College Football Odds, Picks & Predictions for Week 4: Collin Wilson’s Betting Card, Including Arkansas vs. Texas A&M, More
Andy Altenburger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: A “Woo Pig Sooie” banner at an Arkansas Razorbacks football game.
- As we dive into Week 4, Collin Wilson breaks down his college football betting card below.
- Arkansas vs. Texas A&M and USC vs. Oregon State are just two of the games he's eyeing.
- Breakdowns for each matchup Wilson is betting are below.
Week 4 of the college football season is here. Although this week doesn’t offer the same headline-grabbing matchups that the next few weeks do, there are still plenty of intriguing games from a national perspective.
That includes a battle between two unexpected unbeaten teams in basketball powers Duke and Kansas. Lance Leipold looks to continue his ascent in Lawrence against first-year head coach Mike Elko and the Blue Devils.
Then, we head to Knoxville, where Tennessee enters as the biggest favorite it has ever been against Florida. Another SEC matchup follows, as Arkansas leaves the friendly confines of Fayetteville to take on Texas A&M in a neutral-site game in Arlington.
To close it all out, USC looks to keep its offense rolling as it takes on an undefeated Oregon State squad in Corvallis for Lincoln Riley’s second conference game as a Pac-12 head coach.
I see plenty of betting value on these four matchups, so check out all five of my bets for these key games below. And be sure to follow along in the award-winning Action Network app to see any other games I’m betting.
Collin Wilson’s Week 4 College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Duke vs. Kansas
The temperatures soared to 90 degrees and the humidity was near choking. The streets were filled with trash as a foul stench erupted from every gutter and trash can along the walk.
Those were just a couple of highlights from an April trip to New Orleans, where both Duke and Kansas competed in the Final Four of college basketball.
Those same adjectives used to describe the streets of NOLA were used in a similar tone for years about the football programs of these two schools.
Fast-forward nearly six months later and one of these schools is sending a football team to October undefeated.
Mike Elko has made an immediate impact for the Blue Devils, not just in a perfect record, but covering against two Power Five opponents in Northwestern and Temple.
Those two opponents combined for 141 total rushing yards, as the Elko 4-2-5 that had so much success in South Bend and College Station now resides in the Research Triangle.
For Kansas, the turnaround for head coach Lance Leipold is remarkable. Gone are the days of a heavy-spending athletic director in Jeff Long, or an oblivious head coach in Les Miles.
Leipold continued to take Buffalo to the conference championship with cellar recruiting rankings in the MAC. Now the head coach is attempting to do the same in the Big 12.
After being greater than a touchdown underdog in victories over West Virginia and Houston, the Jayhawks now have to play the role of hunted.
The defensive turnaround was expected, considering the track record of Elko.
The Blue Devils are fourth nationally in Havoc and Line Yards, meeting opponents at the point of attack or in the backfield. 13 players have recorded a pressure, and the sack leaders have come from the defensive interior.
A pair of highly-graded corners have kept passing attacks in check. Joshua Pickett has a top-20 forced incompletion rate, while slot corner Brandon Johnson is the highest-graded defender of any player with 80 snaps at the position.
Brandon Johnson was on this from the snap. Beautiful pick for Duke to hopefully close this out. pic.twitter.com/N3eAjeDMZU
— Brant (@barntwn) September 10, 2022
Elko has done a fantastic job of limiting explosive plays and keeping opponents out of the end zone. The Blue Devils have allowed only nine opponent possessions to cross the 40-yard line.
While the defense has been much improved, the offense deserves a fair share of credit behind coordinator Kevin Johns.
Duke fields the 12th-highest rate of standard downs snaps with a Success Rate of 28th nationally. Quarterback Riley Leonard has just one Turnover Worthy Play on the season while rushing for 164 yards.
