I went 15-10 last week against the spread. I was skating around the point spreads all over the place. I won a few games by a point or two and also lost them by small margins. Vegas really hit the nail on the head on quite a few games last week.
Now that it is in the fourth week of college football, do you think we know these teams? No, it all changes this week with most of the games being conference games.
A new wrinkle starts to unfold when teams begin to face familiar opponents. We have past data, but past history only goes so far in college football since there is a fast turnover rate.
How will USC QB Sam Darnold fare against Cal’s upgraded defense?
We at ‘America’s White Boy’ pick 25 college football games against the spread in Week 4 of the NCAA Football season (September 23th, 2017). We also focus on small conference games…our bread and butter!
NC State at Florida State (-13) – My pick is NC State Wolfpack
NC State was expected to do pretty well this season. They are 2-1 on the season, but are 0-3 against the spread. I didn’t expect this large of a spread, so I might be hitting this one hard . FSU QB Deondre Francois was lost for the season in their only game of the season so far. QB James Blackman is eager to show what he can do. The Wolfpack were able to keep the Seminoles within a touchdown when they played last year. NC State QB Ryan Finley will be pressured and he will need to take care of the ball. This game could be won or lost by which team wins the battle in the trenches…specifically FSU’s offensive line vs. NC State’s front-seven. The Wolfpack has some mules down there that could ruin Blackman’s debut. I have to take the points.
Texas A&M at Arkansas (+2.5) – My pick is Texas A&M Aggies
This A&M squad is different than the last few under head coach Kevin Sumlin…and it’s his fault. He has signed top quarterback recruits, but then saw nearly all of them transfer out for some reason. They are now in this in-between phase with senior QB Jake Hubenak (who is dealing with an injured shoulder) and the highly-touted freshman QB Kellen Mond. Sumlin is known for his up-tempo passing attack. This year he has had to rely on the ground game. RBs Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford will be the guys who determine if the Aggies win at Arkansas. If Mond starts, he will be another threat on the ground. Arkansas hasn’t been able to stop the run well this year, so the Razorbacks could be in trouble. TCU ran on them and beat them by three touchdowns. I have to take A&M to cover.
Mississippi State at Georgia (-4.5) – My pick is Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State chocked the world with their dominant win over LSU last week. They stuffed RB Derrius Guice and shutout LSU in the second-half. If MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald keeps up his numbers, he could put his name in the Heisman conversation. He grew up a Georgia fan, but didn’t get a scholarship offer. You know he will come into this game absolute jacked. Georgia has a great run defense, but they haven’t faced a QB who can run…specifically a 6’5 quarterback who can run. Mississippi State defense will try to ruin Georgia freshman QB Jake Fromm perfect record. This will be a fun game to watch. I have to take the points. Mississippi State has impressed me a lot so far this season.
Florida at Kentucky (+2.5) – My pick is Florida Gators
I should have this stat burned in my head, but every year when Kentucky plays Florida, I have to Google when the last time the Wildcats beat the Gators…it was 1986. Yes, it’s been 30 years of mostly blowouts by the Gators. Kentucky did force overtime in 2014, but fell short. Florida won 45-7 last year in a game that saw UK QB Stephen Johnson officially given the starting job after QB Drew Barker struggled early. I know the 3-0 record for Kentucky looks great, but I think they will fall short once again. The Wildcats will still have a great season and go to a bowl game, but even with Florida’s quarterback issues, I have to take the Gators.
