Dangerous Dogs for Your Week 4 College Football Picks

Kevin Stott

Friday, September 19, 2014 5:31 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 19, 2014 5:31 PM UTC

Saturday’s NCAA College Football menu serves up underdog bettors another appealing menu this weekend. Here are a couple of choice cuts we’ve discovered in the ACC Coastal and Pac-12 conferences with a pick.

Georgia Tech (+7½, Pinnacle) vs. Virginia Tech Saturday, 12 p.m.

Georgia Tech Will Need Rushing Attack to Continue to Click to Beat Hokies
Head coach Paul Johnson and the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech head to Lane Stadium in Blacksburg in the Commonwealth of Virginia on Saturday to face Virginia Tech and legendary head coach Frank Beamer in this ACC Coastal showdown. Virginia Tech (2-1 SU, 1-1-1 ATS) is always a tough opponent, as #8 Ohio State found out two weekends ago when the Hokies won outright in Columbus (35-21) as 10-point underdogs. However, Virginia Tech (8-5 SU in 2013, 4-7-1 ATS ) was quickly knocked back to reality last weekend when East Carolina came in and humbled the homeboys (28-21) here at Lane Stadium as 9½-point underdogs. so, as in Life, things usually even out in the end. But what happens here in Week 4 is what we’re worried about.

Georgia Tech (7-6 SU, 3-7-1 ATS, 35 PF-23 PA LY) has opened the season with three pretty high-scoring games—all 'overs'—and last season the Yellow Jackets were abysmal against the point spread as road underdogs (0-4). But on the soft grass against Virginia Tech (2-2-1 HF in 2013) and the pleasant last weekend summer temperatures—forecast to be in the high 60s—Georgia Tech (+255 Money Line; Virginia Tech -315, Pinnacle) will be looking to run, run, run the ball down the throats of Virginia Tech and with the Hokies probably a bit worn down after back-to-back tough games at Ohio State and last Saturday against East Carolina, they should be able to do so to a degree, despite Virginia’s Tech’s renowned defense. Entering the game, the Yellow Jackets averaged an impressive 306.0 rushing ypg, the 13th best ground mark in the nation. It also won’t be easy going from a team like the Pirates who threw for 427 yards against the Hokies to a team like Georgia Tech which relies predominantly on the run.

Last year when these two teams played in Atlanta, Virginia Tech came away victorious, 17-10 as 6½-point favorites, covering the number be a slim half-a-point. When these two last played here in Blacksburg—in the 2012 season opener—the Hokies won 20-17 but didn’t cover the point spread as 7½-point favorites. Both teams enter the game fairly free of any injuries.

The Yellow Jackets and QB Justin Thomas (24-47, 485 passing yards, 6 TDs) will try to work the option to death against athletic Virginia Tech, utilizing the 4.3 speed of the signal caller and team’s leading rusher (43 rushes, 278 yards, 1 TD, 6.5 ypc) and RB Zach Laskey (44 rushes, 236 yards, 2 TDs, 5.4 ypc). And when Georgia Tech needs to put the ball in the air, look for 6-foot-3-inch baseball signee DeAndre Smelter (9 catches, 264 yards, 3 TDs, 26.4 ypc) to break off a big play or two from his WR spot. With reliable Coach Johnson, Georgia Tech has “one hell of an engineer” in charge and although he’s going up against another old legend across the field in Beamer, Johnson will have his boys going up there thinking they can, and, as many placing sports picks hope, they will win this game outright.

On the trends watch, Georgia Tech is a sparkling 4-0 ATS in its L4 Away against Virginia Tech, 18-12-1 ATS as Road Underdogs over the last 10 years and the Underdog in this series is 7-1 ATS over the L8. The Yellow Jackets will have to try to play a lower-scoring, ball-control game here against the Hokies, but with Thomas and Laskey and Smelter and Johnson’s game plan, Georgia Tech should be able to slow the game down and control the clock enough, making that 7½ points seem mighty large. And, at +255, the Rambling Wreck is also definitely worth consideration on the money line (and possibly as a parlay leg) in what is a very important early-on ACC Coastal clash for both teams and could come down to the wire. Georgia Tech +7½ is the call.

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California (+11, Pinnacle) at ArizonaSaturday, 10 p.m.

Bears Head to the Desert Looking For the Upset vs. Arizona in Pac-12 Tilt
This Pac-12 meeting between South division representative and host Arizona and the North division’s California from Tucson’s Arizona Stadium late Saturday night may not be a spotlight game for most, but it does seem like another good spot to back the underdog and take the points this weekend. Arizona (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) and head coach Rich Rodriguez have seemingly started off the season on a high note with the 3-0 record and are trying to get freshman QB Anu Solomon (935 passing yards 8 TDs) more comfortable with his position on the college level. RB Nick Wilson (449 rushing yards, 4 TDs) and WR Cayleb Jones (289 receiving yards, 3 TDS, 14.1 ypc) are helping Solomon produce offense, but against the likes of Silver State stumblers UNLV and Nevada—upstart UTSA at home was the toughest game—it’s not much to judge the Wildcats on and the way California (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) played last season—1-11 SU, 2-9 ATS, 0-9 SU Pac-12, 2-7 ATS conference and 1-4 as Road Underdogs, there wasn’t much for Cal and coach Sonny Dykes to smile about in Berkley.

Arizona (8-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS, 4-5 Pac-12, 3-6 ATS conference and 1-2-1 as a Home Favorite)—the role they’re obviously in here—wasn’t bad for the student body and the Arizona alumni, but for those people backing them with College Football picks, the Wildcats were almost as bad as Cal, and it looks like the Bears have improved significantly this season, but this game will reveal much about both teams. California is led by sophomore QB Jared Goff (38-56, 510 yards, 7 TDs), RBs Daniel Lasco (17 rushes, 116 yards, 6.8 ypc, TD) and Khalfani Muhammad (467 rushing yards, 4 TDs in 2013) and WRs Trevor Davis (6 receptions, 161 yards, TD, 26.8 ypc), Darius Powe (7 receptions, 156 yards, TD) and Kenny Lawler (8 receptions, 72 yards, 3 TDs), among others, and on the FieldTurf in Tucson, the Bears should be able to put up a total in the vicinity of 30 points.

The last time these two played here in Arizona Stadium, the host Wildcats eked out a 10-9 win as 6½-point favorites back in 2010 and when these two played last year in Berkeley, Arizona beat the Bears, 33-28 as 14½-point chalks. The trends here really favor underdog California, which is 7-2 ATS L9 against Arizona overall and 5-2 L7 Away (at Tucson) and the underdog in this series has gone a mind-boggling 11-1 ATS in the L12 here in Tucson. The Bears also come in  very, very rested—they haven’t played since Sept. 6 and they basically coasted in the scoreless 4th quarter of 55-14 pasting of Sacramento State in their home opener two weekends ago. Also, Cal’s upset win at Northwestern (31-24) as 11-point underdogs speak volumes because no matter how down the Big Ten really is this year, the Bears still beat the Wildcats in Evanston, no easy feat against a team that seldom, if ever, beats itself. With Arizona QB Solomon still being so raw and California off to a better start and way more confident than it was at this time last year under its then first-year head coach (Dykes), feel like California +11 is the play here and if you are feeling strong, maybe bite off a piece of the Bears on the money line at a tasty +320 College Football odds (Pinnacle; Arizona -420).

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Free College Football Underdog Picks: Georgia Tech +7½ (Pinnacle), California +11 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)

College Football Underdogs Worth a Look: Utah +5½ (at Michigan) (Pinnacle)

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