I made picks for 27 college football games in my 2017 College Football Week 4 Preview. I wr0te Best next to the word Pick for the games I believe are slam dunks.
2017 College Football Week 4 Preview
Thursday, Sep. 21
Temple +20.5 at 17 South Florida -20.5
South Florida beat tough Illinois 47 to 23 in Week 3. That might have been a turning point for the Top 20 ranked Bulls. It’s hard to see a Temple team that lost 16 to 49 to Notre Dame having any shot against South Florida.
Pick: South Florida -20.5
Friday, Sep. 22
21 Utah -3 at Arizona +3
Utah goes into Tucson with a 3 and 0 record both straight up and against the spread. Arizona beat UTEP 63 to 16 in their last. That score might flip in this one with the Utes hanging 63.
Pick: Utah -3
Saturday, Sep. 23
UNLV +40 at 9 Ohio State -40
Amazingly, UNLV bounced back from their shocking 40 to 43 loss to Howard in their first game to beat Idaho 44 to 16 in their second game. Too bad Ohio State dominates the Runnin’ Rebels on Saturday.
Pick: Ohio State -40
NC State +11 at 11 Florida State -11
By no means is NC State a great football team. The Wolfpack lost to South Carolina 28 to 35 in Week 1. But, NC State has beaten both Marshall and Furman in their last 2 while Florida State hasn’t even played a football game since Alabama trounced them 24 to 7. I also have no clue how effective QB Deondre Francois’ replacement is going to be. I’ll take the 11 points.
Pick: NC State +11
Kent State +42 at 20 Louisville -42
The Louisville Cardinals are 2 and 1 straight up and 1 and 2 against the spread this season. The cover came against North Carolina. Louisville was favored by 11.5 points. Louisville beat UNC by 12, 47 to 35. Kent has a terrible offense, 13.5 points per game, but Louisville’s defense isn’t very good. I’m grabbing the 42 points.
Pick: Kent State +42
Texas A&M -2.5 at Arkansas +2.5
I was all ready to back Arkansas in this game. Then, I realized that even with death threats going to Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M is still playing hard. The Aggies picked themselves up off the gridiron after the meltdown loss to UCLA to beat Nicholls State 24 to 14. The Aggies beat UL-Lafayette 45 to 21. I think A&M makes it 3 in a row by beating Arkansas SU and ATS on Sep. 23.
Best Pick: Texas A&M -2.5
Pittsburgh +7.5 at Georgia Tech -7.5
You can look at Pittsburgh’s 21 to 59 loss to Oklahoma State in Week 3 in 1 of 2 ways. First, you can say that Pittsburgh isn’t a very good football team and that’s why OKST scored almost 60 against them. Second, you can say that Oklahoma State is one of the best teams in college football. I think Oklahoma State is one of the best teams in college football.
Pick: Pittsburgh +7.5
Old Dominion +26 at 13 Virginia Tech -26
The Virginia Tech Hokies have gotten better week to week. I don’t see VA Tech taking a step back against Old Dominion on Saturday. In fact, the Hokies could score over 60 points again, like they did when beating East Carolina 64 to 17 on the road in Week 3.
Pick: Virginia Tech -26
Central Florida +3.5 at Maryland -3.5
Neither team is ranked in this matchup. I don’t think it matters. The Knights versus the Terrapins in Maryland is an intriguing matchup to me because 78% of college football handicappers so far back the Terps at -3.5. I don’t think so, I believe Central Florida is a much better team than anyone’s giving them credit for.
I like the Knights to upset Maryland straight up in this battle.
Pick: Central Florida money line
5 USC -16.5 at California +16.5
California is undefeated straight up and against the spread. The Golden Bears beat Ole Miss 27 to 16 as a +7 home dog in Week 3. The key stat in the score is the 16 points that California allowed. If California has a defense, they can upset USC on the money line in this game. Anyhow, 16.5 points are way too many to give to an undefeated squad that just trounced a decent SEC team as a home dog.
Best Pick: California +16.5
Boston College +34.5 at 2 Clemson -34.5
Boston College is 0-3 against the spread this season. BC beat Northern Illinois 23 to 20 as a -3.5 favorite. The Eagles lost to Wake Forest 10 to 34 in a pick game. Notre Dame trounced BC 49 to 20.
34.5 sounds like a lot of points. Not really. Not in this case. By backing Clemson all we’re saying is that the Tigers whip the Eagles by at least 5 TDs and that they don’t miss an extra point.
Pick: Clemson -34.5
Toledo +13.5 at 14 Miami -13.5
This is the first time Toledo and Miami have battled since 1987. As one would expect, Miami beat Toledo 24 to 14 in that game. The Rockets are already 3 and 0. Beating Elon 47 to 13, Nevada 37 to 24, and Tulsa 54 to 51, doesn’t compare to playing and beating the Miami Hurricanes. Canes should make a strong statement in this game.
Pick: Miami -13.5
1 Alabama -18.5 at Vanderbilt +18.5
The way that Vanderbilt handled K-State’s offense in Week 3 mustn’t be overlooked. The Commodores held excellent QB Jesse Ertz to 76 passing yards off a 10 of 28 day. Ertz threw 2 interceptions. He did rush for 124 yards off 26 carries for a TD.
No worries. In Week 1, Vandy held Middle Tennessee State to 2.8 yards per carry. The fact that Vandy can switch up its defense to be effective depending on its opponent gives the Commodores an edge ATS versus the Tide.
