Best Against The Spread Picks For Early College Football Games Saturday Week 4

Indiana Hoosiers Team

Friday, September 23, 2016 3:47 PM GMT

I should have been 2-1 ATS on my early Saturday picks in Week 3, but Penn State allowed Temple a late field goal.  But I'll bounce back with three early Saturday picks for Week 4.

Kent State vs No. 1 Alabama (-44)
This is the biggest spread of the season thus far at SBR's best sportsbooks. And it screams letdown game for the Tide. They are likely still physically and emotionally drained after coming back from a 24-3 deficit last week at tormentor Ole Miss and winning 48-43. That ended a two-game losing streak for Nick Saban to Hugh Freeze, and Saban actually was seen smiling after the game. I literally thought his face was Botoxed or something to where Saban, a perpetual grouch, was incapable of smiling. How on earth will the Alabama players care at all about this game against a bad Mid-American Conference school in Kent State that has a loss to FCS team North Carolina A&T?

The Golden Flashes did play a Power 5 school in Week 1 and lost 33-13 at Penn State. But this is all about Kent State cashing a big check, staying healthy and then opening MAC play next week. Saban, meanwhile, will surely pull his starters at halftime and keep them healthy for next week. One Tide player is likely going to sit out entirely and that's receiver ArDarius Stewart due to a knee injury. He leads Alabama in receiving touchdowns with three and has contributed 13 catches for 205 yards this season.

NCAAF Free Pick: Kent State. I'm not going to back this up with any trend but this fact: Did you know Kent State is Saban's alma mater? He played linebacker there. Saban wasn't planning to become a coach until his coach, Don James, made him a graduate assistant while Saban waited for his wife to finish up her degree.

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No. 13 Florida State At South Florida (-5)
In retrospect, it looks stupid in backing Florida State at Louisville last week as the Seminoles were thoroughly embarrassed 63-20, the most points ever allowed by Florida State and one of the worst losses ever by a Top 5 team. Cardinals QB Lamar Jackson made the FSU defense disappear, and Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois looked like a freshman in his first true road game, hitting on just 7 of 18 passes for 101 yards with a TD and pick. Dalvin Cook was once a Heisman Trophy candidate but was a non-factor with 54 yards on 16 carries. Just a thorough a**-kicking.

So now we see what Florida State is made of as they take on South Florida. I think this team is too talented to not have a huge bounce-back effort and I love that FSU is giving less than a touchdown. While this is a USF home game, there will be a lot of FSU fans in Tampa. South Florida is a rising power under Coach Willie Taggart. The Bulls have blown out Towson, Northern Illinois, and Syracuse this season. They have a Lamar Jackson-type QB in Quinton Flowers, who has passed for 716 yards and seven scores and rushed for 150 yards and two TDs. Marlon Mack is one of the best-running backs in the American Athletic Conference and is averaging 9.6 yards per carry. USF ‘s 48.1 points-per-game average over the past seven dating to last year ranks second in the nation. Last year, USF lost 34-14 in Tallahassee but the game was tied in the third quarter.

NCAAF Free Pick: Florida State. The Noles are 5-1 ATS in their past six after a loss.

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Wake Forest At Indiana (-7)
The Hoosiers have been a very good non-conference team under Coach Kevin Wilson, winning eight in a row, but they are never able to carry that over to the Big Ten schedule. Indiana does have an advantage here in that it comes off a bye week.

Wake Forest doesn't start 3-0 that often but consider that two of those wins are over Tulane (just 7-3) and Delaware. The Demon Deacons have lost starting quarterback Kendall Hinton for 2-4 weeks, however. He was hurt in the first quarter against the Blue Hens. The sophomore didn't start the first two games but was terrific in relief of John Wolford in Week 2 at Duke and was named the starter vs. Delaware. So Wolford takes the job back. He also started 22 games in 2014 and 2015 but Wake Forest was one of the nation's worst offensive teams those seasons. Indiana won at Wake Forest 31-24 last year, nearly blowing a 31-10 lead. Hinton started that game and threw for 245 yards and a TD and rushed for two scores. Wake is the first ACC team to visit Bloomington in five years. Check the odds for this game at Heritage

NCAAF Free Pick: Indiana. The Deacons are 1-5 ATS in their past six after a win. Indiana is 4-1 ATS in its past five in September.

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