One game on the college football board has dominated the betting action. And it’s not even close.
No. 7 Southern California ventures north to play upstart Oregon State, and sharps have joined the public and sprinted to the betting window to back the Beavers.
According to Caesars Sportsbook, the game has attracted more than twice as many spread tickets as any other Week 4 college football spread, and Oregon State has over three times more spread money than any other Week 4 spread.
For perspective, USC-Oregon State has more spread tickets at Caesars than 14 of the 16 NFL spreads this week. The handle on Oregon State to cover the spread is larger than any of the 16 NFL Week 3 spreads.
“We opened up a little higher on USC than the rest of the market,” said Joey Feazel, lead college football trader at Caesars Sportsbook. “After conversations with the team, we think USC is much better than Oregon State and we went against the grain on the sharps. Having the best number on the board will certainly drive up that action, but I didn’t expect as much action as we got.”
The Beavers have captured 88 percent of the money wagered on the spread at Caesars, and USC was a 5½-point favorite Thursday afternoon after opening -13½.
It’s tempting to go with the Trojans and give the points. But in this case, it’s the total of 71 that’s screaming out.
USC’s offense is due to hit a speed bump after sailing through the first three games unblemished, and the Beavers’ defense has shown it can create turnovers. That’s enough for me to take the under.
Here are four more plays for Saturday:
Baylor-Iowa State U45½: Both teams like to get it done with defense, ranking in the top 25 nationally in points allowed per game. Iowa State has conceded three touchdowns in three games, while the Bears rank 17th overall, allowing 4.29 yards per play.
James Madison +7 over Appalachian State: This is a step up in competition for the Dukes, who are making their Sun Belt debut and had a bye last week to prepare. The Mountaineers are coming off two straight emotional wins, including last week’s Hail Mary against Troy when ESPN’s “College GameDay” was in town, and are primed for a letdown.
Oregon-Washington State U57½: The Cougars have a new identity under coach Jake Dickert and are leaning on a stout defense to win games rather than a wide-open offense. Washington State is second in the country with 30 tackles for loss and tied for second with 14 sacks.
Stanford-Washington O63½: The Cardinal are coming off a bye and should have their offense tuned up. Stanford put up 28 points against USC and would have had more if not for two turnovers near the goal line. Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. leads an offense that averages 45.3 points per game and is ranked fourth in the country in yards per game.
Last week: 4-1