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College Football Week 4 Predictions: Picks for UCLA-Utah, Colorado-Oregon, Ohio State-Notre Dame & More

After a not-so-exciting Week 3 slate, Week 4 brings us six matchups between ranked teams with action from Thursday night through Saturday. We got some nice hits last week and turned a profit, and I’m looking to roll that momentum forward into this weekend. Without further ado, let’s dive into my college football Week 4 predictions so that we can talk about the best Week 4 picks for Georgia State-Coastal Carolina, UCLA-Utah, Ohio State-Notre Dame and more college football action.

Looking for more 2023 college football predictions? OddsShopper’s experts are here to break down this college football season — make sure to check out the rest of our college football articles, including our most recent national championship odds update. If you still need more picks, our market-based betting model might just be for you — you can even try it out now!

College Football Week 4 Predictions: Picks for UCLA-Utah, Colorado-Oregon, Ohio State-Notre Dame and More

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Louisiana Tech-Nebraska College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Louisiana Tech: +860 | Nebraska: -1600
Louisiana Tech +19.5: -106 | Nebraska -19.5: -114
Over 47.5: -110 | Under 47.5: -110
Expert: Adam Peri
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are 1-2 after winning their first game of the year last week over Northern Illinois. They’ll get another non-power conference opponent this week when they take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Lincoln. Louisiana Tech is 2-2, but they have yet to record a victory against a major opponent. They took down FIU in Week 0 and FCS Northwestern State in Week 2. The Bulldogs lost at SMU in Week 1 and at home to North Texas last Saturday. 

There is one big question heading into the game, particularly on the Nebraska side. Starting quarterback Jeff Sims sat out their last game and is questionable to play this week. Backup quarterback Heinrich Haarberg played well in Sims’ absence, but he still has plenty to prove. The Cornhuskers are a 19.5-point favorite and sit at -1200 on the moneyline, but the gap could get even wider if it is announced later this week that Sims will play. 

Even with Sims, Nebraska has struggled out of the gate in their two losses. They failed to score in the first half of their Week 1 loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers and in their Week 2 defeat against Colorado. The Cornhuskers scored 10 and 14 second-half points in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. It’s a pretty weak offensive output, especially against a Colorado team that hasn’t shown much on defense.  

If Nebraska gets Sims back, it could help their chances and increase the point spread, moneyline and total for this game. That said, they were hardly offensive juggernauts with their starter. OddsShopper’s model is identifying value on the Louisiana Tech side. The first-half spread sits at +10.5 at odds of -102 and has a positive expected value of 2%. The going rate on the market is -106. Both that and Nebraska’s first-half woes indicate this line has value. 

Louisiana Tech-Nebraska College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Louisiana Tech +10.5 -102 at DraftKings

UCLA-Utah College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
UCLA: +155 | Utah: -188
UCLA +4.5: -110 | Utah -4.5: -110
Over 51.5: -110 | Under 51.5: -110
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET

For updated UCLA-Utah odds and picks, click here!

The Week 4 slate is loaded with six games between ranked opponents, and that doesn’t count Florida State-Clemson because the Tigers were the first team out. Three of them will kick off right at 3:30 p.m. ET, and UCLA-Utah might be the most exciting of the bunch. The No. 11 Utah Utes may or may not have star quarterback Cameron Rising available, but even without him, head coach Kyle Whittingham’s Utes have defended their home turf with aggression. The Utes took down the Gators at home in Week 1 before beating FCS Weber State here last weekend. Still, if Rising sits, I’m just not convinced this Utah team has a prayer against the No. 22 UCLA Bruins this year.

Although the Utes enter the weekend 3-0, there are some significant asterisks, to their performance — asterisks that UCLA doesn’t have. The Utes are a dreadful 80th in yards per play (5), far behind seventh-ranked UCLA (7.5). They also have some serious question marks at quarterback, with initial backup Bryson Barnes, a traditional pocket passer, getting usurped by track star Nate Johnson. Neither signal-caller is all that effective. Barnes owns a 104.4 passing efficiency grade while Johnson owns a 152.8, but more than half of his passing production came against FCS Weber State. Utah’s defense also ranks an unimpressive 69th in yards allowed per play (5.4), also below seventh-ranked UCLA (3.9).

