What games appear to be the best bets and the best picks against the spread going into the Week 3 weekend of the college football season?
Results So Far ATS: 20-10-1
It’s still early in the season and we’re all still sort of figuring it out, so yeah, I’ll absolutely take 6-4 after a big opening run.
But you deserve better.
Week 1 is a flier based on what we all believe after the offseason with no preseason games, and Week 2 is about trying to adjust to the overreaction with the lines. Week 3? This is where the real work begins.
Last week I wasn’t big enough to call Oregon outright, but I love it getting 14.5 Ohio State. So let’s go for the lightning-striking-twice thing with …
Click on each game for the preview
LINE Alabama -14.5
ATS PICK Florida
So does this remind you of anything?
Last week Oregon getting 14 was nice, and then we got the hook to make it that much more appealing.
I know, I know, I KNOW, you never pick against Alabama – unless it’s giving away 50 or more – but let’s see if we can do this again.
Same theory as the Oregon-with-the-points over Ohio State call.
Florida has the guys. Just like Oregon is one of the few teams that can run with Ohio State, the Gators have the athletes to at least hang with the incredible overall Tide team speed.
I’m more than willing to take my lumps if Bama goes Bama and rolls with ease, but I’m sensing that the world might be overrating this team a bit just because of how easy that Miami game was. (More on the Hurricanes a few picks from now.)
I’m also well versed in Sabanese – his ranting about how bad the team “smells” isn’t for show. I really do think he senses something isn’t tight enough.
Also like Ohio State-Oregon, I don’t have the stones to pick it outright – I 49% thought the Ducks were going to win, but on this I’m at about 9% on the Gators – but at home, Florida getting just over two touchdowns is a chance worth taking.
LINE Nevada -2
ATS PICK Kansas State
I’m a full-on believer in Nevada and especially QB Carson Strong. I’m also shocked that the Pack defense continues to be so good. But there’s a reason the Group of Five team is favored over a 2-0 Power Five team that rocked Stanford in the season opener.
QB Skylar Thompson is out, and the 31-23 win over Southern Illinois last week was way too close.
However, Will Howard is a veteran who stepped in last year and was okay. He’s not going to throw like Thompson, and the Wildcats fall off the map over the second half of 2020, but he’ll move the offense.
Again, Nevada is just that good, but the Kansas State defense has been incredible so far. Like the Power Five team at home, and by the way, give some though to the under on the 50.5 – even though it came screaming down from 55.5.
LINE Miami -6.5
ATS PICK Michigan State
It’s by sheer coincidence that last week’s Appalachian State ATS pick over Miami was in this No. 8 spot, too. I thought the Mountaineers were going to win outright – I have a weird thing for them this year – and they pushed the Canes hard in a 25-23 loss.
They covered, though.
Here’s the thing about Miami – it’s just okay.
As mentioned in the Florida-Alabama blurb, everyone has crowned the Tide national champion already based on the opener against the Canes, but that win really might not have been that big a deal.
D’Eriq King hasn’t been anything special coming back very, very soon from the torn ACL suffered at the end of last year, the offense hasn’t been able to find a groove, and the D – even with the always terrific pass rush – hasn’t been able to make up for it.
Michigan State has been able to ease its way into the season, had no problems last week, and now get to unleash all the weapons that weren’t taxed too hard against Youngstown State.
The Spartans are a +200 on the Money Line, by the way.
LINE USC -8.5
ATS PICK USC
Everyone overreacts to crazy early season games, but USC took it to another level by firing Clay Helton.
The big question all week was how this would affect the players. Short answer – probably not at all.
Players deal with the assistants. Interim head man Donte Williams only came aboard last year, but he knows how to sell – he’ll be an all-star recruiter no matter where he ends up – and he appears to be a rising star who can handle being thrown to the wolves – or the Cougars.
(Sorry about that line. Long week.)
But this isn’t about USC as much as it’s about Washington State being blah.
The offense perked up against Portland State, but … okay, it was Portland State. Utah State was almost perfectly balanced offensively, the Vikings of PSU threw well, and a talented USC team should be able to crank things up doing whatever it wants.
The Stanford game was probably an aberration. It should be worth the 8.5 points to find out.
LINE Colorado -2.5
ATS PICK Colorado
That’s it. I’m done disrespecting Colorado under Karl Dorrell.
It was a good hire last year – he never got enough credit during his run at UCLA – but whatever. Colorado wasn’t going to do anything last year, and … 4-0 start in a global pandemic, 4-2 to finish with a team that didn’t have a whole slew of stars.
Last week, the Buffs balled out against a Texas A&M team with the talent to really and truly be good enough to win the SEC Championship. The 10-7 loss might have been heartbreaking, but Dorrell’s D was amazing against the run.
Colorado has allowed a total of 118 rushing yards in two games, making it four games in the last seven allowing fewer than 100. Minnesota will try running the ball, and then it’ll try running some more.
The Gophers are solid, but the 2.5 points aren’t enough to sweat over. If you think Colorado can win, the call is easy.
Unless you want to keep underestimating what the Buffs can do.