Top 25 Betting Report with Preview and Picks for Week 4 Games
Following last week's results that included a 3-0 sweep with a pair of winning picks and an opinion cashing in, we move into the fall season and the final weekend of college football in September. Despite Alabama's close call last week in a 31-29 win over Florida in the Swamp, the Crimson Tide remain at the top of the polls and are joined by SEC dominator Georgia at No. 2. Those two teams along with new No. 3 Oregon are expected to cruise to easy wins this week as better than four touchdown favorites.
Two neutral site games lead this week's Top 25 match-ups, and we'll chip-in some thoughts and opinions again. I'm traveling this week and limited coverage and added insight while enjoying a break and a Mile High mountains retreat with friends.
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College Football Week 4 Top 25 Match-ups
Saturday, Sept. 25
No. 12 Notre Dame vs No. 18 Wisconsin - 12:00 p.m. ET on FOX from Soldier Field in Chicago, IL
Line: Wisconsin -6.5 and Total 47 at BookMaker
This is the first meeting in 57 years between these power programs, and a special edition played at Soldier Field. Notre Dame senior QB Jack Coan transferred from Wisconsin for his final season, and the Badgers have an extra week to prepare for their former teammate and the Irish, following a bye last week. The Badgers offense struggled opening week in a home loss to Penn State, but through two games Wisconsin leads the nation in time of possession (41 minutes per game). The Badgers defensive front seven has been solid, allowing just 66 yards per game rushing. Notre Dame has struggled to move the ball on the ground and have won three close games with last week's misleading 27-13 win over Purdue, an even yardage game with the Irish rushing for just 120 yards at 3.5 yards per rush in a home win. Despite sub-par pass protections, Irish QB Coan has delivered with 9 TD passes and 300 passing yards per game. Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz has been awful when pressured, and despite the Badgers strength on defense and the extra week to prepare, it's still too much to lay a touchdown. If Wisconsin fails to score at least 28 points, which has favorable odds, then the Irish have a strong chance to cover based on the line, total and college football history. No pick either way, and a lean towards a lower-scoring contest with weather a non-factor looking at the advance forecast.
Lean: Notre Dame and Under 47
No. 7 Texas A&M vs No. 16 Arkansas - 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX
Line: Texas A&M -5.5 and Total 47 at GT Bets
Duel threat QB KJ Jefferson has helped the Hogs move to 3-0 with an aggressive running game averaging 46 attempts per game and 282 rushing yards per game - top 6 in the country. That includes 333 rushing yards against Texas in a 40-21 win in Week 2. But Jefferson has thrown two interceptions and he'll find it much more difficult to move the chains consistently against a top-tier Aggies defense that has allowed just 17 points through three games. Texas A&M is 9-0 in this series since joining the SEC, but Arkansas has covered the last three, catching double-digits. Still, Texas A&M has not shown their best on offense yet with top, talented RB Isaiah Spiller (250 rushing yards) and a talented receiving core likely enough with the Aggies defense too much to handle. Coach Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies are the stronger side in the SEC opener and we'll upgrade Texas A&M from opinion to pick at this price.
Pick: Texas A&M (-5.5) and lean Under 47
Two other games of note on ABC include Rutgers at No. 19 Michigan (-20.5). Two Rutgers defensive backs were suspended this week for off-field incidents, and the line has moved up at least a point. West Virginia at No. 4 Oklahoma (-16) with a total of 56.5 is another Top 25 game that will generate more betting interest and action at most online sportsbooks. The last six meetings between the Mountaineers and Sooners have soared over the total.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay