The college football betting season is still very young, and as you can see, in Week 4 there are still a lot of non-conference matchups to be played before the full transition to conference action for the remaining two months of the season.
Let’s take a look at our best Group of 5 plays of the week and keep in mind that only one of them is a conference game.
What makes this game harder to process and evaluate is that UCF had its Week 3 game canceled by Hurricane Florence. The Knights are rested, but their off week was unexpected and not something they planned for.
More importantly, Florida Atlantic – who was hoping to show that they are talented enough to compete with the big boys, proved exactly the opposite in Week 1. Florida Atlantic went into this season eagerly anticipating its opener against Oklahoma. The Sooners have an excellent dual-threat quarterback, Kyler Murray. He tore apart Florida Atlantic’s defense.
Who is UCF’s quarterback? McKenzie Milton, an excellent dual-threat quarterback. This looks like another bad matchup for FAU’s defense, which makes UCF a choice you can trust, especially since the Knights are at home.
Spread Pick: Central Florida (-13.5) with Karamba.
Outright: Central Florida (-630) with Karamba.
While Toledo lost to Miami – which it was expected to do – Nevada needed a missed field goal on the final play of the game to survive a bad Oregon State team. Nevada’s defense is very shaky, and the Wolf Pack have not yet shown that they can play well on the road against a decent team.
The lack of proven qualities on the Nevada side of this matchup should give Toledo an edge. Moreover, Toledo’s game against Miami should make Nevada much more manageable by comparison.
The Wolf Pack are just 1-4 ATS and 0-5 SU over the last three seasons when posted as a dog of 10.5 to 21 points. That’s where they are now, so look for the Rockets to play well on both sides of the ball in this game and cover.
Spread Pick: Toledo (-10) with Karamba.
Outright: Toledo (-450) with Karamba.
This looks like a trap for Navy. The Midshipmen might appear to be gaining momentum after consecutive victories, but this is a road game played early in the day at 11 a.m. in Texas. A long, cross-country commute combined with an early start is a recipe for struggles and hardships.
Navy’s one road game so far this season was at Hawaii, and Navy’s defense was absolutely terrible in a lopsided loss. They allowed 522 yards of offense and 59 points in that affair.
At the same time, what has SMU done? Yes, they did play TCU and Michigan tough in the first halves, but what explains the loss to North Texas? The trends don’t support a strong showing from SMU.
Navy has won six straight in this series, covering five of those contests. They’ve also won 11 of 13 meetings, covering 10 times. At the same time, SMU doesn’t play well as a dog. They are 2-15 SU and 8-9 ATS in their last 17 as an underdog. Navy is 4-2-1 ATS and 5-2 SU in their last seven as a road favorite. Take them to win and cover in this spot.
Spread Pick: Navy (-6.5) with Karamba.
Outright: Navy (-280) with Karamba.
People noticed that Ball State played Notre Dame tough for four quarters on the road in South Bend, but that’s looking like a one-week aberration. While that showed their competence, a 38-10 loss at Indiana shows how much the Cardinals can struggle.
At the same time, Western Kentucky turned around and almost defeated Louisville on the road last week. It was up 14-3 before Louisville found a way back. And remember that Western Kentucky missed a 51-yard field goal as time expired, which could have pushed the 20-17 into overtime.
There’s no question that this is an ugly matchup – especially since WKU is winless – but this could be their first of the year. The Cardinals are just 1-4 ATS in their last five against losing teams. Don’t be surprised if the Hilltoppers are a handful for Ball State in their 2018 home opener.
Spread Pick: Western Kentucky (+3) with Karamba.
Outright: Western Kentucky (+120) with Karamba.