Pick: Vanderbilt +18.5
15 Texas Christian +13 at 6 Oklahoma State -13
This line should go up to Oklahoma State -14 once pro players get involved. Texas Christian’s defense is nice. SMU laid 36 onto the Horned Frogs’ D in TCU’s third game of the season, though. Texas Christian didn’t cover the -22 spread when beating SMU 56 to 36.
Does TCU have any shot of keeping this close? I don’t think so. The Horned Frogs only shot is to score with Oklahoma State. I don’t believe any team in the country can score with the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Best Pick: Oklahoma State -13
8 Michigan -10 at Purdue +10
Purdue has a decent offense. It’s good enough, averaging 35.7 points a game, for the Boilermakers to go 3 and 0 against the spread. Michigan’s defense is stout while the Wolverines offense could improve. 10 points doesn’t feel like too many in this game. Tough to go against a Purdue squad that has so far been perfect ATS, though.
Pick: Purdue +10
Nevada +28 at 18 Washington State -28
Washington State’s defense must pick it up if the Cougars wish to challenge in the Pac 12 North. When it comes to their Week 4 game versus Nevada, though, no worries. The D might not even have to step onto the football field.
Nevada lost straight up to Idaho State 28 to 30 in their last as a -34.5 favorite. This is a game where WSU QB Luke Falk could build his Heisman resume.
Best Pick: Washington State -28
3 Oklahoma -28.5 at Baylor +28.5
Baylor is one of the worst teams in college football. Check out the Bears’ 3 losses this season: 45 to 48 to Liberty, 10 to 17 to the University of Texas-San Antonio, and 20 to 34 to Duke. You don’t rest skill players in college as much because many of them, like Sooner QB Baker Mayfield, are fighting for the Heisman. What it means is that Oklahoma could beat Baylor by 40 to 50 points.
Best Pick: Oklahoma -28.5
19 Mississippi State +6.5 at 12 Georgia -6.5
Do the good times keep coming with Mississippi State? Or, will Georgia prove that it deserves it’s Top 15 ranking? I believe the Mississippi State Bulldogs are real. Miss State held LSU to 7 points in a 37 to 7 win in their last. They could blow out Georgia on Sep. 23.
Best Pick: Mississippi State -6.5
22 Florida -3 at Kentucky +3
The Gators needed a Hail Mary to beat Tennessee 26 to 20 in their last. In 2 games so far this season, Florida has played Michigan, a loss, and Tennessee, a win. The Gators play Kentucky in Week 4.
The Wildcats aren’t that much of a step down. UK is 3 and 0 straight up. The Wildcats’ defense allows an average of 57 rushing yards per game. I like Kentucky to upset Florida on the money line.
Pick: Kentucky money line
Syracuse +23.5 at 23 LSU -23.5
The LSU Tigers were terrible in a 7 to 37 loss to Mississippi State in their last. Syracuse should be a much easier team for LSU to deal with, right? Maybe, not. The Orange go into this match up having trounced Central Michigan 41 to 17 as a -7.5 home favorite. 23.5 points is a lot. I think LSU wins. I don’t believe the Tigers beat the Orange by 24 points.
Pick: Syracuse +23.5
16 Auburn -19 at Missouri +19
Based on total yards allowed per game, the Auburn Tigers are ranked first in NCAAF. Opponents average 201 yards per game against Auburn’s defense. Missouri doesn’t have much of a shot of keeping this one close.
Pick: Auburn -19
25 San Diego State -3.5 at Air Force +3.5
Ranked San Diego State is undefeated. The 3 and 0 record is legit. The Aztecs beat ASU in Tempe 30 to 20 in their second game. They beat Stanford 20 to 17 in their third game. Air Force is a dynamite rushing team, but the Aztecs allow less than 92 rushing yards per game. Because Air Force can’t throw the football, I like San Diego State to cover the spread.
Pick: San Diego State -3.5
4 Penn State -12 at Iowa +12
Penn State is 2-0-1 against the spread in 3 games this season. To make matters worse for the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Nittany Lions are 12-2-2 ATS in their last 16 games. Penn State rolls.
Best Pick: Penn State -12
Notre Dame -4.5 at Michigan State +4.5
Some luster in Notre Dame’s rivalry with Michigan State has worn off. Notre Dame almost beat Georgia at home earlier in September. The Irish lost 19 to 20. Although the loss doesn’t look terrible, college football handicappers had bet Notre Dame to a +5.5 favorite. Michigan State’s defense allows around 205 total yards per game. That ranks 2nd in NCAAF. The Spartans win this game straight up.
Pick: Michigan State money line
24 Oregon -14.5 at Arizona State +14.5
Here’s another best pick. Arizona State is a shell of a program that it once was. ASU is 1-2 straight up this season. The Sun Devils are 0-3 against the spread. Expect the Ducks to beat ASU by at least 3 TDs on Saturday.
Best Pick: Oregon -14.5
6 Washington -10.5 at Colorado +10.5
The trends are all over Washington in this Pac 12 matchup versus Colorado on Sep. 23. Colorado is 1 and 5 ATS in their last 6 home games. Washington is 7 and 0 ATS in the last 7 meetings. The Huskies are 1 and 2 ATS this season. That’s not because Washington can’t blow out opponents. It’s because Washington coach Chris Petersen is a classy dude.
Best Pick: Washington -10.5
UCLA +7.5 at Stanford -7.5
Does this game matter? Not really. But, since both are name teams, I thought I should handicap it. My handicapping tells me that Stanford wins this game by around 10 points. The reason is because UCLA’s defense can’t stop any team from scoring over 40 on it while Stanford’s defense can at least hold the Bruins to 30 points.
Pick: Stanford -7.5