The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) may be +190 favorites at press time to regain the college football National Championship, but nobody’s really talking about them right now – or anyone else in the SEC, for that matter. The entire conference is in a funk, so the spotlight has turned to other programs, like the No. 2 Clemson Tigers (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS). The defending champs have played some very good football this year, and they’ve got another big game coming up Saturday night against the No. 12 Virginia Tech Hokies (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS), kicking off at 8 PM ET on ABC.

The college football odds are very much on Clemson’s side. At press time, the Tigers are laying 7.5 points on the road, up from –7 at the open. That’s an important half-point away from the magic number 7. The Tigers have already put away a pair of Top-25 teams in Auburn (currently No. 13) and Louisville (No. 17), but this will be their toughest test yet, and the Hokies may have some betting value here with redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Jackson performing at a very high level. That value might disappear after millions of people watch Jackson play on primetime national television.

Cougar Alert

Millions more will be watching Friday night (10:30 PM ET, ESPN) when the No. 5 USC Trojans visit the No. 16 Washington State Cougars. The Trojans are one of the most beloved teams in the nation, but they’re swimming in red ink at 4-0 SU and 1-3 ATS. Meanwhile, the Cougars (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) are thriving under head coach Mike Leach, and while their strength of schedule thus far leaves something to be desired, Wazzu looks like a value pick as 6-point home dogs.

The biggest thing happening in the SEC this week is Saturday’s game at 6 PM ET on ESPN between the No. 24 Mississippi State Bulldogs and the aforementioned Auburn Tigers. The Bulldogs (3-1 SU and ATS) are 9-point road dogs at press time; they opened at +9.5 and moved to +10 in early betting before the action pivoted away from Auburn (3-1 SU, 1-2-1 ATS).

Mississippi State could still be a bargain after moving off the magic number 10. They took one on the chin last week against Georgia, but the Bulldogs have played much better football than the Tigers through four games. A victory here over Auburn shouldn’t surprise anyone, even at Jordan-Hare Stadium. But a Tigers win would definitely make the season-ending Iron Bowl against Alabama a lot more interesting.


*Odds as of September 29, 2017