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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
Fresno State Bulldogs at Utah Utes
Utah is currently a 10.5-point home favorite and I expect the
money to come in on the Utes in this game. Utah cruised to an
easy 56-14 home win over FCS Idaho State in its season
opener. The Utes have a lot of momentum for this game and
since they have a bye on deck, we can expect a prime effort
in Week 2.
Fresno State was completely out-classed in their 52-13 loss
to USC last week. It’s clear that the Bulldogs are not
the same team that went 11-2 last season. Now they must play
their second consecutive game on the road after taking a
physical beating. This line will only go up, so lay the
points with Utah now.
Spread to wait
Michigan and Notre Dame both won by impressive margins last
week. The Wolverines beat Appalachian State 52-14 while
the Fighting Irish beat Rice 48-17. The early money has come
in on Michigan as the Wolverines are down to +4.5 after
opening as +5.5 road underdogs. I expect continued line
movement downward as the power ratings make this game right
around a field goal spread.
Notre Dame is a much better team this season with the return
of quarterback Everett Golson. The QB situation in South Bend
was a mess last year, but with stability the Irish can run a
balanced offense. Michigan has been stale over the last two
years and this year doesn’t look any different. I expect the
public to be on the underdog, so playing the Irish closer to
kick off is the way to go.
Total to watch
This game is a contrast in styles. Michigan State wins with
defense and it plays ball control with its ability to run the
ball consistently. Oregon wants to play as fast as possible,
wearing down its opponent’s defense.
The early projected lines in Las Vegas have this total pegged
at 56 points. Oregon is currently a 13-point favorite, so an
opening number in the high 50s makes sense. Michigan State’s
highest posted total last season was 54 points with 12 of its
14 games set at 48.5 or less.