Week 4 college football betting primer

The Big Puma is making his annual fall trek to Sin City for a weekend of sportsbook debauchery, so if you’re in the neighborhood (find us on twitter), come by to say hello as we replace the sweat lost watching each of the following six games with some diabolical combination of Corona and scotch.

Last week: 3-2

Season: 9-7 (.562)

Marshall Thundering Herd (3-0, 1-0 road) at Akron Zips (1-1, 1-0 home)

When: Saturday, 2:00pm ET
Open: Marshall -12.5
Current: Marshall -10 (MGM)

Marshall in 2014: 2-1 ATS, 2-1 to the OVER
Akron in 2014: 1-1 ATS, 2-0 to the UNDER

Analysis: Have to like the spot here for Akron, who enters Saturday on two weeks of rest following a close encounter with Penn State in Happy Valley to challenge a Marshall team that is 1-9-1 ATS as a road favorite since 2010. The Zips are 11-4 ATS over their last 15 games following a bye week, while the Thundering Herd are just 2-5 ATS over their last seven road dates. In addition, the home team is 6-0 ATS over the last six meetings between these two schools and Marshall is 0-4 ATS over its last four trips to Akron. Note that this line has been moving steadily in Akron’s favor since hitting the board over the weekend, per Sportsbook Review.com, but we don’t advise playing Akron at anything less than +10.

Notable trends: Akron is 4-1 ATS over its last five games following an ATS loss.

Pick: Akron (+10)

Hawaii Warriors (1-2, 0-0 road) at Colorado Buffaloes (1-2, 0-1 home)

When: Saturday, 2:00pm ET
Open: Colorado -7
Current: Colorado -7 (MGM)

Hawaii in 2014: 3-0 ATS, 2-1 to the UNDER
Colorado in 2014: 1-2 ATS, 2-1 to the UNDER

Analysis: Sure, Hawaii may be 3-0 against the number this year, but those three matchups took place in Honolulu with the Warriors catching 17 points against Washington, 10 points against Oregon State and laying two points against Northern Iowa. This weekend offers a much different scenario as Hawaii heads to the mainland (without injured RB Joey Iosefa) for the first time this season catching seven points at Colorado. Note that the Warriors are just 2-7 ATS over their last nine games when listed as an underdog of seven or fewer points. On the other side of the field, the Buffaloes are 6-3 ATS at home since the arrival of head coach Mike MacIntyre and are coming off a loss at Arizona State in which Colorado rolled up a season-high 545 yards of offense. Altitude should be on our side here as well.

Notable trends: Hawaii is 1-5 ATS over its last six games following a straight-up win.

Pick: Colorado (-7)

Florida Gators (2-0, 0-0 road) at #3 Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0, 2-0 home)

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ET
Open: Alabama -15
Current: Alabama -14.5 (LVH)

Florida in 2014: 1-1 ATS, 2-0 to the OVER
Alabama in 2014: 0-2 ATS, 2-0 to the OVER

Will MuschampMuschamp and the Gators have covered the number just six times over their last 20 games.

Analysis: Since that too-close-for-comfort 33-23 win over West Virginia to open the season, the Crimson Tide have played two blowout tune-ups (41-0 over Florida Atlantic and 52-12 over Southern Miss) to prepare themselves for SEC play. Expect Alabama to be dialed in and ultra-focused for Saturday’s romp with Florida, as the Tide go on the bye next week before returning to play #10 Mississippi on October 4. Will Muschamp’s Gators needed triple overtime to get by Kentucky at the Swamp last Saturday night and are now 6-14 ATS over their last 20 games overall. If Florida fails to come out of the gates swinging, they’ll get run out of Bryant-Denny Stadium by the third quarter. We like Bama to roll here.

Notable trends: Florida is 10-22-1 ATS over its last 33 games against teams with a winning record while Alabama is 5-2 ATS over its last seven conference matchups.

Pick: Alabama (-14.5)

North Carolina Tar Heels (2-0, 0-0 road) at East Carolina Pirates (2-1, 1-0 home)

When: Saturday, 3:30pm ET
Open: East Carolina -1
Current: East Carolina -2 (LVH)

North Carolina in 2014: 0-2 ATS, 1-0 to the UNDER
East Carolina in 2014: 3-0 ATS, 2-1 to the UNDER

Analysis: The Tar Heels have had two weeks to get ready for this game and have revenge on their side following last season’s 55-31 home loss to the Pirates. But we’re going to fade that situation and this highly questionable defense in favor of an ECU team that just upset Virginia Tech on the road (28-21) and goes on the bye next week. North Carolina is just 3-8 ATS over its last 11 road dates while ECU is 5-0 ATS over its last five home games, 9-0 ATS over its last nine games played on grass and 4-0 ATS over its last four matchups with ACC opposition. Note that North Carolina’s upcoming schedule features a September 27 trip to Clemson, October 4 home date with Virginia Tech and October 11 road encounter with #11 Notre Dame. It’s possible the Tar Heels come into this one with less focus than is required to play this dangerous East Carolina squad.

Notable trends: North Carolina is 6-13 ATS over its last 19 games following a straight-up win while East Carolina is 4-1 ATS over its last five games following a straight-up win.

Pick: East Carolina (-2)

Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 road) at #8 LSU Tigers (3-0, 2-0 home)

When: Saturday, 7:00pm ET
Open: LSU -8
Current: LSU -10 (Stations)

Mississippi State in 2014: 2-1 ATS, 2-1 to the UNDER
LSU in 2014: 3-0 ATS, 2-1 to the UNDER

Analysis: Big quarterback edge for Mississippi State in this one, as redshirt junior Dak Prescott enters Saturday night’s showdown with 26 career appearances under his belt and a 2014 QB rating of 176.6 to challenge an LSU team that lost signal-caller Zach Mettenberger to the NFL and is now riding with the inexperienced Anthony Jennings (51.9% completion percentage this season). Believe it or not, Mississippi State is 7-1 ATS over its last eight games overall and 4-1 ATS over its last five road dates. With the total for this game set in the neighborhood of 49.5, we’ll back the dogs who are catching double digits. Note that LSU has dominated this series in recent memory (13-3 ATS over last 16 matchups), but we believe the tide will turn on Saturday night.

Notable trends: Mississippi State is 5-1 ATS over its last six games against teams with a winning record while LSU is 2-7 ATS over its last nine games after allowing less than 20 points in the previous contest.

Pick: Mississippi State (+10)

#2 Oregon (3-0, 0-0 road) at Washington State Cougars (1-2, 1-1 home)

When: Saturday, 10:30pm ET
Open: Oregon -24
Current: Oregon -23.5 (Wynn)

Oregon in 2014: 1-2 ATS, 2-1 to the OVER
Washington State in 2014: 1-2 ATS, 2-1 to the OVER

Marcus MariotaUS PRESSWIREMariota and the Ducks should slash and gash the Cougars on Saturday.

Analysis: The best way to put yourself in position to upset the high-flying Ducks is to establish a solid running game, grind down the clock and convert on third down…much like we’ve seen Stanford do the last couple of years and just like Michigan State was doing two weeks ago before the wheels came off the bus. Washington State is NOT that kind of football team. The Cougars love the throw the ball all over the field with reckless abandon, an approach that could lead to an early deficit if Washington State is unable to sustain drives. Oregon is 13-3 ATS over its last 16 road games and should jump all over the Cougars early and often in this one. We like the Ducks to cruise for both the game and the first half.

Notable trends: Washington State is 3-12 ATS over its last 15 games following a win of more than 20 points.

Pick: Oregon (-23.5)

BONUS PICK: Oregon first half (line not yet available)

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