3 picks for Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt, James Madison vs. Utah State

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Week 3 is in the books and my goodness what a slate we have in week 4.

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This week we’ll see seven top-25 matchups: Florida State will travel to Clemson, Lane Kiffin will return to play his old boss in Tuscaloosa, Deion Sanders and Colorado will travel for their first massive test in Eugene, UCLA and Utah will meet in a big Pac – 12 and Oregon State faces Washington State.

And in the Big Ten, Iowa travels to Happy Valley to take on Penn State and Ohio State makes the trip to South Bend to take on Notre Dame in a top-10 matchup, a game that could shape America’s playoff picture. college football.

So, yes, there is a lot.

But now is the time to refocus. Before we get into all of Saturday’s action, there are plenty of bets to be made on his current numbers.

The market clearly moves a lot throughout the week. Money flows from the open timelines until the start of Saturday. Like any other sport, it is essential to get the best price possible when betting on college football.

For example, a -6.5 favorite could move to -7.5 on Saturday morning, and then run the risk of that team winning by one of the most likely outcomes (a seven-point win) and simply losing. your bet. It happens every week.

But that mess could have been avoided if the bet had been set at -6.5 on Monday morning.

I’m here to help you navigate the market by providing you with a few lines. I am buying right now – or other lines I’m hoping to buy later in the week.

The hope with this piece is to beat the market, get the best price possible, and save you some money in the long run on the closing line value. To do that, we’ll use our projections from Action Network PRO, ESPN’s SP+, and my own projections to create a consensus.

You hear it all the time: “Process before results.” The best way to know if the process is working is by the closing line value (CLV), that is, by how many points did it exceed the closing line? Well, I’m here to help you get the highest CLV possible early in the week so you’ll be in a great position when we get to Saturday.

Saturday September 23

12 pm eastern time

SEC Network

Kentucky Odd
Spread Total money line




-110o / -110u


Vanderbilt Odd
Spread Total money line




-110o / -110u


Kentucky hasn’t really been tested so far this season after playing Ball State, Eastern Kentucky and Akron. However, the Wildcats are firing on all cylinders right now, averaging 7.9 yards per play on the offensive side of the ball.

Devin Leary transferred from NC State and has been solid through three games, posting a 78.4 PFF passing grade and averaging 9.0 yards per attempt. After sitting out most of last season with an injury, he will be heavily relied upon with Kentucky throwing the ball on over 58% of its offensive plays this season.

The good news for Leary is that he has a lot of talent and experience around him. Kentucky’s top six pass catchers have returned from last season and 125 starts return on the offensive line.

Star running back Chris Rodriguez has moved on, so Kentucky is now using a more pass-friendly attack under offensive coordinator Liam Coen, which will be perfect against a Vanderbilt team that hasn’t been able to stop anyone in the air. The Commodores have allowed 8.4 yards per attempt, ranking 92nd in EPA/Passes Allowed and 116th in Passing Success Rate Allowed.

Kentucky ranks fourth in the country in rushing explosiveness through three weeks, averaging 6.0 yards per attempt. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, sits outside the top 70 in all defensive rushing metrics.

Vandy quarterback AJ Swann has put up solid numbers with 16 big throws and an average of 8.3 yards per attempt through four games. The problem is that he only faced a halfway decent secondary in Wake Forest, and he threw two interceptions and posted a PFF passing grade of just 60.5 in that game.

Swann finished the game against UNLV, but he was clearly banged up, which is not a good sign for Vanderbilt because he hasn’t been able to run the ball at all this season. Against FBS opponents, the Commodores average just 2.7 yards per carry and rank outside the top 100 in offensive line yards and EPA/Rush.

Kentucky’s defense allows just 3.7 yards per play, which ranks in the top five in the country. The UK also ranks fourth in permitted finishing units.

All three projection models show value on the Wildcats, so I would take them at -13.5 now before the line moves.

