LB looks at the NCAAF Week Four fixtures and picks his best bets and upsets across all of College Football.
Another week, another mixed bag of results. I went for two big upsets in UTSA and Nebraska and got both calls completely wrong. For me personally it is a valuable lesson to not chase underdogs, not to force it. Notre Dame’s slow start let down my parlay and Tommy Rees summed up my feeling on that one. The entirely predictable monster Minnesota win minimized my losses and was the only bright light of Week 3, although we’re off to a winning start after Week 4 TNF.
James Madison @ App State
It’s not hard to enjoy what’s going on with JMU this year. What’s harder, however, is to get an accurate gauge on how good this team actually is. Whatever their true level, I have no doubt that App State has a hell of a lot more talent. There is of course the risk Mountaineers are suffering from a Hail Mary hangover so I won’t make this a 2 Unit play, but I cannot see how they fail to win by 7 points. The Boone crowd is probably worth half that alone.
UCLA @ Colorado
I like UCLA but my logic for this bet is almost exactly the same as my winning bet against Colorado last week. Plenty of sports bettors look for “reversion to the mean” and start to bet struggling teams when the lines get this big, myself included. In this case, however, I cannot see any reversion coming for the Buffaloes. They are simply dire on offense, and have managed just one single play of more than 30 yards – in three games! Impressively, their defense is even worse, ranked 131st (out of 131) for defensive success. Against hardly stellar opposition they have allowed 38, 41 and 49 points so far. The Bruins are better than last year in my book and Colorado have worsened quite a bit – and UCLA won this fixture 44-20 in 2021 – and they should comfortably cover the 21 point spread. They nearly slipped on a South Alabama shaped banana peel last week so that should help maintain concentration this week. Despite putting up some big scores their offense still needs work and Chip Kelly will use this as a confidence booster.
Florida @ Tennessee
I don’t have a lot to say on this one. I was not convinced by Tennessee during the Summer and I have seen nothing to make me change my mind. The Vols have been a bit lucky, with opponents only managing to score on 2 out of 10 red zone entries so far. Hooker, who has a tendency to push things too far when the pressure comes on, has not thrown an interception yet either. The Florida offense has stumbled a bit after that Utah win but there is no doubt about the talent. Here is a case where I can see some revision to the mean. The Gators have won 15 of the last 16 meetings too.
USC @ Oregon State
USC has been insanely efficient – and lucky – so far and I think this trip to Corvallis could be an eye opener. They have faced just nine 3rd downs all season on offense, due to a combination of their own talent and a soft schedule. They have also benefited from some fairly fortuitous turnovers. Despite that, The Trojans have coughed up 380 yards per game against Fresno, Stanford and Rice and are 81st for points allowed. I’m happy to take a shot on the home dogs picking up 7 points, especially as they have a 6-0 ATS record at Reser Stadium. For the contrarians out there, 80% of the public bets so far are on USC.
Two Dogs Ready To Bark
There are two tight games where I will take a shot on the underdogs this week. Baylor travel to Iowa State and pick up 3 points on the road. At a neutral venue I would make The Bears favorites by a touchdown and a straight up win here would surprise nobody. Utah State host an upward bound UNLV and I fancy The Aggies to finally click. Bonner has not looked himself but I put that down to the beating at ‘Bama.
James Madison @ App State: App State -7
UCLA @ Colorado: UCLA -21
UCLA @ Colorado: 1st Quarter UCLA -6.5
Florida @ Tennessee: Florida +11
Florida @ Tennessee: Florida Moneyline Win @ +310 (31/10)
USC @ Oregon State: Oregon State +5.5
USC @ Oregon State: Oregon State Moneyline Win @ +200 (2/1)
Baylor @ Iowa State: Baylor +3
UNLV @ Utah State: Utah State +3
UNLV & Baylor moneyline win doube @ +400 (4/1)