Each week during the college football season, Covers Expert Steve Merril looks at the NCAAF odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet now
Oregon Ducks (-20.5) at Arizona Wildcats
The spread on this game opened too low at -17.5 and sharp bettors quickly pumped this line up a full three points to the current number. The public will pile on as well and we fully expect this line to be well over three touchdowns soon. Obviously 21 is a key number in football so if you like Oregon, bet this game ASAP.
Oregon is never shy to run up the score on their opponents and they know they need to do it in this game. Arizona is ripe for the picking after its home loss to Washington State last week.
All nine of Oregon’s wins this season have come by 21 points or more. So again, laying less than 21 points is imperative in this game. Lay the 20.5 now with Oregon before the line hits the key number.
Spread to wait on
USC Trojans at Colorado Buffaloes (+22.5)
The line opened with USC as a 21.5-point road favorite but it was quickly bet up to the current price. With more money to come in on the Trojans, Buffs backers can get Colorado +24 right before kickoff.
This is a terrible situational and scheduling spot for USC. The Trojans are off their upset win over Stanford, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Cardinal. After this game, USC will return home to face rival UCLA. The Trojans will have little focus on Colorado considering they’ve crushed the Buffaloes by a combined score of 92-23 in the last two meetings.
Colorado got a confidence-building blowout win last week, so they’ll come into this game on a positive note. Colorado couldn’t have asked for a better setup and, with the expectation of more money to come in on USC, we suggest waiting and grabbing +24 on the Buffaloes the minute it becomes available.
Total to watch
Baylor Bears at Oklahoma State Cowboys (78)
Can the oddsmakers make the total high enough for Baylor this season? Last week, the total was 84 versus Texas Tech and it easily eclipsed that number with 97 points scored.
Baylor’s game this week at Oklahoma State will be a difficult one to set for the oddsmakers. The Bears need style points to jump in the BCS standings, currently sitting No. 4 in the rankings. They’ve scored 63 points or more in six of their nine games and 59 points or more in seven games. They’ve scored 35 points or more in every game this season.
Everybody knows about the Baylor offense, but their defense has gone unnoticed. The Bears have held six of their nine opponents to 14 points or less. Oklahoma State has the reputation of a high-powered offense under Mike Gundy but the Cowboys’ strength this season has been their defense. They’ve held five opponents to 13 points or less.