College football upset alert: Expert picks for Week 4 underdogs with the best odds to win

College football upset alert: Expert picks for Week 4 underdogs with the best odds to win

The heavyweights took care of business last week, as The Associated Press’ top nine ranked teams won by an average of 43.3 points. But there were still big upsets to be found. Eastern Michigan, Rice, Charlotte, Tulane, Southern Illinois, Bowling Green and Wyoming all won as double-digit dogs, and Troy, South Alabama and Old Dominion lost on the last play of the game, just missing joining that list.

We love the upsets here at the Underdog Challenge, even though most of the time we’re a little hesitant to predict them. Seeing where yours truly is in the standings, I may be hunting some double-digit dogs soon enough.

The rules, for those new to the contest: Our experts predict three upsets a week. If it hits, the expert earns the amount of points that team was an underdog.

MORE: Picks against the spread for every Week 4 Top 25 game

Standings after Week 3
Square Name Record Points
1. Bill Bender 4-5 15
2. Mike DeCourcy 3-6 11.5
3. Zac Al-Khateeb 1-8 3.5
4. Bill Trocchi 1-8 2.5

On to the upsets

Odds courtesy Caesars Sportsbook

Bill Bender, lead college football writer

Baylor (+2.5) vs. Iowa State

The home team has won the last four meetings, and those games have been decided by seven points or less. Iowa State is a tough out in Ames, but the Bears’ balanced offense will pay off, and they’ll sneak out with a close victory to set up next week’s showdown against Oklahoma State

No. 16 Arkansas (+2) vs. No. 23 Texas A&M

This will be a fun game. Arkansas averages 500.3 yards per game, which would make it seem easy if not for a pass defense that allows 352.7 yards per game in return. Texas A&M, for all its offensive troubles, can have success against that with Max Johnson. We’re still banking on the tandem of KJ Jefferson and Raheim Sanders to lead the Hogs to victory.

Duke (+7.5) at Kansas

We’ll try to do this without a basketball reference. Both 3-0 teams have been early-season surprises, and this is an exciting quarterback matchup between Jalon Daniels and Riley Leonard. Kansas is scoring 53.0 points per game with Lance Leipold, and they will be tested by a Mike Elko defense that allows 14.3 points per game. The spread is too high, and Duke can steal this one. Go with the Blue Devils at the buzzer.

Mike DeCourcy, senior writer

Indiana (+16.5) at Cincinnati

A week ago, the Hoosiers needed overtime to win against Western Kentucky. First, I’d like to note that it was the second time I lost an upset pick in overtime, and I’m hereby petitioning the authorities in the Underdog Challenge to recognize that any tiebreaker necessary in this competition should be decided in favor of the person who has the most upsets lost in OT. Second, I’m going to point out that Western Kentucky is ringing up big points every time it takes the field, so maybe the 30 they hung on the Hoosiers said more about them than IU. The Bearcats were feisty at Arkansas, even in defeat, but there’ve been too many missed receivers and dropped passes against lesser opposition since.

Rutgers (+7.5) vs. Iowa

The results of these two teams to date suggests those 7.5 might be the only points transacted on Saturday evening at SHI Stadium in North Jersey. (OK, so somebody eventually has to score, even if it’s a field goal in overtime). The Knights are averaging 18 points against FBS competition. After managing 14 points combined against South Dakota State (yikes) and instate rival Iowa State, the Hawkeyes did compile 27 points against Nevada, if you want to count that. (I do not). At home, the Knights could pull this off.

Duke (+7.5) at Kansas

I’m going to put into the open what we’re all thinking: This would be one hell of a college basketball game. Sure, but if you look at what’s happened over the first few weeks of this season, it’s one of the coolest games on the football schedule. This is the first time in history that these two, North Carolina and Kentucky all started their football seasons with 3-0 records. And the only thing preventing this quartet from rampaging to 4-0 — well, not the only thing, but the one inescapable thing — is that these two will play each other.

MORE: Heisman Trophy odds | bowl projections

Zac Al-Khateeb, content producer

No. 10 Arkansas (+2) vs. No. 23 Texas A&M

That the Razorbacks are an underdog of any kind is a shock. Arkansas looks like a legit team under third-year coach Sam Pittman, who is getting excellent play from quarterback KJ Jefferson and running back Raheim Sanders. Yes, Arkansas has one of the worst pass defenses in the country — but they’re going against Max Johnson, who wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring in a win over Miami. Look for Arkansas to get a statement win.

Rutgers (+7.5) vs. Iowa

The reason for the Rutgers pick remains the same as my Week 2 pick for Iowa State over the Hawkeyes: quarterback Spencer Petras. Though he improved his stat line in a 27-0 win over Nevada, he should have a tougher outing against the Scarlet Knights. And while it’s true Rutgers is no world beater itself (having just survived Temple in a 16-14 win) it stands to reason this team has something that recent Rutgers teams haven’t: confidence.

Washington State (+6.5) vs. No. 15 Oregon

Do I think the Cougars are as good as the Ducks? No. But nor did I think they were as good as Wisconsin, and they went into Madison, Wisc., to beat the Badgers 17-14. They’ll face a team that’s much more capable of scoring in Oregon, a team that has rebounded nicely from a Week 1 embarrassment vs. Georgia to score 111 combined points vs. Eastern Washington and BYU. Wazzu will need excellent play from quarterback Cameron Ward and probably a turnover or two to pull out the victory. Hey, if it can get it done vs. Wisconsin, it can do it again.

Bill Trocchi, senior editor

Washington State (+6.5) vs. No. 15 Oregon

Counting on a little “Bo Nix Experience” here, which should have its own Twitter account at this point. The former five-star, of course, can be really good (see: BYU game) and really not good (see: Georgia game). I’m banking on a regression from last week’s really good game against BYU against a team that is home and has a high-level QB of its own in Cam Ward. Coogs with the upset.

Arizona (+3) at Cal

I believe the hype about these “new” Wildcats, whose only loss this year coincides with the only time I picked them (par for the course). North Dakota State is a quality win, San Diego State is a quality win and now Cal will be a quality win. Bears are still somewhat woozy after riding that roller-coaster at Notre Dame last week.

Rutgers (+7) vs. Iowa

Footballs will be flying … off the feet of two Australian punters. Iowa’s 131st ranked offense (that’s out of 131 teams) is facing Rutgers’ 10th-ranked defense, and Rutgers’ 90th-ranked offense is facing Iowa’s fourth-ranked defense. It will be a sloggy slog in New Jersey, similar to the 10-7 Iowa-Iowa State game, and it says here the Knights figure out a way to pull it out.

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