Welcome back to our CFB picks and college football best bets as we dive into the CFB Week 4 odds. This Saturday's college football Week 4 schedule is loaded up with marquee Top 25 matchups involving some top-tier teams. We have Florida State vs Clemson, Ohio State vs Notre Dame, Ole Miss vs Alabama, and UCLA vs Utah – just to name a few. In this CFB best bets article, let's look at the Iowa vs Penn State matchup and the Oklahoma vs Cincinnati game. Enjoy these CFB picks and college football predictions as you tune into the Week 4 games. Plus, keep an eye out for the CFB DFS Playbook for top Week 4 college football daily fantasy picks. Let's now get to the college football best bets and CFB betting picks for Saturday, September 23rd.
If you want some more free CFB picks, check out the Bettor Sports Betting show from this past Thursday:
College Football Week 4 Best Bets
Iowa at Penn State
Saturday, 7:30 pm ET
On a Saturday with tons of marquee matchups, this conference showdown between Penn State and Iowa will go overlooked. If you like classic Big Ten defensive battles, though, this is the game for you. The total is low, but we really shouldn’t bank on the Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes combining for 40+ points.
Iowa may be 3-0 so far, but the concerns on offense are still there. The ineptitude now dates back multiple seasons when the Hawkeyes averaged 23.4 PPG in 2021 (99th in FBS) and only 17.7 PPG last year (123rd). In Week 1, Iowa scored 24 points against a Utah State defense that gave up 39 to Air Force last week. Then it only mustered 20 points vs Iowa State. As for last week’s 41-point outburst, it’s misleading because A) that came against a terrible Western Michigan defense and B) Iowa was running up the score in the fourth quarter – likely to boost its season-long scoring average.
Now Iowa has to go on the road and take on a strong Penn State defense that’s already held West Virginia and Illinois to a combined 28 points. Those are two better offenses than the Hawkeyes and both failed to eclipse 20 points scored in their matchups vs PSU. To make matters worse, Iowa will now be without three notable playmakers vs Penn State. Running backs Kaleb Johnson and Jazuin Patterson are both out this week while stud tight end Luke Lachey is expected out for the rest of the season. The depth in the Iowa backfield is a concern as Johnson was Iowa’s leading rusher last year and Patterson was a key backup this season. As for Lachey, it’s a huge loss because he was arguably the Hawkeyes’ best offensive weapon and is the team’s leading pass-catcher this year.
On the other side, the Iowa defense is its clear strength and can also limit Penn State’s scoring here. The Hawkeyes are allowing just 12.3 PPG (18th in FBS) while holding all three opponents to 14 points or less. This is a continuation from last year when Iowa had the country’s second-best scoring defense (13.3 PPG allowed). Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions have looked good offensively with Drew Allar emerging as a potential Heisman darkhorse. In this matchup, though, expect PSU to lean more on the ground game with a strong backfield duo of Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Iowa’s pass defense is legit and could force a turnover or two from the young Allar, so PSU may opt to be more conservative and limit the mistakes.
Penn State got its first real test last week and the game went under against Illinois. Meanwhile, Iowa is 2-1 to the under so far but that third game would’ve also ended up lower-scoring if the Hawkeyes actually took their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter of a blowout win. Last year, four of Iowa’s five road conference games featured 37 points or fewer. Bank on that trend continuing this week.
PICK: Iowa/Penn State UNDER 40 (-115 on FanDuel)
Oklahoma at Cincinnati
Saturday, 7:30 pm ET
Oklahoma is off to a strong start with a 3-0 record both SU and ATS. The Sooners also boast wins of 73 points and 49 points over Arkansas State and Tulsa, respectively. However, things get much tougher on the road to open conference play this week. Cincinnati will make its Big 12 debut and there’s value in grabbing the Bearcats as home underdogs of two touchdowns.
Cincinnati should come out motivated after losing in overtime last week to in-state rival Miami (OH). However, the Bearcats easily could’ve won but a blocked game-winning field goal and an interception in overtime did them in. Cincy also outgained Miami (OH), 538 to 358, and Emory Jones missed a sure-thing 70-yard touchdown pass before tossing a pick on the next play. Bank on the bounceback effort in front of a home crowd that’s getting a new taste of the Big 12.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, has yet to be truly tested this season and the market may be overvaluing a team that’s faced easy competition. The Sooners blew out cupcake opponents in Arkansas State and Tulsa as it should’ve. Back in Week 2, though, OU covered as 16-point favorites at home to SMU but the 28-11 final score looks better on paper than how the game actually played out. The Sooners only scored 14 first-half points and were winning by just four early in the fourth quarter. A late touchdown and an SMU interception allowed OU to cover the spread.
Cincinnati’s defense will be the toughest matchup so far for QB Dillon Gabriel and the Sooners offense. If the Bearcats can limit explosive plays, this should be a close game throughout. The Cincy offense is clicking right now with Florida and Arizona State transfer QB Emory Jones looking reborn in a system that favors his dual-threat skillset.
Cincinnati impressed with an outright road win at Pittsburgh two weeks ago, despite being a 6.5-point underdog. The Bearcats will also use their home-field advantage while facing an OU team that hasn’t played a true road game yet. History also doesn’t favor the Sooners here. Teams that have started 3-0 both SU and ATS have gone just 23-38-3 ATS (37.7%) as favorites of 14 points or more in their fourth game.
PICK: Cincinnati +14.5 (-110 on DraftKings)
Other CFB Week 4 Bets:
(from Thursday's Bettor Sports Betting show)
- Notre Dame +3.5 (-120 FD)
- Ole Miss-Alabama UNDER 55.5 (-115 FD)
- Oregon -20.5 (-115 BetMGM)
- Charlotte +28 (-110 DK)
- Army +13.5 (-115 BetMGM)