NCAAF Week 4 Friday Free Picks
by DS WilliamsonYour NCAAF Week 4 Friday free picks triple-header includes Florida Atlantic at #18 UCF, #9 Penn State at Illinois, and Washington State at #21 USC. Check out odds, analysis, and picks for all 3 games on Friday, Sep. 21st!
Florida Atlantic Owls at #18 UCF Knights -13.5 (7:00pm ET)
Lane Kiffin and the Florida Atlantic Owls have bounced back with 2 straight wins since the 14-63 loss to Oklahoma in Week 1. Unfortunately, Kiffin’s FAU team failed to cover in either one of the victories. The Owls posted a 33-27 win over Air Force as a -8 favorite, and a 49-28 win over Bethune-Cookman as a -41 favorite.
Allowing Bethune-Cookman to score 28 is bad news because the Owls face a much better offense on Friday against UCF. The point spread isn’t close to what it should be because the Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 September games.
UCF’s offense should have it’s way with Florida Atlantic’s defense. The Knights are ranked 3rd in offensive yards with a mind boggling 609.0 per game, and score 47 points per as well, good enough for 15th in the nation. Meanwhile, their defense has been brilliant, allowing 8.5 points against. The Owls will be the best team they've played thus far, but this one won't be close. Central Florida is a safe play despite facing double-digits.
NCAAF Week 4 Friday Free Picks: UCF -13.5
#9 Penn State Nittany Lions -28 at Illinois Fighting Illini (9:00pm ET)
Penn State’s defense quickly found their feet after the 45-38 overtime win against Appalachian State in Week 1 by holding Pitt to 6 points in a 51-6 win and holding Kent State to 10 points in a 63-10 win.
Illinois should have trouble scoring points in this game. Not only that, but Illinois were listless in a 19-25 loss to South Florida in their last game. It goes without saying that Penn State's defense is far superior to South Florida's so take that for what it's worth. From a defensive standpoint, you almost have to lean towards the Nittany Lions covering in this Friday night matchup.
Beyond that, Illinois’ defense isn’t as good as the 21 points allowed per game suggests. I’m all over Penn State in this one.
NCAAF Week 4 Friday Free Picks: Penn State -28
Washington State Cougars at #21 USC Trojans -4.5 (10:30pm ET)
A college football handicapper might assume that USC played horribly in their 14-37 loss to Texas in Week 3, and they’d be right…to an extent. Texas’s coaches made the halftime adjustments while USC’s coaches didn’t, meaning that the Trojans simply weren't put in a position to succeed. The Longhorns outscored USC 21-0 in the third quarter.
Washington State’s a better football team than anyone believes while their coach, Mike Leach, will definitely make the required halftime adjustments to keep this close. It’s hard to back the Trojans against any team right now because the issues appear to stem from the coaching staff and not the players. This team is always outfitted with top recruiting talent, and always will be. But they need a better game plan and aren't getting one. That's a big reason they aren't meeting overall expectations and have fallen to 0-3 ATS on the year with two losses in the standings already.
Washington State can beat USC straight up on Friday night, but take the points if you want to be safe.
NCAAF Week 4 Friday Free Picks: Washington State +4.5