College Capper: Week 4 Best Bets

College Capper: Week 4 Best Bets

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

Chris' Picks

When you're as cold as I am, you take any break you can get. Those breaks include posting Iowa at -22.5, it closing at -23.5 and the Hawkeyes winning by 23. Good times! I even hit a total last week, which our loyal readers know is not my strong suit. Just some bad beats last week. Coastal was driving for a covering touchdown, tossed a pick and let down, allowing Buffalo to keep it close. Marshall was coasting before being outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter. Time for a hot streak.

Missouri (-2) at Boston College

Breaking down this game statistically, Boston College checked a lot of boxes. They are stout defensively, they want to run the ball which is Misouri's weakness, and the Tigers don't have a go-to when they have the ball. But the absence of Eagles QB Phil Jurkovec is too much for me to get over. They somehow managed 28 points against Temple last week despite Dennis Grosel averaging 3.9 yards per pass attempt, finishing with 238 yards of total offense, seven less than the Owls. I just don't see how the Eagles score, let alone score enough, against a Power 5 opponent. 

Louisville (-2) at Florida State

Last week, there were some games I felt were traps and stayed away from with varying success. This one screams that, but the number is slow low we really only need a win, and it hasn't moved much since opening, so FSU is clearly getting some

Chris' Picks

When you're as cold as I am, you take any break you can get. Those breaks include posting Iowa at -22.5, it closing at -23.5 and the Hawkeyes winning by 23. Good times! I even hit a total last week, which our loyal readers know is not my strong suit. Just some bad beats last week. Coastal was driving for a covering touchdown, tossed a pick and let down, allowing Buffalo to keep it close. Marshall was coasting before being outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter. Time for a hot streak.

Missouri (-2) at Boston College

Breaking down this game statistically, Boston College checked a lot of boxes. They are stout defensively, they want to run the ball which is Misouri's weakness, and the Tigers don't have a go-to when they have the ball. But the absence of Eagles QB Phil Jurkovec is too much for me to get over. They somehow managed 28 points against Temple last week despite Dennis Grosel averaging 3.9 yards per pass attempt, finishing with 238 yards of total offense, seven less than the Owls. I just don't see how the Eagles score, let alone score enough, against a Power 5 opponent. 

Louisville (-2) at Florida State

Last week, there were some games I felt were traps and stayed away from with varying success. This one screams that, but the number is slow low we really only need a win, and it hasn't moved much since opening, so FSU is clearly getting some action. The 'Noles are in shambles; offensively, defensively, mentally, their fan base...it's a never-ending list. I don't trust the Cards' defense completely, nor their passing game that is struggling to create plays downfield. But QB Malik Cunningham's legs, paired with RB Jalen Mitchell's workhorse role, and I trust they'll not suffer a letdown after last week's emotional win over UCF. For what it's worth, this week's line I don't understand is Liberty (-6.5) at Syracuse. There's no way the Orange win, right?

Kentucky (-5) at South Carolina

Most predictive models have this game as a pick 'em, which I find a bit odd as I think we're getting value on the Wildcats thanks to last week's lackluster showing against Chattanooga. We know they always bring a bruising rushing attack, this time spearheaded by Chris Rodriguez. But they're more balanced in 2021, and offer big-play potential thanks to QB Will Levis, WR Wan'Dale Robinson and OC Liam Coen. The Gamecocks get Luke Doty back fully under center, and Josh Vann is emerging as a big-play wideout. But their offensive line is an absolute mess, and it's limiting their vaunted rushing attack and resulting in plenty of negative plays. They won't score enough to keep this within a score.

Kansas State (+6) at Oklahoma State

K-State took care of business without QB Skylar Thompson, and while they won't be able to run the ball down the Pokes throat here as they did against Nevada, I'm not sure I buy the OSU run defense yet either, as it hasn't been tested. At worst, the rushing attempts pile up and bleed clock. Something isn't right with Mike Gundy's offense that seems to be lacking receiving playmakers. They rank 103rd in passing offense and 98th in scoring. The passing game is so bad, they ran 57 times at Boise last week. That again, bleeds clock. KSU is allowing an unsustainable yet eye-opening 1.93 yards per carry. A low-scoring contest awaits, and I'll take the points as such.

