Considering how weak the slate was on paper, Week 3 provided a lot of close games. This week is loaded with multiple great games, but the value is outside of those.
Week 4 College Football Picks and Predictions
Last Week: 3-4-0 (0.428)
This Season: 13-15-0 (0.481)
Overall Record: 94-99-3 (0.487)
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All lines are via Draft Kings Sportsbook. You can find the best available odds from sportsbooks all over the country below as well.
The Mustangs have performed well this season. Maybe that has something to do with them heading to the ACC next season. Rhett Lashlee is building something in the heart of Dallas, TX, and his recruiting has shown, thus far.
QB Preston Stone has been a steady hand for the Mustangs, leading a potent offense without a single player over 155 rushing or receiving yards through three games. They have been both steady and explosive and stayed competitive throughout against Oklahoma.
Last week, I faded TCU against Houston, and they didn’t just cover the 7.5-point spread — they covered that by an additional 15.5 points. They have found a way to consistently move the football on offense and be stifling on defense, despite a rotating cast of characters from last season.
The key here will be TCU running the ball with Emani Bailey and Trey Sanders against a solid, but beatable, rush defense. With their above-average success rate on the ground and third-best EPA/rush, TCU should take this one by 10 or more points.
Bet: TCU -6.5 (-108)
Western Kentucky +3.5 (-110) vs. Troy -3.5 (-110)
The Hilltoppers played a good first 25 minutes against Ohio State before they took over and ran up 63 points on the Hilltoppers. QB Austin Reed made some impressive throws during the game, but the talent gap was just too much for them to overcome.
The receiving corps has taken a hit. Michael Mathison is still out with a hip injury, and Dalvin Smith has a hamstring injury. Still, Malachi Corley is back healthy and looked the part against the Buckeyes.
Troy has not looked great on offense so far. They put up 48 points on Stephen F. Austin but only 27 combined points against their two FBS opponents — James Madison and Kansas State. The real concern here is the running game. Kimari Vidal ran for 248 yards in the opener against SFA, but only totaled 110 yards in their two losses combined.
What is worrisome for the Hilltoppers is their run defense. They currently rank 129th in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game with 244.3. They did allow 374 yards in the opener to South Florida, which was an astronomical amount.
Last year, the Hilltoppers lost by seven points to the Trojans in a tough game offensively for WKU. This year, they will be playing a much more complete game and taking advantage of a defense that isn’t up to the same caliber as last year. With the explosiveness of the Hilltoppers’ passing game, they’ll avenge their loss from last year.
Bet: Western Kentucky +3.5 (-110)
This is the game that everyone will have their eyes on for the 3:30 P.M. ET window. The Buffaloes have been taking the college football world by storm, and it starts with QB Shedeur Sanders. He has thrown for 1,251 yards and 10 touchdowns across his three starts and has looked dominant at times.
The really impressive thing about the Buffaloes is how they have gelled so early on in Deion Sanders’ rebuild. They have been put into adversity and come out of it with flying colors while still playing consistent football.
The real weakness of this team is the running game. Totaling just 183 rushing yards on the season, CU hasn’t been able to establish it consistently. With the passing game as successful as it has been, the lack of a rush attack hasn’t mattered.
The Ducks have looked great so far this season. They put up 81 points on Portland State to start the year and followed it up with an impressive win at Texas Tech in the Former Ducks’ QB Tyler Shough’s revenge game.
Current Oregon QB Bo Nix has looked both impressive and unimpressive at the same time for the Ducks. The scheme does a great job of minimizing his weaknesses and helping him attack downfield with explosive plays.
The running game is a big factor in their success, averaging 229.3 yards per game. RB Bucky Irving is one of three backs averaging more than 7.3 yards per carry, and they have gashed defenses consistently in many ways.
What is really intriguing is that Oregon is 3-0 against the spread, which is likely to be broken, unless Oregon wins by exactly 21. With how Colorado has played, they will find a way to stay with Oregon even without two-way superstar Travis Hunter.
Bet: Colorado +21 (-110)
Miami (FL) -23.5 (-110) vs. Temple +23.5 (-110)
Temple is 2-1? You heard that right — Temple is 2-1! It’s not often that you see an Owls team with a winning record, but that is what we have here. The Owls are led by QB E.J. Warner, the son of Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. He has been solid in his second season as quarterback for the Owls, but they haven’t been able to take the next step.
Speaking of taking the next step, Miami is trying to take a step forward after struggling mightily in the first year under Mario Cristobal. QB Tyler Van Dyke has taken a massive step forward this year and showed so against Texas A&M with 374 yards and five touchdowns.
He has been the catalyst for the Hurricanes’ success this season and finally looks healthy, unlike last season. What’s been most impressive with “The U” is their success on both sides of the ball. They are third in net points per drive on offense, while also being second in net points allowed on defense. That type of complementary football is key to making a run to both win the ACC and potentially a national title.
This game could be a bloodbath for the Hurricanes, as they are primed to take things to the next level.
Bet: Miami -23.5 (-110)
Sam Houston +12 (-110) vs. Houston -12 (-110)
The Bearkats haven’t had the easiest time so far during their first season in the FBS. In their two games, the offense has only put up three total points. The saving grace for them is that their defense has been excellent and only allowed 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Luckily for Sam Houston, this is their time to get out of the doldrums. Houston’s defense has allowed a ton of rushing yards this season and is the third-worst defense in terms of success rate in the nation.
The Cougars’ offense is also struggling. Their EPA/pass is 127th and EPA/rush is 129th. Houston isn’t playing successful football and arguably hasn’t all season. They did beat UTSA 17-14 but got down 28-0 against Rice and got lambasted by TCU last week.
QB Donovan Smith has to find a way to be more consistent in passing the ball — a completion percentage of 56.8% is not conducive to winning football games. The Bearkats have been really good against the pass this season, and that will be a hindrance to Houston taking control. Sam Houston gets their second cover against a Power Five opponent.
Bet: Sam Houston +12 (-110)
Nevada +17 (-110) vs. Texas State -17 (-110)
The Wolfpack has been down since Jay Norvell left for Colorado State. The program needed to be rebuilt, and Ken Wilson has this team on the right track. Still, they aren’t quite there yet. Stringing performances together like they did against Kansas will take them to the next level.
The issue is that they aren’t quite there yet. They lost to FCS Idaho 33-6 and got walloped by USC 66-14. They will have plenty of issues when head to face Texas State in San Marcos.
G.J. Kinne has the Bobcats rolling so far this season. They lost to UTSA by seven in San Antonio, but an upset in Week 1 over Baylor and dropping 77 on Jackson State with 56 of them at halftime last week isn’t a mistake. This offense is rocking and rolling, and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon.
With the Wolfpack surrendering 43.3 points per game, it won’t change this week. Texas State should roll here and win by 30-plus.
Bet: Texas State -17 (-110)
Cal +20.5 (-110) vs. Washington -20.5 (-110)
Is Cal going to come into this game with a myriad of injuries once again? They were missing multiple key contributors, including RB Jadyn Ott. That hindered them against FCS opponent Idaho, but they came out ahead 31-17.
QB Sam Jackson V has been a solid starter, both on the ground and through the air, but they are facing a juggernaut in the Huskies.
Not only is Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. a Heisman Trophy candidate, but he leads the top passing offense in success rate and second overall offense. They have three elite receivers in Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, and Ja’Lynn Polk to take advantage of defenses, and they have annihilated every defense they have faced this year by at least 41 points.
This is a larger spread, but the Cal defense doesn’t have enough to stop the potent Washington offense. They will take control of the game early and put the Bears away.
Bet: Washington -20.5 (-110)