Penn State at Iowa (+12.5) – My pick is Penn State Nittany Lions
This line shocked me a bit. I guess just seeing Iowa +12.5 is odd since they may have only been double-digit underdogs at home maybe once or twice in the last two decades. I have to say the point spread is warranted with Penn State studs RB Saquon Barkley and QB Trace McSorley. They are the best QB/RB combo in the Big Ten. Barkley had 167 yards rushing on 20 carries in their 41-14 win over Iowa last year. That game was in Happy Valley, so this game could be closer. It is hard to handicap Iowa since they haven’t played an opponent on their level (sorry, Iowa State). Their win over Wyoming was solid, but they didn’t impressed me against Iowa State or North Texas. The Nittany Lions are just on a different level. I have to take them to cover at
Notre Dame at Michigan State (+4) – My pick is Notre Dame Fighting Irish
I guess it’s weird to see Michigan State +4 at home too. Anyway, this Michigan State team isn’t one of the past Spartan teams that smoked Notre Dame. This year’s team isn’t as deep and has to rely on their defense much more than normal. It also doesn’t help Michigan State that they have fumbled seven times in their last two games and lost four of those. Notre Dame is a good team, not great, but we’re not asking them to be great this weekend. All they need to do is have QB Brandon Wimbush take care of the ball, keep moving the ball forward and let RB Josh Adams do the rest. Notre Dame’s offensive line will have their hands full, but I’m taking a cover on the road.
UCLA at Stanford (-7.5) – My pick is UCLA Bruins
UCLA games have been a lot of fun to watch so far. QB Josh Rosen currently leads the nation in passing yards and passing touchdowns. I had a man crush on him before last season, but he got injured, then USC QB Sam Darnold stole my heart. Rosen is making a play for my heart again. The Bruins defense sucks, but his arm has kept them in games. Stanford QB Keller Chryst is off to a horrible start. I haven’t been a fan of him and I enjoy betting against teams led by him. Stanford’s defense could make this game close, but I have no faith in the Cardinal covering this spread, so I’m taking the points.
TCU at Oklahoma State (-13.5) – My pick is Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State has been in my sights early this season. They have a special offense that can cover some large spreads. Their defense is also better than most teams in the Big 12 as well. OSU QB Mason Rudolph doesn’t turn over the ball. It helps that he throws for 350+ yards a game too. I will take the opportunity to bet against TCU QB Kenny Hill more times than not. He has regressed since he transferred to TCU. I’m taking the Cowboys to cover at home.
USC at California (+17) – My pick is California Golden Bears
As I said earlier, I have special man feelings for USC QB Sam Darnold. Unfortunately, he has been a box office bomb in Hollywood so far this season. I just see a guy who is trying to force throws. He didn’t have this kind of spotlight on him for most of last season. Darnold had five touchdowns against Cal last year, when the Golden Bears defense was as impenetrable as a three-foot high chain-link fence. New Cal head coach Justin Wilcox made it priority #1 to completely overhaul their defense. They new a defensive-minded coach was needed and frankly a nice change-of-pace in the pass-friendly Pac-12. The Golden Bears are getting better and better on defense every week. USC will most likely win this game, but I don’t trust this high of a point spread, so I’ll take the points in Berkeley.
Ohio at Eastern Michigan (-2.5) – My pick is Eastern Michigan Eagles
This is when we pick a game with smaller conference teams. What is the polar opposite of a ‘public team’? Eastern Michigan has such a bad rap with Vegas and with bettors. I know the struggle cause I still feel weird laying a single dime on the Eagles. I’ve bet against them soooo much in the past. In their last ten games, they are 8-2 ATS. Ohio will get some love due to their win over Kansas last week, but EMU come in this game with fresh legs. Their defense will stymie the Bobcats offense enough to cover the spread at home.
Texas Tech at Houston (-6) – My pick is Texas Tech
Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech (-7.5) – My pick is Georgia Tech
Washington at Colorado (+10.5) – My pick is Washington
Central Florida at Maryland (-3.5) – My pick is Maryland
Wake Forest at Appalachian State (+4.5) – My pick is Wake Forest
Oklahoma at Baylor (+27.5) – My pick is Oklahoma
West Virginia at Kansas (+21) – My pick is West Virginia
Michigan at Purdue (+10) – My pick is Purdue
Georgia Southern at Indiana (+24) – My pick is Indiana
Alabama at Vanderbilt (+18.5) – My pick is Vanderbilt
Virginia at Boise State (-12) – My pick is Boise State
Ball State at Western Kentucky (-7.5) – My pick is Western Kentucky
Hawaii at Wyoming (-6.5) – My pick is Wyoming
Cincinnati at Navy (-11.5) – My pick is Navy
Utah State at San Jose State (+2.5) – My pick is Utah State
Sweetbob’s college football picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.