Going into week 4 means that we start getting into more in conference match-ups, and less tolerance for mistakes. There is only two Top 25 showdowns this week, the first being #22 Texas A&M traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on top ranked Alabama, and in the night cap the PAC 12 hosts the game of the week with the newly restored #20 Oregon Ducks trying to remain undefeated as they welcome #7 Stanford to Autzen Stadium. 12 of the Top 25 will be on the road. Here are some of the best match-ups to look into if trying to play the spread this week as well as my predictions in the top games for this week.
Last Week 3-2, Overall 6-4 (Spread Picks)
USC and Washington State in the over (50)
USC is coming off of another loss in which they gave up 37 points to a Texas team that was searching for an identity before their match-up last week. Washington State rolls into LA 3-0 with an average of 43.6 points per game! Look for a stronger USC team on their home field, mixed in with an impressive Cougars offense led by Gardner Minshew (1203 YDs, 8 TDs) and you have a back and forth west coast Friday night game. USC 31 WSU 24
Troy (-4.5) over UL Monroe
Road game or not this spread seems kind of disrespectful to the Trojans who just won an impressive road battle against Nebraska 24-19. BJ Smith ran through the Cornhuskers defense and I would expect him to be a nightmare for the Warhawks defense. This Troy team plays hard on both sides of the ball and would expect a double digit victory.
#12 West Virginia (-16.5) over Kansas State
West Virginia is good, and Kansas State may look like they will get annihilated on paper, but the two have completely different offenses. Will Grier can just about score on anybody (46-60, 761 YDs, 9 TDs), while Bill Snyder’s Wildcats are looking to run the ball, ground and pound, and milk the clock. If Aaron Barnes can move the chains and if Isaiah Zuber (223 reception YDs, 3 TDs) can make an impact in this game, it will be a lot closer than most will think. However, West Virginia breaks through late to cover the spread and wins by 17.
#17 TCU (-3.0) over Texas and both teams in the over (47)
Since the Big 12 changed in 2011 with four teams leaving and two new teams arriving, there hasn’t been a team that’s got under the Longhorns skin as much as TCU. The Horned Frogs are 5-1 against Texas since joining the conference and look to get a win after falling to Ohio State last week. A big QB match-up in Sean Robinson versus Sam Ehlinger will make for a lot of fireworks. I think TCU makes a couple more extra plays then Texas and wins 33-27 and both teams covering the over.
North Texas (-12.5) over Liberty
The Mean Green are real. They did the unexpected as they came into Fayetteville and destroyed Arkansas 41-17 on the road. This like Troy, seems like a spread that under appreciated North Texas with no disrespect to Liberty. UNT will come out the gate strong and will not look back. Mason Fine (1143 YDs, 8 TDs) has the potential to bring this team to a New Years Six Bowl, and a 3 TD road victory over Liberty will bring them one step closer to it.
Texas A&M impressed me against Clemson and even had the chance to beat the Tigers! The A&M D-Line and the Tide’s O-Line will definitely be an entertaining battle. The Aggies might stay close at first but this Alabama’s offense is as deadly as Sabans’ teams have ever been. Tua has a huge supporting cast of receivers including Jerry Jeudy who already has 6 TDs this season, one more than Calvin Ridley last year! This will be Alabama’s first ranked opponent and it will be a good one but the Tide should runaway with this late.
In the game of the week, I’m not going to lie, I haven’t seen much of Oregon. I do know that their junior quarterback Justin Herbert (840 YDs, 8TDs) is a true force out west. Stanford’s Bryce Love is struggling to live up to his hype this season, but quarterback K.J Costello has made up for it playing amazing football (729 YDs, 7 TDs). This will be the most exciting game of the year for the PAC 12, and with the home field advantage in Autzen Stadium, I expect the Ducks to get the upset tomorrow night.