Last week did not have much in the way of marquee matchups. Of the teams in last week’s AP Top 25 that played, 18 either faced FCS opponents or were favored by at least three touchdowns. This week will be a lot more interesting with five games between ranked opponents led by No. 6 Ohio State at No 9 Notre Dame. One of those games is among my picks this week.
Each week, I will use this space to tell you what I think are a few of the best bets heading into the weekend. I will also throw in an upset of the week, which will be a team that is at least a touchdown underdog that I am picking to win outright.
I will also give you picks on other games involving potential College Football Playoff teams. This early in the season, any major conference team that hasn’t lost twice yet is technically still a CFP candidate. So for now, I’ll go with the top 12 teams in the current AP Top 25.
Week 3 was unkind, but I am not ready to give up yet. I’m back to .500 on the season and still looking for the first hit on the upset special Here are this week’s picks.
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Week 4 picks
No. 24 Iowa at No. 7 Penn State (O/U 40)
Iowa’s much maligned offense put up 41 points on Western Michigan last week. That is noteworthy because that is typically a two game total for the Hawkeyes. There is no reason to believe that Iowa can put up numbers like that in Big Ten games, especially one in Happy Valley. The Hawkeyes defense will slow Penn State some, but their offense will go back to its typical slumber. Pick: Under 40
Cal at No. 8 Washington (-21)
Washington has been laying waste to its schedule so far. The team to come closest to the Huskies was Michigan State last week. The Spartans lost by 34 only because Washington mostly put the passing game in mothballs in the second half. I like Cal, but the Bears are not at least two touchdowns better than everyone else Washington has played. Pick: Washington -21
Syracuse seems to bring out the worst in Purdue, as evidenced again last Saturday in the Boilermakers’ loss to the Orange. However, nobody has Purdue’s number like Wisconsin, which has not lost to the Boilermakers since 2003. Look for the Badgers’ running game to wear down the Purdue defense and for Wisconsin to cruise to a comfortable win. Pick: Wisconsin -6
Upset of the Week
Boise State (-7) at San Diego State, Friday
Boise State has not looked like the team many picked to win the Mountain West this season. Washington annihilated the Broncos to start the season and then UCF defeated them at home, a place they rarely lose. Boise State was held under 20 points in both losses. The Aztecs beat Ohio, one of the better teams in the MAC, to start the season but struggled to score against two of the Pac-12’s better teams in the last two games. The over/under is 45 and I like the under as well. If the point total is below that, the Aztecs have a good shot. Pick: San Diego State +7
Other CFP candidates
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 4, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $2,500 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons — and find out.