Week 4 of the college football season is almost here. We're reaching the point where we have enough tape and data on these teams to feel stronger in our convictions. As a result, the betting market has been pretty wild this week. We've seen three games where the favorite has flipped. In addition, we've seen some spreads go through key numbers and we've also seen some totals go wild. Without further ado, here are the notable line movements ahead of Week 4.
Notre Dame, Michigan State and SMU are now underdogs
When betting lines were posted on Sunday, North Carolina was a 1.5-point underdog against Notre Dame, Minnesota was a 1.5-point underdog against Michigan State and TCU was a 1.5-point underdog against SMU. However, as the weekend nears, North Carolina, Minnesota and TCU are now all betting favorites.
Notre Dame survived against California last week to pick up its first win of the Marcus Freeman era, but it hasn't been a pretty start to his tenure. The Irish understandably lost to Ohio State, but the home loss to Marshall was rather inexcusable. Tyler Buchner is out for the season with a shoulder injury. It's safe to say this team isn't nearly as good as many anticipated, and now it's playing the backup quarterback in Drew Pyne. North Carolina is 3-0 and it's now a 1.5-point home favorite against the Fighting Irish. The total for this game also dropped four points, going from 59.5 to 55.5 points.
Minnesota is 3-0 to open the season and it's beating its opponents by an average of 44 points per game. However, Colorado, New Mexico State and Western Illinois is about as weak as it gets in terms of quality of competition. The Golden Gophers face their first real challenge of the season on Saturday when they hit the road to East Lansing to face Michigan State. It seems like bettors think they'll be up to the challenge. After opening as a 1.5-point underdog, the Golden Gophers are now a 3-point favorite. Michigan State is coming off their first loss of the season at Washington.
SMU opened as a home favorite against TCU, but the Horned Frogs are now 2-point road favorites. TCU is 2-0 on the season with blowout victories over Colorado and Tarleton State. SMU suffered its first loss last weekend at Maryland. Oddsmakers are also expecting a high-scoring game as the total is set at 70.5 points, up two points from the opening number.
In the Big 12, oddsmakers opened the Baylor vs. Iowa State matchup as a pick'em, but it seems like action is favoring Iowa State at home. Currently, the Cyclones are 2.5-point home favorites. Iowa State is 3-0 on the season, with its most impressive victory coming at Iowa. Baylor is 2-1 after they lost to BYU on the road in overtime two weeks ago.
Movement through key numbers
Not all line movement is equal. Any line movement that goes through a key number like 3, 7 or 14 is worth more than a number that goes through less important numbers. Let's take a look at some games for this weekend's slate that have gone through important numbers:
Clemson opened as a 6.5-point favorite against Wake Forest on the road. However, early action has pushed the number through the key number of seven. Currently at BetMGM, Clemson is a 7.5-point favorite. Last year, Clemson beat Wake Forest by a score of 48-21.
Louisville was a 13.5-point favorite against South Florida, but that number is now up to 14.5.
Cincinnati is now a 16.5-point favorite against Indiana, but when the betting market opened, the spread was just 13.5. Movement has pushed the line through the key number of 14. The total is also up four points, going from 53.5 to 57.5 points.
Other notable movement
What other lines have seen notable movement this week?
Georgia -42.5 vs. Kent State —> Georgia -45.5; Total 58.5—> 62.5
Liberty -26.5 vs. Akron —> Liberty -29.5
New Mexico State -1.5 vs. Hawaii —> New Mexico St -4.5
San Jose State -4 vs. Western Michigan —> San Jose State -7
Louisiana -11.5 @ UL-Monroe —> Louisiana -9
UCF -18.5 vs. Georgia Tech —> UCF -20.5
Kansas -9.5 vs. Duke —> Kansas -7.5
California -4.5 vs. Arizona —> California -3
Florida State -16.5 vs. Boston College —> Florida State -17.5
Ohio State -17.5 vs. Wisconsin —> Ohio State -18.5
Michigan -17.5 vs. Maryland —> Michigan -16.5
Tennessee -9.5 vs. Florida —> Tennessee -10.5
Ball State vs. Georgia Southern Total: 60.5—> 67.5
Rice vs. Houston Total: 57—> 52
Oregon vs. Washington State Total: 52.5 —> 56.5