While sandwich spots can be a scheduling nightmare for college football teams, they can be a treasure trove for bettors.
A branch off the trap-game tree, a sandwich spot is when a school plays an inferior team between rivalries, prime-time games, or contests that have significant implications. Though oddsmakers are aware of these spots and typically bake it into the spread, it’s important to know the situation a team is in with regard to its schedule.
Here, we dive into five sandwich spots you should keep in your back pocket for the 2019 season.
USC – Week 3 at BYU (after Stanford, before Utah)
On paper, this is a tough spot for USC. After kicking off Pac-12 play against Stanford in Week 2, the Trojans get a 12:30 start in Provo, with a road game at conference co-favorite Utah on deck. The Week 3 clash with the Cougars isn’t a tune-up, either: S&P+ tabs BYU as a top-50 team this season. The same metric makes USC just a -3.2 favorite for this one on its projected margin. To make matters worse for the Trojans, head coach Clay Helton is 6-13-1 against the spread away from home in the last three seasons.
Houston – Week 4 at Tulane (after Washington State, before North Texas)
First-year Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen has quite the schedule to navigate. A tough non-conference slate, headlined by Oklahoma in Week 1, gets even trickier in the middle of September. The Cougars play two teams they’re projected to be underdogs against in Washington State and North Texas in Weeks 3 and 5, respectively, with a potential trip-up game on a short week at Tulane jammed in the middle. And though the Green Wave are also on short rest for that contest, they’re at home the game prior against FCS Missouri State.
Air Force – Week 8 at Hawaii (after Fresno State, before Utah State)
Air Force will have a shot at unseating some of the Mountain West powerhouses when the Falcons welcome Fresno State in Week 7 and Utah State two weeks later. Between those, however, lies a dangerous trap game for Air Force in the form of a late-night kickoff on the island against Hawaii, which is essentially a coin flip, according to S&P+.
Ohio State – Week 8 at Northwestern (after Michigan State, before Wisconsin)
Though Ohio State has plenty of games to circle on this year’s schedule, it’d be foolish to ignore its Week 8 road contest in Evanston against the Wildcats, which falls between home matchups with the Spartans and Badgers. Nobody embraces the underdog role more than Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who’s 13-3-1 against the spread with 10 outright wins in the last 17 games when getting points.
Michigan – Week 12 at Indiana (after Michigan State, before Ohio State)
The Wolverines actually have another sandwich spot – Week 10 versus Maryland, after Notre Dame and before Michigan State – but this one is more intriguing. Jim Harbaugh hasn’t covered a spread against Indiana since joining Michigan. Additionally, he’s 0-3 against the spread in the game immediately prior to a clash with the Buckeyes. This contest should be highlighted even more if the Wolverines are undefeated heading into Week 12 with Ohio State on deck, given the potential playoff implications.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He’s a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from “Rounders” and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej
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