There goes Riley Leonard! 56-yards to the HOUSE 🏠@DukeFOOTBALL | #ACCFootball
📺: ACCNX/ESPN+ pic.twitter.com/RBEDG1H5ss
— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) September 18, 2022
The bread and butter of the offense comes in running backs Jaylen Coleman and Jordan Waters. The duo has nearly the same amount of attempts and yards, but Waters’ numbers pop off the page.
The fourth-year rusher has created 12 missed tackles on 24 attempts, exceeding his career number of missed tackles that stood at 11. Waters averages five yards after contact, making him the fifth-most elusive running back, per PFF grading.
Rock Chalk entered the season with steam on a win total from 1.5 to 2.5. All of those tickets are cashed, as the Jayhawks look to a postseason return for the first time since a 2008 trip to the Insight Bowl.
Kansas and its fans would love a trip to the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix, as listed in Brett McMurphy’s latest bowl projections.
Quarterback Jalon Daniels had a terrible pandemic season, almost tripling his Big Time Throws with Turnover Worthy Plays. That same quarterback now has seven passing touchdowns to just a single interception while gaining 208 yards on designed runs.
In what might be a first for a quarterback, Daniels has a 68% adjusted completion rate in a clean pocket, a number that rises to 92% in 19 pressured drop backs this season.
Defenses that key on Daniels have suffered the consequences of coordinator Andy Kotelnicki’s playbook.
Jalon goes to Jared and wow how we feeling right now Jayhawk Nation!!!??? pic.twitter.com/VDxDrUb7JP
— Kansas Football (@KU_Football) September 17, 2022
The questions for Kansas come on the defensive side of the ball. The Jayhawks are outside the top 90 in Havoc and Passing Success Rate.
Kansas did play as multi-score underdogs against West Virginia and Houston, but opposing offenses have had plenty of success in standard downs leading to points in scoring position.
The Jayhawks currently sit 99th in opponent third-down conversions.
Duke vs. Kansas Betting Pick
When defending the Duke offense, you must put an emphasis on stopping the run, as the Blue Devils have two running backs and a quarterback capable of breaking explosive plays.
The Kansas defense is 31st in Rushing Success Rate with a Stuff Rate of 10th nationally. Only two rushing attempts have exceeded 20 yards against the Jayhawks.
The Duke offensive line against the front seven of Kansas is evenly matched, but the Jayhawks’ rank of 11th in tackling will prevent missed tackles at the second level. For Duke to get points on the board, methodical, multi-play drives are needed.
The handicap in this game is what Daniels and the Kansas offense can do against Elko’s 4-2-5 defense.
Although the competition has not been up to West Virginia and Houston levels, the Blue Devils are harassing opponents with pass breakups and tackles for loss. Duke is top-30 in coverage and Finishing Drives after games against the offenses of Temple and Northwestern.
More importantly, the Blue Devils have not allowed explosive plays on the ground or through the air.
The Action Network projection on the game sits directly on Kansas -7.5, leaving no value in the market. The better bet may come on a total that has taken nothing but steam on the over after an opening of 60.5.
Kansas is mid-FBS in tempo at 27.8 seconds per play, but Duke has been focused on methodical drives and burning clock.
The Blue Devils have one of the slower tempos in the nation at 30.1 seconds per play, a note that Elko reinforced in his weekly presser. Keeping a low play and possession rate does not put the defense at risk.
Key totals in this range are 65, followed by a lower percentage of games that fall on 66 and 69. Any number over 66 deserves an investment, with an increase in volume at 69.
As for the side, expect to see sharp action on Duke at +9 and Kansas at -7. Because these two teams run a slower pace of play and have excelled in tacking and limiting explosiveness, the under is the look.
Pick: Under 66.5 or Better
Florida vs. Tennessee
Two SEC East programs are scheduled to battle once again after starting this rivalry in 1916. Florida holds a 31-20 all-time lead on Tennessee, with a bulk of those wins coming over the past two decades.