Fading Kyle Whittingham at home is usually an unprofitable endeavor, but the cracks have started to show over the last few weeks. Utah’s win over Florida required multiple scores from turnovers or penalties, and the Utes beat FCS Weber State by just 24 points, bringing Utah to 1-1-1 ATS this year. Whittingham may be an impressive 60-45-4 ATS at home since his arrival in Salt Lake City, but he is just 21-19-1 ATS against ranked opponents and 6-5 against them since 2020. The Utes are on an impressive 9-5 ATS run as home favorites since last year, but the Bruins are on a 7-3 ATS tear as road dogs through that span.

The Utes are currently a 4.5-point favorite, but the UCLA-Utah spread is subject to significant change if Rising is ruled in. I suspect Utah will close as a 6-point favorite with Rising but a 3-to-2.5-point favorite without him. I would probably buy UCLA plus the 4.5 even with Rising in the lineup, so I’m eager to jump on this number now in case he isn’t available. The latest news about Rising’s injury suggests that Whittingham and Rising are waiting on the green light from Rising’s ACL doctor, so I don’t expect him to get rushed back just for a big home game.

UCLA-Utah College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: UCLA +4.5 -110 at DraftKings

Colorado-Oregon College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Colorado: +740 | Oregon: -1250
Colorado +21: -110 | Oregon -21: -110
Over 70.5: -110 | Under 70.5: -110
Expert: Ben Rasa
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET

For updated Colorado-Oregon odds and picks, click here!

The No. 19 Colorado Buffaloes are a big-time story every week regardless of their opponents, but seeing the No. 10 Oregon Ducks on the schedule is sure to amp up the excitement. This is by far the toughest test Deion Sanders’ squad has faced and having to play it on the road makes it that much tougher. After a huge upset in Week 1 against TCU, the Buffs crushed Nebraska and then hung on against in-state rival Colorado State in a dramatic double-overtime finish. Getting taken to the wire against an inferior CSU team isn’t encouraging, but their record remains undefeated heading into Oregon. Looking at the line, we see that is expected to change, with Oregon sitting at around a 21-point favorite in this spot.

If Colorado is going to pull an upset, then Shedeur Sanders needs to continue his Heisman-caliber play at quarterback. So far this season Sanders has 10 touchdowns to just one interception and is cruising past 300 yards in each game. The offense has put up 36 or more points in all three games, and they’ll probably need to do that again here. One of the biggest problems is that their two-way superstar, Travis Hunter, suffered an injury and won’t be available. That’s a major loss for a team whose depth could be brought into question here.

On the other side, we have a 3-0 Oregon team back at home where they are almost unbeatable. They survived a dramatic 38-30 win at Texas Tech and then destroyed two cupcakes. They even hung 81 on poor FCS Portland State. Quarterback Bo Nix might not get the most spotlight on a national stage, but he is an elite signal caller who leads this offense. He has a ton of weapons on the outside. Oregon’s defense will be tested here and after losing a few key players to graduation, and it remains to be seen how much they can slow Colorado’s offense.

Now that we’ve talked about the teams let’s get into the potential betting avenues. Looking at OddsShopper’s tools, we still can find Oregon as a 20.5-point favorite in a few spots after most books made the move to 21. That’s a key half-point and the line I’d want for any Oregon position. In addition to the spread, which I’m fine with as long as you can get at 20.5, the over is a reasonable position as well. The current number sits at 70.5, and although that is high, I just do not see any way Colorado can slow down this Oregon offense. If Colorado is able to manufacture a handful of touchdowns, the over should be no problem to clear with the points put up on both sides. I’ll call for Oregon to score early and often here en route to a comfortable home win with the scoreboard lighting up.

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Colorado-Oregon College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Oregon -20.5 -115 at BetMGM

Southern Miss-Arkansas State College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Southern Miss: -265 | Arkansas State: +215
Southern Miss -6.5: -112 | Arkansas State +6.5: -108
Over 48.5: -114 | Under 48.5: -106
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. ET

For updated Southern Miss-Arkansas State odds and picks, click here!

You probably won’t be watching it, but the Southern Miss Golden Eagles will visit the Arkansas State Red Wolves this weekend. If you’ve been paying attention, you should realize just how hilariously bad this Arkansas State team is. They lost 73-0 to Oklahoma in Week 1. They then lost 37-3 to Memphis at home in Week 2. They recovered with a 31-7 win over FCS Stony Brook, who, by the way, gave up more points to FCS Delaware (37) and FCS Rhode Island (35). The Red Wolves ranked 127th in the FEI entering Week 3. Led by head coach Butch Jones, the Red Wolves ranked 119th offensively and 129th defensively in the index.

