The Week 4 edition of Lucas’ Surefire CFB Picks ATS is the very first edition in what will be, at the very least, a season-long series of articles made up of Lucas’ Surefire CFB Picks ATS in each given week. The number of picks I have each week will change depending on the spreads/game totals as well as the game matchups for each week. Some weeks I may have as many as 10 to 12 picks or as few as 5 or 6 picks. I’ll look at both individual game lines as well as over-unders to compile my list of favorite picks for each given week. The site that I use personally is Bovada Online Sportsbook, so that’s where I’ll get all my number totals from for the use of this series of articles. Also, full disclosure: I work for the Michigan football team so I am not allowed to make any official bets on Michigan football games meaning you will never see any Michigan-related picks in these articles. Now with all that settled, let’s dig into my surefire picks for this week:
Spread: Boston College (-7.5) @ Rutgers
I know BC looked really bad last week, at home, against Kansas in a lopsided 48-24 loss, but hear me out. Rutgers looked much improved from last season with a 48-21 win against UMASS in their first game. For context, UMASS is currently 0-3 with losses to Rutgers, Southern Illinois, and Charlotte. Charlotte actually beat that same UMASS team by a score of 52-17 last week. The very next week, they followed up that performance with an incredibly poor showing in a 30-0 loss at Iowa. Now that you know just how bad that UMASS team really is, that Rutgers victory over UMASS looks much, much less impressive than the scoreboard may indicate. Despite BC coming off a big loss at home to Kansas (which was the program’s first road win against a Power 5 team in over a decade), I like them to rebound here, on the road against Big Ten doormat Rutgers. I expect BC to win comfortably by about 10-14 points with All-ACC running back AJ Dillon and redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Brown posing too many problems for the Rutgers defense to contain for all four quarters.
The Pick: BC -7.5
Spread: Michigan State (-9.5) @ Northwestern
After watching MSU’s offense struggle mightily against Arizona State last week, having them favored on the road against an always pesky NW team is way too big of a spread, in my opinion. I know NW has its own offensive struggles, but in what I envision being a low-scoring, defensive slugfest, give me the underdog at home. Evanston is a trickier place to play in than people imagine and, in MSU’s first road game of the year, I just can’t see MSU beating NW by more than a touchdown, which is what would need to happen to lose this bet.
The Pick: Northwestern +9.5
Spread: Tulane (-4.5) vs. Houston
D’Eriq King will likely be the best player on the field Saturday, but I haven’t really been a huge fan of his fit thus far in new head coach Dana Holgorsen’s Air Raid offense. Holgorsen’s play style also tends to leave his defense out to dry while their offense goes at Mach speed trying to pile up points. Meanwhile, Tulane kept it relatively close in a Week 2 matchup against Auburn losing by a final score of 24-6. It was widely considered a good showing by Tulane and, in games where they’re not up against one of the best defenses in the country, they’re averaging 50 points per game – led by dual-threat quarterback Justin McMillan and big-play wide receiver Darnell Mooney. I expect Tulane’s offense to score a bunch of points against this iffy Houston defense, and I also expect the Green Wave defense to do enough to slow down D’Eriq King in an offense that just hasn’t clicked yet. Give me Tulane to win and cover the spread at home.
The Pick: Tulane -4.5
Spread: Utah (-4) @ USC
So far this season, Utah has looked impressive to me in every single game they’ve played. They’re loaded on the defensive line, have a good offensive line, a solid dual-threat quarterback and one of the best running backs in the country not named Johnathan Taylor. USC, while having a roster stacked with former four- and five-star recruits, hasn’t lived up to my expectations in these first few weeks of the season. While they dazzled playing against Stanford, they’ve also struggled mightily against BYU and Fresno State. These two teams have actually both played BYU already this season, with Utah beating them 30-12 in Week 1 while the Cougars got the best of the Trojans in overtime last week 30-27. With that common opponent, and the two very different scores that came out of their matchups with the Cougars, I have enough confidence in this game to pull the trigger. I just think Utah is 7-10 points better than this USC team, even on the road.
