After a strong 8-1 performance in Week 3 (including 3-0 on
Love It! selections), I’ve turned my attention to Week 4…
Michigan (+3.5) at Wisconsin – As much as I’d like to see the Wolverines lose here, this is all about necessity and urgency under Jim Harbaugh. The Michigan football program is desperate for a quality Big Ten win and that desperation will play in their favor. I expect an A-game performance here.
West Virginia (-4) at Kansas – Let’s not overreact to Kansas beating Boston College last week (more on that below) and make Kansas out to be a better team. This is still a program being rebuilt under Les Miles and the talent isn’t there to keep up with the Mountaineers.
Louisiana (+3.5) at Ohio – The Ragin’ Cajuns will put up some points here against an Ohio defense that is giving up 450+ yards per game this season (180+ yards on the ground). I’ll take the 3.5 points led by the Ragin’ Cajuns rushing attack.
Louisville (+7) at Florida State – Let’s ride the momentum from last week and take Scott Satterfield’s squad with a touchdown head start.
Tulsa (-3) vs. Wyoming – There may not be any offensive fireworks in this one, but Tulsa looked well-rounded last week against Oklahoma State. Tulsa should have success against a relatively one-dimensional Wyoming team.
New Mexico (-4) vs. New Mexico State – New Mexico looked competitive against Notre Dame last week for just over a quarter. That’s more than New Mexico State can say this season being outscored 151-27. I’ll take the home team.
Georgia (-14) vs. Notre Dame – Since these two teams met in 2017, Georgia has ascended into National Championship consideration and has nearly beaten Alabama twice. Notre Dame may be able to keep this close early but the talented Bulldogs roster will allow Georgia to cover 14 points.
TEASE OF THE WEEK!
Boston College (-2.5) & Washington (-0.5) – Boston College is coming off of an embarrassing loss to Kansas, and despite the Huskies loss to Cal in week 2, Washington is one of the better teams in the country. I sense both teams are a bit undervalued this week. Take 6 points off of each spread and they look really strong.
Kansas State (+7) at Mississippi State – The Wildcats have put up 101 points through two games this season. Their offense will be enough to keep them within a score (if not win) against Mississippi State.
Army (-17) at UTSA – I’ve been on the wrong side for Army games two weeks in a row. That changes here against the Roadrunners.
Oklahoma State (-14) at Tulsa – Tulsa is averaging only 310 yards per game compared to 568 by Oklahoma State. Mike Gundy’s Cowboys will be able to put up some points this weekend and cruise to a comfortable victory.
NC State (-6.5) at West Virginia – The Wolfpack have over 1,000 yards of offense compared to only 465 by the Mountaineers through two games this season. That’s enough for me to lay 6.5 points.
UCF (-9) vs. Stanford – All we’ve heard for the past few years is how UCF needs to play quality Power Five teams. Saturday fits this mold and UCF will be motivated to prove they belong.
Navy (-7) vs. ECU – I like ECU and think they’re on the right track but the Navy offense is too much to handle at this stage for the Pirates.
Louisville (-10) at Western Kentucky – I underestimated Louisville in Week 1 vs. the Irish. WKU is not a good football team so let’s even the score on Louisville games.
Charlotte (-20.5) at UMass – Charlotte cost me last week playing Appalachian State very tough. If they replicate half of that effort against the Minutemen, this game will not be close.
TEASE OF THE WEEK!
Arkansas (-4) & Duke (-0.5) – Arkansas doesn’t have a great offense, but CSU is flat out awful. Tease this down to less than a TD. It pains me to bet on Duke because the MTSU mascot – Lightning, aka the “Majestic Blue Dragon” – is the best in college football. Fortunately for Duke, Lightning won’t be putting on a helmet Saturday.
There’s something to be said about perfection, albeit not the type of perfection we were aiming for after an abysmal opening week… With all of that fun finally behind us, let’s see what action we have ahead of us.
Maryland vs. Syracuse (Over 58) – Both of these teams are more than capable of putting up 40 this weekend as demonstrated by Maryland’s 79-0 win last week vs. Howard. This line seems anchored down by Syracuse’s 24-0 effort last week which I would characterize as an anomaly from a team that averaged over 40 points per game last season.
UCLA (-7.5) vs. San Diego State – Neither team looked all that great in their season openers. Having said that, SDSU tallied only 238 yards of offense in their 6-0 victory over Weber State. Give me Chip Kelly and I’ll give you 7.5 points.
Michigan (-22) vs. Army – I look at the talent on the Michigan defense here and wonder how Army will put any points on the board. Michigan has the fire power to get ahead in this game and Army won’t be able to recover.
Nebraska at Colorado (Over 63.5) – Two improved offenses rekindle a historic rivalry from the 80’s and 90’s. I could see either team winning… First to 50?
Miami (-4) at North Carolina – Let’s call this game a regression to the mean. Miami lost to Florida last week while UNC stunned South Carolina in Mack Brown’s re(debut). After Week 2, we’ll have a pair of 1-1 teams thanks to a Hurricanes cover.
