Week 4 of the college football season kicks off with a two-pack of exciting matchups.
I am finally back to .500 with my college picks this season after a disastrous Weeks 0-1. This feels like a replica of my CFB season last year as I started slow, but finished with a 63.2% winning percentage, which is comfortably my best season for any sport. The board is starting to come to me more clearly, and I have got to say, I love the board for Thursday's action.
Thursday marks the first of five-straight days of football, and we are here to give you the best bets for every slate. Anyway, let's get straight into the picks. If you decide to follow our best bets, we ask that you do so responsibly.
*Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Coastal Carolina (-2.5) @ Georgia State O/U 62.5
It was just two seasons ago when the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers burst into the world of FBS relevancy, and they have not backed down since then. They went 8-0 in conference play during the 2020 season, but the Sun Belt Championship game was canceled due to COVID, and although they did not make it to the championship game last season, they still went 11-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
The majority of their success comes from two-time reigning Sun Belt Player Of The Year, quarterback Grayson McCall. Since he took over the starting job in 2020, he is completing over 70% of his passes and has 62 passing touchdowns to only seven interceptions, and McCall has added 12 rushing scores to his resume.
This season, Coastal Carolina is 3-0, but their schedule has been fairly easy, with wins over Army, Gardner-Webb, and Buffalo. On the other side, Georgia State is still searching for its first win of the season, but their schedule has been noticeably harder, with games against South Carolina, North Carolina, and Charlotte.
Georgia State was a trendy pick to win the Sun Belt because they are returning 10 of their 11 starters on defense from last season and the offense is loaded with talent. However, while the offense is off to a hot start, the defense, which ranked 76th in scoring last season has been noticeably worse as they are ranked 97th in scoring (37.3), 100th in points per play (0.533), 117th in opponents completion percentage (70.2%), and 106th in yards per pass (8.8).
Grayson McCall what a damn BALL!!! pic.twitter.com/RxP8FI5LgM— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 27, 2020
Coastal Carolina's defense leaves a bit to be desired, but they have forced 10 turnovers in just three games, and they are only allowing 3.2 yards per rush, while their secondary has been solid led by senior corner Lance Boykin who leads the team with two interceptions this season.
For this game, they will go up against a Georgia State offense led by dual-threat quarterback Darren Grainger, who has eight passing touchdowns to only two interceptions this season and is the team's second-leading rusher.
It is hard to believe that Georgia State won this game last year, but turnovers killed Coastal Carolina in that game, and the Chanticleers are still having trouble holding on to the ball as they are turning the ball over two times per game, including four turnovers against Buffalo last week.
Still, Coastal Carolina is the better team, and the defense has been solid stopping the run and forcing turnovers. I can't envision the Chanticleers having trouble moving the ball against a bad Georgia State defense, and although Georgia State is 6-1 ATS over their last seven Sun Belt matchups, Coastal Carolina has won 15 of their last 17 conference games.
With the spread under a field goal, I am comfortable laying the points with the Chanticleers, especially considering that the road team has won every matchup since these two teams joined the "Fun Belt."
Pick: Coastal Carolina -2.5 (-110)
West Virginia (-1.5) @ Virginia Tech O/U 50.5
West Virginia is exactly what I thought they would be heading into the season. They are very exciting offensively and will never get completely embarrassed, but they are not a winning football team.
The Mountaineers picked up their first win of the season last week, taking out some frustrations during their 65-7 beatdown of Towson. Their first game of the season was a heartbreaker against Pitt when a dropped pass leading to a pick-six ruined their chances, and then they lost by 13 points in overtime against Kansas, so they have been in every game, they just are not a complete team, and it is leading to losses.
Highly-touted quarterback transfer JT Daniels does lead the nation in 50+ yard completions with three, and as a whole, they are picking up 7.1 yards per pass and 0.48 points per play. The problem is that their defense is, how they say, extremely awful.
Through their first two games, they gave up a total of 803 yards and 93 points, and they are ranked 123rd in scoring (46.5), 126th in points per play (0.710), and 124th in yards per pass (9.9). Basically, teams are picking up a first down every time they drop back to pass against West Virginia, and they are getting gashed for big gains. Despite the offense being explosive, they have not stopped anything this season.
JT Daniels ➡️ Bryce Ford-Wheaton— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 1, 2022
TOUCHDOWN WEST VIRGINIA 🙌
Luckily, the Mountaineers have a favorable matchup against Virginia Tech as the Hokies' offense is just as bad as West Virginia's defense. Va Tech is only putting up 22 points per game, and they are ranked 104th in yards per game (314), 110th in yards per play (4.2), and 113th in yards per pass (5.4).
However, the Hokies' defense has been one of the best in the country, only allowing 15 points per game, and they are top 10 in yards allowed (200), yards per play (3.0), yards per rush (1.4), opponents' completion percentage (48%), and yards per pass (4.6).
To be fair, the best offense Virginia Tech has seen this season has been Boston College, which is ranked 112th in scoring and 126th in yards per play.
West Virginia only played their starters for the first half of their game against Towson last week, and they are far and away the best offense that Virginia Tech has seen this season. The Mountaineers have only won three out of the last 10 against Virginia Tech, but the Hokies' defense is due for some major regression, and they are only 4-10 ATS over their last 14 games.
In a rivalry game like this, I always lean towards the better offense, and West Virginia is comfortably better when they have the ball.
Pick: West Virginia -1.5 (-114)
Photo Credit: Embed from Getty Images