The Volunteers have won this head-to-head just once since the 2004 season. Head coach Josh Heupel knows the gravity of the series, citing that emotions will be high to run out of the “T” after the Vol Walk.
The Volunteers are perfect in the record book so far, winning and covering games against Ball State, Akron and Pittsburgh (in OT).
The up-tempo offense has become one of the best in the nation under the tutelage of their head coach and former Heisman winner.
While the offense has been high-flying, the number of penalties continues to build (eight per game).
Meanwhile, Florida head coach Billy Napier is treating the trip to Knoxville as just another road game.
Florida coach Billy Napier on QB Anthony Richardson’s 1st SEC road start at Tennessee: “It's not like we're going to Canada & they're going to change the rules. It's going to be the same game. It's going to be a little louder & played at a different location”
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 19, 2022
Napier is off to a 2-1 start in his inaugural year in Gainesville. A plethora of ground weapons has left the passing game short through the first quarter of the season.
This will be the Gators’ first trip on the road, as they’ve beaten South Florida and Utah at home, but suffered a defeat to Kentucky. The Wildcats may have laid the blueprint for how to defend the skill-position players on the Florida offensive side, and the Florida defense is struggling to find stops.
The center of the universe on the Florida offense is quarterback Anthony Richardson.
After rising up the Heisman board to 20/1 after a victory against Utah, the third-year quarterback has been in steady decline from the national picture. Richardson has failed to top 165 passing yards in any game, and continues to make mistakes.
He has four interceptions on the season, but even more eye opening is his Big Time Play ratio. Richardson has committed six Turnover Worthy Plays and recorded zero Big Time Throws. With only four drops on the season from 76 passing attempts, there is plenty of work to do in the Gators’ passing game.
Anthony Richardson?????????? pic.twitter.com/wE8rxSAYVj
— 𝗙𝗢𝗟𝗟𝗢𝗪 @𝗙𝗧𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗱𝟳 (@FTBeard7) September 18, 2022
The great news for the Florida faithful is the ability of the quarterback to make plays on the ground — both on scrambles and designed rushing attempts.
A trio of running backs have made this a top-25 team in terms of Rushing Success Rate and Line Yards. Specifically, Trevor Etienne has produced six explosive runs on 23 carries with an average of 3.6 yards after contact.
Co-defensive coordinators Patrick Toney and Sean Spencer have been lackluster in getting the Gators to produce stops through three games. Florida allows 21.7 first downs per game with no resistance in standard or passing downs.
The Gators are 117th in Line Yards against the rush and 123rd in pass rush. Their Havoc ranking is in the bottom 15 of FBS teams, as they’ve recorded a single fumble and only 11 tackles for loss.
Plenty of investors will be deterred in betting a Tennessee total under after the late-game shenanigans against Akron. With a total of 67 on the game, the Volunteers ran a 12-play drive ending in a touchdown with less than a minute to play, sending the total game points to 69.
Although trends are never a huge part of the handicap, Heupel has now gone over the total in eight of 10 home games as the Tennessee head coach.
The Volunteers move at one of the fastest paces in the nation, averaging 20.5 seconds per play.
Virginia Tech transfer quarterback Hendon Hooker took over starting duties early last season and has given Heupel the offense desired in Knoxville.
Tennessee is top-20 in Success Rate and seventh in Finishing Drives. In 22 drives beyond the opponent 40-yard line, Tennessee averages 5.7 points per trip.
Hendon Hooker Deep Ball 🎯🍊 @Vol_Footballpic.twitter.com/WYwLatlvCQ
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 18, 2022
Hooker has committed just one Turnover Worthy Play against eight Big Time Throws this season. The quarterback saw blitz on 20 drop backs against the Havoc-minded Pitt defense, resulting in no mistakes and an uptick in his adjusted completion percentage.
A victory here will start the Heisman hype, as LSU, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia are all on the schedule for the Vols through the next six weeks.
There are injuries to watch for this game, as second-leading rusher Jabari Small and leading target wide receiver Cedric Tillman are both questionable.
