Betting Against the Spread: Week 4 Picks
Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.
By: Braden Gall | 9/23/11, 3:00 PM EDT
-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)
In Week 3 of the college football season, Houston and Nevada both won their games but failed to cover the spread. Auburn started out hot (14-0) but couldn't stop my grandmother on defense. However, I continued to move over .500 by using those late-night West Coast contest to bounce back (thanks Stanford, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State). And special thanks to Wyoming and Bowling Green for a late touchdown that gave me a 0.5 win in my only O/U bet of the season.
I will go back out to the West Coast and I will go heavy on the favorites to get the big wins...
Season Record ATS: 15-10-1 (4-3 last week)
Week 4's Top Picks:
1. Oregon (-15) at Arizona
The Wildcats are in the middle of one of the nastiest runs in all of college football. They have lost two straight, to Oklahoma State and Stanford, by allowing 37 points and well over 500 yards in each game. Both teams also covered the spread over Arizona. The Ducks have bounced back quite nicely after losing to LSU. They have scored 128 points in two games. Take the Ducks to roll in the desert. My Pick: Oregon -15
2. SMU (-22) at Memphis
Memphis’ defense has been downright atrocious, allowing 541.3 yards per game, good for 118th in the nation. Against FBS competition, the Tigers have allowed 106 points in two games. The Mustangs, despite the quarterback carousel, posted 416 yards through the air to go with five rushing touchdowns. Look for the Stangs to roll up a big numbers against one of the worst teams in the nation. My Pick: SMU -22
3. LSU (-5.5) at West Virginia
The Mountaineers have yet to play a complete football game in 2011. They played horrendous first halves in Week 1 and Week 2 before laying a total egg in the second half last weekend against Maryland. LSU has an NFL defensive line and running game that will make life incredibly difficult for Geno Smith. Look for LSU to grind it out, wear down the WVU defense and pull away late in the fourth. My Pick: LSU -5.5
4. UL-Lafayette (+16.5) at Florida International
One of the most improved and surprising teams in the nation is FIU. UL-Lafayette is ranked 114th in total offense and 94th in scoring defense, and will have no answer for do-everything dynamo T.Y. Hilton. FIU is 3-0 against the spread this season and should keep it rolling this weekend. My Pick: FIU -16.5
5. UAB (+14) at East Carolina
Bryan Ellis is banged up for UAB. Even he plays, the leg injury will slow him down. UAB has been outscored 88-10 in losses to Florida (no shame) and Tulane (much shame). East Carolina has played valiantly against superior competition in South Carolina and Virginia Tech. Look for Dom Davis and the Pirates' high-flying passing attack to light up the scoreboard. My Pick: ECU -14
6. Georgia (-10) at Ole Miss
One of the most startling scores in all of college football was Ole Miss trailing 30-0 heading into the fourth quarter last week against Vanderbilt. Georgia, on the other hand got off the schneid with a lopsided 59-0 win over Coastal Carolina. Aaron Murray and Isaiah Crowell are battle-tested, and Georgia has won four straight games in Oxford. Ole Miss has major quarterback issues, and the Dawgs will take advantage. My Pick: Georgia -10
7. Middle Tennessee (+12) at Troy
Troy has won five straight games over MTSU and has won the last four by an average of 27 points. This will be the home opener for Troy after two huge road tests against Clemson and Arkansas. Troy held its own in both games (so to speak) as Corey Robinson threw for 373 yards and three scores against the Hogs last week. My Pick: Troy -12
8. USC (+3) at Arizona State
Arizona State has lost five straight at home to USC, and the Trojans are clearly an improved football team from 2010. The Sun Devils' defense is also missing key pieces with injuries to corner Omar Bolden, linebacker Brandon Magee and end Junior Onyeali. Matt Barkley is playing great football and the Trojans played their best game of the season a week ago. The Sun Devils are 0-3 against the spread this season. My Pick: USC +3
9. Fresno State (-2.5) at Idaho
The Bulldogs slept-walked through a five-point win over North Dakota last weekend after two brutal losses at the hands of quality competition (at Cal, at Nebraska). Idaho ranks 106th in total offense and 89th in total defense after being smoked by Bowling Green and Texas A&M. Look for Robbie Rouse and Derek Carr to put up solid numbers on offense. My Pick: Fresno State -2.5
10. Florida State (+2.5) at Clemson
The Seminoles trigger man EJ Manuel is officially listed as questionable for this game. Should he not play, I reserve the right to take this one off the board. If he is in the line-up, the smart money goes on Florida State to bounce back. This is easily the best defense Clemson has faced as the Tigers will look a lot more like the team that struggled with Wofford rather than the one that turned it on against Auburn. The ACC Atlantic title could be on the line, so FSU will bounce back – if its star quarterback plays. My Pick: Florida State +2.5
3-0 Teams Against the Spread:
Arkansas State, Buffalo, Vanderbilt, Temple, Florida, Florida International, Georgia Tech, Navy, South Florida, Stanford
2-0 Teams Against the Spread:
Baylor, Boise State, East Carolina, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Texas Tech, Utah State
0-3 Teams Against the Spread:
Akron, Arizona State, Boston College, Central Michigan, Colorado State, UConn, Kent State, Nebraska, NC State, Penn State, Pitt, UCLA
0-2 Teams Against the Spread:
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