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Week 4 college football betting nuggets to know

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SVP looking for redemption with his Week 4 winners (2:48)

After a rough Week 3, Scott Van Pelt picks his winners for Week 4 of the college football season. (2:48)

It's Week 4, and we're back with some scintillatingly scrumptious trends. Last week, it was a Texas kick return for a touchdown in the final minute that kept us from back-to-back 2-1 Saturdays. Instead, we're 1-2 and 3-3 overall. But, fret not, because this week's Top Trends Trio includes all three ranked matchups, plus a bonus to boot!

First, it's a mustelid melee in Madison. So far, Wisconsin has done what great teams should do: crush cupcakes. As for 11th-ranked Michigan, they're no cupcake, but trends say bank on the Badgers.

Next, Jimbo Fisher is really good at Kyle Field. Auburn's Bo Nix is a true freshman quarterback in his first true road game against a ranked opponent. Dare I say more? Act on the Aggies before it's too late.

And then, there's the luck of the Irish. I know, I know. Notre Dame is a dumpster fire against AP top-5 foes. But would you believe me if I told you that really porous run defenses (e.g., Notre Dame) typically cover against punishing run offenses (e.g., Georgia)? No one said trends always have to make sense, and I, for one, sense a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

Bonus! The Crimson Tide apparently don't enjoy waking up early to toss around the pigskin. Some things just aren't fair. Maybe more importantly to us, Nick Saban and the crew also don't enjoy covering second-half spreads. That said, if Alabama leads by 14 or more points at intermission, try gobbling up the Golden Eagles second half ATS.

And, of course, because our Top Trends Trio is never enough, here are the rest of our betting nuggets to help you navigate the remainder of this week's super sweet slate (all games on Saturday).

All lines are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook as of Thursday night.


Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (-38.5, 61.5), noon ET

  • The correct play here might be a second-half wager. Consider, as a full-game favorite of at least 30 points under Saban, Alabama is 8-19-1 ATS in the second half when leading by 14 or more points at halftime, including 5-14-1 ATS in 20 games with a halftime lead of at least 21 points. In addition, Southern Mississippi is averaging 23 points in the second half this season, 11th most among FBS teams. (Source: www.BetLabsSports.com)

  • Alabama is 7-18 ATS in its past 25 games as a favorite of 35 points or more since 2011.

  • Alabama is 7-17 ATS in its past 24 games hosting non-SEC opponents since 2011.

No. 4 LSU Tigers (-24, 62.5) at Vanderbilt Commodores, noon ET

  • LSU is 8-2 ATS in its 10 games against unranked SEC opponents under head coach Ed Orgeron.

  • Over is 11-5 in LSU games since Steve Ensminger became LSU's offensive coordinator in 2018, including 3-0 this season with the Tigers implementing a no-huddle spread formation. LSU's 55 points per game ranks third most among 130 FBS teams in 2019.

  • Vanderbilt is 3-12 ATS in its 15 games against AP top-5 opponents since 2000, including 1-5 ATS under head coach Derek Mason.

  • Perhaps an angle on teams with solid offenses (e.g., LSU) laying too many points against opponents with questionable defenses (e.g., Vanderbilt): Since 2005, teams averaging 525 or more yards from scrimmage are 30-50-2 ATS when facing an opponent giving up 500 or more yards, including 12-23-1 ATS as a favorite, per BetLabs.

No. 11 Michigan Wolverines at No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (-3.5, 44.5), noon ET

  • Michigan is 2-9-1 ATS in its 12 games against Wisconsin since 2000, including 0-5 ATS in Madison.

  • Michigan is 0-6 SU and 2-4 ATS as an underdog under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

  • Michigan is 0-6 ATS in its past six games overall.

  • Two cupcakes thus far, but Wisconsin does lead all FBS teams in points per game (55.0) and yards allowed (107.5). Since 2005, teams averaging more than 50 points per game and allowing 150 yards or fewer from scrimmage are 11-4-1 ATS when playing at home, per BetLabs.