If those players are out, a defense that has been stingy in allowing points must step up to the plate.
The Volunteers have been excellent against the rush, fielding a top-30 rate in Line Yards and Rushing Success Rate. The coverage and pass rush has been a liability through the first three games, but a rank of 11th in Defensive Finishing Drives has assisted Tennessee in all three covers this season.
Linebacker Aaron Beasley leads the team in tackles and missed tackles, a key angle to watch against Richardson.
Florida vs. Tennessee Betting Pick
South Florida lost to Florida by just a field goal, but the game was possibly the best the Bulls have played in Jeff Scott’s tenure. A bad hold on a field goal — along with a botched snap — were contributors to the South Florida loss to the Gators.
The Bulls ended the game with a 73% post-game win expectancy, beating the national average in Passing Downs Success Rate.
Dating back to the Dan Mullen regime, Florida has covered just one game in the past 10. That cover came against a Utah team that failed to score at the goal line twice, including a Cam Rising interception to end the game.
The big question is if defensive coordinator Tim Banks will move to more zone coverage. Kentucky had plenty of success in grounding Richardson from explosive plays in zone coverage.
The Volunteers pivot between a 4-2-5 and 3-3-5, generally in man-to-man coverage. Safeties Trevon Flowers and Kamal Hadden have played in zone coverage in just 25% of opponent dropbacks this season.
If Richardson is allowed to create explosives off man coverage, there is still the issue of scoring opportunities for the Gators on both sides of the ball. Tennessee is top 11 in points per opportunity on both offense and defense, while Florida is 59th and 84th, respectively.
The Action Network projection lines this game at Tennessee -5.5 and with a total of 68.5.
Injuries to Tillman and Small might not limit the Tennessee offense, as Jalin Hyatt has been lethal from the slot, posting 3.1 yards per route run on 22 targets this season.
Ramel Keyton is set to bust out with more targets, averaging 4.4 yards per route run on six catches from the wideout position.
There is no expectation that the Florida defense will be able to limit what Heupel wants to do from a tempo and scoring perspective.
Tennessee has a long history of losing in this series, and if Heupel is running through Akron with less than a minute in the game, then there is every expectation the Volunteers will look to score as much as possible after last year’s embarrassing loss.
I’m avoiding the handicap of the Tennessee defense in man coverage against Richardson, so the Volunteers team total is the investment.
Pick: Tennessee Team Total Over 36.5 or Better
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
Sam Pittman has been a covering machine since his coaching tenure started in 2020.
A 17-8-1 against-the-spread mark includes a 2021 season in which the Razorbacks were big-game hunting for trophies. After an Outback Bowl victory against Penn State, the Hogs tallied five trophies, including the Southwest Classic against Texas A&M.
Trophy game SWEEP 🧹 pic.twitter.com/OBlSJCSXo6
— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) November 27, 2021
The Razorbacks are riding high, busting through program ceilings year after year.
Through three games this year, the Hogs have gained at least 210 yards on the ground, and are still one of the heaviest rushing teams in the nation.
The sticky point entering the season was finding contributions in the red zone and on third downs post Treylon Burks, but a collection of skill position players have continued the success in getting Arkansas over the total in all three games.
Texas A&M rebounded from an embarrassing home loss to Appalachian State. The offensive issues against the Mountaineers were historic for Jimbo Fisher, as the Aggies had just two drives cross the Appalachian State 40-yard line.
A change in quarterback did nothing to improve A&M’s Passing Success Rate against Miami, as the defense led the effort in the victory against the Hurricanes.
As conference play begins, Fisher is tasked with finding stability at quarterback and getting the ball into the hands of his best skill position players.
Missouri State took Arkansas to the woodshed in Week 3, building a 17-point lead and holding the outright lead until a Razorback punt-return touchdown with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Pittman admitted to being out-coached and unprepared against Bobby Petrino. Questionable offensive play calling from coordinator Kendal Briles and plenty of missed tackles and assignments allowed Missouri State to thrive.
