Michigan, Clemson and Washington are all perfect at 7-0 and sit just behind Alabama in the AP Top 25, well-positioned for an invite to the College Football Playoffs. These three teams are also in similar situations on Saturday, laying points on the road against hungry conference foes.
Here is a betting breakdown for that trio of games.
Michigan (-24.5, 52.5) at Michigan State, 12 p.m. ET
Michigan has showed no mercy on its opponents so far this season, and that won’t change Saturday in East Lansing. The Wolverines lost to the Spartans in the worst possible way last year, their third straight defeat to their in-state rival, so they’ll be looking to exact major revenge.
While the betting market is asking Jim Harbaugh’s men to lay about 24.5 points in this spot, when the South Point sports book released its games of the year lines in May, Michigan was just a 2-point favorite in this game.
That’s a huge point spread swing, but considering the seasons these teams have had so far, it may be justified. Michigan is 7-0 (4-3 ATS), shutting down opponents with its defense and hanging 40, 50, 60 and even 70-plus points on teams. With offensive production like that, covering a 24.5-point spread seems much less daunting.
Michigan State (2-5 SU, 1-6 ATS), meanwhile, has dropped five straight games since beating Notre Dame on Sept. 17, an accomplishment that looks a lot less impressive now than it did then. Still, teams tend to get salty when they feel disrespected, and being tabbed an underdog of this proportion will certainly elicit those feelings, so expect the best effort from Mark Dantonio’s squad.
Washington (-10.5, 53.5) at Utah, 3:30 p.m. ET
Mad respect is being paid to Washington after its 7-0 (4-3 ATS) start, as the Huskies lay double digits in Salt Lake City, one of the toughest places to go in and win in the Pac-12, if not the country.
Chris Petersen’s UW club caught people’s attention with a 44-6 thrashing of Stanford on a Friday night a few weeks ago. Since then, they’ve dispatched Oregon and Oregon State. There’s one performance on Washington’s resume that gives hope to bettors who are looking to take the points Saturday — they were taken to overtime in Arizona before prevailing 35-28. The Wildcats are just 2-5 SU on the season.
At 7-1 SU (4-4 ATS), Utah is a formidable group and should give Washington all it can handle. In fact, the Utes beat the Huskies in Seattle last year, 34-23 as 3-point favorites. Forget about double digits, Utah has not been an underdog at all since the 2014 season.
Clemson (-4.5, 60) at Florida State, 8 p.m. ET
This line opened Clemson -3.5 and has been as low as -3 and as high as -5 during early wagering.
Despite their 7-0 record (4-3 ATS), the Tigers have been good, not necessarily great, this season. Their most impressive game was a 42-36 win at home over Louisville, but they had to survive two close calls, in Week 1 against Auburn and in their most recent game, two weeks ago against N.C. State, when the Wolfpack kicker missed a chip shot that would have won the game before it went into OT.
Florida State is 5-2 (3-3 ATS), its losses coming via blowout against Louisville and at home to North Carolina. The offense continues to try to find its way behind freshman QB Deondre Francois, and the defense just isn’t as good as we’re used to seeing in Tallahassee.
Underdog bettors’ interest has to be piqued in this spot, though. The opportunity to take the Seminoles plus points doesn’t come around often, in fact, just five times since 2001.
Clemson won last season’s meeting 23-13, but FSU got the money as 12.5-point dogs.
Get our experts’ selections for Saturday right here. If our picks are not winners, get your money back no questions asked.