Timing is everything and sharps are watching these college football lines very closely

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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
South Florida (-14) at Syracuse

South Florida opened as a 12.5-point favorite and the line quickly climbed to -14 with some locations already moving to -14.5.  The Bulls have been explosive in their first two games, scoring 56 and 48 points while averaging 551 total yards per game and 7.1 yards per play.  Their defense has also been strong, allowing just 18.5 points per game and just 3.7 yards per play.

Syracuse is playing their third straight home game, however this could be a bit of a letdown spot after a high profile national TV home game last Friday night versus Louisville.  The Orange were unable to slow down a potent Louisville offense as the Cardinals scored 62 points and gained an incredible 845 total yards (414 rushing / 431 passing).

Spread to wait on

Colorado (+20.5) at Michigan

Colorado opened as low as +19 in some spots and +20 in others, and was quickly bet up to +20.5.  This line will likely hit the key number of +21 or more, especially since Michigan has been so dominant in their first two games this season.  The Wolverines have won their other two games at home by scores of 63-3 (vs. Hawaii) and 51-14 (vs. UCF).  Michigan has out-gained their two opponents by an average of 479-281 total yards (6.8-4.4 yppl).

While there is no question Michigan is loaded, this is a possible flat spot after two easy home wins and with their conference opener on deck next week versus Penn State.  In fact, Michigan will play five straight home games to start this season, so there is a chance they become a bit complacent this week.  Colorado has been very impressive in their first two games, winning 44-7 and 56-7, out-gaining their opponents by an average of 587-160 in total yards (6.6-2.7 yppl).

Total to watch

Ohio State at Oklahoma (64.5)

This Over/Under line opened at 64.5 and has held steady so far.  This game obviously has huge national championship playoff implications, especially for Oklahoma who has already lost this season, 23-33 versus Houston.  The Sooners struggled to stop the pass in that game, allowing the Cougars to throw for 321 yards.  Oklahoma also allowed UL Monroe to throw for 272 yards last week.  The Sooners are allowing 7.7 yards per pass this season (versus opponents that average just 6.8 ypp).

Ohio State has been potent on offense so far this season, averaging 62.5 points per game and 596 total yards (7.3 yppl).  They are averaging 313 rushing yards (6.1 ypr) and 283 passing yards (9.3 ypp).  However, the Buckeyes defense has yet to be tested.  Oklahoma is a capable scoring machine as they showed last week when they put up 59 points on 640 total yards.


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