CFB Week 3 Plays from Sandman

CFB YTD Record (4-2) +1.5u

Play #1 – Arkansas +5 (-115) 1u

Some fun numbers for you before we get too deep into this game. Arkansas is 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games, 3-0 ATS this year, and 3-0 ATS in their last 3 vs A&M. A&M has been the 98th best red zone offense this year only coming away with points on 66% of possession while Arkansas is 34th with over 93%. This is a result of Arkansas having an established running game(333 rush yards vs Texas) and a more experienced QB who doesn’t turn the ball over (team has 2 turnovers all season). On the flip side, A&M is starting a backup QB with a 51% completion percentage in 2 games while almost leading A&M to a loss against a not very good Colorado team. They also have 7 turnovers as a team through 3 games. If you simply look at performance from this year, Arkansas has been quite a bit better and I think you’re just getting the 5 points from program reputations that don’t line up with this years teams.

A&M’s defense might have the slight edge, but I think the Razorbacks have the significant edge on the offensive end and will have the experience needed to keep it close. The aggies may have the name recognition but I just haven’t seen enough from them this year to not take the 5 points.

Play #2 – Michigan State -5 (-110) 1u

The biggest matchup in this one will be in the trenches. Can Nebraska stop the run game of the Spartans that has been so dominant to this point? I don’t think they can. Nebraska is 71st in the country in terms of opponents YPC at 4.1, and are 76th in rush yards against per game at 165. On the other hand MSU is 5th in YPC at 6.7, and 11th in rush yards per game (260). Sparty ranks this highly even after playing two top defenses, Miami and Northwestern, in ⅔ games. I think the MSU rushing attack matchup of this game, and it seems to heavily favor MSU. In the last few years QB play has killed MSU, but Payton Thorne has been great with 9 TDs to 0 interceptions vs some decent defenses in Northwestern and Miami. Adrian Martinez has been okay, but the Huskers haven’t been able to run and just lost starting RB Gabe Irvin for the season. Husker backers are going to need Martinez to make plays and protect the ball to stay in the game vs the prolific MSU attack, and that’s just not something I’m willing to do with his recent history.

Nebraska just hasn’t shown me anything at all this year, while MSU has. It’s really that simple. In terms of recent history, Nebraska is 5-6 ATS on the road since 2019, and 5-5 as underdogs since then. Using past year numbers and trends for Sparty is pointless as they have a new coach, new QB, and new starting RB and are a completely different team this year, but are 3-0 ATS this season. 

As a whole, there isn’t some crazy stat to throw out that makes MSU the obvious play here. But at home, coming off a 3-0 start vs Scott Frost’s Nebraska is a play you can’t pass up. Gimme Sparty to cover the points.

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