We are coming down the stretch of the college football regular season and in the final few weeks of the campaign, it is important to be aware of different motivation levels for teams in their last few games.
There are teams that still are fighting for a spot in the College Football Playoff along with teams trying to maintain their current position in the Top 4 of the playoff rankings. There are teams looking to win division titles within their respective conferences and there are many teams still looking to earn a win or two down the stretch to reach the six-win plateau and clinch bowl eligibility in the process.
These are not teams to bet blindly but motivation certainly has to be considered as one piece of the puzzle along with the usual handicapping factors of match-up, scheduling and injuries among others in order to pile up profits in the remaining few weeks of the season.
I’m 5-1 with my college football betting recommendations over the last two weeks in this weekly “Inside The Lines” column and I’ll look to keep the positive momentum rolling heading into this week.
Tulane (+10.5) at Houston: The Cougars have stumbled in back-to-back losses over the last two weeks against SMU and Temple with the defense being largely to blame. Houston has a very dynamic offense, averaging 47.8 points per game. But the defense has been carved up, allowing 104 points and 1,056 total yards in those two games.
Of great concern here for Houston is their abysmal run defense, which has given up over 500 rushing yards on the ground to SMU and Temple. Tulane needs a victory to gain bowl eligibility so there should be no lack of motivation for the Green Wave, which are a solid 4-2 ATS in the underdog role this season. Expect a competitive game, not a blowout in this one. TULANE
Syracuse (+10) vs. Notre Dame (61.5): This game will take place at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and it is a massive game for Notre Dame, which only needs to do is win out to ensure their participation in the College Football Playoff.
Syracuse will not be an easy opponent as they bring in a very high powered, up-tempo offense into this game led by senior QB Eric Dungey. Syracuse has scored 37+ points in five straight games entering this matchup and will test a Notre Dame defense that hasn’t faced a ton of quality offense. Nor have they seen a mobile, dual threat QB like Dungey very often either this season. Notre Dame is expected to have QB Ian Book back on the field after he sat out last week’s win over Florida State with a rib injury. Book has been terrific under center for the Fighting Irish who are 6-0 SU, 4-1-1 ATS with him as the starting QB and the Over is 5-1 in those games too.
Syracuse is a perfect 3-0 ATS in the underdog role this season including a competitive defeat on the road against mighty Clemson. They are worthy of support here catching double digits. SYRACUSE and OVER
UTEP (+7.5) at Western Kentucky (47.5): Can Western Kentucky really be trusted laying more than a TD as favorites against anyone right now? I’m not convinced.
The Hilltoppers have fallen on hard times this season and are struggling badly. WKU is 1-9 SU on the season including six consecutive losses heading into this game going 1-5 ATS during that span. Hilltoppers head coach Mike Sanford is rumored to be fired after the season and the team doesn’t seem to be bringing a whole lot of fight at the tail end of a dismal season.
I’m not going to try and paint a rosy picture of UTEP as they are a bad one-win team as well. But the Miners have continued to battle and compete. They are 4-2 ATS in their last six games despite only winning one of those contests straight up against Rice.
UTEP has at least seen their offense step up and play better in the last two games. The Hilltoppers are not a squad I trust in this price range given their struggles. UTEP
Last week: 2-1