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College football Week 4 odds, picks + viewing guide

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

September 22nd, 2020

After three weeks of college football, it feels a bit like we’ve been playing preseason football thus far.

With the SEC and Big Ten absent from play, the heavyweights of the sport (minus Clemson) have been watching from the couch, like the rest of us. And make no mistake, the play has been sloppy and inconsistent.

With Week 4 upon us and the SEC kicking off its season, let’s look at a few of the more intriguing matchups for a season that is taking off like a slow steam engine but promises to pick up speed as bigger-name programs join the fray.

Week 4 schedule

Date, timeMatchupTV station
Saturday, Sept. 26, noon
Kansas State at #3 Oklahoma
FOX
Saturday, Sept. 26, noon
#5 Florida at Ole Miss
ESPN
Saturday, Sept. 26, noon
#7 Notre Dame at Wake Forest
ABC
Saturday, Sept. 26, noon
#23 Kentucky at #8 Auburn
SEC Network
Saturday, Sept. 26, noon
#13 UCF at East Carolina
ESPN+
Saturday, Sept. 26, noon
Georgia Southern at #19 Louisiana
ESPN2
Saturday, Sept. 26, noon
#24 Louisville at #21 Pittsburgh
ACCN
Saturday, Sept. 26, 3:30 p.m.
Mississippi State at #6 LSU
CBS
Saturday, Sept. 26, 3:30 p.m.
#8 Texas at Texas Tech
FOX
Saturday, Sept. 26, 3:30 p.m.
#22 Army at #14 Cincinnati
ESPN
Saturday, Sept. 26, 3:30 p.m.
West Virginia at #15 Oklahoma State
ABC
Saturday, Sept. 26, 4 p.m.
#4 Georgia at Arkansas
SEC Network
Saturday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.
#2 Alabama at Missouri
ESPN
Saturday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt at #10 Texas A&M
SECN Alt
Saturday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.
Florida State at #12 Miami
ABC
Saturday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.
#16 Tennessee at South Carolina
SEC Network
Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m.
NC State at #20 Virginia Tech
ACCN
Saturday, Sept. 26, 10:15 p.m.
Troy at #18 BYU
ESPN

Mississippi State vs. LSU

Sat, September 26 2020, 7:30 PM

LSU Tigers

Spread

-16.5

Moneyline

-725

Total

O 57

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Spread

+16.5

Moneyline

+495

Total

U 57

The defending champion LSU Tigers kick off their season at home Saturday afternoon and are massive favorites in their debut.

LSU is favored by 16.5 points against a team it defeated 36-13 last year. Both teams will look a lot different in 2020, with LSU undergoing a massive roster overhaul following its championship campaign.

Quarterback Joe Burrow is gone to the Cincinnati Bengals. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. Four of five starting offensive linemen are gone. All together, the Tigers entered fall camp with over 30 players departed from their championship team.

LSU is a fantastic recruiting program with lots of elite-level talent still on the roster, but it’s hard to predict what things will look like on offense in the first game.

On the other side of the field, Mike Leach of Texas Tech and Washington State coaching fame makes his debut in a conference that is known for more smashmouth football than finesse passing.

While there will undoubtedly be a learning curve for the whole roster, Leach looks most likely to start former All-Pac 12 quarterback and Stanford graduate transfer KJ Costello. Costello has size, experience, and arm strength to excel in a Mike Leach offense.

This feels like far too many points to lay for a team full of question marks facing an unconventional offense.

Pick: Mississippi State +16.5


Alabama vs. Missouri

Sat, September 26 2020, 11:00 PM

Missouri Tigers

Spread

+27

Moneyline

+1125

Total

O 55

Alabama Crimson Tide

Spread

-27

Moneyline

-2800

Total

U 55

The SEC’s flagship program takes the field for the first time Saturday evening as huge favorites against conference foe Missouri.

Alabama — for the first time in what feels like forever — will be starting a quarterback not named Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts.

Mac Jones has experience and is the starter for Week 1, but freshman Bryce Young offers a higher ceiling and longer future. Young was the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country and comes all the way from Pasadena, California, but head coach Nick Saban has always preferred his team leader to have a bit of experience in the program.

Missouri will be without at least 12 players because of COVID-19 protocols, and a lack of depth is not going to help against Alabama.

The Crimson Tide undoubtedly feel disappointed in the result of their 2019-2020 season and have the most talent of any roster in the country. Running back Najee Harris is a former No. 1 overall recruit and will be a hammer for the traditional-set Alabama rushing attack.

Wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle are the definition of dynamic. Offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and Landon Dickerson have experience and power. Linebacker Dylan Moses looks to return healthy after a devastating injury cut his last season short, and cornerback Patrick Surtain is a former 5-star recruit that looks to be the next in a long line of shutdown stars.

The Tide roll on debut.

Pick: Alabama -27


Kansas vs. Baylor

Sat, September 26 2020, 11:30 PM

Baylor Bears

Spread

-16.5

Moneyline

-680

Total

O 59

Kansas Jayhawks

Spread

+16.5

Moneyline

+470

Total

U 59

Are there better games on the schedule? Absolutely there are. And while there is a chance that COVID-19 forces this one to get delayed, I’m really holding out hope that things work out.

Night games in Waco are fun, especially when it’s Baylor running up the score against a bad opponent.

Les Miles is the head coach at Kansas and has a ring on his finger, but he’s working with an untalented group of players and was never a good in-game coach to begin with.

In its opening game of the season, Kansas lost at home to Coastal Carolina 38-23. Quarterback Miles Kendrick managed only 156 passing yards.

Baylor, meanwhile, has Charlie Brewer, one of the better quarterbacks in the Big 12. The Bears are also going to benefit from new head coach Dave Aranda, formerly of LSU and Wisconsin.

Aranda is a fantastic coach, and while he’s known as a defensive mastermind, he spent the last couple of years learning the other side of the ball at LSU.

Baylor will roll Kansas in another embarrassing loss for the Jayhawks.

Pick: Baylor -16.5



NCAAF betting trends

  • LSU vs. Mississippi State has gone Under the total in the last five matchups.
  • Missouri is 0-7 ATS in its last seven conference games.
  • In 14 years at Alabama, Nick Saban has outscored opponents 528-144 in the opening game (average margin of victory 27.4 points).
  • Kansas is 3-11 ATS in its last 14 games on grass.
  • Kansas is 0-8 ATS in its last eight games against Baylor.

Wager on Week 4 NCAAF at BetAmerica!

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