These offenses are two of the worst in the FBS. They are currently tied for 128th in yards per play (3.5). Southern Miss averaged 5.1 last year and should bounce back somewhat after getting blown out by Florida State and Tulane, but Arkansas State averaged only 4.4 last year with a better quarterback at the helm. This year, the Red Wolves have two quarterbacks with 30-plus pass attempts: JT Shrout, who owns a passing efficiency grade of 76.6 so far, and Jaxon Dailey, who owns an 86.4. The duo have combined for 4.3 yards per attempt, no scores and two interceptions — and yes, that counts their production against FCS Stony Brook.

But let’s not forget that Arkansas State’s opponent, Southern Miss, is also bad. The Golden Eagles have relied on running back Frank Gore Jr. to carry their offense over the last few seasons, which has met with mixed results. Southern Miss may have generated more yards per play last year, but their run-heavy offense kept the ball on the ground 55.1% of the time, forming the basis of an inefficient offense that ranked 96th in points per game (22.1) and 80th in yards per point (14.9). New quarterback Billy Wiles, a former walk-on at Clemson, looked solid against FCS Alcorn State but was completely overmatched by Florida State and Tulane. He has a passing efficiency grade of 112.8 through three games.

The Southern Miss-Arkansas State trends also point to a low-scoring game. Southern Miss is 8-5 to the under as a road team under head coach Will Hall. They are 2-0 to the under as a road favorite. Arkansas State is 8-6 to the under with Jones at the helm, dropping to 5-3 as a home underdog. The Red Wolves are also 11-5 to the under in conference play since Jones’ arrival, while the Golden Eagles are 9-7 to the under in conference play under Hall. These teams combined for 39 points when they met in Hattiesburg last season, so I’m playing the under 49 down to the key number of 47.

Southern Miss-Arkansas State College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Under 49 -110 at DraftKings

Oregon State-Washington State College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Oregon State: -138 | Wazzu: +115
Oregon State -2.5: -120 | Wazzu +2.5: -102
Over 56.5: -110 | Under 56.5: -110
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. ET

For updated Oregon State-Washington State odds and picks, click here!

The No. 14 Oregon State Beavers and No. 21 Washington State Cougars will square off in a battle between the final Pac-12 teams without a new conference. Both teams are off to solid 3-0 starts, although the Cougars have the best win — a nine-point home victory over Wisconsin — of the two teams. Oregon State enters Week 4 ranked seventh in yards per play (7.5), well ahead of 51st-ranked Washington State (5.5), and 22nd in yards per play allowed (4.4), also ahead of their 61st-ranked opponent (5.3). However, Wazzu’s more difficult schedule means that the Cougars entered Week 3 ranked 28th in the FEI, close behind the 25th-ranked Beavers.

The Beavers are a 3-point road favorite for this one, but I’m not really interested in the side. Oregon State runs a slow-paced, run-heavy offensive scheme that will drain plenty of time off the clock. Washington State’s pass-heavy air raid scheme makes up for that somewhat, but not enough to warrant a total this high. Both sides have the defensive talent necessary to make life difficult for their opponents. These teams combined to score 34 points in Corvallis last year and 55 in Pullman a year before, but the early total sits all the way up at a bloated 56.5.

Defensively, these teams match up well against each other’s offenses. The Cougars rank 14th in yards allowed per rush attempt (2.6) after allowing 4.3 last year. The Beavers rank 40th in yards allowed per pass attempt (6.5) after coughing up only 6.4 last year. Oregon State’s defense came into Week 3 ranked 43rd in the FEI, slightly worse than Washington State’s 29th-ranked unit. But even if the defenses do cough up some splash plays, the offenses aren’t all that fast — Washington State ranks 41st in seconds per play (24.8) after spending 24.1 last year, relatively slow for an air read offense, while Oregon State ranks 78th (26.8) after spending 29.3 last year.

I’m just not sure how these teams combine for 57. Both sides have been good to over bettors so far this year — they’re both at 2-1 on the year — but it took some weirdness for them to be above .500 for the over. A last-second meaningless touchdown from San Jose State pushed Oregon State’s Week 1 game over. These teams were a combined 16-10 to the under last year and were 15-11 a year before that. Games played in Pullman are 10-6 to the under since 2021 as well. I suspect this total will close a few points below the opening number, so jump on the 56.5 while you can.

