Week 4 College Football Odds & Futures: Bet Oklahoma State & TCU Before Prices Drop
Brian Bahr/Getty Images. Pictured: The Oklahoma State Cowboys.
We are through three full weeks of the college football season, and there are already some pieces to the puzzle that are beginning to sort themselves out. Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio State continue to lead the way as the three biggest threats to make the College Football Playoff.
Michigan doesn’t look like it has skipped a beat from last season, and USC appears to be rolling early under Lincoln Riley. Meanwhile, teams like Texas A&M and Notre Dame that were inside the top 10 to begin the year have knocked themselves out of contention with early losses.
As it stands, only 33 of the 131 FBS teams in the country remain unblemished. Moreover, there are only three Group of Five teams still unbeaten: Tulane, Coastal Carolina and James Madison.
Cincinnati won’t be there to crash the party this year, and as a result, that last playoff spot could be completely up for grabs come late November.
Let’s find out where there’s some value on some teams deeper down the board.
National Championship Picture
Oklahoma State to Win National Championship (+10000)
Over the last 10-15 years, few programs have been more consistent than Oklahoma State. The Cowboys may not boast a bunch of Big 12 titles or CFP appearances, but betting against this team to finish in the top tier of the Big 12 has proven to be bad business.
Last year, the Pokes came one inch from winning the Big 12 title and potentially snatching the last playoff spot away from Cincinnati. While OK State lost some studs from that elite defense a year ago, including Malcolm Rodriguez and Kolby Harvell Peel, it never made a whole lot of sense to me why the Pokes didn’t get much buzz entering this season.
Spencer Sanders is playing the best football of his life to start 2022, and the Cowboy offense is starting to resemble a typical Mike Gundy offense after returning nearly every notable piece from last season.
The defense still has plenty of studs across the board, most notably up front with Brock Martin and Collin Oliver wreaking havoc in opponents’ backfields.
Another main reason I like the value here is that I think the Big 12 champion has a really good chance to make the playoff this year, which hasn’t always been the case.
There won’t be a Group of Five threat, and Notre Dame already has two losses. The Pac-12 is realistically down to just USC. Call me skeptical, but I find it really hard to believe the Trojans will be able to go unblemished in league play with that defense.
I give Oklahoma State as good of a shot as anybody to win the Big 12, and the Pokes could afford a loss somewhere in the meat of the schedule and still have a chance at the CFP if the regular season ends with a win at Jerry World.
While Oklahoma has started receiving the hype after a beatdown of Nebraska and is up to 40-1 in the market, the real value lies in Stillwater, where Mike Gundy’s team is once again flying completely under the radar.
Conference Championship Picture
TCU to Win Big 12 (+2500)
I was in disbelief when I saw this number on FanDuel. I’m already on +1800 from the preseason, and I cannot make sense of why this has dipped.
It’s not like the competition looks very tough. Texas played Alabama close in a game it should have won but not without losing quarterback Quinn Ewers. Baylor and Kansas State’s flaws have been on display early with both dropping a game. I came into the season low on Iowa State, and Oklahoma State hasn’t played any threats yet.
That leaves Oklahoma as the only real threat to our sleeper pick. It hasn’t skipped a beat since the exodus of head coach Lincoln Riley, dismantling Nebraska its last time out.
While no one in the Big 12 has had an impressive win to make it look like the easy choice, that leaves me re-buying TCU.
While I normally avoid coaching changes, TCU did everything right to rebuild its program quickly and efficiently.
It brought in former SMU head coach Sonny Dykes to make a drastic offensive change, and he has implemented a faster pace West Coast style of offense. This has resulted in a combined 97 points over Colorado and Tarleton State.
That’s not the only drastic change Dykes made.
After the Horned Frogs finished with one of the worst defenses last season, Dykes brought familiar foe Joe Gillespie from Tulsa to run the defense. TCU implemented a 3-3-5 and is looking to find the same success Gillespie found at Tulsa, where he consistently coached some of the top defenses in the nation.
It’s going to be a long season, but TCU is only going to get better with more experience. Its first true test is against SMU this weekend, a game in which we project the spread at TCU -3.
Should the Horned Frogs win — a bet I’ve already made — then we can expect this number to dip before a potential Big 12 Championship preview against Oklahoma.
Add TCU to your portfolio as a sleeper pick before we see this number plummet.
Conference Bet to Watch
Washington to Win Pac-12
As one of my favorite win total overs going into the season, Washington is proving to turn it around fast after last year’s slump. It may just give the rest of the Pac-12 a run for its money.
The reunion of Michael Penix Jr. and Kalen DeBoer has revitalized the offense after last season’s lackluster performance in which quarterbacks threw for more interceptions than touchdowns.
After dismantling Michigan State early on, Washington is poised to make a run for the conference crown.
USC’s offense may be one of the best in the nation, but its defense is garbage and could lose in a high-scoring affair any given week. Plus, it’s benefited from an unrealistic turnover differential, which means regression is looming.
After getting blown out by Georgia, Oregon has steadily produced behind a potent offense. The defense still has holes, but the team benefits from one of the best lines in the nation on both sides of the ball.
Utah is still my pick as the conference leader, but it’s not without flaws. The red-zone offense proved to be abysmal against Florida, and it hasn’t faced a quality opponent since to prove the issue has been fixed.
I’m watching Washington at this inflated number at BetMGM in what could be one of the more exciting conference championship races in college football.