Notre Dame offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson
Notre Dame offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson (55) gets ready to snap the ball to quarterback Jack Coan (17) in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Florida State Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla. Notre Dame won 41-38 in overtime. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

NCAAF Best Bets, Sept. 25

Patrick Werkmeister

We are now in full swing with this college football season and this Saturday has some more exciting action. All best bets this week will be underdogs in their quest for an upset. Additionally, all of these picks will be the away team in their matchups, so approach with caution. In all seriousness, Vegas oddsmakers have left a lot of points for the underdog to cover in these games, which gives these plays some significant value. Although these picks went 1-2 in last week’s CFB edition of ‘Best Bets’, I have rarely gone negative in back-to-back articles. Here’s what I love for this beautiful Saturday slate.

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Notre Dame (+6.5) vs. Wisconsin
From Soldier Field in Chicago, the Wisconsin Badgers face off against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The opening line for this match surprisingly had the Badgers as five and a half-point favorites and the current spread is listed at 6.5. Former Wisconsin QB Jack Coan transferred in the offseason and is now the starter for Notre Dame. He will certainly be looking for revenge against his former team. Although they have had some close calls vs low-end competition, Coan has not been a symptom of their slow start. Along with 8 touchdowns thrown, he has displayed efficiency in only throwing one INT. He has definitely shown improvement from his time with the Badgers, and he looks to keep getting better in this one. Additionally, this Notre Dame offense has an outstanding running game featuring a committee of backs they rely on for big yardage. While coach Paul Chryst and Wisconsin have had two weeks in preparation for this game, so far, their play has illustrated that they shouldn’t be a ranked team. With their quarterback Graham Mertz banged up coming into this game, I expect this Irish defense to hold up enough for the cover. Take Notre Dame and the points.

Kent State (+14.5) @ Maryland
In College Park, the Maryland Terrapins host the visiting Kent State Golden Flashes. This opening line initially favored the Terps by 13.5 but they are now favored by over two touchdowns at 14.5. Last week, Kent played nobly against the 5th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. They found themselves in a close 16-7 game at halftime but were unable to score in the second half, losing 30-7. Their downfall began at the end of their opening drive in the second half. At the 1 yard line going into score, the Flashes offense fumbled the ball in the end zone where the Hawkeyes recovered. If they score, it is a two-point game and a whole different ball game altogether where they would have all the momentum. Additionally, in Week 1 Kent State was able to play top 10 team Texas A&M very competitively in the first half, with the score being 10-3 going into the break. For a squad that is so well known for their offense and star QB Dustin Crum, Kent State’s defense, led by outstanding corner Elvis Hines, has been able to limit some of the best offenses in the country. At +14.5 against this Terps squad who scraped by against Illinois last week, this spread has tremendous value. Take Kent to keep it close against this overhyped Maryland team.    

West Virginia (+17.5) @ Oklahoma
For this final matchup, the Mountaineers of West Virginia travel to Oklahoma where they’ll play the Sooners. The opening spread for this match originally had Oklahoma favored by 19.5 but has swayed towards WVU where they will be 17.5 underdogs. Through their first three weeks of the season, Oklahoma’s performances have been massively underwhelming. Along with close games against schools like Tulane and Nebraska, Sooners QB Spencer Rattler hasn’t looked near the Heisman candidate he was portrayed as. He won’t have any easier challenge this Saturday against an always stifling West Virginia defense. If they hadn’t suffered an agonizing loss to Maryland, this Mountaineer team could have been coming into this game as a highly ranked squad after their victory over Virginia Tech. Their star RB Leddie Brown will have an excellent opportunity to once again break out against this horrid Oklahoma defense. Last week, he was able to rack up 196 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown versus a stout Virginia Tech defense. With their offense running stagnant and a defense that is perennially one of the worst, this spread is far too large for them to cover against this WVU squad. Take the Mountaineers to finally get over their past issues with Oklahoma in this one.

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