We treaded water last week to log our first non-losing weekend of the season. However, there is still a lot of mountain to climb.
After a 3-3 mark where a couple of home dogs cashed and a pair of under missed, Luckett’s Locks sits at 8-11-1 against the spread (ATS) as we wrap up the first month of the college football season.
Don’t call this a comeback.
The slow start only means that a hot streak is coming for our weekly selections. This is when it arrives. Here are the best plays on the card in Week 4.
Washington State @ Utah (-15)
Washington State is off to a 1-2 start, and second-year head coach Nick Rolovich has a seat that is warming in Pullman. The Cougars have already dropped home games to Utah State and USC. Their defense looks to be one of the worst in the Pac-12. Now Wazzu must head on the road when things aren’t going well.
Utah is also off to a 1-2 start, but this was with a different set of circumstances. The Utes lost hard-fought ballgames to BYU and San Diego State in what were tough, physical, smash-mouth football contests. However, Texas transfer Cameron Rising stepped in last week and gave Utah a spark at quarterback. He’ll get the start on Saturday.
Utah still has one of the best defenses in the conference, and the Utes can contend for another Pac-12 South crown. This should be a mad football team that is hosting a down on its luck Wazzu club. The contrasting styles help out Utah in a motivated spot. The Utes are 14-4 ATS in their last 18 home games under Kyle Whittingham, and they score another cover on Saturday afternoon.
Lay the double-digits.
Louisville @ Florida State (+2)
Last Friday night, Scott Satterfield and Louisville put it all on the line at home against UCF. Luckily, true freshman Jaylin Alderman recorded a late pick-six to seal the deal. This was a major win for a program that desperately needed something good to happen.
Meanwhile, nothing good has happened for Florida State in about seven years. The Seminoles are off to an 0-3 start after committing six turnovers on the road in a 21-point loss to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Mike Norvell’s squad looks bad in year two.
Why would you back Florida State in this spot? Because I’m crazy.
This is a role reversal for Louisville as a slow start, and a sleepy performance is 100 percent possible after emptying the tank against UCF. FSU will have the element of surprise, and that will be just enough. Norvell rallies the troops and records a big home win to quiet the outside noise in Tallahassee for a couple of days.
Take the small home dog as Louisville is just 3-6-1 ATS on the road under Scott Satterfield.
UAB @ Tulane (-3.5)
Bill Clark has quietly built a Group of Five power down in Birmingham as the Blazers are 28-12 since 2018 with a pair of C-USA titles. This season, UAB lost to Georgia but beat FCS Jacksonville State and North Texas by a combined score of 71-6. Clark is one of the best defensive head coaches in college football.
Willie Fritz is in year six at Tulane and has built a competitive program in the American. The Green Wave had to be displaced during Hurricane Ida and played their first home game in Birmingham. Meanwhile, Tulane gave Oklahoma a four-quarter battle and just did not have the ammo or personnel to hang with Ole Miss.
This week, they’ll return to New Orleans and play in Yulman Stadium for the first time this year. Expect a raucous atmosphere and a motivated Tulane team in a big spot. Michael Pratt is one of the best sophomore quarterbacks in college football.
The spot and the trend give us a great value play. The Green Wave are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games at Yulman Stadium. Lay the points with the Wave in what will be an exciting Group of Five football game.
California (+7.5) @ Washington
The Golden Bears are off to a 1-2 start under Justin Wilcox following last week’s 12-point win over an FCS opponent. However, Cal has a couple of close losses on the schedule after playing TCU close on the road and dropping the opener to a good Nevada team.
Meanwhile, Washington picked up their first win of the season last week with a 49-point blowout over Arkansas State and Butch Jones after two embarrassing losses to begin the season. We’ll see if that performance can fix some of their offensive issues.
This is a total system play for Luckett’s Locks. Cal is 12-4 ATS as a road dog in their last 16 road games with a cover this year. We’re always going to take Justin Wilcox when his team is getting points away from Berkeley.
Oregon State (+11) @ USC
The Beavers are now 2-1 after consecutive home wins where the offense rang up 87 total points. Oregon State has a top-30 yards per play offense at the moment as quarterback Chance Nolan is averaging 10 yards per attempt and completing 70 percent of his throws.
After firing Clay Helton, USC put together an impressive performance on the road against Washington State as the Trojans blitzed the Cougars. True freshman Jaxson Dart had over 400 yards of total offense as the high four-star from Utah could be the future.
This is a play that is fading the USC overreaction after a strong road performance. The Beavers are good on the road with an 11-4 ATS mark in their last 15 games away from Reser Stadium. Oregon State has the offensive firepower to keep pace as this one is a little too close for comfort.
Take the double-digit road dog in Pac-12 after dark.
Best Bet: Wake Forest @ Virginia (-3.5)
The Demon Deacons are off to a 3-0 start as Dave Clawson is now 37-27 at Wake Forest since 2016. That is flat-out remarkable. Sam Hartman is an experienced quarterback, Wake has some intriguing skill weapons, and the defense looks improved.
Last week, Virginia played the wildest game of the college football season in the 59-39 road loss to North Carolina. The Hoos have scored at least 39 points in every game this season as quarterback Brennan Armstrong leads the country in passing.
This feels like a great spot for Bronco Mendenhall and UVa. Wake Forest is coming off a huge home win and is hitting the road for the first time. Meanwhile, Virginia is rolling on offense and should be pretty motivated on defense after an embarrassing performance. The recipe is there for the home team to roll.
Let’s lay the points with the small ACC home favorite in a competitive game on Friday night. Virginia is the better football team, and the Hoos prove that in this matchup.