Our Week 4 college football picks target a few against-the-spread selections in the South Carolina, LSU, and USC contests, and a handful of totals in the ACC, Big 12, and other Power 5 conferences. Betting selections, tips, trends, and angles here.
South Carolina (-2) at Vanderbilt
Pick(s): Gamecocks ML (-130), UNDER 54.5
Behind head coach Derek Mason, Vanderbilt is a less-than-stellar 3-8 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) clashing with SEC rivals in games with a betting line in-between a touchdown.
The UNDER, meanwhile, has cashed in South Carolina’s last nine straight SEC road games dating back to November 2015. A 34.7 combined final score is coming up 15.7 points shy of a 50.3 average total.
The South Carolina spread is appealing, but stick with a money-line wager backing the favorite if the ending tally is anywhere near the Gamecocks’ current finishes at conference rivals.
Buffalo (-5) at Rutgers
Pick: Bulls -5
Only five MAC teams have kicked off road favorites against Big Ten competition since 1999. They won and covered the spread easily in each, besting a -3.6 average line by an absurd 19.8 points per game.
Rutgers, meanwhile, is the first program to lose to Kansas by 40-plus points since 2007. Ouch. Obviously to say, the team is in a dark place. Since 2013, squads losing to the Jayhawks in their previous outings are 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS next time out, failing to cover a 2.3 average line by 10.0 points per game.
We locked in at -3.5 for the Bulls early in the week, but there its plenty of value left in the number. All signs are pointing to a double-digit romp by Buffalo.
Army at No. 5 Oklahoma (-31)
Pick: OVER 63
The OVER is 23-6-2 in the last 32 matchups with Oklahoma laying 20 points or more against a team averaging 3.5 yards per rush entering the clash. Army, with its triple-option attack, posts 4.9 per game.
The Sooners rally for 47.3 while opponents accrue 20.4 points per game in this situation. The final score is 56.1 to 16.6 in nine tussles against non-Power 5 opponents. Similar situations suggest there is a good chunk of value with a total in the low 60s.
No. 13 Virginia Tech (-27) at Old Dominion
Pick: UNDER 52
We’re betting against the line movement in this Virginia is for Lovers battle. Bud Foster’s Virginia Tech defense is a beast under these conditions, yielding 12.4 points per game in 15 prior matchups against Conference USA opponents.
This includes a 38-0 beatdown of Old Dominion as 28.5-point favorites last season in Blacksburg. Away from home, the Hokies only post 24.6 on offense per outing versus the Group of 5 division. The UNDER has hit in four of five under these conditions by a whopping 24.4 average margin.
Louisiana Tech at No. 6 LSU (-20.5)
Pick: Tigers -20.5
Louisiana Tech has topped the number (21.9) in seven of its last eight against ranked teams, including covering in a narrow 24-16 defeat at LSU as 23-point pups in 2009. SEC teams in the Top 25, however, are 21-1 SU and 16-6 ATS when gifting less than 25 points to Conference USA opponents. It’s tough to bet against the LSU defense right now.
UConn at Syracuse (-27.5)
Pick: Huskies +27.5
ACC teams have spotted AAC opponents more than two touchdowns 10 times in the past. Half of those from the Power 5 conference were ranked in the AP Top 25, owning a 24.8 average margin of victory. The other half wins by 12.0 points per game. Syracuse is surprising to begin 2018, but it’s nowhere near elite. The 27.5-point spread is too steep.
Washington State at USC (-3.5)
Pick: Trojans -3.5
USC is still working things out after the mass exodus of playmakers from last season, including QB Sam Darnold. Regardless of form, the talent gap is too wide to justify backing Washington State ATS.
Head coach Clay Helton is pretty good at exceeding expectations in similar betting scenarios as well, going 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS as home chalk of 10 points or less. USC beats a -6.2 average line by 9.4 points per game in this spot. The offense racks up an average 39.2 points. Expect the first complete performance of the season from the Trojans Friday night.
No. 3 Clemson (-17) at Georgia Tech
Pick: UNDER 52
Georgia Tech averages 12.5 points per game over the last 20 years when catching more than 5 points in a contest against ranked opponents. It will be lucky to reach the mark against one of the best defensive lines in ACC history. The final score will land in the mid 40s at most.
Florida International at No. 21 Miami (-26.5)
Pick: UNDER 57
Miami averages a 45.3 final score in its last six tussles against C-USA opponents. The average total is 51.8 points. The turnover chain will be glistening on the sidelines.