10 best predictions for the big Saturday of college football. What games appear to be the best bets and best picks for the Week 4 games?
Results So Far: 28-12-1
1) We’re FINALLY done with most of the FCS vs FBS games. The silly season is over and conference plays kicks in full force, which means …
2) Now we settle in.
Everyone overreacts after Week 1, and then everything is skewed a bit after Week 2. After Week 3 we can pretty much figure out how things are going, and that’s why the theme of the week is this …
Go with what you know until proven otherwise.
For example, I misfired last week by not going with Oklahoma -10.5 over Nebraska. We know Nebraska is bad, and until proven otherwise, the idea is to go against it when the spread is reasonable, like it was against the Sooners. Of course OU won in a walk.
You’ll see what I mean, starting with …
Click on each game for the preview
10. UMass at Temple
POINT TOTAL 43.5
ATS PICK UNDER
Fair warning: there’s a spiteful aspect to this pick.
Rutgers -17 over Temple was my No. 1 call of last week, and it wasn’t even close. Now the Owls owe me.
What do we know, and what did we learn from that disaster? The Temple defense is pretty good.
The offense didn’t do much of anything, but the defense held Rutgers to just over 200 yards, and that was after stuffing Lafayette.
Is there any concern that the Owl O could go off on a UMass defense that gave up 42 to Tulane and 55 to Toledo? Not really, and if it does, it’s not likely to get up to 40 and the defense might be able to take care of the rest.
UMass will score, but it should hang around 10-to-14. This will get dicey late, but this should come in around the high 30s.
Okay, now deep breath as I ditch the theme for this next pick, and we shall never speak of it again …
POINT TOTAL 33.5
ATS PICK Over
I hate this pick.
I hate picking this game, I hate that I feel compelled to add this to the list, and I hate that I’m feeding this to a trusting public that might actually watch this abomination if it invests in it one way or another.
I know, I know, I’ve hammered Iowa unders HARD so far this year, and it’s been a breeze.
How obnoxious have Iowa games been? The total points scored in the three games is 54. You know how hard that is to do?
As my standard line has been this season, you could set the total for an Iowa game at 1.5 and I’d still go under. Ha, ha – we all had a good laugh, killed some time, and …
If the final score in this is 3-2, fine.
A point total of 33.5 is just too obscene. If you take the over and it doesn’t work, it’s not your fault.
Now that I’ve gone off the rails …
POINT TOTAL 55
ATS PICK Under
I don’t like this pick either, but for an entirely different reason …
Friday night games are weird.
Everyone’s rhythm is off, there’s a strange vibe, crazy things happen, and they generally fail to follow any logic or reason.
And I know, I don’t have to add this game to the list – just like I didn’t have to put Iowa vs Rutgers on here – but if things go to form and we go with what we know, including it is a moral imperative.
Virginia just doesn’t score.
The Illinois loss got to a total of 27, and the win over Old Dominion last week ended up at 30.
Could the Cavaliers find their mojo and start winging it around like they did in 2021? Yeah, but they haven’t done it yet.
Syracuse hung 48 on the board against UConn, but that’s UConn – Virginia’s D is okay. The Purdue game was a relative shootout that went back-and-forth late, and that only got to 61 and went over on the late TD pass.
This has a far better chance of hanging around the 20s for each team than the 30s.
POINT TOTAL 65.5
ATS PICK Over
I keep waiting for Tulsa’s offensive fever to break, but it’s not happening.
It’s been one of he biggest stunners of the year so far – Tulsa leads the nation in passing after three games.
It’s averaging 413 yards per outing after bombing away on Wyoming, Northern Illinois, and Jacksonville State to get there – no one else is averaging more than 389. The O has needed to crank it up in shootout after shootout, and to be warned, there’s one big concern here.
The Old Miss defense has been outstanding.
It allowed just 13 points in three games, but it hasn’t faced a strong passing game since the 28-10 win over Troy to kick things off.
This has a few things to like. It starts with the Rebel offense finding its groove – it should handle most of the 65.5 on its own. That means Tulsa will keep firing to keep up, there should be a few late points, and something very doable like 40+ish to 20ish should combine to get to 66.
There are more point total picks to come, but until then, going with what we know …
LINE Purdue -17
ATS PICK Purdue
It’s scary when things seem this simple.
Florida Atlantic’s defense has been awful against the two decent teams it faced, and it hasn’t dealt with anyone like Purdue yet.
The Owls have a slew of decent things going their way, but they’ve been abysmal against anyone who can throw a forward pass – they were ripped to shreds in the 41-38 loss to Ohio, and were hit for 339 passing yards by UCF in the 40-14 loss.
By the way, Purdue likes to throw.
Everyone is on FAU, and I’m not entirely sure why other than Aidan O’Connell is iffy. Even so, Purdue will throw for 400 yards and score in the 40s.
If you think the Owls have 24ish points in them on the road against a 1-2 Big Ten team that desperately needs a good performance thanks to last second losses to Penn State and Syracuse, okay.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against the Spread No. 5: Utah at Arizona State
LINE Utah -15.5
ATS PICK Utah
Seriously, the line on this opened at Utah -5.5?!
I’m not making the same mistake two weeks in a row.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m kicking myself for not putting Oklahoma vs Nebraska on here. Maybe the Huskers were going to play better after the head coach was canned. Maybe they were going to rise up and come together under the adversity. Maybe …
Maybe Nebraska just isn’t very good, and maybe Oklahoma is.
