10 College Football Picks Against the Spread (ATS) for Week 4

Iowa hosts Wisconsin in a key Big Ten West showdown

The Week 4 edition of college football picks against the spread (ATS) is highlighted by a key game in the Big Ten West as Wisconsin hits the road to play Iowa. Elsewhere, West Virginia and Kansas State get together in Morgantown for the Big 12 opener for both teams, and Wake Forest hosts undefeated Notre Dame in Winston-Salem. Here are 10 predictions for games against the spread.

 

Iowa (+3.5) over Wisconsin

Iowa: college football picks against the spreadLosing at home to BYU was a bad omen for a Wisconsin team that was expected to run away with the Big Ten West title, but the way the Badgers lost is especially problematic. BYU rushed for 191 yards on a 6.8-yard average — the highest in a game against Wisconsin since the 59–0 loss to Ohio State in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game. And in its previous game, BYU rushed for only 91 yards (2.8 per) in a 21–18 loss at home to California. Iowa has a reputation as being one of the top rushing teams in the Big Ten, but the Hawkeyes rank 11th in the league through three games and have not finished higher than eighth in the league in rushing since 2015. Despite the recent struggles, Iowa is still committed to the running game; the Hawkeyes are averaging 44.7 attempts per game, sixth in the league. Iowa 24, Wisconsin 21

 

West Virginia (-16) over Kansas State

WVU: college football picks against the spreadKansas State leaves Manhattan for the first time in the 2018 season and will face a well-rested West Virginia team that did not play last week due to the hurricane. We’ve seen nothing from K-State so far this season to indicate that they can beat a good team on the road. In the Wildcats’ one game against a Power 5 opponent (Mississippi State), they were outgained 538-to-213 and allowed 384 yards on the ground. Mississippi State is a more physical team — and a team that is more focused on running the ball — than West Virginia, but this was still a bad sign going forward for K-State’s ability to win games in the Big 12. West Virginia 37, Kansas State 20

 

Wake Forest (+7.5) over Notre Dame

Wake Forest: college football picks against the spreadWake Forest has topped the 500-yard mark in each game but has been held back a bit — the Deacons scored only 17 points in regulation in an OT win at Tulane and 34 points in a loss to Boston College (with two of the TD drives under 15 yards) — by turnovers. Wake has committed at least two turnovers in each game and is minus-4 for the season. If the Deacs can protect the ball, which is a big ask with a true freshman at quarterback (assuming Sam Hartman gets the start again), they should be able to score some points on Notre Dame. Notre Dame hits the road for the first time after opening with wins over Michigan, Ball State and Vanderbilt by similar scores of 24–17, 24–16 and 22–17. The Irish have been strong on defense (though Vanderbilt gained 420 yards) but have struggled on offense, specifically in the passing game. Notre Dame 27, Wake Forest 24

 

Virginia (-5) over Louisville

Virginia: college football picks against the spreadThe Juwan Pass era didn’t last long at Louisville. Pass was benched last Saturday in a closer-than-expected win over Western Kentucky, and Bobby Petrino announced on Monday that redshirt freshman Malik Cunningham will get the start in Charlottesville this weekend. Petrino is trying to jumpstart an offense that is averaging only 307.7 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play. Sure, playing Alabama contributed to those anemic averages, but the Cards have also played Indiana State and Western Kentucky. We still don’t know much about Virginia; the Cavs have decisive wins over Richmond and Ohio and a 20–16 loss at Indiana. Bryce Perkins has done a nice job at quarterback, showing the ability to run (100-plus yards vs. Richmond and Indiana) and pass (379 yards vs. Ohio). Virginia 33, Louisville 27

 

Ball State (-3) over Western Kentucky

Ball State: college football picks against the spreadBall State is 0–2 against FBS competition, with a 24–16 loss at Notre Dame and a 38–10 loss at Indiana, but this is a much-improved team from a year ago — due in part to better health after the 2017 team was ravaged by injuries. Western Kentucky is 0–3, and despite a respectable 20–17 loss last weekend at Louisville, the Hilltoppers are trending in the wrong direction under second-year coach Mike Sanford. They lost in Week 2 to Maine at home and have lost eight of their last nine games overall dating back to last season. Ball State 35, Western Kentucky 22

 

Navy (-7) over SMU

Navy: college football picks against the spreadSMU is off to a disappointing 0–3 start under Sonny Dykes, but the Mustangs’ schedule has been brutal, with road games at North Texas and Michigan sandwiched around a home game with TCU. Still, it’s alarming that this team is averaging only 272.3 yards per game and 4.5 yards per play — down from 478.5 and 6.4 in 2017. Ben Hicks, who started 25 games the past two seasons, was benched in favor of true freshman William Brown during the loss at Michigan. This is a big game for Navy, which lost badly to Hawaii and was very fortunate to beat Memphis in Week 2. The Midshipmen need to win this game and look good doing so. Navy 38, SMU 23

 

Georgia (-14.5) over Missouri

Georgia: college football picks against the spreadHow big is the gap between Georgia and the rest of the SEC East? Well, you can make a good argument that Missouri is the second-best team in the division, and Georgia is a two-touchdown favorite against the Tigers in Columbia. Missouri has the firepower to test the retooled Georgia defense — yet still a defense that leads the SEC in yards allowed per game — but the Tigers will have a tough time stopping a Georgia offense that averages 7.8 yards per play. The Bulldogs have so many options and so many different ways to beat you. Georgia 38, Missouri 21

 

Cincinnati (-8) over Ohio

It’s still early, but Cincinnati appears to be one of the most improved teams in the country. The Bearcats are 3–0, highlighted by a 26–17 win at UCLA and a 21–0 shutout victory over Miami (Ohio). Luke Fickell is recruiting very well. And it appears he can coach too. Ohio has been a bit of a disappointment through two games. The Bobcats had to rally to beat Howard in Week 1 and then lost to Virginia 45–21 in Nashville last Saturday. UVa averaged 9.1 yards per play against Ohio — up significantly from its first two games (6.7 vs. Richmond, 4.6 vs. Indiana). Cincinnati 27, Ohio 17

 

Iowa State (-18.5) over Akron

Akron is getting a lot of buzz — and deservedly so — after its big 39–34 win over Northwestern. And while the Zips were no doubt aided by some turnovers — Northwestern committed three — they actually outgained the Wildcats on a per-play basis (5.7 to 5.2). This was not a fluke. Iowa State is still searching for its first win of the season, having lost to Iowa 13–3 and Oklahoma 37–27. It’s not the start that Matt Campbell was looking for, but this is still a good team that can be a factor in the Big 12. The offense, shut down at Iowa, showed signs of life against Oklahoma (though the running game is still an issue). It looks like Zeb Noland will get the start at QB for at least one more week with Kyle Kempt still sidelined with an injury. The spread is a bit high, but the Cyclones are due for a big win. Iowa State 38, Akron 17

 

Western Michigan (-7) over Georgia State

Western Michigan is averaging 574 yards of offense in its two games (vs. Syracuse and Delaware State) in which it has not played Michigan, one of the top defensive teams in the nation. Georgia State is 1–2 overall, with a comeback win over FCS foe Kennesaw State and lopsided losses to NC State and Memphis. The Panthers gave up more than 400 yards passing vs. NC State and more than 400 yards rushing against Memphis. They will have a tough time slowing down the WMU attack. Western Michigan 44, Georgia State 24

 

Last week: 3–7

Season: 11–19

 

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