Quadruple Pack of Underdogs to Back Saturday ... Watch Out Wazzu!

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Rainman M.

Friday, October 27, 2017 3:47 PM GMT

Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 3:47 PM GMT

Picking just one upset in Week 9 of college football? That's child's play. Here are four from around the country for Saturday. 

Louisville at Wake Forest

The key for Wake Forest's defense will be to control the line of scrimmage, achieve penetration and stop Louisville Heisman winner Lamar Jackson from escaping the backfield. The Demon Deacons rank 41st in allowing 4.1 yards per attempt. This number is inflated because of their poor second half last week. In the first half, they held the top-ranked Yellow Jackets' spread offense to 3.9 yards per carry on 34 carries.

Wake Forest's first-half performance against the Jackets' rush attack reveals their potential against a Jackson-led Louisville squad that, as a whole, averages 34 attempts per carry. Louisville's rush attack is not equipped to wear down, as Georgia Tech did, a Wake Forest defense that leads the NCAA with 9 tackles for loss per game. Louisville's defense, before facing Florida State's anemic offense, had given up 35+ points in each of their four games before against ACC opponents. Wake's pass attack can exploit a Louisville pass defense that ranks 93rd in opposing quarterback rating.  Also note that Louisville is on an 0-8 ATS run on field turf while Wake is 6-0-1 ATS after a loss.

Free NCAAF Pick: Wake Forest +3Best Line Offered: Heritage

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California at Colorado

The Golden Bears are 4-0 ATS this season when rushing for 100+ yards. The Buffaloes, who are 0-4 ATS against the Pac-12 when allowing 100+ rushing yards, rank 117th in allowing 5.4 yards per carry. They have an undersized defense and a soft defensive line, whose big defensive tackle, Javier Edwards, is listed as 'questionable' for the game Saturday. Even with him, they have trouble maintaining gap security in their two-gap scheme.

The Buffaloes have been especially vulnerable against Pac-12 competition. In their last 3 games, the Buffaloes are allowing 7.4 yards per carry. Two weeks ago, the Buffs allowed 6.1 yards per carry against Oregon State, which averages 4.5 yards per carry on the season. Last week, the Buffaloes allowed Washington State to rush for 5.5 yards per carry, despite averaging 2.9 on the season.

California is a pass-first team that will rely on quarterback Ross Bowers to open up the running game. Cal's duo at wide receiver, Vic Wharton and Kanawai Noa average 14-15+ yards per reception and have caught for 550 yards. Colorado’s defense is in disarray, allowing 28 points to an extremely sloppy Washington State offense. The week before, Oregon State scored a season-high (vs FBS teams) 33 points. Colorado is missing so many players on both sides of the ball due to offseason departures and disciplinary issues.

The Buffs also facee the additional challenge of distraction: they have lost 8 out of their last 9 homecoming games.

Free NCAAF Pick: California +4Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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No. 14 NC State at No. 9 Notre Dame

NC State's defensive line, led by the combined 19 tackles for loss from Darian Roseboro and Bradley Chubb at defensive end and two massively strong defensive tackles, presents an obstacle that Notre Dame hasn't dealt with since a 20-19 defeat against Georgia. The Wolfpack's run defense ranks one spot behind Georgia, 14th, in allowing an average of 3.1 yards per carry.  This obstacle is decisive because Notre Dame relies most on its rush attack.  Notre Dame's one non-cover this season came against Georgia, where they ran for less than 100 yards.  Brandon Wimbush is an inconsistent quarterback who struggles with accuracy. His completion percentage on the season is 51.  

Quarterback Ryan Finley leads the Wolfpack's offense with a 69% completion and 11:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Notre Dame ranks a respectable 34th in opposing quarterback rating but hasn't faced any obstacles at quarterback.  They did face USC's hyped-up Sam Darnold, who has been a disappointment all season and, with his typical inclination for turning the ball over, helped Notre Dame more than hurt them. Forcing interceptions has been a prominent theme in Irish victories, but they will be difficult to achieve against Finley.

Free NCAAF Pick: NC State +7.5Best Line Offered: Bovada

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No. 15 Washington State at Arizona

Washington State's air-raid attack has fallen into disarray. Quarterback Luke Falk began the season with a 19:2 interception ratio before being intercepted 5 times by California in a 37-3 loss. The Cougars beat Colorado last week, 28-3, but his 50% completion is way more telling than the three touchdowns that he threw.

With development in terms of talent, depth and with continuity under second-year defensive coordinator Marcel Yates, Arizona's passing defense has taken huge strides, dropping its opposing QB rating from 153 last season (ranked 121st) to 120.6 this season (45th). The secondary has benefited from increased pressure on the opposing quarterback as the Wildcats ranked 111th in sack percentage last season, but 62nd this season. The Wildcats' defense is well-constructed against the air-raid attack. Against Pac-12 opponents, they are 3-0 ATS when passed on 30+ times and 0-1 ATS when passed on fewer than 30 times.

Arizona has won 3 straight games as underdog since Khalil Tate became their starting quarterback. His dynamic rushing skills have taken his conference by surprise -- in 3 Pac-12 games, Tate has run for almost 700 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Cougars have not had much experience against mobile quarterbacks. The one that they faced, Boise State's Montell Cozart, earned a season-high 72 rush yards in a near upset. 

Free NCAAF Pick: Arizona +3Best Line Offered Heritage

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