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Oregon State-Washington State College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Under 56.5 -110 at FanDuel

Arkansas-LSU College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Arkansas: +640 | LSU: -1000
Arkansas +17.5: -110 | LSU -17.5: -115
Over 55.5: -115 | Under 55.5: -105
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. ET

For updated Arkansas-LSU odds and picks, click here!

The Arkansas Razorbacks will head into Death Valley for a matchup against the No. 12 LSU Tigers. They are 18.5-point road underdogs for the matchup. The last time LSU beat Arkansas by at least 19 points, Joe Burrow was the starting quarterback for the Tigers. They have Jayden Daniels at the helm this year, who, in case you forgot, looked extremely beatable against Florida State just a few weeks ago. Daniels even started against Arkansas last year and looked terrible, barely leading the Tigers to a three-point win in a game that Arkansas’ starting signal-caller, K.J. Jefferson, missed with an injury.

Jefferson is a better quarterback than Daniels. Last year, Jefferson ranked 11th in yards per attempt (8.8) and eighth in passing efficiency (164.9). Daniels ranked 55th (7.5) and 40th (144.5), respectively. Daniels currently outranks Jefferson in both metrics this year, but I expect some serious regression from Daniels after his solid showings against FCS Grambling State and Mississippi State. Daniels recorded a season-low passing efficiency grade of 88.2 against the Razorbacks last year. Despite last week’s tough loss to BYU, Arkansas’s defense heads into Week 4 ranked ninth in yards allowed per play (4).

The Razorbacks have a worse supporting cast around Jefferson than the one LSU has around Daniels, but we don’t need the Hogs to be better than the Tigers. We just need them to not be 19 points worse. Say what you will about Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman, but he is 11-7 ATS against ranked opponents with the Hogs. LSU head coach Brian Kelly is 2-3 ATS against ranked opponents since his arrival in Baton Rouge and was 26-24 ATS against them at Notre Dame. The Hogs are also 7-3 ATS as road underdogs under Pittman. The Tigers are 4-0 ATS as home favorites under Kelly, but I trust Jefferson and company to keep this one out of blowout territory — or to at least backdoor it — come Saturday evening.

The Razorbacks haven’t been perfect under Pittman, but they’ve taken just six losses of 19 points or more during his tenure. Those came against Georgia in 2020 (27), Florida in 2020 (28), Alabama in 2020 (49), Georgia in 2021 (37), Alabama in 2022 (23) and Mississippi State in 2022 (23). Three of those blowout losses came in Pittman’s first year at the helm. Two came against that year’s eventual national champion. Four came in games that Jefferson didn’t start, the exceptions being the Georgia game in 2021 and the Alabama game in 2022. The Hogs may not steal a win in Death Valley this weekend, but they’ll keep things closer than the spread would have you believe.

Arkansas-LSU College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Arkansas +18.5 at DraftKings

Mississippi State-South Carolina College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Mississippi State: +198 | South Carolina: -245
Mississippi State +5.5: -102 | South Carolina -5.5: -120
Over 50.5: -110 | Under 50.5: -110
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET

For updated Mississippi State-South Carolina odds and picks, click here!

The Mississippi State Bulldogs will visit the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday evening. With Mississippi State coming off an absolute beatdown by LSU and South Carolina coming off a solid showing against Georgia, the market lists Shane Beamer’s squad as a 6-point home favorite, but that might be an overreaction to what we saw in Week 3. Mississippi State enters Week 4 ranked a solid 33rd in the FEI, above 41st-ranked South Carolina. Both squads rank well below the FBS average in yards per play, with South Carolina at 86th (4.7) and Mississippi State at 101st (4.5), and in yards allowed per play, with 91st (5.9) to 107th (6.4), respectively. With those numbers in mind, I’ve got a same-game teaser of the over and the side for this one.

South Carolina’s offense is entirely one-dimensional. The Gamecocks rank dead last in the FBS in rushing yards per game (25.5). They haven’t been trying to run much — they also rank 130th in rushing play percentage (33.6%) — but that’s a symptom of the problem, not the cause. The Gamecocks lost nearly all their running backs in the offseason and were seen trying out defensive players at the position in the spring. Lead rusher Dakereon Joyner has 75 rushing yards on 28 carries, nearly all of which came against FCS Furman. With virtually no rushing attack, the Gamecocks have leaned on quarterback Spencer Rattler to mixed results. He ranks a solid 40th in passing efficiency through Week 3 at 154, right at his career average of 154.1.

