NCAAF Week 4 Picks for Top Ranked Teams in Early Games: Georgia, Michigan and Clemson

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Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs warms up prior to the game against the Samford Bulldogs. Todd Kirkland/Getty Images/AFP.

Some good early action in college football this Saturday as three unbeaten national title contenders, No. 1 Georgia, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Clemson, are all in action starting at noon EDT.

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Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Saturday, September 24, 2022 – 12:00 PM EDT at Sanford Stadium

Kent State vs. Georgia Analysis

What on earth is No. 1 Georgia doing playing Kent State of the Mid-American Conference? This game on the SEC Network is going to be a bloodbath, but reportedly KSU is getting paid a whopping $1.9 million. That’s massive for a small athletic department to survive overall. 

Could Georgia be even better than last year’s national champions? I would have found that impossible entering the season with so many guys drafted, especially on defense, but the Dawgs have simply destroyed Oregon, Samford and South Carolina.

Obviously, Samford is nothing but, that season-opening win over the ranked Ducks looks that much better now after Oregon smashed a good BYU team in Week 3.

And it’s never that easy winning SEC road games as UGA did 48-7 in at South Carolina, allowing its first offensive touchdown of the season. The Cocks got that with 53 seconds left. 

Statistics and Reality

This will be the third Power 5 game of the early season for Kent State, which lost 45-20 at Washington in Week 1 and 33-3 at Oklahoma in Week 2, both excellent teams. The Flashes got their first win this past Saturday over FCS program Long Island University. Honestly didn’t know LIU had a football team. 

There is no question that Dawgs coach Kirby Smart is going to pull his starters fairly early in this on, QB Stetson Bennett is now a legitimate Heisman contender at +1000, presuming they are up big and with a tougher game next week at Missouri.

I don’t think Kent State is scoring a touchdown. UGA wins something like 50-3 so we’ll take the points. The Flashes have won 10 straight at home but are 3-9 ATS in their past 12 on the road. 

NCAAF Pick: Georgia -44 (-113) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Maryland Terrapins vs. Michigan Wolverines 

Saturday, September 24, 2022 - 12:00 PM EDT at Michigan Stadium

Maryland vs. Michigan Analysis

Fox has the Big Ten opener for these clubs. Michigan has been dominant in three blowouts and scoring at least 50 points in each of its first three games for the first time in school history but also has played Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn. If that’s not the easiest non-conference schedule by any Power 5 team in the country, I don’t know what is.

U-M was the first team since the FBS/FCS split in 1978 to be favored by at least 45 points in consecutive games and the first team to be favored by at least 31 in its first three games of the year since 2001 Florida. 

“I don’t know how good we are,” running back Blake Corum said after matching a program record with five rushing touchdowns against the Huskies. “We look good. We haven’t faced no adversity, so I really don't know how good we’re going to be. I feel like we’re going to be great.” 

Maryland (3-0) is pretty good and beat a very solid SMU team 34-27 this past Saturday. The Terps broke the 27-27 tie when QB Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Dolphins QB Tua, connected with Corey Dyches with on a 5-yard TD pass with 7:30 left in the fourth quarter.

Statistics and Reality

Freshman Roman Hemby had 213 combined rushing and receiving yards. Hemby runs behind an offensive line that returned all of its starters from a year ago. 

I do worry about that Maryland defense as it allowed 520 yards vs. SMU and the Terps also had 15 penalties. That’s not going to get it done cover-wise against Michigan.

Last year, the Wolverines rolled 59-18 at Maryland. I think the 2022 Terps can stay within 17, although I’d probably wait to see if you can get +17.5 in the NCAAF odds, or buy the half-point. Michigan is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 vs. teams with a winning record. 

NCAAF Pick: Maryland +17 (buy up to +17.5) (-112) at BetOnline  

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Maryland +17 (buy up to +17.5) (-112)
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Clemson Tigers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 

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

Clemson vs. Wake Forest Analysis

ABC has this big ACC matchup. I was honestly unaware there are two major stadiums in this country called Truist: Wake Forest’s Truist Field and the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park. It’s a bank if you didn’t know. 

Wake Forest ended Clemson’s run of six straight ACC Atlantic Division titles last year (divisions will go away in 2023), although the Tigers easily handled the Demon Deacons head-to-head 48-27. Two Clemson players had at least 100 yards rushing in its 13th straight win in the series. Wake Forest couldn’t run the ball at all with 36 yards on the ground

The Deacons are lucky to be 3-0. They easily won their first two games, but had to stop a two-point try by Liberty in the final minute or so on Saturday in a 37-36 victory. Junior quarterback Sam Hartman finished 26-of-44 passing for 325 yards and three passing touchdowns.

Hartman broke the Wake Forest all-time passing mark, eclipsing Riley Skinner (2006-09) with a five-yard pass to Ke'Shawn Williams in the third quarter. He will try to become the 131st player in NCAA history and just the ninth passer in the history of the ACC to eclipse the 10,000-yard passing barrier in this game.

Statistics and Reality

It was Wake’s 11th straight victory inside Truist Field, which is the longest home winning streak in program history.  

Clemson has been very good on defense as we expected but a bit hit-or-miss offensively, which was the problem last year. Saturday’s 48-20 win over Louisiana Tech is a bit misleading at it was 13-6 at the half.

Clemson gained a season-high 521 total yards, including 280 on the ground, and forced four turnovers, leading to 21 Tiger points. Clemson extended its nation-leading home winning streak to 36 games.

Will Shipley became the first Clemson player to start a season with multiple rushing touchdowns in each of the three first games on record back to 1950. 

While Wake might have the better quarterback in this matchup, Clemson is better everywhere else. The Tigers are 4-0 ATS in their past four ACC games. Undoubtedly, the NCAAF pick here is Clemson.

NCAAF Pick: Clemson -7 (buy down to -6.5) (-120) at BetOnline

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Clemson -7 (buy down to -6.5) (-120)
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