Believe it or not, we’re already a quarter of the way through the college football season. There already have been a few conference games sprinkled throughout the first three weeks, but we’re about to dive head on into conference play this weekend.
Looking ahead to Week 4, here are some point spreads that really stood out at BetMGM.
No. 12 Notre Dame vs. No. 18 Wisconsin (-5.5)
I know Notre Dame has struggled this year, but I’m surprised the number is this big. In the two games it has played, Wisconsin has looked like Wisconsin. The Badgers run the ball and play tough defense, but don’t generate many explosive plays. There’s also the Jack Coan factor. Coan is Notre Dame’s starting quarterback after starting his career at Wisconsin.
If this game were at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, I’d understand the spread being 5.5. But with it being a neutral site game at Soldier Field in Chicago, I thought it’d be around 3 or 3.5.
LSU (-2.5) at Mississippi State
This feels like a prime spot for a home dog, but there’s the revenge factor from last year to consider. LSU, fresh off a national title, lost at home to Mississippi State in Mike Leach’s debut. Neither team ended up being very good. LSU would go on to finish 5-5 while MSU went 4-7.
This year, both teams are off to 2-1 starts. LSU’s offense hasn’t looked sharp and Mississippi State’s defense is underrated. LSU is expected to get some key players back on the defensive line, and the struggling offensive line looked better against Central Michigan.
The line movement will be intriguing here as the week progresses.
No. 9 Clemson (-10) at NC State
This one opened at Clemson -12 and might dip below 10 pretty soon. Clemson has just looked horrific on offense this season. The Tigers mustered only three points in the season-opening loss to Georgia and then averaged just 4.3 yards per play in an ugly home win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
NC State lost to Mississippi State and is without one of its best players, linebacker Payton Wilson, for the rest of the season. Still, the Wolfpack are the home team here and have some legitimate weapons on offense.
You can look at this one of two ways. That’s way too many points for a capable NC State, or Clemson is due to snap out of its funk and you’re getting the Tigers at a smaller number than usual.
No. 7 Texas A&M (-5.5) vs. No. 16 Arkansas
This is a big test for both sides. Texas A&M is down to its backup quarterback, Zach Calzada. He struggled in relief duty vs. Colorado, but played better against New Mexico. Arkansas is a clear step up in competition, but the Razorbacks haven’t seen a team anywhere near as talented as A&M.
The Razorbacks are getting a lot of credit for their dominant win over Texas, but it remains to be seen just how good the Longhorns are. Arkansas is dealing with some offensive line injuries and A&M’s defensive front is a strength. Arkansas really hasn’t had to open up its passing game so far this season either.
Nebraska at No. 20 Michigan State (-5)
Michigan State is one of the surprise teams of the first month with blowout wins over Northwestern and Miami. Nebraska, meanwhile, is 2-2 with losses to Illinois and Oklahoma.
The Huskers are perceived as a substandard team in the Big Ten, but this point spread shows me that’s really not the case. That Illinois game is probably fresh on people’s minds since it was the game that attracted the most attention in Week 0, but Nebraska acquitted itself quite well in Norman over the weekend.
If this gets up past a touchdown, I might be inclined to take the Huskers. I think this will be a pretty close game.
Monday Night Football recap
Week 2 of the NFL season closed out with the Detroit Lions visiting the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. The Packers were 11.5-point favorites and the total was set at 49.
The Lions jumped out to a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter. From there, though, it was all Packers. Aaron Rodgers went 22-of-27 for 255 yards and four touchdowns, three of which went to running back Aaron Jones. Jones also rushed for 67 yards and a score in the 35-17 win.
The Lions had two late chances for a backdoor cover. The first resulted in a Jared Goff interception near midfield. The second was a turnover on downs at the Green Bay 32. That defensive stop allowed Packers backers to exhale.
NFL ATS best and worst through 2 weeks
Through two weeks of the NFL season, only five teams are 2-0 against the spread: the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Las Vegas Raiders.
The Cowboys, Texans and Raiders were underdogs in each of their games. While the Cowboys and Texans are 1-1 straight-up, the Raiders beat the Baltimore Ravens 33-27 as three-point underdogs and then went on the road and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-17 as 5.5-point underdogs.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are five teams that are 0-2 against the spread through two weeks: Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Washington Football Team.
The Chiefs are always a popular public play, but it’s been awhile since they’ve come through. Over their last 13 games, the Chiefs are 1-11-1 against the spread. The only time they covered was last year’s AFC title game win over the Buffalo Bills.
Back to MLB betting for Tuesday
There’s no football until Thursday, so we’ve got a few days to shift our focus back to baseball. There’s two National League divisional races coming down to the wire.
In the NL West, the San Francisco Giants hold a one-game edge over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams have already clinched a playoff spot, but getting that top seed and avoiding a spot in wild-card play is huge.
The Dodgers, winners of eight of their last nine, open a road series with the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers have lefty Julio Urias on the mound and are -200 favorites at BetMGM.
The Giants, meanwhile, open a series in San Diego against the Padres, who are four games back of the second wild-card spot. The Giants are a +110 underdog.
In the NL East, the Atlanta Braves have a three-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies. Both the Braves and Phillies are facing the league’s worst teams this week, but only the Braves took advantage on Monday night. The Braves beat the Diamondbacks 11-4, but the Phillies were shutout 2-0 by the Orioles at home. Both the D-Backs and Orioles have 48-102 records.
On Tuesday night, the Braves are -155 favorites out in Phoenix. The Phillies are -250 favorites.