Mississippi State’s offense has moved away from the pass-happy air raid scheme of the Mike Leach era, embracing a more balanced scheme engineered by offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, who came over from Appalachian State in the offseason. Last year, Satterfield’s offense ranked 25th in points per game (32.8) and 27th in yards per play (6). Longtime air-raid quarterback Will Rogers has struggled in the new scheme, especially last week, but the Bulldogs should get things figured out this weekend. Rogers just had the worst game of his career passing efficiency-wise since his rookie year last week, so it’s safe to expect at least some regression to the mean against a worse team.

Let’s break down this same-game teaser. Mississippi State is trading as a 6-to-5.5-point underdog across the market. The total sits at 50 or 50.5 as well. I think Mississippi State can win this game, but the worst-case scenario for them is almost certainly no more than a 10-point loss. With a pass-heavy South Carolina offense lining up against what should be a more efficient Mississippi State offense — and with both teams putting not-so-great defenses on the field — the worst-case for this total is probably the key number of 44. We can tease that down an extra point to pair Mississippi State +10.5 and the over 42.5 for odds of +102 via Caesars.

Mississippi State-South Carolina College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: MSST +10.5/Over 42.5 +102 at Caesars

Ohio State-Notre Dame College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Ohio State: -178 | Notre Dame: +146
Ohio State -3.5: -115 | Notre Dame +3.5: -105
Over 47.5: -105 | Under 47.5: -115
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET

For updated Ohio State-Notre Dame odds and picks, click here!

The No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes will visit the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday night in a matchup with massive playoff implications. The Irish are looking to make their first playoff appearance under head coach Marcus Freeman, while the Buckeyes are trying to get back there for the first time since 2020. Both teams entered the year with new quarterbacks, but Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman has looked more impressive than Ohio State’s Kyle McCord, albeit by a close margin. Both quarterbacks have feasted against inferior opposition and will face their first true test on Saturday.

I like Notre Dame in this spot, and most of my reasoning comes down to the combination of home-field advantage and the differences between Hartman and McCord. First, Notre Dame is at home for this one, and the Irish are hard to beat here. The Irish may have gone 4-2 at home last year, losing to Marshall and Stanford, but they are 12-3 here since 2021. The Irish are 7-3 as home underdogs since 2010 as well. The Buckeyes may be a more dominant 16-1 on the road since Ryan Day took over in 2019, but they are only 9-7-1 ATS through that span.

Notre Dame also has an advantage under center. Hartman is a sixth-year quarterback who recorded a 159.4 passing efficiency grade with Wake Forest last year and currently owns a 217.8 through four games this season. Road trips to Ireland and Raleigh haven’t challenged him in the slightest. McCord is a third-year player but a first-year starter. He owns a career passing efficiency grade of 176.9, but those numbers almost all come from garbage-time reps at home. He struggled in his first game as a starter this year, recording a 115.4 against Indiana on the road. He owns a passing efficiency grade of 118.1 on the road through 44 pass attempts.

The books have Ohio State as a 3.5-point favorite for Saturday’s game, which is an efficient price. The Irish will likely be the public team for this one but I don’t care. McCord’s numbers, and, by extension, Ohio State’s, are inflated from him playing bad opponents at home. We haven’t seen him face a real team outside of Columbus. Hartman is the better all-around quarterback and has far more experience. Look for him to keep the Irish within a field goal on Saturday night.

Ohio State-Notre Dame College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Notre Dame +3.5 -105 at DraftKings

Iowa-Penn State College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Iowa: +490 | Penn State: -710
Iowa +14.5: -110 | Penn State -14.5: -110
Over 40.5: -105 | Under 40.5: -115
Expert: Ben Rasa
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET

For updated Iowa-Penn State odds and picks, click here!

It’s still early in the college football season, but anytime we get two ranked undefeated teams squaring off, we have to take notice. That’s the theme around the entire Week 4 slate, including in Happy Valley, where the No. 24 Iowa Hawkeyes head to take on the unbeaten No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions. This game will absolutely have Big Ten title implications, and, with the way Penn State looks, it could even impact the championship landscape. We have a bunch of different angles to analyze from a betting perspective, but one play stands out amongst the rest.

