Like the Georgia Bulldogs, our weekly college football picks against the spread have a dominant look about them.
Last weekend, Locks of the Week delivered once again. Our picks went 8-2 against the spread, and it felt like a blemish-less week was in sight deep into Saturday. As is, we’re content with another quality performance. We’ve also yet to have a losing week this year. (No big deal.)
For the season, we’re now a cozy 22-10-1. It won’t be this easy all season, so we’ll gladly appreciate every winning week while we can. We’re also doing everything in our power to stay hot.
Before we get to the Week 4 picks, let’s celebrate the good (a lot) and the bad (not much) from the week that was.
The Good: Oregon (-3.5) vs. BYU
There were plenty of winners, although this one was comfortable from the start. Oregon jumped out to an early lead over BYU and never looked back. The Ducks won by 21, and we all won money along the way. Quack.
The Bad: Fresno State (+12.5) vs. USC
The injury to Fresno State QB Jake Haener certainly didn’t help matters, although this was a questionable pick before that. USC’s offense is downright scary, and it surfaced once again. I'm not done with the Trojans just yet. (Spoiler alert.)
As for this week’s selections, here they are.
All odds courtesy of DraftKings and accurate as of Wednesday.
Georgia State (+2) vs. Coastal Carolina
While Thursday nights aren’t what they used to be in college football, this week offers a few fascinating offerings.
Well, at least some will find them fascinating. It's certainly something to wager on.
Georgia State is 0-3. Coastal Carolina is 3-0. Given the records, this spread will likely have many perplexed as to why it's not larger.
Look deeper, however, and it makes plenty of sense. Georgia State has lost to South Carolina, North Carolina and Charlotte. The first two losses were understandable. The loss to Charlotte as nearly a 20-point favorite was, well, unexpected.
Still, I’m backing the Panthers.
Coastal Carolina hasn’t exactly dazzled as an unbeaten. The Chanticleers beat Gardner-Webb by four and struggled at times against Buffalo last week.
Panthers cover and win outright. Also, long live college football on Thursdays.
Cincinnati (-17) vs. Indiana
Last year, this felt like one of the most important games on the early CFB calendar. Both teams were full of hope, and one actually made the College Football Playoff. The other was Indiana.
The Hoosiers are indeed 3-0, although it’s a peculiar 3-0. They beat Illinois by three points, Idaho by less than two touchdowns and Western Kentucky by three. That's a nice way of injecting doubt into things.
Cincinnati lost to Arkansas in the opener and looked sluggish against Miami (OH) last week. This is clearly not the same team from a year ago, which is not a surprise. It lost a ton of talent to the NFL, and things remain a work in progress.
Still, QB Ben Bryant has actually played quite well thus far, and the offense is likely still coming together in the early part of the year. Against Indiana, it will be plenty.
While it’s odd to see a Big Ten team catching this many points, it's simply not enough. The Bearcats roll with a massive statement.
Oregon State (+6) vs. USC
It’s not personal, USC.
Seriously, it’s not.
Well, maybe just a little personal.
Although this will mark the third time I’ve bet against the Trojans this year, it’s not because I don’t respect what this offense is doing.
Lincoln Riley has transformed USC into a dangerous, fun football team in one offseason. Quarterback Caleb Williams has dazzled, and all the ingredients are in place for continued success.
But there will be blips, and this feels like a potential blip. I bet Oregon State earlier in the week at +7, although I will gladly bet the Beavers at +6 as well.
While Oregon State might not be at USC’s level of fun, this is a talented team. Chance Nolan is solid at QB, and the defense has also played well thus far. It's not nearly as flashy, but the Beavers are becoming a tremendous thorn in the side of programs in the Pac-12.
That’s what will happen Saturday. Oregon State covers and pushes for the upset.
Iowa State (-2.5) vs. Baylor
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: a team ranked in the top 20 is an underdog to an unranked foe on the road.
That’s what happened to Michigan State last weekend when it traveled to Washington. The Huskies then took down the Spartans as a small favorite—a pick that we were all over.
This week, we’re doing the same with Iowa State. The Cyclones are unbeaten, unranked and a small chalk against Baylor.
Do I enjoy betting against Dave Aranda? Not particularly. He’s a great coach, and he’s doing wonderful things with the Bears. But we watched Baylor fall to BYU a few weeks ago, and we then watched that same BYU team lose convincingly to Oregon.
We'll take the data points where we can.
More than anything, however, I like the way Iowa State is playing. The defense has allowed just 27 points all year, and home field will also be a factor.
Look for this game to be close (and probably on the ugly side).
Texas-Texas Tech (Over 59.5)
This might end up being a delightful football game. In fact, I would be surprised if there aren’t fireworks for both Texas teams trying to make a statement.
Texas Tech could only manufacture 14 points against NC State last week. Texas, meanwhile, dropped 41 on UTSA after falling behind early. Running back Bijan Robinson ran wild, and he could very well do the same this week.
For this total to hit, Texas Tech will have to do its part offensively. Donovan Smith has done an admirable job filling in at QB. If he plays well, the Red Raiders will play well.
With the spread under a touchdown, the oddsmakers are forecasting a tight football game. I don’t disagree, and I expect to see both teams trade touchdowns for a few hours.
It’s been a bit since I put a final score out there, so let’s take a stab at this one.
Texas 37, Texas Tech 34
Other Games on the Card
Iowa-Rutgers (Over 34)
With a total this low, one simply has to get involved. While offense won’t be a theme, we will get enough points to hit this extremely hilarious over.
New Mexico State (-5) vs. Hawai’i
New Mexico State has played road games at Minnesota, UTEP and Wisconsin in the past three weeks. This is a chance to finally get right.
James Madison-Appalachian State (Over 58)
If you’re looking for an under-the-radar football game, look no further. Appalachian State just won on a Hail Mary, and James Madison has an offense with a ton of firepower.
SMU (+2.5) vs. TCU
Although SMU lost to Maryland last week, that’s not scaring us away. The Mustangs get back on track with an outright win over the unbeaten Horned Frogs.