There are plenty of narratives to build a reason for the lackluster performance — a sandwich spot between SEC games is the most popular. Nevertheless, an Arkansas secondary that now ranks 103rd on coverage prepares for a Texas A&M offense that struggles to throw downfield.
The return of Myles Slusher is crucial to the back seven after the season-ending injury to Jalen Catalon. Slusher is practicing this week after collapsing during the opening game against Cincinnati.
The junior is a Swiss Army knife, capable of playing safety, corner or nickel in coordinator Barry Odom’s scheme.
The bigger question for the defense is the ability to generate a pass rush. LSU transfer linebacker Drew Sanders played like a man possessed against Missouri State, generating seven pressures with two sacks, 12 tackles and a spear worthy of WWE Champion Roman Reigns.
This call on this BIG HIT by Drew Sanders is incredible 😂 @RazorbackFB | @Drew_16Sanderspic.twitter.com/Py7cB2ryha
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 20, 2022
What was once the strongest unit on the Razorbacks’ roster, the stable of running backs has been diminished to just the Raheim Sanders show.
In his second season, “Rocket” is lighting up defenses, averaging 3.6 yards after contact with eight explosive runs on the season.
AJ Green is considered the fastest back of the bunch but has only carried the ball on 14 attempts.
The Razorbacks also await the return of Dominique Johnson, as he’s medically cleared after offseason knee surgery, and is practicing without a brace.
Arkansas has lived in standard downs through the first three games, but there has been an uptick in quarterback KJ Jefferson’s Big Time Throw rate.
Transfers Jadon Haselwood and Matt Landers have seen the most targets, each posting more than two yards per route run. Jefferson is quickly getting comfortable in life post-Burks, as five different players have double-digit targets.
If Texas A&M is able to control the line of scrimmage, Jefferson must win the game with downfield passing for the first time this season.
A change in quarterback from Haynes King to Max Johnson did nothing to improve the Success Rate of the Aggies’ offense.
The switch to Johnson did improve Texas A&M in the perspective of Havoc Allowed. King tallied three Turnover Worthy Plays through two games, while Johnson made no mistakes on 10-of-20 passing despite 13 pressures on 25 drop backs.
Although the offensive line is 53rd in pass blocking, Miami produced 16 pressures, resulting in three sacks and six tackles for loss. Left tackle Trey Zuhn has now allowed 22 pressures over the past two games.
Johnson will be tasked with getting the ball in the hands of receiver Ainias Smith and running back Devon Achane. Smith has been targeted 22 times this season with only 14 catches. At 3.2 yards per route run, Smith is a vital weapon to move the chains and get points on the board.
Sheesh.@haynes_king10 → TD → @ainias_smith
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) September 3, 2022
The Texas A&M defense saved the day in Week 3, limiting Tyler Van Dyke to completing just half of his passing attempts while forcing two Turnover Worthy Plays. The Aggies did so with minimal pressure, sending the blitz on just 25% of snaps.
Texas A&M still ranks outside the top 85 in coverage and Havoc, but a top-10 number in Passing Success Rate and Finishing Drives has kept scoring low.
Getting a number of players back due to suspension will give both sides of the ball a boost for the Aggies.
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Betting Pick
There are plenty of moving parts when it comes to suspensions and injuries that must be taken into account for this handicap.
Dominique Johnson and Slusher return to the Razorbacks’ starting rotation and are boosts to their respective units.
Texas A&M received a boost against Miami with the return of center Bryce Foster, a key position needed to protect the Aggies’ quarterback.
The Aggies also return second-leading target in freshman Evan Stewart from suspension. In addition, two defensive backs return from first-half targeting against Miami, including starting safety Demani Richardson.