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Odds between Buffalo and Louisiana

Saturday September 23

7:30 pm Eastern Time


Buffalo Odd
Spread Total money line




-110o / -110u


Louisiana Odd
Spread Total money line




-110o / -110u


Buffalo was completely demolished by Liberty on Saturday after allowing 569 yards of offense and 55 points at home. That came a week after the Bulls lost at home to FCS Fordham and allowed 40 points and more than 450 yards of offense.

The problem with Buffalo is that they only returned five starters on the defensive side of the ball after already being outside the top 100 in Success Rate Allowed and EPA/Play Allowed. As expected, he can’t stop the run or the pass.

Louisiana has been cooking offensively to start the season, averaging 6.9 yards per play and boasting an effective running attack. Of course, the two FBS opponents the Ragin’ Cajuns have faced are Old Dominion and UAB, but they are sixth in rushing success rate, third in EPA/Rush and are averaging 6.1 yards per attempt .

Buffalo is allowing the most yards per attempt in college football at 7.4, so Louisiana should be able to control this game on the ground.

Despite putting 27 points on the board against Liberty, it was a pretty lackluster performance for the Bulls. Buffalo averaged just 4.4 yards per play despite running 81 plays. The Bulls have played three games against Wisconsin, Fordham and Liberty and rank outside the top 100 in success rate, EPA/Play and explosiveness.

This is Cole Snyder’s second year as Buffalo’s starting quarterback, and he struggled last season with a 59.7 PFF passing grade and 17 big throws compared to 28 turnover-worthy plays. He had decent games against Wisconsin and Fordham, but really struggled against Liberty, earning a PFF passing grade of 64.7 while averaging just 5.4 yards per attempt.

Louisiana only returned three starters on defense, but has reloaded well so far. That’s especially true against the pass, as the Ragin’ Cajuns rank in the top 35 in Passing Success Rate Allowed and EPA/Passes Allowed.

As you can see above, all three projection models have Louisiana projected north of -14, so I would now take it at -10.

Choose: Louisiana -10

James Madison vs. Utah State Odds

Saturday September 23

8 pm eastern time

megawatt network

James Madison Odd
Spread Total money line




-110o / -110u


Utah State Odd
Spread Total money line




-110o / -110u


James Madison picked up a really impressive road win at Troy in a defensive fight on Saturday.

The Dukes completely shut down Troy’s running attack and the Trojans totaled -12 rushing yards on 19 carries.

JMU’s front seven remains stacked after proving strong against the run last season. The Dukes return five starters in the front seven, including their top three tacklers from a season ago.

Playing solid run defense will be a major key against a Utah State team that is averaging just over six yards per carry this season.

However, much of the Aggies’ rushing success came against Idaho State in Week 2, when they rushed for 380 yards and 9.3 yards per carry. In fact, they averaged just 2.1 yards per carry against Air Force, so even though they rank 10th in EPA/Rush, I have a hard time seeing how they’re going to run the ball consistently against one of the best front seven in the Group of the Five.

Utah State quarterback Cooper Legas has really struggled through three games, so much so that head coach Blake Anderson benched him Friday night in favor of McCae Hillstead.

Hillstead actually played very well, throwing for three touchdowns and 7.5 yards per attempt against Air Force’s secondary.

It’s an extremely small sample, so take it with a grain of salt. And as you can imagine with a true freshman quarterback, he struggled when he faced pressure.

Image via PFF.

Utah State also has one of the least experienced offensive lines in the country, so facing James Madison’s front seven that has a top-40 pass-rushing rating will not be a good matchup for the Aggies.

On the other hand, new JMU quarterback Jordan McCloud was really effective in his last game against Troy, even if the Dukes scored only 16 points. McCloud has an 86.6 PFF passing grade with three big throws despite attempting just 25 passes.

The Dukes have underperformed in many offensive metrics, but will face a Utah State defense that ranks 126th in success rate allowed and 120th in finishing drives allowed through three games.

All three projection models show value in the Dukes, so I would now take them at -5.5.

Choose: James Madison-5.5

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#picks #Kentucky #Vanderbilt #James #Madison #Utah #State

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