• Rick

CFB Week 4 Best Bets

We're now 1 day away from the beginning of week 4, which for most conferences spells the beginning of consistent conference play for the rest of the year. While week 3 lacked in higher profile games, week 4 should not. Tennessee gets a chance to prove if they're an SEC East contender against Florida, while the Gators are desperate to show the nation the Utah victory on opening weekend wasn't a fluke. Wake Forest hosts Clemson in a ranked matchup after squeaking out a victory against Liberty and are looking to kick a 13 game losing streak to the Tigers.

In the later games, Arkansas meets up with Texas A&M in Dallas in a battle to determine who will be the second best team in the SEC West, while Wisconsin will try to play spoiler to Ohio State's hopes of a perfect season. In the very late slate, and possibly my favorite game of the day, Southern Cal travels to Corvallis, Oregon to face Oregon State in a gigantic Pac-12 clash. I have plays on some of these games in my article earlier in the week, but here are my other best bets!

Florida Gators @ Tennessee Volunteers (3:30 ET)

Spread: Tennessee -10.5

Total: 63

As I mentioned above, this is the game Tennessee where can prove to the nation they're for real. Though many aren't high on Florida anymore after losing to Kentucky handedly and struggling to beat USF at home, they always play Tennessee tough and assuredly will again on Saturday. If Tennessee can win this game comfortably (i.e. cover), murmurs will begin about their ability to give Georgia problems on November 5th for the east crown.

Now coming into this year we all knew just how good Tennessee's offense was going to be. Hendon Hooker dominated last year with Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman, and they've picked up right where they left off. Their offensive line play has been good even against great defensive fronts like Pittsburgh, and they should be able to hold their own yet again against the Gators who just allowed 286 yards on the ground to USF.

On the other end of the ball, the Gators offense has sputtered. Long gone are the days where people praised Anthony Richardson on his 100+ rushing yard display against Utah. He's now struggled mightily in his last two games: 24/53 (45.3%) for 255 yards, 0 TDs and 4 INTs. He also hasn't run well, carrying the ball just 13 times for 28 yards. The Tennessee defense hasn't been tested much this year in games against Akron and Ball State, but they did well in large portions of their game against Pitt. They held the Panthers to 4/18 on third down and turned them over twice.

As of right now, 60% of all spread bets are on Florida, as well as 55% of moneyline plays. I think people are believing we'll have a typical close rivalry game here, but all indications point towards a Tennessee beat down. I'll ride with Hendon Hooker and an improved defense to keep Florida's offense quiet, and for the under to come in due to Florida trying to slow the pace of the game down. If I had to predict the score, I'd say 41-17. Give me the Volutneers and the under.

Pick: Tennessee -10.5 -110 (1u) & u63 -110 (1u)

Saul Young - USA TODAY Sports

Oregon Ducks @ Washington State Cougars (4:00 ET)

Spread: Oregon -7

Total: 57.5

Last week we cashed in easily on Oregon -3 against BYU. They were afforded a luxury other teams won't have against BYU in that the Cougars were missing their top 2 defensive lineman and wide receivers. Because of that, Oregon was able to keep BYU in front of them defensively and dominate the line of scrimmage offensively to the tune of 212 rushing and 227 passing yards. Washington State will afford the Ducks a much different test. Long gone is the Air-Raid offense under Mike Leach. They've gotten the job done through 3 games - including an upset of Wisconsin - through their defense.

After squeaking out a narrow victory to Idaho State in week one, there wasn't much hope that the Cougars (WSU) could enter Madison, Wisconsin and come away with a victory. Well, they shocked the world and did. They might have allowed 401 yards and only convered on 2-11 3rd down attempts, but they made vital stops time and time again to allow the Badgers only 14 points. They were finally given a reprieve against a terrible Colorado State team in an easy 38-7 victory.

Oregon is best when they have offensive balance, and while their pace is still relatively fast, it's not the breakneck pace we remember from nearly a decade ago. Their defense has also looked night and day better than their game against Georgia as Dan Lanning's impact is beginning to show. Washington State has one of the slowest paced offenses in the country, averaging only about 63 snaps a game through 3 weeks. They'll look to take the air out of the ball and keep the game close going into the 4th quarter. Give me the under, as Washington State has yet to come close to this total yet this season.

Pick: u57.5 -110 (1.5u)

Missouri Tigers @ Auburn Tigers (12:00 ET)

Favorite: Auburn

Total: 51.5

I had to put this game at the bottom of my best bets even though it's a noon game because it is just so gross. I hope none of you tune in to watch this even if you're fans of either team because this should be a horrible game to watch. Auburn's offense can't throw the ball worth a damn at all, so even with a running back as dominant as Tank Bigsby, teams will just load the pocket and stuff his holes. To explain what I mean, here is PFF's graphic of their offensive lineup and how each player grades:

My main takeaway is just how bad their offensive line and receivers are, especially since they haven't faced tough competition. Missouri is by no means a good team - they might be the worst in the East - but they have had brilliant safety play. They'll keep everything in front of them and force Tank Bigsby and the running game to beat them. Offensively for the (Missouri) Tigers, they struggle with playmakers but have a good core offensive line. QB Brady Cook has been decent and has dual threat capabilities to keep defenses honest.

This should be an ugly, low scoring contest between two offenses that lack playmakers. Give me the under and I'll take Missouri to cover a touchdown spread.

Pick: u51.5 -110 (1u) & Missouri +7 -110 (1u)

Jeff Roberson - AP Photo

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