We went 4-2 last week, improving to 11-7 on the season. Here are our picks for Week Four.
Michigan (+4.5) at Notre Dame This game opened at ND -6.5. Vegas countered twice to -5.5 and -4.5 when it looked like money was swinging toward Michigan. Opinion should be too low on Michigan after Alabama and too high on Notre Dame after Michigan State. The Wolverines have won five of six in this series. Notre Dame had no answer for Denard Robinson the past two meetings. Michigan has the athleticism to press Notre Dame’s depleted secondary.
Cal (+16.5) at USC The Trojans have not covered a spread this season. They have been very average on defense. Statistically, Cal has had a better offense and showed big play capability against Ohio State. Better situational coaching in the fourth quarter might have earned the Bears an upset in the Horseshoe. USC can make plays, but they have not shown they can control a game on the ground and hammer a team. Cal hangs around.
FIU (+13.5) vs. Louisville Sometimes the line looks too good to be true. The Cardinals are young and going on the road for the first time. FIU’s road losses against Duke and UCF may look better later this season. This one is closer than expected. Vegas does not give away money. More than 90 percent is coming in on Louisville.
Oklahoma (-14) vs. Kansas State The Sooners generally blow teams away in Norman. They crushed Kansas State 58-17 in Manhattan last year. The Wildcats’ pass defense also looks like a liability. They rank in the 70s nationally in yards per attempt and passer rating against. They gave up more than 300 yards through the air to Missouri State. North Texas’ quarterback completed 25/28 passes last week. Oklahoma has also had a bye week to focus and work out its kinks.
Florida State (-14.5) vs. Clemson Most are portraying the key matchup here as Florida State’s defensive line against Clemson’s offensive line. We’ll take the Seminoles. The Tigers’ 26-19 win over Auburn looks less impressive in retrospect. Andre Ellington was held to less than four yards per carry against Ball State and Furman. FSU has not been tested, but they have not shown a single thing to suggest they are not what they looked like on paper.
Akron (+34.5) at Tennessee Tennessee will be looking ahead to Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina the four games following. Akron’s losses were not as bad as they looked. The Zips have an underrated passing attack that could probe a Tennessee defense that has been vulnerable to 20 to 30 yard passes so far this season. The Vols win comfortably, but Akron covers.
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