Let’s start with Iowa, who is unbeaten on the year and looking to pull the upset here. The current spread has them as a 15-point underdog. The Hawkeyes have beaten three subpar opponents in Utah State, Iowa State and Western Michigan. Like all Iowa teams, this one struggles to do much of anything offensively, even though they somehow hung 41 points on Western Michigan’s defense. Through three games, quarterback Cade McNamara has four passing scores to go along with three interceptions and anti-dual threat ability with -45 yards rushing. If Iowa is going to pull off this upset, they are going to need improved quarterback play, especially if they fall behind early.

For Penn State, everything is going according to plan so far. They have racked up three straight wins, including a road victory over Illinois. They destroyed FCS Delaware by 56 points and opened the season against a decent West Virginia team that proved no match for the Nittany Lions. Quarterback Drew Allar has stepped in nicely so far with no interceptions on the season and an impressive command of this offense. It doesn’t hurt to have two elite running backs, a top-end wide receiver, and a big-time offensive line to join you on offense. Going against Iowa’s defense will be a challenge, and this is the strength-against-strength portion of the game. Defensively. Penn State is getting healthier, and now gets Iowa’s struggling offense to contend with.

Looking at OddsShopper’s tools,  we find can Penn State as low as -14.5 priced at -108 via DraftKings. The total sits at just 40.5 points, which speaks to just how bad Iowa’s offense might be in this spot. I actually have an interest in laying the points despite the low total. I trust Allar and this offense to put together quality drives and eventually wear down this Hawkeyes defense. On the flip side, I have zero faith that Iowa can put together anything even remotely threatening to this Penn State defense, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them finish with 10 or fewer points. At home, at night, it doesn’t get better for Penn State, and I’ll call for them to get a statement win early in the season with a big-time showing against Iowa.

Iowa-Penn State College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Penn State -14.5 -108 at DraftKings

Georgia State-Coastal Carolina College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Georgia State: +220 | Coastal: -275
Georgia State +6.5: +100 | Coastal -6.5: -122
Over 62.5: -110 | Under 62.5: -110
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET

For updated Georgia State-Coastal Carolina odds and picks, click here!

The Georgia State Wildcats will visit the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in a crucial Sun Belt battle. I was high on both of these teams this year, but the Wildcats have done more to live up to my expectations than the Chants. Georgia State’s offense has opened the year 24th in yards per play (6.7) led by a strong effort from quarterback Darren Grainger, who ranks 11th in passing efficiency (183.9) while averaging 10.2 yards per attempt. This kind of production isn’t sustainable, but his 149.8 career passing efficiency grade suggests he isn’t outperforming the mean by that much.

Grainger lines up against the current single-season record-holder for passing efficiency, Grayson McCall. McCall and the Chants haven’t gotten off to as good of a start this year. They rank 86th in yards per play (4.7) while McCall ranks just 54th in passing efficiency (147.9). That number is well below his career average (183) but is consistent with a downward trend we’ve seen in his production over the last two years, through which the Chants have lost key personnel like tight end Isaiah Likely, running back Shermari Jones and head coach Jamey Chadwell.

Neither of these teams has looked good defensively. The Chants rank 97th in yards per play allowed (6), which you could forgive them for since they played UCLA, but they allowed 5.4 yards per play to Jacksonville State and 5.6 to FCS Duquesne. Coastal ranks a dreadful 105th defensively in the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) through Week 2. Georgia State ranks a solid 43rd in yards allowed per play (4.9), although their schedule of FCS Rhode Island, Connecticut and Charlotte isn’t all that impressive. Still, they’ve done well enough to rank 89th defensively in the FEI.

The books have set the total for this one all the way up at 62.5, which makes some sense given these teams’ poor defenses, but let’s not forget that Coastal runs a slow-paced offense that currently ranks 80th in seconds per play (26.9). Georgia State’s run-heavy scheme ranks 40th (24.6). I’m not going to advise playing the total for Thursday’s game, but Georgia State’s offense and Coastal’s below-average pace should help the Wildcats keep this one within a score. Georgia State is a plucky 18-14-3 against the spread (ATS) on the road under head coach Shawn Elliott, and the Wildcats are 10-3 ATS on the road since 2021.

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Georgia State-Coastal Carolina College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Georgia State +7 -110 at DraftKings

Boise State-San Diego State College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Boise State: -275 | SDSU: +220
Boise State -7: -110 | SDSU +7: -110
Over 45.5: -110 | Under 45.5: -110
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Friday, Sept. 21 at 10:30 p.m. ET

For updated Boise State-San Diego State odds and picks, click here!

