NCAA Football: Week 4 Picks & Predictions

Last Week in Review By Dr. Senkbeil

Last week was interesting but not very successful at 7-7-1.  Vegas lines were accurate with many half point hooks at 7.5 or 14.5 snagging people.  Let’s see if 3 weeks of data starts to answer more questions, but after perusing the available lines I do not see a lot of meat on the bones for this week.

Stats from Football Outsiders S&P

Weekend of 9/23/17 game lines as of Tuesday 9/19 midnight EST:

Picks against the spread are in bold.
  • Virginia +13 at Boise State

Prediction: Boise 31 – Virginia 20

So Boise only beat a really bad New Mexico team by 14 at home last week and the half point hook got me.  I thought they would roll by at least 20.  Virginia is better than New Mexico, especially on defense.  The Hoos should keep this within striking distance if the game follows the data.

  • Wake – 5 at Appalachian State

Prediction: Wake 28 App State 17

Wake has their best team since Jim Grobe’s Orange Bowl squad (17th defense).  It helps when the other team is not given the gameplan ahead of time.  They have not played anybody yet, but App State (40th defense) resembles the BC team that Wake crushed.  App State has better offense than BC, so expect them to score between 14 and 20 at home while Wake should get a score similar to the 34 they had against BC and they should cover.  The line started at 3 and has already moved to 5.   

  • Michigan at Purdue +10

Prediction: Michigan 35- Purdue 28

Air Force frustrated Michigan last week as predicted, but the wolverine defense (2nd) is tough.  They just need enough help from their offense (49) to keep winning ugly.  Brohm is the early winner of coach of the year taking over an awful Purdue team and giving them confidence.  The Boilers have looked good and Vegas agrees.  I think the Black and Gold fans will show up to support this team and keep the Boilers in the game.  The stats are still not kind to Purdue (66 off and 75 def) which further suggests that Brohm is working some magic here.  They are scoring points.  Can they outscore Michigan?  NO  Can they score enough to stay close?  Yes


  • Penn State -12 at Iowa

Prediction: Penn State 34 – Iowa 14

Iowa at home can be a problem but Penn State (5 offense, 11 defense) and 4th overall has too much talent this year.  Eventually this should overwhelm Iowa (88, 19) if Penn State avoids turnovers.  Iowa has very similar numbers to Wake.  If Penn State was playing at Wake and favored by 12 who would you pick?  Iowa keeps this close for a half.    


  • Boston College at Clemson -34.5

Prediction: Clemson 45 BC 7

How will BC (124, 27) score against Clemson?  BC is all defense. Clemson could sleepwalk through this game and win by 28.  They might do it, but I am thinking they will shift their offense into gear just a few times before playing the subs.  BC scores a late touchdown to make it 45-7.  Is that enough cushion to take Clemson at 34.5?  Not really, but again not seeing a lot of meat this week.


  • Mississippi Sate +5 at Georgia

Prediction: State 27 Georgia 24

Hail State!  Yes, I am an alum.  In the spirit of neutrality, you have to admit the MS dawgs (16, 28) have been impressive so far this year.  The UGA dawgs (52,12) have a good defense but their qb uncertainty has plagued the offense.  This line suggests the home team gets 5 points and the teams are even.  I think State has looked better and as long as their play continues they can pull the mild road upset here.  Late season depth will be a concern for State.  


  • West Virginia – 22 at Kansas

Prediction: WVU 56 Kansas 24       

Poor Kansas (95, 114) just does not have much.  They lost by 12 to Ohio last week.  West Virginia’s 27th ranked offense will score but the Mountaineers 82 ranked defense will let Kansas get a few points, but 22 seems like an easy cover if WVU is focused.   


  • Central Florida at Maryland -3.5

Prediction: Maryland 52 UCF 37 

Central Florida has only played 1 game so there is uncertainty here.  Maryland has looked much improved beating Texas on the road.  That Texas team is not bad and is ranked much higher than Maryland statistically.  I don’t think UCF can outscore Maryland who is averaging 57 points per game.  


  • Old Dominion at Virginia Tech -27.5

Prediction: Virginia Tech 48 – ODU 13

ODU was blown out by UNC last week.  Tech is better than UNC and certainly has a better defense.  I am 2-0 with Tech this year so this sounds good also.


  • Georgia State pick em at Charlotte

Prediction:  Georgia State 31 Charlotte 28

The I-85 pillow fight is on!  Georgia State 0-3 and fresh off a 0-56 paycheck at Penn State rolls into Charlotte with confidence knowing that the 49ers just lost to NC A&T.  Georgia State lost to Tennessee State earlier this year.  This might be the only chance for a win for these teams.  Georgia State ranks 120th overall while Charlotte is 128th.  YEAH!  Maybe these teams should partner with Goodbookey?  Panthers win a thriller


  • Toledo+13.5 at Miami

Prediction: Miami 51 Toledo 42

Toledo is 3-0 with the 13th most efficient offense in the country.  They might be the best team in the MAC.  Miami has only played 1 game against Bethune Cookman so they might be a little rusty.  Toledo will not stop Miami but they should be able to score some points and make this an entertaining game.  Miami may have trouble separating from them but will beat them.  Funny how Miami’s stat profile looks like an old UGA Mark Richt team.


  • Oklahoma – 27.5 at Baylor

Prediction: OU 55 Baylor 20

The OU juggernaut will not be stopped, but it can be slowed down enough to beat them.  Not this week and 0-3 Baylor needs to avoid getting swept into the Brazos.  OUCH


  • Notre Dame at Michigan State +4

Prediction: Notre Dame 23 Michigan State 20

Michigan State is a defensive team on its home field against a solid Notre Dame team.  Notre Dame struggled with UGAs defense 2 weeks ago.  It should be more of the same against Sparty.  I expect a close game decided by a field goal.  Therefore, 4 points is 1 too many, but there is no cushion here.      


  • TCU +11.5  at Oklahoma State

Prediction: Oklahoma State 49 TCU 38

Oklahoma State (offense 2)  has looked like a potential playoff team, but against weak competition.  TCU gave up 36 points to SMU’s offense last week as a trial run for the Pokes.  TCU should be able to score and keep pace with OK State while providing enough of a speedbump to slow them down.  I did not say stop them because they will not.   


  • USC at Cal +17

Prediction: USC 38 Cal 31

Cal is 3-0 under Justin Wilcox and just beat Ole Miss 27-16.  They beat North Carolina earlier in the year.  Those are 2 good wins.  USC outlasted Texas 1 week after beating Stanford?  Was USC tired?  USC is the better team, but can they outscore CAL?  Yes, they can but by more than 17 points on the road?

Be sure to keep your eye out for our weekly blog with Dr. Senkbeil’s picks every Thursday. Challenge your college buddies and coworkers on your Alma Mater’s game and raise money for charity in the process! Don’t have the GoodBookey app? Download it below. Talk some smack and give back!