Starting with the Arkansas defense against the Texas A&M offense, the trench for the Aggies is vulnerable. Foster being back at center is crucial for the Aggies, but the guards and tackles have allowed the most pressure.
Zuhn will be tested once again, but is no longer the blind side tackle, as Max Johnson is a southpaw passer.
Arkansas is leading the nation in sacks, but there may be a bit of fool’s gold in that number. The Razorbacks posted 14 of their 17 sacks against an FCS offensive line and a South Carolina unit that is outside the top 100 in pass blocking.
Another liability for the Razorbacks is the ability to tackle. The Hogs are 124th in tackle grading, per PFF. Pittman stated, “We are having a hard time covering opponents” in relation to missed tackles on the second level.
Without any improvement in tackling or covering skill position players against Texas A&M, Smith and Achane are capable of taking short routes to the end zone.
The Aggies will be tasked with shutting down Jefferson and the Arkansas rushing attack. The return of Johnson provides depth in the backfield, but the plan of attack is similar to Appalachian State.
While the Hurricanes elected to execute an offense geared off tackle and with short passing, the Mountaineers sliced the Aggies’ defense with pistol, play action and rushing attempts up the gut (65%).
Arkansas will have success rushing against a Texas A&M front that ranks 82nd in Stuff Rate, but a challenging evening awaits against one of the best red-zone defenses in the nation.
The Action Network projects Texas A&M as a 1-point favorite with a total landing in the 50s. There are plenty of reasons to back the Aggies in a game that could have more points than expected.
Johnson has provided stability at the quarterback position as Stewart returns at receiver.
The Arkansas defense not only has issues in tackling, but a bottom-10 rank defending explosive passing will be a factor in Arlington. Although Slusher is expected to return for the Razorbacks, this is a much stiffer test than what South Carolina presented in Fayetteville in Week 2.
Pick: Texas A&M -130 ML or Better · Over 48.5 or Better
USC vs. Oregon State
Undefeated USC hits the road once again in a grudge match against a fellow Pac-12 undefeated team in Oregon State.
The Trojans’ road win over Stanford may have been in front of empty seats at The Farm, but a sold-out Reser Stadium may give USC the first experience of a hostile crowd.
The Lincoln Riley era has started off perfectly from a turnover perspective, as the Trojans lead the nation at +10 thanks to no offensive interceptions or fumbles heading into Week 4.
Oregon State looks to defend Corvallis, as the Beavers have covered eight of its last nine at home. Head coach Jonathan Smith has done well at the program, as his name has come to the front of teams with coaching vacancies.
The Beavers have covered in all three victories this season, including an underdog road spot against Fresno State. This is one of the Pac-12’s best offensive teams, but the question remains if anyone can limit turnovers against the opportunistic Trojans.
There was never a doubt this would be one of the elite offenses in college football.
Through three games, quarterback Caleb Williams has not disappointed while rising up the Heisman odds.
The sophomore transfer has eight passing touchdowns and no interceptions, while recording just two Turnover Worthy Plays in 101 drop backs.
The designed runs from Riley’s offense at Oklahoma have followed to Southern California, where Williams is already at 140 rushing yards on the year.
The quarterback is the third-leading rusher behind Oregon transfer Travis Dye and the explosive Austin Jones.
Austin Jones has no fear 😳
His helmet gets ripped off and he continues to make his run pic.twitter.com/T3eIW4QOr6
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 18, 2022
Jones averages 8.2 yards per carry, with an astounding 4.6 yards after contact. Seven of Jones’ 24 rushing attempts have exceeded 10 yards, giving the Trojans a boost to an offense that entered the season with star power.
The Trojans are the best team in the nation in Offensive Line Yards, with a rank of 13th in both Rush and Passing Success Rate.
Despite having the 2021 Biletnikoff winner in Jordan Addison on the outside, the Trojans are dominating on the ground first and maintaining the ninth-best rate of staying in standard downs on offense.