  • Fun fact: Wisconsin has outscored its opponents 110-0, becoming the first FBS team since South Carolina in 1980 to score at least 100 points and give up zero points in its first two games. Like the Badgers, the 1980 Gamecocks also played a ranked opponent in their third game, narrowly covering as 11-point underdogs in a 23-13 loss at No. 4 USC. Perhaps a good omen for current Badgers running back and Heisman hopeful Jonathan Taylor: The Gamecocks' running back in 1980, George Rogers, won the Heisman that season.

No. 23 California Golden Bears at Ole Miss Rebels (-2.5, 41.5), noon ET

  • California is 12-5 ATS in its 17 regular-season games as an underdog under head coach Justin Wilcox, including six straight covers as a road dog.

  • Ole Miss is 4-11 ATS since the start of last season.

  • Under is 20-8 in California's 28 games under Wilcox.

Michigan State Spartans (-9, 38) at Northwestern Wildcats, noon ET

  • Road team is 12-4 SU and 14-2 ATS since 1999.

  • Northwestern is 13-4-1 ATS in its past 18 games as an underdog since 2016, including 7-0-1 ATS and 6-2 SU as a dog last season. The Spartans were 11-point home chalk last October and lost 29-19 to the Wildcats.

  • Under is 10-1 in Michigan State's past 11 games overall.

Miami (Ohio) Redhawks at No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (-38.5, 56.5), 3:30 p.m. ET

  • Ohio State is 28-0 SU against in-state schools since the FBS/FCS split in 1978 (although, all occurred since 1997), including 8-1 ATS since 2009.

  • Ohio State has yet to lose a game under head coach Ryan Day (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS), including two ATS wins last season as a favorite of at least 35 points with Day serving as the interim head coach.

  • The Buckeyes' plus-73 first-half scoring margin this season ranks fourth best out of 130 FBS teams. In fact, in six games under Day, Ohio State has outscored opponents 176-41 (plus-135) and gone 5-1 ATS in the first half, per BetLabs.

  • Miami is 2-9 ATS in 11 games since 2017 against non-MAC opponents.

No. 8 Auburn Tigers at No. 17 Texas A&M Aggies (-3.5, 47.5), 3:30 p.m. ET

  • Auburn is 3-0 SU and ATS at College Station under head coach Gus Malzahn, but all three of those wins came against Kevin Sumlin. Malzahn, however, is also 2-0 ATS all time against Jimbo Fisher, including a 28-24 win at Jordan-Hare last season.

  • Tigers are 14-9 ATS as an underdog against AP-ranked opponents under Malzahn but 2-5 ATS since 2017, including three straight ATS losses.

  • Texas A&M is 12-4 ATS in its 16 games under Fisher, including 8-1 ATS at Kyle Field.

  • Road team is 6-1 SU in seven meetings since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012.

  • Under is 14-6 in Auburn's past 20 games.

No. 15 UCF Knights (-11, 61) at Pittsburgh Panthers, 3:30 p.m. ET

  • UCF is 12-3 ATS in 15 regular-season games under head coach Josh Heupel, including six straight covers dating to last season.

  • UCF is 10-3 ATS as a road favorite since 2014.

  • Pittsburgh is 2-8-1 ATS in 11 home games against non-ACC opponents under head coach Pat Narduzzi.

No. 22 Washington Huskies (-6.5, 51.5) at BYU Cougars, 3:30 p.m. ET

  • Washington is 1-5 ATS in its past six games as a road favorite.

  • BYU is 15-6 ATS in its past 21 games following an 0-8 ATS streak to start the 2017 season (Kalani Sitake's second season as head coach).

  • BYU is 1-5 ATS in its past six games as a home underdog since 2017.

  • Home team is 8-1 ATS in nine regular-season meetings all time.

SMU Mustangs at No. 25 TCU Horned Frogs (-9.5, 55), 3:30 p.m. ET

  • TCU is 4-16 ATS in its past 20 home games since 2016.

  • SMU is 3-0 SU and ATS to start 2019, the second season for the Mustangs under head coach Sonny Dykes.

South Carolina Gamecocks at Missouri Tigers (-9.5, 61.5), 4 p.m. ET

  • South Carolina is 16-7-1 ATS as a 'dog under head coach Will Muschamp, including 12-3 against the number in its past 15 games.

  • Missouri is 7-2 ATS at home since the start of last season.