TEASE OF THE WEEK!
Ohio State (-9.5) & Appalachian State (-16.5) – The Buckeyes may be tested early but will eventually separate themselves from Cincinnati to win by double digits. I really like Appalachian State here, but teasing the line to 16.5 makes it even more attractive. Keep in mind, both are playing at home this week.
Wake Forest (-3.5) vs. Utah State – The Aggies standout QB Jordan Love will only have one additional returning starter on offense. Inexperience will be the difference here allowing Wake Forest to cover at home. FPI numbers agree having this game closer to a 10-point margin.
BYU (+7) vs. Utah – the Cougars are returning 14 starters looking to avenge their 4th quarter collapse @ Utah last season. They were leading by 20 points late in the 3rd quarter last November… I’ll take the 7 points at home in a rivalry game any day.
Duke (+33.5) vs. Alabama – At a neutral site in Atlanta, I’m looking at this as more of an exhibition / preseason game for Alabama. They’d be happy to have the starters on the bench by the 2nd half to ease into the 2019 season. FPI number agree here as well having this game right at a 4 touchdown margin.
Notre Dame (-18.5) @ Louisville – Eager to get the bitter taste out of their mouth after a blowout playoff loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoffs, the Irish will undoubtedly cover a line that has come down from three touchdowns. The Irish should win the turnover battle facing a returning QB who had 12 INTs compared to just 8 TDs last season in Jawon Pass.
TEASE OF THE WEEK!
Ohio State (-21) & Army (-14.5) – Sticking with the same logic used in my season totals prediction, the Buckeyes simply have more talent than FAU. Army – returning 7 starters on offense under head coach Jeff Monken – should have no issues winning by more than two touchdowns against an inferior Rice football team.
I don’t love season win totals because I don’t exactly enjoy waiting four months for a payout. Having said that, there are always a few opportunities that make sense…
ECU – Over 4.5 (-215)
They have four games they should win even if their entire
team plays with a head-pounding hangover (WEBB, W&M, @ODU and @UCONN). New head coach Mike Houston should easily be
able to find that 5th (or even become bowl eligible with a 6th)
in winnable games at Navy, vs. Temple and vs. Tulsa.
Appalachian State – Over 9 (-150)
Even with a coaching change and adding new head coach Eliah
Drinkwitz from NCST, App State is the cream of the Sun Belt crop. With the win total set at 9, this is one
where I see it much more likely that they win 10+ than only 8 or fewer. App State – as has become customary – could
make some noise nationally. Their two
toughest tests are at UNC and at South Carolina, but an upset in either (or
both) wouldn’t surprise me. In
conference, at Troy and at ULL could be interesting but App State will likely
be favored in both even playing on the road.
Ohio State – Over 10 (-120)
Ohio State – with new head coach Ryan Day replacing Urban
Meyer – is simply more talented than the majority of their opponents. Tell me the three games they’re going to lose
which would result in a 9-3 record… you can’t!
At Michigan? Maybe but that hasn’t panned out for Harbaugh. Home against Penn State? Doubtful. Plus another loss? Feels like a solid pick with the downside being
Clemson – Over 11.5 (-115)
No new head coach here…
They’re not losing to any ACC team and they’re not losing out of
conference. Texas A&M is their
toughest test on paper, but they learned their lesson last season. 12-0.
I think this first blog post is the section where I’m supposed to tell you (all zero followers) why you should listen to me. I’m a numbers guy and I could give you my win rate for the past few years, but the truth is none of it has ever been documented in a blog-type format. What good does it do if I tell you I was right (or wrong) on every pick last year? Sure I have some bet slips and sure I could post some time-stamped screenshots from a group text that I have with 3 other trusted betting experts, but I’d rather spend my time thinking about this season… Enter the TOP CHELF BETS blog! Along the same lines, I’m a firm believer that you’re only as good as your next bet so today is not the day to get complacent.
What I can do is tell you a little bit about myself and provide some context so you understand why I focus on certain games, conferences, etc. I’m a football nut (Power 5 Conferences). Like everyone else I have two to three TV screens up on both Saturdays and Sundays plus the iPhone and iPad readily available. I graduated from the University of Notre Dame and earned my MBA/MSF from Boston College (ACC). I moved to Raleigh, NC a few years ago and am surrounded by D1 football schools (more ACC, Sun Belt, American, etc.). My wife graduated from Columbia University (Ivy League) and law school at the University of Maryland (still can’t reconcile the fact that they’re Big 10). From these schools and conferences, they play a wide enough variety of opponents that I often dabble in the remaining few conferences when the opportunity arises.
A few other somewhat relevant fun facts… I had a two-year stint coaching college football at D3 Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in MA before attending grad school at Boston College. I am a numbers geek which means I track data on just about everything (e.g., 10 years+ of personal running logs, 12 years+ of historical amateur golf tournament data, etc.) not to mention my day job is heavily dependent upon data and analytics. I consider myself to be extremely competitive and try to incorporate all of the above into any recommendation that I make.