Youmans: My best college football bets Week 4 – VSiN Exclusive News – News
At his best, Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is a dangerous runner and dynamic playmaker. At worst, he struggles with accurate passing and runs a one-dimensional attack that is far too predictable.
Richardson needs to be at his best and find ways to get some big passes if the Gators are going to face No. 11 Tennessee on Saturday. The Volunteers are double-digit favorites in this Southeastern Conference rivalry for the first time and it’s been a one-sided series, with Florida winning 16 of the last 17 meetings. Hendon Hooker is the main reason Tennessee has its best chance in a long time to pull off some upsets in Florida. After transferring from Virginia Tech and taking over as the Vols’ starting quarterback last season, Hooker passed for 36 touchdowns with three interceptions. Tennessee runs a rushing attack that has averaged 52 points in three games, even though two of the opponents were weak Mid-American Conference teams Akron and Ball State. In their only real test, the Vols were fortunate to beat Pittsburgh 34-27 in overtime. In Florida’s season-opening 29-26 upset of then-No. 7 Utah, Richardson threw for 168 yards and ran for 106. But his passing numbers this season (53.2 completion percentage, zero touchdowns and four interceptions) are embarrassing, and this is his first career start in a true road game. Richardson will probably handle the situation. The Gators’ run defense is a much bigger concern. The fans in Knoxville are going to be crazy, so this won’t be easy, but my numbers have Tennessee as a 7-point favorite and that line was inflated. I’ll take the points with Florida, which has dominated the rivalry for decades.
Pick: Florida + 11
I actually bet on a few favorites this week — New Mexico State -2.5, Northwestern -7 and Utah -14 — but the lines have moved above the key numbers, so I’ll go with the current prices. This column is all dogs and hopefully the results will improve dramatically. Six more games for Saturday (HOME team in CAPS):
Wisconsin (+18.5) over OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes enjoyed the role of bully, beating Arkansas State and Toledo, but needed a late rally as 17-point favorites to get past Notre Dame 21-10 in the opener. This is a similar matchup because of the Badgers’ ability to run the ball behind a physical offensive line. Running backs Braylon Allen and Chaz Melusi are capable of controlling the clock enough to throw off Ohio State’s explosive offense. Prior to this trip to Columbus, Wisconsin had been favored in 24 straight games.
James Madison (+ 7) over APPALACHIAN STATE: There is no better situational place for an underdog this week. A week after upsetting Texas A&M, the Mountaineers stunned Troy with a last-second Hail Mary. After a wild party, there is usually a hangover. The Dukes, who blasted Middle Tennessee and Norfolk State by a combined score of 107-14, split last week. James Madison, moving up from the FCS to the Sun Belt Conference this year, has a chance to pull off the upset behind dual-threat quarterback Todd Centeo (nine touchdown passes, no interceptions).
OREGON STATE (+ 6) over Southern California: Few Pac-12 defenses are capable of containing Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams, and the Beavers are in that group. Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith deserves respect in the underdog role, as he showed last year by turning around USC and Utah. If they must trade scores, the Beavers could do so with quarterback Chance Nolan and running back Deshaun Fenwick. This line has fallen from opening -7 due to sharp dog money.
Stanford (+ 14) over WASHINGTON: After a 41-28 blowout loss to USC, the Cardinal had a week off to prepare for this game, so the spot is good. With quarterback Tanner McKee and running back AJ Smith, Stanford has enough offense to stay within striking distance. The Huskies hired a smart coach in Kalen DeBoer, who wisely brought in quarterback Michael Penix. The Indiana transfer is off to a hot start with 1,079 yards passing and 10 TDs in three wins. Disturbed signal? Washington was a 12-point home favorite in a loss to Stanford two years ago.
Kansas State (+12.5) over OKLAHOMA: Chris Kliman is a better bet as an underdog, especially when facing Oklahoma. K-State’s coach is 2-1 against the Sooners, winning as a 23.5-point dog in 2019 and a 27-point dog in 2020. While the Wildcats were upsetting Tulane a week ago, the Sooners were destroying Nebraska, and it should to be a rebound spot for Klieman’s defense and running back Deuce Vaughn.
Arkansas (+ 2) over Texas A&M: Are pigs as dogs too popular this week? No one seems to like the Aggies, but the line is barely moving. Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is 11-4 against the spread in 15 scoring games, including a 20-10 win over A&M last year. The Aggies made a change at quarterback last week when Max Johnson passed for 140 yards, but the offense remained anemic and A&M was beaten 392 to 264 by Miami. Arkansas is far better on offense with quarterback KJ Jefferson and running back Raheim Sanders.
Last week: 2-4 against the spread