2018 CFB Picks: Week 4

Picks – 2 Units

All of these were given out on late Sunday night on Twitter.

INDIANA (+4.5) over Michigan State 

The line is now +5.

I’d say right now that there’s not a huge difference between the two teams. This line suggests that there’s a 7.5 or 8 point difference between the two. The Spartans have not appeared close to what they were expected to be heading into the season. Indiana’s really been more thoroughly dominant in their three wins than the final scores would indicate.

The Hoosiers aren’t the most explosive offense in the world, but that might suit them just fine in a game that will likely come down to ball control, turnovers, and field position.

MSU is 1-9 ATS in their last ten games as a favorite on the road. The Hoosiers won the last meeting between these two in Bloomington.

Northern Illinois (+10.5) over FLORIDA STATE

The line is now +10.

If FSU is going to suck so hard every week, I might as well recoup some of my loss from the season total bet that is in the shitter.

There aren’t many things that the Noles are good at right now, but if one thing really sticks out is that swiss cheese, turnstile-esque, alleged offensive line that they have. And that O-Line has to go against a character by the name of Sutton Smith. You probably haven’t heard of him, but he’s got 17 sacks in his last 16 games.

NIU can’t score, but at this point they have a Top 15 defense nationally. If the Noles can’t score once again this week, you have to start to wonder when it negatively impacts the mentality of the defense, also. They haven’t necessarily set the world on fire as it is.

TCU (-2.5) over TEXAS

The line is now -3.

I’m still firmly in the anti-Texas group. I’m not gonna be fooled by that 37-14 score they posted over USC. They gained a whopping 77 more yards and that’s with USC lacking any capability to run the ball and a banged-up true freshman QB.

TCU is the first offense Texas will play that actually has more than one dimension. Shawn Robinson made a couple of critical turnovers against Ohio State, but he still threw for 308 yards against the Buckeyes in his fourth career start. They’ve got a bevy of guys who can run the ball efficiently, including QB Robinson.

I have zero concern with a hangover from the Ohio State game for the Frogs. Gary Patterson is as good as it gets for preparing a team. And he owns Texas at this point. The last four years the Frogs have won this matchup by an AVERAGE of 30 points. They haven’t given up more than 10 points in any of those games. Since 2003, TCU is 47-7 as a road favorite and they’ve covered five of seven in the last couple years.

VANDERBILT (+2.5) over South Carolina

I will ride the Vandy train until it goes off the rails. South Carolina could be good. I don’t know. We haven’t seen anything to prove that they are.

I know Vandy is good at this point. They were dominant in the first two games against lesser opponents and then there was last week at Notre Dame. They lost the turnover battle 3-0, including a fumble at the one-yard line, missed a field goal, and settled for a field goal at the three. They lost by five, but they outgained the Irish and honestly looked like the better team in the final three quarters once they got settled down.

I’ll gladly take the 2.5, even though I don’t need it.

LOUISIANA MONROE (+7) over Troy

The line is now +4.5.

Always a good feeling to get 2.5 points of value. I’m not sure I’d take it at 4.5, but it should probably be 2.5 or 3.

Troy’s coming off of the big win at Nebraska. This is a big letdown spot for a couple of reasons. For starters, any time a Group of 5 beats a Power 5, you worry about the next week. And it’s a double whammy because Troy has the euphoria of the win, but honestly it didn’t really prove that much about them as a team. Why? Because it’s unclear if Nebraska is any good. They weren’t last year. They lost their opener at home to Colorado. And they didn’t have the services of stud freshman QB Adrian Martinez.

It could give the Trojans confidence, but it’s false confidence. Don’t forget, they were just a couple of weeks removed from being absolutely undressed by Boise State at home.

There’s also the part where Troy had a huge win last year at LSU and followed it up with a 19-8 loss at home to 4-8 South Alabama. I’m sure Neal Brown will remind them of that, but still.