Over 63.5, Indiana at Western Kentucky

I wavered between the total and the Hilltoppers at (+9), as WKU is off a bye week, gets a Power 5 school at home, and IU is coming off of a physical loss to Cincinnati. They are certainly a lively dog. But I surprisingly feel better about a total for a second straight week. WKU makes a Mike Leach-coached team look like a triple-option service academy offensively. This passing attack is averaging 456.5 YPG, and scored 35 points with just 20:02 time of possession against Army. Indiana has allowed 72 points to Cincy and Iowa, and what, if any, the Hilltoppers don't get, the Hoosiers will make up for, as we don't expect much resistance from the WKU rush defense. 70 total points, at least.

Last week: 2-3; Season: 9-10

GREG'S PICKS

The 2021 season has not started as well as the 2020 season, but I've managed to avoid the disastrous week. Now, you start racking up a bunch of bad weeks and suddenly the season is a disaster, but it won't take long to turn this around and heck, I'm only two games under .500 heading into this week.

Last week I had two wins; one on Michigan State, which won outright as a dog, and Cincinnati, which started slowly, but finished strong and covered in the end. The losses were pretty bad and it started with a bizarre Oklahoma-Nebraska game, which was oddly disjointed from the beginning. Neither team found any momentum on offense, which was strange since neither team can play a lick of defense. The other two losses were on Ohio State, which was never above the number, and Alabama, which was above the number, only to stall in the 2nd half.

All lines courtesy of the DraftKings Sportsbook

Fresno State (-30) vs UNLV

I'm a little wary of taking Fresno State in this spot off a big road win at UCLA this past week, but UNLV is one of the worst teams I've ever seen, and this line is less than 60, so it's a go. Seriously, UNLV has absolutely no passing attack, which normally would make the Rebels one-dimensional, but they don't have a ground attack either, so in essence, they are zero-dimensional. Fresno State nearly pulled off an upset against Oregon a few weeks ago and it managed to finish the deal against UCLA this past week. As long as the Bulldogs aren't looking past UNLV, they'll have this number covered early in the 2nd-half.             
 

Texas Tech (+7.5) at Texas

It's too early to tell what Texas Tech is at this point in the season, but the Red Raiders have taken care of business against lesser competition to this point. Texas appears to be what the Longhorns have been for the past decade, a decent team, but nowhere near a great team. Laying more than a TD in this spot just seems like too tall of a task for Texas at this point. Another factor is what appears to be an improved Texas Tech defense, which is allowing less than 50 yards per game on the ground. I don't care if the competition is weak, that's still impressive.   

Utah (-14.5) vs Washington State 

Washington State is a mess right now and considering its coach might be the main reason, there's reason to think a turn-around will not come anytime soon. Utah is also a bit of a mess right now, but there's some hope that the Utes can right the ship. This a big number, but the Utes come in desperate, and they will not call off the dogs in this game until it is well within hand. Washington State started strong against USC this past week, but it ended up getting throttled in the end. That's the kind of demoralizing loss that can carry over to the next week. 

North Carolina State (+10) vs Clemson

There's a decent chance that Clemson snaps out of this rut and tears off 10 wins a row in impressive fashion, but there's also a good chance that this is simply a down year. When you think about the QB play the Tigers have had over the past six years, it shouldn't be a huge surprise that they are struggling a bit this season without a star QB, but the drop-off appears to be rather dramatic. North Carolina State is still a mystery as the Wolfpack looked great in dismantling USF in their first game, but then dropped a winnable home game against Mississippi State the following week. My guess here is that NC State will sense an opportunity to take down the giant this week and it plays lights-out.

Duke (-16) vs Kansas

Kansas has picked up right where it left off last season. The Jayhawks barely won their first game as a 16-point favorite, then went on to lose their next two games by a combined 65 points. Duke already has a bad loss on its resume this season, but the Blue Devils have rebounded since and they're in good position to run away with this game. Duke is coming off a nice win this past week against Northwestern, it's not the type of win that will cause a hangover, but it's just big enough to give them confidence moving forward.   

Last Week: 2-3-0, Last Season: 7-9-0

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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