The Boise State Broncos will visit the San Diego State Aztecs late on Friday night. If you’re not busy, you know, having friends — and you like defensive football — then this one should be a fun watch. Boise State’s reputation as a great Group of Five team has been inflating their spreads of late, and you can buy the Aztecs as a 7-point home underdog because of the market’s undeserved faith in the Broncos. To be fair, Boise State has played better offense this year — the Broncos rank 56th in yards per play (5.5) while the Aztecs rank a putrid 110th (4.4), but San Diego State’s defense has actually caused problems for ranked opponents, while Boise State’s has not.

The Aztecs have lined up against No. 22 UCLA and No. 14 Oregon State over the last two weeks. They lost both games but gave up only 61 total points. Boise State faced No. 8 Washington in Week 1 and coughed up 56. San Diego State’s defense now ranks a dreadful 107th in yards allowed per play (6.4), but that’s still miles better than 131st-ranked Boise State (8.6). These defenses allowed 4.8 and 4.7 yards per play last year, respectively, so some regression to the mean is long overdue. With quarterbacks Taylen Green, who ranks 102nd in passing efficiency (110.7), and Jalen Mayden, who ranks 100th (112.7) leading the Broncos and Aztecs, respectively, I don’t expect a ton of offense on Friday night.

The total for this one sits at a reasonable 45.5, but the number is likely only that high because of who these teams have faced thus far. A look at the FEI, an opponent-adjusted metric, reveals that these defenses are probably significantly underrated by the market right now. Boise State ranks a solid 46th defensively in the index through Week 2, while San Diego State is an impressive 33rd. Offensively, Boise State ranks a so-so 53rd, far ahead of 126th-ranked San Diego State. The combination of inefficient quarterback play and slow-paced offenses should depress scoring.

Even a quick glance at the Boise State-San Diego State betting trends makes it clear that the under is a sharp bet. The Aztecs have opened the year 3-1 to the under, while Boise State has gone 1-2. But since 2021, Boise State is 17-11-1 to the under and San Diego State is 17-14. More importantly, the Aztecs are 14-8 to the under at home under head coach Brady Hoke. Boise State is a jaw-dropping 10-2-1 to the under on the road over the last three years, too. Expect this number to close at or below the key number of 44.

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Boise State-San Diego State College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Under 45.5 -110 at BetMGM

Air Force-San Jose State College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Air Force: -182 | SJSU: +150
Air Force -3.5: -115 | SJSU +3.5: -105
Over 46.5: -115 | Under 46.5: -105
Expert: Adam Peri
Time: Friday, Sept. 22 at 10:30 p.m. ET

The Air Force Falcons head west to take on the San Jose State Trojans on Friday night in what looks to be a tight matchup, according to the betting markets. Air Force is a 3.5-point road favorite and owns moneyline odds of -182. The game’s total is 46.5 points, which is subdued due to Air Force’s run-heavy offense. Like most service academies, Air Force runs a triple-option scheme that emphasizes the ground game at the expense of passing offense. 

The run game has been successful so far for the Falcons in 2023. They enter this contest at 3-0, having notched a win in their Mountain West opener last week versus Utah State. Thursday’s game will be the first conference game for San Jose State. However, the Trojans already have four games under their belt. They lost in Week 0 to USC, Week 1 to Oregon State and last week to Toledo. But between those three losses, San Jose State dominated FCS Cal Poly, winning 59-3. 

Things could just be getting started for the Trojans. They weren’t expected to beat their two Pac-12 opponents to start the season, but they nearly got a road win against a decent MAC opponent in Toledo. The Trojans had a successful season in 2022, going 7-5 overall and 5-3 in conference play, earning a spot in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. 

Starting quarterback Chevan Cordeiro had a solid 2022 and now brings experience and senior leadership to the team in his final season. The Trojans are without their top receiver, Justin Lockhart, but his return could give them an additional boost. OddsShopper’s model is identifying a bit of value on the Trojans early in the week. College football bettors can grab San Jose State on the first-half moneyline at +136 for a 1% edge on the rest of the market. There’s every reason to think the Trojans will start to heat up in Mountain West play. 

Air Force-San Jose State State Week 4 Pick & Prediction: SJSU 1H ML +136 at DraftKings 

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Virginia Tech-Marshall College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Virginia Tech: +168 | Marshall: -205
Virginia Tech +5.5: -110 | Marshall -5.5: -110
Over 41.5: -110 | Under 41.5: -110
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 12 p.m. ET

For updated Virginia Tech-Marshall odds and picks, click here!

