Free College Football Picks and Predictions – Week 4 Best Bets, Saturday September 25, 2021Sep 23, 2021 at 12:35AM
Prospector Sam has arrived with your free NCAAF betting picks for the Week 4 action!
After 3 weeks of college football, somehow it feels like we know less than we did before the year started. Alabama is playing a game of Jekyll and Hyde, Ohio State can barely pull away from Tulsa, Clemson is surviving last minute drives by Georgia Tech, and Michigan might be the best looking team in the country (that’s a joke guys, it’s Michigan. Nobody believes this will hold up). The bigger development, though, may be the danger that refs pose at the moment to any given game.
As a general rule, I try not to be too tough on the zebras because they’re human (despite what I said literally 3 words ago) and their job isn’t easy. But MY GOD did we have some moments of pure ineptitude over the weekend that would have made Angel Hernandez blush. I’m not going to bore you with a laundry list of mistakes, but being able to count the downs correctly (there are 4 and your toddler can do it) feels like a pretty basic expectation (unless you’re the PSU-Auburn crew). Oh, and whatever the hell happened on that Memphis-Mississippi State punt will go down as one of the most bizarre events in college football history. I didn’t bet it, so I don’t have a dog in the fight, but I will say it was good (and surprising) to find out that a majority of the state of Mississippi is, in fact, literate since they were all bitching about it on twitter.
So here’s to hoping we learn a little bit more this week and win some money along the way. I’m not necessarily ready to blame the refs if things go wrong, but I reserve the right to point to the previous paragraph if they do.
Without further ado, picks ⤵️
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Free NCAAF Picks For Week 4, 2021
Missouri vs. Boston College, Sat Sept 25, 12:00pm (EST)
I’ve avoided writing about my Eagles so far this year, but they’re finally playing a meaningful game so let’s put some chips on the table. I’m biased, so take everything here with a grain of salt, but I think this is a game they should handle. Neither of these teams has passed a tough test yet, with BC winning 3 games against teams that blew over like a paper bag and Missouri doing the same twice with a loss mixed in to Kentucky. But the key to this matchup hinges on the BC offense vs the Missouri defense, where the Eagles have a crucial advantage. Phil Jurkovec is the best QB this program has had in a while, and his arm allows the Eagles to use their solid offensive line to beat teams with both the run and pass. Missouri’s defense, meanwhile, is an absolute mess that’s giving up over 450 yards per game despite games with two weak opponents. BC may not be throwing up basketball numbers like some CFB programs these days, but they’re going to be able to carve Missouri up like a Thanksgiving turkey, and the Tigers will have to keep up offensively if they want a shot. This may be personal optimism, but I just don’t see it. Missouri’s offense is fairly one dimensional and they rely too heavily on the passing game, which will allow any decent defense to provide extra cover and force them to run the ball. Missouri doesn’t have the personnel to do that effectively, and I think BC handles this game in Chestnut Hill. Take the underdog for a win here.
⛏️ PICK: Boston College ML (-110, 1 unit)
Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin, Sat Sept 25, 12:00pm (EST)
The first item to be very aware of when you look at this game is that it’s being played at Soldier field, so while Wisconsin is the “home team” they’re not actually at home (in fact, they’re likely going to see stands filled with obnoxious Irish fans who never even went to the school). As for the matchup itself, I don’t know how you can feel confident in either of these teams right now. The Irish have struggled pretty heavily against weak competition and continue to drop in the rankings despite winning games (which is both impressive and sad). Wisconsin have looked pretty flat in both games, including a home loss to PSU where they scored 10 points, and Graham Mertz has somehow regressed despite the low expectations that already existed (0 TDs through 2 games feels like a problem). So what’s the play? Take the fucking points. Notre Dame is getting 6 here, which is only justifiable if you think that somehow Wisconsin’s loss to PSU was a decent result against the Nittany Lions. Good for them, I guess, but I’m just not ready to pat them on the back for losing by “only 6.” This game is probably going to be ugly and filled with mistakes, and I can’t justify either team pulling away. If that’s the case, I’ll gladly gobble up the extra 6.5 before the kickoff and let things play out from there.
⛏️ PICK: Notre Dame +6.5 (1.5 units)
Texas Tech vs. Texas, Sat Sept 25, 12:00pm (EST)
Points, points, and even more points. I’m not hiding the ball on this pick, because I’m so damn excited for a game I expect to be a traditional Big-12 shootout that features absolutely 0 defense and tons of touchdowns. The Red Raiders are 3-0 but haven’t really beaten anyone all that good. That’s sort of telling, but not nearly as telling as the fact that they haven’t been able to hold any opponent under 20 points so far. When you’re conceding that many to FIU and Stephen F. Austin, you’ve got issues on defense and things are only going to get worse against Texas. If we assume the Longhorns are going to put up around 35-40 with Sark’s offense (which I think is a fair assumption), we only need about 25 from TTU which also seems likely. In the only meaningful game the Longhorns played this year they gave up 40 points, and they’re conceding an average of 367 YPG. As long as Tyler Shough continues to move the offense effectively (and there’s no reason to expect he won’t) this game could get crazy pretty fast. Over 61.5 is a decently large hill to climb, but I think these experienced hikers should have no problem reaching the summit (I guess I make long winded and strange metaphors now? I don’t know).