Picks – 1 Unit

Clemson (-15) over GEORGIA TECH

Things I like:

  • Clemson just had a tune-up game against the option with Georgia Southern and gave up 7 points
  • The new cut blocking rules this year have made the option less effective
  • Clemson’s defense – especially up front – is ridiculous
  • GT is 1-9 all-time as a home dog of 7 points or more and hasn’t come close to covering under Paul Johnson

Mississippi State (-9) over KENTUCKY

I don’t know if Kentucky is actually good or not, but Mississippi State might be a Top 10 team and I’m going to hit you with the stat of all stats.

Here we go.

As a home underdog of 7 or more points, Kentucky has lost 18 straight and gone 3-15 ATS in those games with an average straight-up defeat of 22.2 PPG and an average ATS defeat of 8.0 PPG.

UNLV (+7.5) over ARKANSAS STATE

It’s late and I’m tired, but essentially it’s this: UNLV is a good running team, ASU has a poor rush defense. ASU relies on the pass, UNLV has a good pass defense. It should be 3 or less on the spread.

Texas State (+7) over UTSA

I guess the best way to put it is that I think both teams are somewhat equally bad. UTSA is 1-7 ATS in their last eight games as a favorite and they’ve scored a touchdown or less in four of those games.

Eastern Michigan (+12) over SAN DIEGO STATE

It’s only a single unit because EMU is on their third straight road game, but I’m not totally sure that it matters. EMU is just a dirty, grimy, grinding team…that has kind of learned how to throw the ball a little bit.

SDSU is coming off a big, dramatic win over Arizona State. I will say that I don’t think it matters much that Christian Chapman is out because he’s been a liability for years.

EMU is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as an underdog, which have all occurred in about a two-year span.

YTD: 14-13 (+1.0u)

Leans

Florida Atlantic (+13.5) over UCF

I don’t think UCF is two touchdowns better than FAU, but they’ve definitely had the more impressive start, even if it did come against atrocious teams.

Akron (+18.5) over IOWA STATE

This game is sandwiched between Iowa and Oklahoma on one side and TCU, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia on the other side for Iowa State. However, I think that letdown/look-ahead spot might be mitigated by Akron just beating Northwestern. Also tough to gauge how the Zips respond to beating their first Big Ten foe in literally forever.

MARSHALL (+5) over NC State

Tough to get a real read on either team yet, but Marshall might be a better team right now and they’re catching points at home.

PURDUE (+7) over Boston College

It’s the same angle on Purdue as last week. Just to vent a little in this space: Bill Connelly (who you should be following) does something called “Postgame Win Expectancy” where he takes the box score, runs it through the number machine, and it spits out how often that team would typically win the game based on the box score. Purdue is 0-3. Their PGWE is 3-0. They only had a 6% chance of going 0-3 and they are 0-3. Terrific.

Ohio (+8) over Cincinnati

I think Ohio is better than they’ve played so far, but Cincinnati has looked really good.

WAKE FOREST (+7.5) over Notre Dame

It’s hard to believe in a team that’s so one-dimensional offensively. Especially when they need to cover 7.5 on the road against a very underrated coach. However, Brandon Wimbush might be able to get it going this against a weak Wake pass defense.

GEORGIA STATE (+7.5) over Western Michigan

I still don’t think Western Michigan is good.

Rice (+14) over SOUTHERN MISS

I’m not sure Rice is horrendous.

Kansas (+7) over BAYLOR

Initially wrote this one down when Kansas was +9.5. I’m not sure the Jayhawks are better than Baylor, but they’ve definitely shown a lot more so far.

IOWA (+3) over Wisconsin

Probably would’ve taken this if Wisconsin hadn’t actually gone through with losing to BYU. This would almost assuredly be more points, as well. It’s also very difficult to believe in Iowa’s putrid offense so far, especially after their performance against the Badgers last year.

Arizona State (+17.5) over WASHINGTON

Washington’s offense has been pretty underwhelming so far and ASU provides a unique look defensively. Wouldn’t expect experienced QB Manny Wilkins to be intimidated going against the crowd in Seattle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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