NCAAF Value Picks for Week 4 Have Michigan State Trying to Recover

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Top Sportsbooks have released their NCAAF odds for this week’s college football action. Considerations of value yield the insight that two games already seem worth investing in at this early stage of the week.

Specifically, I am interested in Clemson vs. Wake Forest and Minnesota vs. Michigan State. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the side for both games at our top-rated sportsbooks.

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Clemson Tigers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Saturday, September 24, 2022 – 12:00 PM EDT at Truist Field

Don't Count Out Wake Forest: Off Game Last Week

Despite the fact that Wake Forest scored 37 points in its victory over upset-minded Liberty, the offense showed a lot of things that could unfortunately scare off those who watched the game from backing this team against Clemson.

One negative feature of Wake Forest's win was Sam Hartman's inaccuracy. Hartman failed to complete 60 percent of his throws as he missed his target on multiple outs toward the sideline and was otherwise frequently inaccurate.

A.T. Perry

A.T. Perry dropped some passes. Remember that he amassed 1,293 receiving yards on 71 receptions last year.

There's no reason to expect his lackluster statistical output last week to repeat itself in the same sense that one should not forget the extent to which Hartman's prolific contributions contributed to Wake Forest's run last season.

Public perception will favor Clemson strongly given its blatant success so far this season (albeit against cupcake opponents) and given the visibly weaker play of key Demon Deacon players who are chomping at the bit to play Clemson.


This season, Hartman is averaging more yards per pass attempt than in any other season. This statistical fact reflects Wake Forest's current lack of offensive creativity.

The Demon Deacons are basically either running the ball or throwing deep. But, going forward, there is no reason to expect Hartman to forget to throw intermediate passes.

The upshot is this: Wake Forest is scoring a lot despite not revealing much to Clemson and despite key players transitorily remaining distant from the best versions of themselves.

Wake Forest Offense vs. Clemson's Defense 

Wake Forest skeptics will certainly and justifiably assert that Clemson's defense is much stronger than Liberty's. But the Demon Deacon offense can still perform substantially worse than it has so far this season and still cover the spread because it won't need to score that much in order to cover the spread.

This is not to deny that the Demon Deacons can score a lot off Clemson. One weakness of Clemson's defense has been defending screens, This weakness explains the high passing efficiency of lesser quarterbacks whom they've faced.

The Demon Deacons will be prepared to take advantage of Clemson's frequently over-aggressive defensive line. For example, in an instance of creativity, Wake Forest made a nice call against Vanderbilt by executing a tight end screen for a touchdown. Expect more creativity from a prepared Demon Deacon offense.

Wake Forest certainly has the personnel at quarterback and wide receiver, A.T. Perry is just one weapon among others, to generally hurt a Tiger pass defense that, despite its low quality of competition, ranks 69th as it is too prone to busts in coverage.

Clemson's Unconvincing Offense 

The softness of the low-profile defenses which Clemson has encountered should not induce one to forget the messiness of its offense last season.

Question marks permeated all aspects of the offense as a continually unproven and shaky quarterback struggled to connect with inconsistent and unproductive wide receivers, the leader of whom, Justyn Ross with 514 yards, departed.

While the offensive line gelled toward the end of the season, and Wake Forest's run defense on November 20 was absolutely a victim of this late-season form of Clemson's run-blocking unit, we are still in the beginning of the season.

A question mark heading into the season, the Tiger o-line helps explain its ground game's inefficiency and the frequency with which its quarterback, D.J. Uiagalelei, ran for his life in the team's season opener against lowly Georgia Tech. Success against FCS school Furman and C-USA dud Louisiana Tech should not inspire optimism.

NCAAF Pick: Wake Forest +7 (-105) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Wake Forest +7 (-105)
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Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Michigan State Spartans

Saturday, September 24, 2022 - 03:30 PM EDT at Spartan Stadium

Last Week's Bad Spot 

When a team performs poorly in a given week, recency bias helps ensure the possibility that that team will have more value for its upcoming game. Michigan State looked bad against Washington.

While its performance will inspire Spartan naysayers, it would be unfair to discount the fact that the Spartans had to travel to Washington and adjust to its time zone.

Also, the Huskies thrived prolifically through the air. Whereas their quarterback amassed 397 yards, Minnesota's Tanner Morgan failed to eclipse 209 passing yards in any game in all of last season or this one except against Western Illinois.

Minnesota Rush Attack vs. Spartan's Rush Defense 

Especially with its top wide receiver injured, Chris Autman-Bell is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury that sent him to the hospital, Minnesota relies heavily on its rush attack.

The Golden Gophers have the nation's fifth-highest run-play percentage.

Michigan State's defense merits optimism primarily because its run defense looks like a top-20 unit in the nation again.

It is especially strong in the interior, which is spearheaded by second-team preseason All-American Jacob Slade.

Michigan State Offense vs. Minnesota's Defense 

Last year, the Spartans had more success, in terms of winning games, when they could run more than they passed.

With five returning offensive linemen who already accumulated starting experience last year, the Spartans have an advantage in the trenches against a Golden Gopher defensive line that has endured significant upheaval in personnel.

This includes the departure of both starting defensive ends and of various other important contributors. These offensive linemen will pave the way for Michigan State's running back-by-committee, which will facilitate Payton Thorne's favored play action game.

For your NCAAF pick, expect the Spartan offense to do more than enough to secure its team an upset victory.

NCAAF Pick: Michigan State +2 (-113) at Bookmaker

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Michigan State +2 (-113)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.