No. 16 Oregon Ducks (-10.5, 57) at Stanford Cardinal, 7 p.m. ET

  • Oregon is 4-11-1 ATS in its past 16 games away from Eugene since 2016.

  • Stanford is 4-0 ATS as a home underdog under head coach David Shaw.

Old Dominion Monarchs at No. 21 Virginia Cavaliers (-28.5, 46), 7 p.m. ET

  • Virginia is 11-4-1 ATS in its past 16 games since the start of last season.

  • Old Dominion is 21-39-2 ATS in the first half since becoming an FBS team as a member of Conference USA in 2014 (all under head coach Bobby Wilder). Only Oregon State's 20-41-2 mark is worse in that span, per BetLabs.

Charlotte 49ers at No. 1 Clemson Tigers (-41.5, 62), 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Clemson has failed to cover in five straight regular-season games versus non-ACC opponents dating to last season.

  • Clemson is 37-17-1 ATS in the first half since 2015, the best mark of any FBS team over that span. The Tigers have been even better against non-ACC opponents in the first two quarters, covering 13 of 17.

  • Charlotte is 4-1 ATS in its past five as a double-digit underdog (1-0 under head coach Will Healy).

  • Charlotte has played only two ranked FBS teams, losing by 52 points per game. As far as strictly Power 5 foes as an FBS member, the 49ers are 0-4 while getting outscored by 41 points per game (oddly enough, basically the spread of this game).

  • Under is 13-4-1 in Clemson's past 18 home games.

Oklahoma State Cowboys at No. 12 Texas Longhorns (-6, 72.5), 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Oklahoma State is 9-2 ATS, including eight wins outright, as an underdog since 2016.

  • Cowboys are 7-2 SU in their past nine meetings with the Longhorns.

  • Favorite had won 20 consecutive games SU dating to 1998 until the Cowboys' upset victory in Stillwater last year.

  • Over is 15-6-1 in Tom Herman's head coaching career when the closing total is 60 or more, per BetLabs.

No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (-14.5, 58), 8 p.m. ET

  • Favorites are 10-3 ATS in the past 13 regular-season meetings between AP top-10 teams.

  • Notre Dame is 4-13 ATS in its past 17 games against AP top-5 teams. The Fighting Irish are 1-18 SU in their past 19 versus top-5 teams with a scoring margin of -20.6 points per game.

  • However, Notre Dame has the 11th-worst rush defense this season (230.5 rush yards per game allowed), while Georgia has the eighth-best rush offense (286.7 rush yards per game). Is this bad news for the Fighting Irish? According to BetLabs, perhaps not. Since 2005, a ranked team allowing more than 200 rush yards per game is 11-2 ATS when facing a ranked opponent averaging more than 200 rush yards per game.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (-13, 61.5) at Illinois Fighting Illini, 8 p.m. ET

  • Nebraska is 7-2 ATS against Big Ten foes under head coach Scott Frost.

  • Cornhuskers are 21-9 ATS in 30 games as a visitor since 2013.

  • Nebraska is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 games as a double-digit favorite.

  • Illinois 3-7 ATS in its past 10 games against Big Ten opponents.

  • Fighting Illini are 5-10 ATS as a home underdog under head coach Lovie Smith.

Colorado Buffaloes at No. 24 Arizona State Sun Devils (-7.5, 47.5), 10 p.m. ET

  • Colorado is 5-12-1 ATS against Pac-12 opponents since 2017, including five straight ATS losses against conference foes.

  • Colorado is 3-9 ATS in its past 12 "true" road openers, although the Buffaloes have won three in a row following a streak of nine losses.

  • Buffaloes are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 road games.

  • Home team is 7-1 ATS in eight meetings since Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011.

  • Favorite has covered the number in four straight meetings.

UCLA Bruins at No. 19 Washington State Cougars (-18.5, 58), 10:30 p.m. ET

  • Washington State is 12-3-1 ATS in its 16 games since the start of last season.

  • Cougars are 8-2-1 in their past 11 games as a home favorite.

  • UCLA is 13-26-1 ATS in its past 40 games dating to 2016, including 5-9-1 under coach Chip Kelly.

  • Bruins are 0-3 SU and ATS to start 2019.