This college football season is drunk. Contenders like Alabama, Oklahoma, and Clemson all nearly lost in Week 3. More Pac-12 teams continued to stumble. And I took a serious bath with my picks last week.
But with another week of results under our belts, we’re primed to bounce back. We start by looking at an undervalued SEC team, then we turn to what looks like the Pac-12’s last hope to get into the College Football Playoff as the Oregon Ducks open conference play in what should be a quaker.
The Triple Option returns with my best college football picks and predictions for Week 4.
College football picks and predictions for Week 4
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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College football Week 4 picks
Missouri -1.5 (-110)
This is a line that really stuck out to me when I started to examine the college football board for Week 4, and it makes me feel like I am missing something. Yes, Boston College is 3-0 and Missouri has yet to cover a spread, but hear me out.
For starters, if you take a quick look at the numbers, it appears that this is a strength vs. strength matchup as Mizzou quarterback Connor Bazelak faces off against what on the surface looks like a good Boston College pass defense.
Let me help you emerge from this illusion. Here is who the Eagles have faced so far this year: Temple, who was starting a backup QB, UMass, who was starting a backup QB, and whoever was under center for Colgate. So, yeah, they haven’t had to deal with anyone of Bazelak’s caliber.
The Mizzou signal-caller has thrown for 897 yards, completing 67.3 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and just one interception. That is the Tigers' only turnover of the season. Bazelak also has a dynamic playmaker in Tyler Badie who could give the Eagles fits.
Oh, yeah, BC will also be without its starting quarterback in Phil Jurkovec. Backup Dennis Grosel was an unimpressive 5 of 13 for 34 yards with a touchdown and a pick in the 28-3 win over Temple.
Missouri detractors will note how Kentucky was able to run all over them and Boston College will try to do the same. But even with some defensive deficiencies, that isn’t enough. The Eagles haven’t been tested at all. While the defense is shaky in spots, they can pressure the QB well, the offense is at another level, and they are a well-coached team under Eli Drinkwitz. Missouri walks away a winner in this one.
Clemson-NC State Under 48 (-110)
What on Earth is wrong with the Clemson Tigers?
Clemson suffered an acceptable hard-fought loss to Georgia in its opener and took care of business against FCS South Carolina State. And then, they nearly lost outright to Georgia Tech as 27.5-point home favorites, squeaking out a 14-8 win.
So, what’s the problem? Well, simply put, the offense is a mess. Yes, quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is extremely talented, but the offense has just had no consistency in any facet of the game. The Tigers rank 102nd in passing yards per game, 95th in rushing yards per game, and 106th in scoring at just 22 points per game. And, those numbers include the matchup against South Carolina State. Take that game away, and Clemson fans might feel like they have been hit by a bus.
What isn’t a problem is the defense. Brent Venables' unit is elite and one of the best in the country. The Tigers rank 15th in opponent yards per play at just 4.1 per game and the unit is yet to allow a TD.
North Carolina State, on the other hand, comes into this game with a 2-1 record. The Wolfpack own dominating wins over USF and FCS Furman and fell in a tough loss to Mississippi State 24-10, but the defense gave up just 17 points in that game.
The Wolfpack have an experienced defense and rank 30th in opponents yards per play when facing FBS opponents, and have been particularly strong against the rush where they are giving up just 2.7 yards per carry.
Going on the road against a rival with a good defense doesn’t seem like the spot where Clemson’s offense gets right. Meanwhile, NC State’s run game stalled against Mississippi State and it resulted in them just scoring 10 points. Now, they have to go up against one of the best units in the country?
This game will be intense and close for a while and the Under feels solid here.
Oregon -16.5 first-half spread (-120)
While it has been a rough first couple of weeks for the Pac-12 as a whole, the conference still has hope for a College Football Playoff berth thanks to the Oregon Ducks.
The Ducks have opened the season a perfect 3-0, highlighted of course by a stunning 35-28 victory over Ohio State at The Horseshoe as two-touchdown underdogs. While Oregon is just 1-2 against the spread, you can give them a bit of a pass when it comes to that.
The Ducks only beat Fresno State 31-24 as 17-point favorites but we are coming to realize that Bulldogs team is for real and might be the best Group of Five team in the country. And, while they didn’t cover the massive 42-point chalk against FCS Stony Brook, they came awful close in a 48-7 win.
Now, Oregon opens conference play against an Arizona Wildcats team that is a dumpster fire of a program at the moment.
The Wildcats opened the season with disappointing losses to BYU and San Diego State, but they might have hit rock bottom in last week’s 21-19 loss to FCS Northern Arizona as 26-point favorites.
Arizona is one-dimensional on offense, leaning on the passing game, but either way, they rank 105th in yards per play. The Wildcats' pass defense has decent numbers but that’s only because teams haven’t needed to throw against them, because they are getting absolutely trampled on the ground, allowing 193.3 rushing yards per game at nearly five yards per carry.
That doesn’t bode well against a Ducks team featuring a pair of studs in their backfield in CJ Verdell and Travis Dye. Both Oregon backs are averaging at least 5.4 yards per carry.
The Ducks didn’t get off to a great start last week against Stony Brook, heading into the break with just a 17-7 lead. Head coach Mario Cristobal didn’t like that and will have his team motivated to get off to a good start in their conference opener. Bet the Ducks to head into the break with a sizeable lead against an Arizona team waving the white flag.
Week 4 odds overview
Notre Dame vs Wisconsin (+6.5, 45): Notre Dame has not impressed to this point, but neither has Wisconsin. And, at least Notre Dame has shown some ability to move the football while Graham Mertz has struggled. I'm not sure Notre Dame should be this big of an underdog in this one. Plus, it's the Jack Coan revenge game!
Texas A&M vs Arkansas (+4.5, 47): Do you believe in the Hogs' hot start? Some early bettors sure do. This line opened with Arkansas +5.5 and there are even some 3.5s out there, but I'm still a little weary. Anything can happen at Jerry World but this is a big step up in competition for the Hogs. I'm just a keen observer this week.
Wyoming vs Connecticut (+30.5, 54.5): If Wyoming doesn't win this game by 30, it's because they didn't want to. Fade UConn is in full effect, but Army let up in the second half after going up 42-0 and the Huskies covered. So, take a look at the Cowboys in the first half.
Odds current at time of publish. Check out our college football odds screen to see live odds and to shop for the best prices.
Week 4 Triple Option betting card
- Missouri -1.5 (-110)
- Clemson-NC State Under 48 (-110)
- Oregon -16.5 first-half spread (-120)
Last week: 0-3 ATS -3 units (Risking 1 unit per play)
Season: 3-7 ATS -4.27 units (Risking 1 unit per play)
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