After having fun with my first college football props column last week, the gods at The Game Day have asked me to write another column for Week 4. From first and second halves to team totals, I consider myself to be the king of degenalytics.
Let’s take a look at my favorite college football props bets for Week 4.
Nevada vs Air Force Prop
Air Force Team Total Under 34.5 Points (-117) at BetRivers Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Earlier this week, I bet on Under 49.5 points in the Nevada and Air Force game. Sadly, for those that didn’t read my column when it came out on Monday morning, the point total has now shifted to 45.5 points.
The good news is that with props, there are occasionally angles for hitting bets that are correlated with other bets that have moved. In this case, if you agree with me that we should see a low-scoring game, betting on Air Force to have Under 34.5 points is a great bet.
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Both Air Force and Nevada are decent defensively, but Nevada can’t score to save its own life. With the Falcons as a heavy favorite, they should jump to an early lead and run time off the clock with their triple-option offense.
BetRivers has the best price on this prop at -117, and I would bet it up to -130 or 32.5 points.
Maryland vs Michigan Prop
Michigan First-Half Alt Spread -6.5 (-175) at Betway Sportsbook
WAGER: 1.5 Units
What is the most frequent margin of victory in the first half of college football games? Seven Points!
I am going to write those two sentences every week because 11% of first halves end with a team ahead by seven points.
In the case of Michigan, their regular first-half spread is 10 points, so buying 3.5 points for only 65 cents is a no-brainer even without looking at the math. Not only is seven a key number for first-half spreads, but 10 is as well, as 7% of first halves are decided by exactly 10 points.
Football-wise, Michigan has played only non-conference cupcakes so far and has won each game in a blowout. Maryland is their toughest test yet, but Michigan should come through with a big win at home.
Maryland barely beat SMU last week at home, and their quarterback, Taulia Tagovailoa, should run into a brick wall with Michigan’s defense. If the alternate first-half line of -6.5 (-175) is unavailable when you are reading this, I would only recommend betting a regular first-half line at -9.5 or better.
UMass vs Temple Prop
Temple First-Half Alt Spread -1.5 (-210) at Betway Sportsbook
WAGER: 1.5 Units
UMass might be the worst team out of all 131 FBS teams this year. They might be ranked as the fifth-worst team in ESPN’s FPI ratings, but the Minutemen are even worse than Hawaii, Akron, FIU, and NMSU - the only four teams below them in their rankings.
Temple isn’t that good of a team either, but there is evidence that they have a pulse. Last week, they only lost to Rutgers by two points as a 17-point underdog.
Sadly, the lopsided matchup is built into the -9.5 full-game spread, but with first-half alt spreads, I have found a valuable Temple betting angle. That is betting on the Owls to cover a -1.5 spread at -210.
Only 9.5% of college football first halves are decided by less than 1.5 points, yet the difference between the -1.5 spread is -210 (67.7%) and the moneyline is -300 (75% breakeven odds). The regular first-half spread of -5.5 is tempting, but I am a little skittish on betting it as Temple has had issues scoring.
Even though it is juicy, Temple winning the first half by more than 1.5 points is a good bet.
North Texas vs Memphis Prop
Memphis First-Half Spread -7 (-115) at Betway Sportsbook
WAGER: .75 Units
Memphis at home against North Texas is clearly a mismatch. The Tigers are -12.5 and arguably should be favored by even more. The danger with backing the full-game spread is that North Texas could score late and have a backdoor cover.
That is why Memphis -7 for the first half is worth a look.
I grabbed the Tigers -6.5 (-125), and sadly it has moved to -7 (-115). With seven being such an important number for first-half spreads, getting Memphis at -7 when they could close at -7.5 could be the difference between losing and getting a push.
Memphis has a quarterback Seth Henigan who should torch a weak North Texas defense. In the first half, I suspect that Memphis will play more aggressively than in the second half, which is why I like this prop.
UCLA vs Colorado Prop
UCLA Second-Half Spread -9.5 (-110) at BetWay Sportsbook
WAGER: .75 Units
So far this season, UCLA has played its best football in the second half of games.
They beat Bowling Green 21-0 in the second half in their Week 1 game, after winning the first half by only seven points. Against South Alabama last week, the Bruins won the second half by five points after losing the first half by four points.
Against Colorado, I like UCLA to cover a -9.5-point second-half spread. The fourth-most frequent margin of victory for second halves is 10 points, so getting them at -9.5 rather than -10 is valuable. Only seven, 14, and three are more frequent second-half margins of victory.
Colorado shouldn’t put up much of a fight Saturday, and after last week’s scare against South Alabama, I expect UCLA to put in a bigger effort. As long as the second-half spread stays below 10 points, this is worth a play.