Utah is very good. Arizona State isn’t.
What do we know so far this season? Herm Edwards just got fired after his ASU team that was favored by 20 over Eastern Michigan lost 30-21, and it’s because his team isn’t great after getting gutted this offseason.
What do we know? Arizona State is horrible on both sides of the ball on third downs, and we know the run defense just got hammered by EMU for over 300 yards.
We also know that Utah is a killer up front on both sides of the ball. It’s going to run well, be better at stopping the run, and it should methodically be able to pull this off by more than two touchdowns.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against the Spread No. 4: Texas at Texas Tech
POINT TOTAL 61
ATS PICK UNDER
I have a friend who gets mad at me for this logic, but it sticks.
The under is the right play here. If it’s not, that means it’s a high-scoring game with lots of fun things happening, so enjoy the show that you paid for.
Or, you can expect these two defenses to rise up and do enough to keep this from getting too crazy.
There are several factors in play here. First, the Texas Tech offense isn’t going off like it’s supposed to.
It’s been good – it hit Murray State for 63 and beat Houston 33-30 – but it hasn’t quite been the high-octane fun show expected. Losing starting QB Tyler Shough had something to do with that.
Second, the Red Raider defense has been solid. It held down Houston a bit, and it wasn’t bad in the 27-14 loss to NC State last week.
And finally, the Texas defense has shown up.
The big concern with the under is a Texas O that might go off. It was great against a solid UTSA team in the 41-20 win, but it’s more likely to be in the 30s on the road against the Red Raider defense.
The Longhorn D should bring this home.
It made Alabama look vulnerable, it kept Frank Harris and the Roadrunner attack to 20 points, and it should keep Texas Tech to around 20ish or so.
Again, if this is a wild back-and-forth game, enjoy. But based on what do we know so far, the defenses should show up.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 3 Duke at Kansas
POINT TOTAL 64
ATS PICK Over
I usually don’t like the over on a point total so high, but all three Kansas games have hit the 65.5, so until these two offenses show us something different …
You don’t get off the bus in a sold out David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and not bring the fun.
Kansas has been an over machine so far, scoring 56 against Tennessee Tech, 55 on a West Virginia team that just pantsed Virginia Tech, and with 48 hung up on Houston.
Statistically the Duke defense is okay, but it also faced Temple and North Carolina A&T to go along with the 31-23 win over Northwestern. That’s not a concern, because the offense is about to have some fun.
Kansas can’t stop anyone on third downs, Duke should keep things moving, and if form holds, each team should push into the 30s.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 2 USC at Oregon State
LINE USC -5.5
ATS PICK USC
You think my USC Is Going To The College Football Playoff party bus needs gas? You think it’s taking any sort of a break?
You think I’m the slightest bit worried that the world was hammering the Beavers for a while- unfortunate way of putting that, but I’m too punchy to edit it -until the line settled in around 5.5 to 6?
Again with the theme – go with what you know until proven otherwise.
What do I know? I’ve spent the last several months as the ultimate USC fanboy gushing over this team full of all-stars.
Seriously, what has USC shown you so far to suggest that it’s not going to hang a gajillion on the board?
You’re asking for a win by 6? Really? This offense?
Okay, so Oregon State is going to be jacked up at home and the running game should go off, but the USC defensive line is great at generating a pass rush, the secondary has been strong at making big plays, and …
It’s the USC offense. What about this thing haven’t you enjoyed so far?
Unfortunately this great matchup is on the Pac-12 Network, so most of America won’t get a shot at seeing it, but you don’t need to. You know what’s going to happen.
It’s USC. Join the party already.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 1 UCLA at Colorado
LINE UCLA -21.5
ATS PICK UCLA
Oh do I want this one.
I went big in this spot last week on Rutgers beating Temple by 17.5. I was right that the Rutgers defense was going to be terrific. I was wrong that I didn’t see that the Rutgers offense wasn’t planning on making the trip.
So to close out the gimmicky aspect of this in full force, what’s the one thing we know above all else so far as we’re just over three weeks into the college football season?
We know to always take Georgia, but I just can’t bring myself to give away 45. The Dawgs could beat Kent State 41-0 as they rest up for the SEC world ahead.
That, and we know that something massive is missing with Colorado.
I was crazy enough to pick the Buffs over TCU to start out the season, and I still think enough parts are in place to maybe pull up out of the nosedive, but until proven otherwise …
How do you pick Colorado against the spread right now?
I thought the Buffs getting 17.5 against Air Force was madness. They lost 41-10.
I thought they’d at least bring something to Minnesota as a 28-point dog. They weren’t even close in the 49-7 loss.
So now they’re back at home, and they’re only a 21.5 underdog to UCLA, and why?
UCLA should’ve lost at home to South Alabama. Never underestimate the ability of the Bruins to underwhelm.
However, Colorado has the worst run defense in the nation, and it’s by a MILE.
It’s allowing 348 rushing yards per game. Louisiana Tech has the second-worst run D in college football, and it’s giving up 249 yards an outing. Charlotte is allowing just over 243 rushing yards, which means Colorado is giving almost 100 more rushing yards per game than all 130 other teams.
To put that in perspective, 36 teams don’t give up 100 rushing yards a game – including UCLA.
The Bruins have too many good runners, Dorian Thompson-Robinson is throwing too well, and they should bring more energy after last week’s near disaster.