Week 4 Primer

Tennessee owns a 6-11 spread record as a home favorite during Butch Jones's tenure. Jones has never tasted victory against the Gators.

Tennessee owns a 6-11 spread record as a home favorite during Butch Jones’s tenure. Jones has never tasted victory against the Gators.

Published on Friday, 9/23/16, at 9:32 a.m. Eastern.

–If Florida had been a 3.5-point underdog (much less the +6.5 where it is right now) in the last 23 head-to-head meetings against Tennessee, it would own a 22-1 spread record. The only time the Volunteers have beaten the Gators by more than three in this stretch was during the Ron Zook Era when they won a 24-10 decision at The Swamp. Casey Clausen connected on a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the first half in that 2003 encounter.

–Since 1994, Florida has won in nine of 11 trips to Neyland Stadium (AKA: Swamp North). One defeat came in overtime in 1998 when UF missed a chip-shot field goal that would’ve forced double OT. In the first half of that game, the Gators fumbled twice inside of UT’s two yard line. The Vols got two TDs on a long Shawn Bryson run untouched up the middle and a great catch by Peerless Price in traffic.

–Don’t be shocked if Jim McElwain gives true freshman QB Kyle Trask a series or two under center in the first half. He’s tall, moves well and has a rocket for an arm.

–Stanford has won eight in a row over UCLA. The Bruins are three-point home underdogs to the Cardinal. As as home ‘dog during Jim Mora Jr.’s five-year tenure, UCLA owns a 2-3 record both straight up and against the spread. On David Shaw’s watch, Stanford has compiled a 13-9 ATS mark as a road favorite.

–Since Colorado joined the Pac-12, Oregon has bludgeoned the Buffaloes to the tune of a 5-0 record both SU and ATS with its wins coming by an average margin of 38.0 PPG.

–Colorado QB Sefo Liufau sprained his ankle in last week’s 45-28 loss at Michigan and will be a game-time decision at Oregon. The Ducks were favored by 10.5 Friday morning. They aren’t sure if star RB Royce Freeman will be available. Freeman left last week’s 35-32 loss at Nebraska in the first half with a sprained ankle. He is listed as ‘questionable.’

–Northwestern is an 8.5-point home underdog vs. Nebraska. The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in the last five head-to-head meetings with the Cornhuskers. If we discount Nebraska’s 38-17 win two years ago, the last four encounters between these squads have been decided by 10 total points. One of those games went to overtime and another was won by the Cornhuskers on a walk-off Hail Mary pass.

–Troy is a 20-point home favorite vs. New Mexico St. The Aggies, who lost 62-42 at Kentucky last week, have limped to a 7-19-1 spread record in their last 27 games as road underdogs. However, the Trojans are an abysmal 1-6 ATS in seven games as double-digit favorites since 2011. New Mexico St. RB Larry Rose, the Sun Belt Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2015, is set to make his season debut after missing the first three games while recovering from sports hernia surgery.

–Akron scored 65 at Marshall last week. Bad news for the Thundering Herd: Louisville and Lamar Jackson are coming to town this weekend.

My preview of USC at Utah for tonight over at VegasInsider.com.

My SEC Breakdown for the weekend on VI.

Updated Heisman odds after Week 3.

My Power Rankings going into Week 4.

–You can check out updated lines for Games of the Year here, including Alabama at Tennessee, Florida vs. Georgia, Michigan at Ohio St. and many more.

Here are my picks for Saturday.

–Western Ky. won’t have its best offensive lineman at home vs. Vandy. Forrest Lamp, a first-team All Conference USA selection last year who has 42 career starts, is out indefinitely with a leg injury. The Hilltoppers, who were fortunate to knock off the Commodores 14-12 in last year’s season opener in Nashville, might be without its three best RBs, too. Leon Allen remains out from last season’s injury, while Anthony Wales (1,091 rushing yards, 9 TDs & a 7.0 YPC average in 2015) is ‘doubtful’ with a hamstring injury and D’Andre Ferby (11 rushing TDs LY) is ‘questionable’ with a shoulder issue. Nevertheless, the Tops are 7.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The ‘Dores are 6-5 ATS as road ‘dogs on Derek Mason’s watch.

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