The defense has been opportunistic with 10 turnovers through three games. Coordinator Alex Grinch has always been a Havoc-minded coach from Washington State to Oklahoma. USC is ninth in defensive Havoc thanks to 26 tackles for loss and 17 passes defensed.
After games against Fresno State, Rice and Stanford, the Trojans’ defense ranks second in Defensive Rushing Success Rate.
Although Oregon State is a run-heavy offense, the back seven of USC is graded 51st in coverage and outside the top 100 in allowing Passing Downs Explosiveness.
Smith continues to field offenses that score in bunches, as the Beavers put up 68 on Montana State last week. Although the Bobcats are from the FCS, the team has playoff experience and came to Corvallis as just a 17-point underdog.
In previous games against Fresno State and Boise State, the Beavers threw for a combined 511 yards.
Quarterback Chance Nolan has an eight-to-two ratio in Big Time Throws to Turnover Worthy Plays through 83 drop backs. A large portion of the targets have come to Tre’Shaun Harrison, posting a large 3.2 yards per route run.
Tre'Shaun Harrison went CRAZY💨
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 11, 2022
For Oregon State to beat USC, the turnovers must be eliminated. The Beavers are 11th in turnover margin thanks to eight total gained against a fumble lost and two interceptions.
Smith has preached ball protection and posted two straight clean games after three turnovers in the opener to Boise State. The head coach remarked that the Beavers must create chaos in generating turnovers against the USC offense.
The Beavers are 43rd in defensive Havoc, forcing just two fumbles on the season with above-average numbers in pass breakups and tackles for loss.
This has been a stingy defense in terms of scoring opportunities, ranking 10th in Finishing Drives. The Beavers are top-25 in defensive passing EPA, but there has been a lack of strength from opposing offenses on their schedule.
The Beavers will look to play boom-or-bust on the defensive side, looking to get the ball on the carpet by any means necessary.
The biggest question is if Oregon State can cause enough Havoc to rattle the USC offense, as any missed tackles could result in an easy score for the Trojans.
USC vs. Oregon State Betting Pick
Will the Oregon State defense be able to provide any resistance to the USC offense? The answer to any team outside of the top 10 may be a resounding no, but limiting turnovers and keeping pace on the scoreboard is a formula to get within a possession during the fourth quarter.
Oregon State ranks 116th in pass rush on the season, indicating the Beavers are content to drop players into coverage and prevent explosive plays. The defense is 10th nationally in tackling, assisted by safeties Jaydon Grant and Kitan Oladapo, who have yet to record a missed tackle in 351 combined snaps.
Limiting explosiveness and scoring opportunities while generating some Havoc is the formula. The Oregon State defense has been excellent in limiting opponents past the 40-yard line, allowing just 2.9 points in 17 attempts.
Will this be the game the USC defense finds an offense that can test the back seven?
Nolan will take advantage of a defense that is 61st in Defensive Passing Success Rate. The third-year quarterback has been excellent under pressure this season, with just a single Turnover Worthy Play and an adjusted completion percentage drop of just 5% versus a clean pocket.
The good news for Nolan is having tackle Taliese Fuaga, the highest-ranked pass blocker on the offensive line that is expected to draw Tuli Tuipulotu from USC.
TULI TUIPULOTU With the SACK❕💫
Trojans Lead 14-7 🏈 pic.twitter.com/fgHSMEtElA
— Scott Schrader (@Scott_Schrader) October 30, 2021
The Action Network projection has USC as 6.5-point favorites with a total of 66.5. Although this game is lined above 70 in the total, there is a high chance of explosive touchdowns from plenty of skill position players on both sides of the ball.
Both of the special teams have poor rankings, as USC is 90th and Oregon State is 130th, per SP+.
There will be points in this game, but the home underdog has the skill position players and plenty of arm strength at quarterback to keep pace with the Trojans.
All that is needed is continued success in Havoc Allowed for Oregon State.
Pick: Oregon State +6.5 or Better
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