The college football season is moving right along, with the final weekend of September already here. That’s fast. We will look at six games to form a massive parlay that, if correct, gives you a chance to be a big winner. Obviously, six games forces a bettor to thread the needle – five of six isn’t good enough – so here are our point-spread choices for the big ticket in Week 4.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Wolverines
NCAA Odds: Michigan -20½
The No. 19 Michigan Wolverines did score 63 points in their most recent game against Northern Illinois to improve to 3-0. They are playing reasonably well and have not come close to losing a game. However, all three of their opponents – Central Michigan, Washington and Northern Illinois – were weak opponents. Rutgers (3-0) is also unbeaten. Coach Greg Schiano has his team playing confident, physical football. Rutgers has not allowed more than 14 points in any of its first three games. Michigan should win this game outright, but Rutgers should just as surely keep this game relatively close. Michigan should expect a real battle here. This isn’t a cakewalk and anyone who has watched Michigan struggle against Big Ten opponents under Jim Harbaugh should be able to realize that. Michigan will deserve this kind of a point spread against a lower-tier Big Ten team when it shows it is ready to rejoin the national elite. That moment has not arrived yet. Rutgers against the spread is a very solid play in this game.
Pick: Rutgers +20½
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan State Spartans
Odds: Michigan State -5
The Nebraska Cornhuskers did play Oklahoma a lot closer than anyone anticipated, losing 23-16 as a 22-point underdog. This performance from the Cornhuskers is giving them a lot of respect this week as a very slight underdog. It’s strange because Michigan State just finished off a 38-17 blowout of Miami as an underdog on the road. The Spartans are unbeaten and already have road blowout victories against Northwestern and Miami. While it is true that Northwestern and Miami have been terrible and are grossly overrated, Michigan State still had to take care of business and has done so without any incident or any slip-ups. Coach Mel Tucker has his team in a good frame of mind, with running back Kenneth Walker being one of the breakout stars of the month of September in college football. Nebraska’s ability to play Oklahoma close seems connected to the Sooners’ problems along the offensive line as well as injuries and lack of depth at running back. This looks like a game in which Michigan State should be able to establish a clear physical edge in the trenches and push Nebraska around, winning by 14 points. It’s a good choice to take Michigan State minus the points here.
Pick: Michigan State -5
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Wisconsin Badgers
Odds: Wisconsin -6½ (at Chicago)
This is a fascinating game and maybe the hardest of this parlay to pick. Notre Dame has not looked very good, winning its first two games by three points each. The Irish did improve, however, against Purdue in Week 3, winning by two touchdowns instead of allowing that game to go down to the wire. Notre Dame has a strong defense. The offensive line is the big concern. Wisconsin’s defense is going to do really well against Notre Dame’s offense, but what people will overlook is that Wisconsin’s offense is no better than Notre Dame’s and very possibly is worse. This is going to be a very ugly game, but more than that, it will be a very close game. Think 13-10 or 16-13. No team will get a huge advantage. It will be a lot like Wisconsin’s 16-10 loss to Penn State in Week 1. Wisconsin might win outright, but Notre Dame will not get blown out here. Wisconsin on the moneyline and Notre Dame on the spread is what makes sense if you betonline.
Pick: Notre Dame +6½
Miami-Ohio RedHawks at Army Black Knights
Odds: Army -8½
The Army Black Knights just crushed UConn by 31 points, taking a 42-0 halftime lead and having more touchdowns (six) in the first half than UConn had first downs (five). Army is playing really well, and nothing about Miami-Ohio’s profile this season suggests that the RedHawks are going to be strong enough on defense or in the trenches to slow down the Black Knights’ triple-option offensive attack. Army should be able to set the pace iand win comfortably in a wire-to-wire display of strength and superiority.
Pick: Army -8½
Texas A&M Aggies vs Arkansas Razorbacks
Odds: Texas A&M -4½ (at Arlington, Texas)
The Texas A&M Aggies scored just 10 points against Colorado in Week 2. Arkansas blew out Texas 40-21 in Week 2. Arkansas has achieved more than Texas A&M and the Razorbacks certainly look like the better team here. This game figures to be extremely close, which makes the 5½-point spread for A&M look a little high. Keep in mind that A&M has a backup quarterback, Zach Calzada, after starter Haynes King got injured earlier in the season. Take Arkansas plus the points.
Pick: Arkansas +4½
UCLA Bruins at Stanford Cardinal
Odds: UCLA -4½
The Stanford Cardinal have won 12 of their last 13 against UCLA. Stanford has scored at least 34 points in each of its last two games. UCLA just gave up 40 to Fresno State in a bad home-field loss. Why exactly is UCLA favored at all in this game to begin with, and why is UCLA being favored by more than two or 2½ points in this contest? Taking Stanford is the best choice for your college football picks in this game, rounding out the six-way parlay on the board in Week 4 of the college football season.
Pick: Stanford +4½
Rutgers +20½ -110
Michigan State -5 -110
Notre Dame +6½ -110
Army -8½ -110
Arkansas +4½ -110
Stanford +4½ -110