stepping up in class did prove to be problematic for Michigan and their khaki-clad coach. This week, the Wolverines face a different set of issues. They play Wisconsin next week, Michigan State the week after, and Penn State the week after that. While Maryland may have one eye towards a win over Rutgers that will get them two-thirds of the way to bowl eligibility, you know former Jim Harbaugh assistant DJ Durkin adds a little extra emphasis to this game.
Eastern Michigan vs. Western Michigan – Directional Michigan rivalry games are big business in the MAC. East meets West as the short trip from Ypsilanti to Kalamazoo will be taken by the Eagles this week. Western Michigan has won four straight, but has seen a decrease in margin of victory each of the last three years. Last year’s game ended 20-17 in overtime after EMU missed a 24-yard chip shot. #collegekickers, amirite?
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech – We should have learned by now not to take anything for granted with Notre Dame in the Brian Kelly era. Well, many believe that a ND win this week in Blacksburg is the highest remaining hurdle for the Fighting Irish in their College Football Playoff quest. That very well could be the case, although who knows how USC will look by November 24. In any event, this is only the second road game for Notre Dame and a much more intimidating environment as “Sandman” will “Enter”, Frank Beamer will be honored, and it won’t be like a road game in Winston-Salem. No offense, Wake Forest.
Arizona State at Colorado – Maybe these aren’t situational spots, but I love to look at games in which there is a big strength of schedule difference. That brings us to Boulder on Saturday afternoon. Colorado is ranked and unblemished at 4-0, but wins over Colorado State, a winless Nebraska team, a winless New Hampshire, and a winless UCLA team aren’t great. The combined record of Colorado’s opponents is a robust 1-16. Colorado has played the 121st-ranked schedule per Sagarin. Arizona State has played the 34th-ranked schedule and has two more wins than Colorado’s four opponents combined. You can only play the teams on your schedule, but it certainly does tell us a whole lot about what the Buffaloes have to offer.
Liberty at New Mexico State – We’ve finally made it to the most incredible situational spot of the week. Liberty is back in the Land of Enchantment for the second straight week. The Flames actually went home to Lynchburg, Virginia and then flew back out to the altitude of New Mexico. Last week in Albuquerque, the Flames went and scored 52 points, largely because of a first-half barrage. This week, they face their second straight opponent off of a bye and are in Las Cruces, which has an average altitude of around 3,900 feet above sea level. A road back-to-back in altitude with essentially cross-country travel twice. And Liberty is growing as a favorite.
Utah at Stanford – This is not an ideal spot for Stanford. Following back-to-back road games, they’ll entertain the Utah Utes, who are traditionally one of the most physical teams in the conference. Stanford is already a banged-up team with Bryce Love at less than 100 percent. It isn’t a great spot for Utah either, as the Utes are on the road for the second straight week after a hard-fought fight in Pullman last week against Washington State.
UAB at Louisiana Tech – This is a fun one in Ruston. Louisiana Tech is off of a big upset win over North Texas, even though UNT won the box score in that game and things would have gone differently if the Bulldogs didn’t play the Mean Green’s game-winning field goal attempt. UAB is off of a bye. These two teams played an instant classic last season as, ironically enough, UAB blocked a game-winning field goal attempt for LA Tech. There is a revenge factor in play as a result, but Tech just had that emotional win and also represented itself well in Baton Rouge two weeks ago against LSU. Don’t be stunned if this one winds up being pretty close.
Bowling Green at Toledo – Most MAC rivalries are geographical in nature. The Directional Michigan schools. Kent State vs. Akron. And Bowling Green vs. Toledo. About 25 miles worth of I-75 and Route 51 separate these two MAC West members. They play, oddly enough, for the I-75 Trophy. How about this? Toledo has won eight in a row to even up the all-time series at 39-39-4. Toledo will probably win, as they are a three-touchdown favorite, but this is a huge game to BGSU to say the least. Bowling Green still holds the all-time record win streak with 12 in a row in this rivalry.
Navy at Air Force – Keep a close eye on Navy in the upcoming weeks. While Air Force is kind of a mess right now, these service academy games are usually hotly-contested in the quest for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. Army currently has it for the first time since 1996. Air Force last had it in 2016. Triple-option vs. triple-option games are always intriguing for a variety of different reasons. The spot would seem to favor Air Force, as Navy is out in the thin Colorado Springs air, but the Falcons have some quarterback worries.
UConn at Memphis – It probably won’t matter because UConn’s defense is giving up approximately 63 yards per play, but Memphis has a big game on the horizon. The Tigers have a double revenge spot next week when they host UCF. The Knights beat Memphis badly by a 40-13 score early in the season and then topped them again 62-55 in the AAC Championship Game in a game with 1,479 yards. Ironically, that’s about the number of yards Memphis should gain this week against UConn, but you know the Tigers are salivating for next week’s game.
Oklahoma at Texas – The neutral-site Red River Rivalry game is this weekend at the Cotton Bowl. There really isn’t much more to say other than both teams should bring it in this one. As bad as Texas has been lately, the Longhorns have only lost by five points each of the last two years, won in 2015, lost by five in 2014, won in 2013, and got blown out twice in 2012 and 2011. This is usually a highly competitive game. Look for Texas to show up in this article next week, as Oklahoma enjoys a bye week.
Wyoming at Hawaii – The Cowboys make the long trek from Laramie to Honolulu for this week’s Degenerate Special at 12 a.m. ET on Sunday morning. Hawaii is a home favorite with a 2-11-1 ATS record since the start of 2014 in that role. Their covers are against Western Carolina and Wyoming, with the Wyoming cover way back in 2014. In other words, Hawaii is 1-11 ATS in its last 12 games as a home favorite. While this looks like a really bad spot for Wyoming, there’s a reason why the Cowboys are the preferred side.
Appalachian State at Arkansas State – Let’s go ahead and throw a Week 7 game in there. The Fun Belt makes its primetime, national TV return on Tuesday October 9 with the Mountaineers against the Red Wolves. This will probably be the Sun Belt Championship Game matchup when we get to December, but this is going to be a fun one. It’s also unique in that the teams are playing on Tuesday. Both of them have byes in Week 6.