⛏️ PICK: Total points OVER 61.5 (2 units)
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, Sat Sept 25, 3:30pm (EST)
Despite some strong performances by Arkansas to start the year, I think it’s probably a fact that A&M is a better team. The problem is, the Aggies can’t seem to score which makes it very hard to win games by a lot of points. They barely squeaked by Colorado a couple of weeks ago, and their other two wins have been against programs who couldn’t compete with their athleticism. Arkansas isn’t going to have that issue, which means the Aggies are going to have to get more out of Zach Calzada if they want to win this game comfortably, but that just seems to be asking a lot right now. This offense was always destined to falter after losing Kellen Mond, but Calzada’s only completing about 50% of his passes which is a HUGE problem and will cripple this team until he improves. Looking at the Razorbacks, everything seems to be going swimmingly at the moment (almost too good, if we’re being honest). The win over Texas was a solid beatdown, and they look strong enough to be competitive against everyone not named Alabama and Georgia in the SEC. The spread is sitting at 5.5, and I just don’t see how you can give up that much on this A&M team against a quality opponent. Take the points.
⛏️ PICK: Arkansas +5.5 (1.5 units)
UTSA vs. Memphis, Sat Sept 25, 3:30pm (EST)
This isn’t a sexy game, but it’s got some serious value so we aren’t going to pass it up. Memphis is a legitimately strong program who beat SEC competition last weekend (regardless of how many gifts they were given by the officiating crew). UTSA, meanwhile, is an up and coming program who have impressed over the last two years, but their best win this season is against Illinois and they simply don’t have the talent to keep up with higher level college football programs. UTSA’s strength is also in their defense, and unfortunately for them there really isn’t all that much you can do to stop this Memphis team from scoring even if you want to. Seth Henigan will carve them up, and I don’t believe UTSA will be able to keep pace at a tough stadium to go into and win. With a 3 point spread I see a ton of value in the Tigers here, and I think they win this by 7+.
⛏️ PICK: Memphis -3 (2 units)
Georgia State vs. Auburn, Sat Sept 25, 4:00pm (EST)
Auburn had a tough night against Penn State last weekend, falling by 8 to the Nittany Lions in a game where they looked a bit overmatched. The good news? Their bread and butter is back; beating up on awful teams. Auburn put up 60 and 62 points in their two wins this season (facing borderline FBS opponents) and get another crack at the “points pinata” against Georgia State, who gave up 43 to Army and 59 to UNC. And, given those numbers, I’m playing this game two ways. Auburn should be able to handle Georgia State by more than 27, considering the Panthers have lost to worse teams by more than that number twice on the year. I also think 57 is a pretty low total here, based on the amount of offense Auburn looks likely to put up and the fact that they clearly aren’t interested in showing any mercy, and I think the over hit. Play ‘em both, and let’s see if we can get 2 for the price of one in a game you probably aren’t going to want to watch but can flip to for some entertainment in between important matchups.
⛏️ PICK: Total points OVER 57 (1 unit), Auburn -27 (1 unit)
Tennessee vs. Florida, Sat Sept 25, 7:00pm (EST)
Florida won over a lot of hearts last weekend with a late push against Alabama that saw them come within a two point conversion of making things very ugly for the Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, that two point conversion also summed up the failures of this Gators team right now; inconsistent QB play and bad decision making. Sure, the Gators made an impressive comeback, but that had a lot to do with Bama taking their foot off the pedal and the fact that Florida got so far down because Emory Jones is extremely erratic throwing the ball. How erratic? He has 2 passing touchdowns and 5 INTs this season. The Gators are a strong team, and will beat Tennessee, the question is just by how much. In my opinion, 20 is a bit too large of an ask. The Vols are still a below average SEC team and they’re a long way down from their glory days, but they have decent enough talent to hang with a Florida unit that’s mistake prone and relies heavily on the run game. That strategy plays into Tennessee’s defensive strength, since the Vols allow just 54 YPG rushing on the season, and I think they can hang around in this one long enough to cover the spread. Even if things get a bit dicey, this number is right in the danger zone for back door covers, and something tells me Tennessee will fight to keep this scoreline from being an embarrassment. Take the points.
⛏️ PICK: Tennessee +20 (1 unit)
Nebraska vs. MSU, Sat Sept 25, 7:00pm (EST)
Once again, we have a line that appears oddly skewed by a “good loss,” and I’ll gladly take the value. While Nebraska did well to hold up against a top 5 Oklahoma team last week, that had a lot more to do with the Sooners’ ineptitude and overblown expectations than Nebraska being all that good. This is the same team that lost to Illinois in their opener, and anyone following the Illini knows how bad that looks right now. MSU, meanwhile, have defied all expectations (including my own stupidity) and look like a halfway decent team. Sure, beating up on Miami isn’t all that impressive, but Payton Thorne looks incredible and this team can score in bunches. When the Spartans start facing some tough competition it may make sense to start fading them if lines overcompensate too much, but against Nebraska I feel good about only giving up 5 points on MSU. They should handle this one comfortably at home.
⛏️ PICK: MSU -5 (1 unita)
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