The Pick: Utah -4
Spread: Washington (-6.5) @ BYU
While Washington looked really good offensively last week, you must also keep in mind they were playing the 120th-ranked defense in FBS in the form of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Losing their former offensive coordinator to Oregon State was a bigger loss than people thought it was and they’ve now found themselves struggling to fill the void he left in the staff. I’m still not sold on this Husky offense; when I watch them, I think it just looks a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Jacob Eason really struggled in that Cal game and, while his overall stats look really good so far, he’s padded his stats significantly against lowly Hawaii and Eastern Washington. Meanwhile, I’ve been very impressed with BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. Eason’s stats and physical frame are much better than Wilson’s, but this Zach Wilson kid has the “it” factor that I love in my QBs. All that being said, Washington is the more talented team, but I’ll take the team with a better QB here to be able to cover at home and maybe even win outright – that is, if the Cougar defense can play well.
The Pick: BYU +6.5
The Spread: Texas vs. Oklahoma State – Over/Under 73
I’ll admit, the 73 number is a bit higher than I’d like it to be, but I just love watching both of these offenses operate. Oklahoma State is sneaky good this year, so much so that I believe they’re the third best team in the Big 12 right behind Oklahoma and Texas. If this game were in Stillwater, I’d be all over the Cowboys. But sadly, it is not, so I’m just going to stick with the over 73 here. Texas carved up a really good defense in LSU a couple of weeks ago; going into this game, they have a lot of offensive weapons at their disposal and are led by a really good QB in junior Sam Ehlinger. On the other side, Oklahoma State may have the best offensive trio in the country in QB Spencer Sanders, RB Chuba Hubbard, and a Biletnikoff candidate in WR Tylan Wallace. So far this season, Oklahoma State has had the 10th best offense in the entire country, while Texas isn’t far behind at 22nd. I think this Texas defense is better than they’ve shown so far this season, but this is a really tough matchup for them and they come into the game ranked 101st in total defense. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State is currently ranked as the 85th best defense in the nation, although they haven’t played anyone with nearly the same amount of skill position talent that they’ll play this week against Texas. What do you get when there are two really good offenses matched up against two below-average defenses? Points, points, and more points. I’ll take the over at 73 despite it already being a really high total.
The Pick: Over 73
Spread: Texas A&M (-3.5) vs. Auburn
My reasoning for being on the Aggies here is that I really like their matchups in this game. Mike Elko vs. Gus Malzahn, Kellen Mond vs. Bo Nix, skill talent at A&M vs. the Auburn secondary. Additionally, Nix, outside of one drive against Oregon, hasn’t impressed me at all. I believe he’ll be really good before it’s all said and done for him at Auburn, but he’s just not playing at a very high level right now. He’s only completing about 52% of his passes and against an improved Aggie secondary, I don’t like his chances of having a big game in this one. So, all things considered, in Nix’s first career road start, in a raucous environment in College Station, I like the Aggies here to win and cover easily.
The Pick: Texas A&M -3.5
Spread: Georgia (-14.5) vs. Notre Dame
Now for my final pick, in probably the sexiest game of the entire week. I think these two teams are really, really good. Currently ranked as two of the top ten teams in the country, getting them in a non-conference game in Week 4 is just plain awesome. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is an incredibly talented college QB, but he’s been known to have an off-day every now and then, and it’s not difficult to see this being one of those games with this stingy ND secondary on the other side of the ball. I think this game will go back and forth for a while before Georgia’s offensive line starts to take over late in the second half and controls the game from then on. I do expect Georgia to win this game but I think it’ll be closer than the 15 points it’d require for me to lose this bet. If the spread were around 10 for this game, I probably wouldn’t be touching it. However, I just think the two touchdowns they’re giving me as the hook are too much to pass up on. Give me ND with a good QB, good offensive line, good skill talent and a really good secondary to be able to cover on the road in Athens.
The Pick: ND +14.5
Summary: 8 Picks in Week 4
- Boston College -7.5 @ Rutgers
- Northwestern + 9.5 vs. Michigan State
- Tulane -4.5 vs. Houston
- Utah -4 @ USC
- BYU +6.5 vs. Washington
- Texas/Oklahoma State over 73
- Texas A&M -3.5 vs. Auburn
- ND +14.5 @ Georgia