It’s not every day that you see a Power Five team listed as an underdog to a Group of Five squad, but that’s what we’ve got in Saturday afternoon’s battle between the Marshall Thundering Herd and the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Hokies are 11-2 against the Herd, but these programs are trending in very different directions. Marshall ranked 61st in the FEI as of Week 2, while Virginia Tech ranked 73rd. The Herd are a 5-point home favorite for this one, but I think they should be favored by at least a full touchdown against the lowly Hokies. Virginia Tech enters this contest at 1-2, while Marshall is 2-0 and coming off an early bye.

The Herd are a marginally better offensive team, which is embarrassing for the Hokies, because Marshall is primarily a defensive squad. Marshall ranks 40th in yards per play (5.8), albeit in a one-game sample, after averaging 5 yards per play last year. Virginia Tech ranks 95th (4.6) after averaging 4.4 last year. Heading into Week 3, Marshall’s offense was 105th in the FEI, slightly behind Virginia Tech’s 101st-ranked unit. The Hokies have been using a combination of ex-Marshall quarterback Grant Wells and Kyron Drones because of an early-season injury to Wells. Wells missed Week 3’s game, and Drones proceeded to record a dismal passing efficiency grade of 113.3 at Rutgers.

Marshall is also the categorically better defensive team. The Herd rank third in yards allowed per play (3.7), which is slightly better than but relatively consistent with what they let up last year (4.6). Tech ranks 46th (5.1) and is also outperforming last year’s production (5.3). But it’s the FEI that makes it obvious how much better Marshall is on that side of the ball — the Herd rank 14th while the Hokies rank 65th. With the Hokies either starting a quarterback with whom the Herd are deeply familiar or a struggling backup, it should prove difficult for Virginia Tech to move the football.

These teams both have pretty embarrassing situational records against the spread. Marshall is 2-5 ATS at home since last year while Virginia Tech is 2-5 ATS on the road. However, Virginia Tech is 0-3 with a rest disadvantage since 2021, which includes one game in the Brent Pry era. Marshall is 6-6 ATS in non-conference play under head coach Charles Huff, but Virginia Tech is 2-5 ATS in non-conference play under Pry. The Herd offense will have to have its act together to cover the 5-point spread, but the defense should give them a short field at least once or twice — especially if the Hokies have to use their backup quarterback again.

Virginia Tech-Marshall College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: Marshall -5 -110 at DraftKings

Florida State-Clemson College Football Week 4 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Florida State: -134 | Clemson: +112
Florida State -2.5: -110 | Clemson +2.5: -110
Over 55.5: -105 | Under 55.5: -115
Expert: Adam Peri
Time: Saturday, Sept. 23 at 12 p.m. ET

For updated Florida State-Clemson odds and picks, click here!

The Clemson Tigers and head coach Dabo Swinney likely expected to enter Saturday’s showdown with the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles riding a three-game winning streak. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that win streak sits at just two. After losing their Week 1 matchup with Duke, the Tigers have notched victories over FCS Charleston Southern and Florida Atlantic. However, that’s not even close to where they want to be. 

On the other side, the Seminoles remain undefeated. They won their first game against the now-No. 11 LSU Tigers and then recorded wins over Southern Miss and Boston College. Florida State’s strength of schedule and flawless record have gotten people’s attention, as they now rank fourth in the nation, behind only No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Texas. They head into Death Valley as road favorites. 

The key for Clemson is the improvement of sophomore quarterback Cade Klubnik. The former five-star recruit took over the helm of the Tigers offense from D.J. Uiagalelei midway through the ACC Championship game and led the Tigers to a win over North Carolina. He threw for 279 yards and a touchdown in the game, adding one more score on the ground. Klubnik has yet to regain that magic in 2023. Nevertheless, he was a huge recruit, and his talent could shine through. 

College football bettors certainly expect this Clemson team to get going at some point. Despite Florida State’s ranking and early season performance, the line still has the Tigers within a field goal. Game lines in this one look efficient, but OddsShopper’s model is finding one first-quarter bet with a bit of value. You can grab the first quarter over 10.5 points at -112 for about a 1% edge. The Clemson and Florida State offenses have a ton of talent, so look for both to get out of the gate hot on Saturday. 

Florida State-Clemson College Football Week 4 Pick & Prediction: 1Q Over 10.5 -112 at BetRivers

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