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Odds and Ends

CFB Week 3 ATS notes

by Thor Nystrom
Updated On: September 15, 2021, 12:48 pm ET

Lines in the table below are from the perspective of the home team. ATL (Adjusted Thor Line) is a system I devised for determining line value. ATL considers several factors in setting a line. A few have to do with market indicators like sharp action and steam moves. For this reason, ATL lines are fluid and change throughout the week as information arrives, just like the actual lines.  

All other lines courtesy of PointsBet.

AwayHomePB LineATL
New MexicoTexas A&M-28.5-39.3
Coastal CarolinaBuffalo13.57.8
Virginia TechWest Virginia-30.8
Michigan StateMiami-6.5-11.2
Western MichiganPittsburgh-15.5-16.4
Boston CollegeTemple16.514.5
Northern IllinoisMichigan-27-27.9
NevadaKansas State2-4.6
PurdueNotre Dame-7-8.7
TulsaOhio State-26.5-22.2
Georgia TechClemson-28,5-25.6
Kent StateIowa-22.5-25.5
USCWashington State8.57.2
SMULouisiana Tech1311.9
Florida StateWake Forest-5.5-4.5
Eastern MichiganUMass1719.7
Georgia SouthernArkansas-23-21.4
Mississippi StateMemphis3-2.3
Ball StateWyoming-6.5-7.4
Colorado StateToledo-14.5-15.7
Arkansas StateWashington-16.5-16.9
Middle TennesseeUTSA-13.5-6.7
East CarolinaMarshall-10-13.2
Old DominionLiberty-27.5-28.7
South CarolinaGeorgia-30.5-24.1
UtahSan Diego State7.515.6
CharlotteGeorgia State-3.5-8.2
Florida InternationalTexas Tech-20.5-14.9
TroySouthern Mississippi1012.7
AuburnPenn State-6.5-6.1
VirginiaNorth Carolina-9-6.4
Central MichiganLSU-19.5-14.6
UABNorth Texas127.6
Utah StateAir Force81.1
TulaneOle Miss-14-12.2
Oklahoma StateBoise State-4.5-1.0
Arizona StateBYU3.55.0
Iowa StateUNLV30.529.6
Fresno StateUCLA-11.5-14.7
San Jose StateHawaii6.52.7


Coaching changes

USC (-8.5) at Washington State

ATL: USC -7.2

Clay Helton is out at USC following last weekend's embarrassing loss to Stanford. After sticking with Helton through the 5-7 season in 2018, I thought last year's 5-1 finish had bought Helton a little little more leash than a bad Week 2 loss. Especially considering he's owed more than $10 from the extension he signed prior to the 2018 season.

On the other hand, I never would have hired Helton in the first place. And I certainly wouldn't have given him that extension. Helton finished his run a rancid 28-39-2 ATS. As stated with Randy Edsall in this space last week, Clay Helton will be dearly missed.

As for the game. Each of these teams has one very bad loss on their early-season resumes. Washington State hasn't impressed during the Nick Rolovich era. Will USC begin the post-Clay Helton era fired up or deflated?


Situational spot

Iowa (-22.5) vs. Kent State    

ATL: Iowa -25.5

Iowa dismantled Iowa State 27-17 last week, leading 27-10 before a garbage Iowa State touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The Cyclones committed four turnovers, and the Hawkeyes didn't commit one. That win was Iowa's second-consecutive double-digit win over a ranked opponent to start the season.

It would be natural for the Hawkeyes to have a letdown performance here. And it's also natural in general for Kirk Ferentz to struggle to cover big numbers. According to the Action Network, Ferentz is 24-40-1 (37.5%) ATS as a double-digit favorite. That would explain why the PointsBet number is lower than mine.

But boy oh boy does Iowa's defense look good.


Major injuries

Texas A&M (-28.5) vs. New Mexico      

ATL: A&M -39.3

Texas A&M QB Haynes King will miss 4-7 weeks with a lower-leg injury. Aggies HC Jimbo Fisher told the media he's going to ride forward with Zach Calzada as his starting quarterback. 

Calzada came on in relief for an injured King in the first quarter of Saturday's 10-7 win over Colorado and struggled to move the ball, completing 18-of-39 passes for 183 yards with a 1/1 TD/INT ratio. The public's pessimism in Calzada and A&M's new-look offense can be seen in the discrepancy between my line and PointsBet's. I think there might be some value to be had on the Aggies at this number.


Boston College (-16.5) vs. Temple    

ATL: Temple -14.5

Boston College QB Phil Jurkovec is likely going to going to miss the rest of the season after suffering a hand/wrist injury in Saturday's 45-28 win over UMass. Devastating development for the Eagles. Jurkovec, a legitimate NFL prospect, threw for 2,558 yards with a 17/5 TD/INT ratio last year. It's unclear if he plans to declare for the NFL Draft after this season, or if he'll return to campus. I ranked Jurkovec No. 10 in my preseason 2022 NFL Draft quarterback rankings.

Boston College is turning to veteran backup redshirt senior Dennis Grosel. He's thrown for 1,794 yards and a 16/6 TD/INT ratio on 55.9% completions over 229 career passes.

Can't say I'm any big fan of Temple, but I won't be on Boston College this week. The books certainly aren't discounting their number any due to the Jurkovec injury -- and that's pretty surprising. 




This week in quarterbacks

Maryland (-7.5) at Illinois

ATL: Maryland -7.4

Illinois redshirt senior QB Brandon Peters will return to the starting lineup this week for Illinois after missing the last two weeks with injury. I'll repeat what I said last week: I don't think it means a ton after the improvement we've seen from Art Sitkowski this season (46-for-87 for 487 yards with a 4/1 TD ratio).

2021: 12-9-1 (57.1%) ATS

2014-2020: 610-540-17 (53.0%) ATS

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Thor Nystrom

Thor Nystrom is NBC Sports Edge’s lead CFB writer. The 2018 FSWA College Sports Writer of the Year, Nystrom’s writing has also been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to him on Twitter @thorku!