College Football Betting: Week 3 Best Picks and Advice

    Who should you back this weekend?

    September 17, 2021

    During the college football season, Stadium’s staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice in this roundtable. Here are our thoughts on the Week 3 slate.

    Note: Ben and Nate will discuss all of their college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.

    1. What is your favorite pick against the spread?

    Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: FIU +20 over Texas Tech.

    I likely won’t watch this game (and, frankly, you probably shouldn’t either), but my favorite bet this week is FIU +20 at Texas Tech. I’m invested in the over for Tech’s season win total and have generally liked what I’ve seen from the Red Raiders this year.

    However, with conference play on deck (including a trip to Austin to play Texas), Matt Wells will just want to get out of this game healthy. FIU’s rushing attack is good enough (6.75 YPA) to keep the chains moving and should help the Panthers stay within the number.

    Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: Penn State -5 over Auburn.

    Bo Nix on the road during a “White Out” in Happy Valley? Good luck, Auburn. Add on Penn State’s defense giving up only 11.5 points per game and this really should be a bigger line. PSU already played a run-heavy team in Wisconsin (on the road) and got the win with their defense, so I don’t expect them to have issues with a run-heavy Auburn program that features a QB who hasn’t thrown for more than 300 yards on the road in his college career.

    Kate Constable, Stadium Host & Digital Producer: Cincinnati -3.5 over Indiana.

    After manhandling both Miami (Ohio) and Murray State, Cincinnati will take on Indiana at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Between QB Desmond Ridder, RB Jerome Ford and WR Tyler Scott, the No. 8 Bearcats have a lot of offensive power and can score in a flash.

    On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati ranks 18th in the country in total defense and 10th against the pass. Cincinnati’s D should have no problem containing Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr., who doesn’t look like the same player he was last year. In the Hoosiers’ first two games this season, he’s thrown for a combined 224 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions while completing just 53.2 percent of his passes.

    Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: South Carolina +31 over Georgia.

    I struggled choosing my favorite side this week and was tempted to make a case for Kent State or Georgia Southern, who are each playing Power Five opponents in tough scheduling spots. Instead, I’ll put my trust in an SEC program — although it is South Carolina, who is in the midst of a complete rebuild. It’s pretty astonishing to see South Carolina this big of an underdog in a game with a total of 47. In case you wanted to know how far the Gamecocks have fallen, Georgia closed as a 22.5-point favorite against UAB last week.

    That being said, I like South Carolina to stay within the number, especially if Georgia QB JT Daniels misses another game with an oblique strain. The main reason I like this bet is because first-year South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer once served as an assistant under Kirby Smart at Georgia. Smart raved about his former special teams coach at SEC Media Days, and I don’t think he would embarrass him by running up the score in Beamer’s first conference game as head coach.

    2. What is another bet you like?

    AS: Texas A&M -29.5 over New Mexico.

    I hope you’re ready for another ugly matchup. Jimbo Fisher’s outfit is coming off an incredibly disappointing 10-7 victory at Colorado last week, and QB Haynes King is out indefinitely with a fractured leg. That’s not stopping me from backing A&M. Zach Calzada is going to need as many reps as possible before the Aggies open up their SEC slate next week, and A&M should be able to cover given their depth advantage on both sides of the ball. I got a bet in at -26.5 when it opened, and I’d play it all the way to -31.

    BW: Nevada -125 ML over Kansas State

    A pick that’s going against the line movement? Bring it on. K-State QB Skylar Thompson is out with a knee injury, and backup Will Howard comes in with some experience from last season, going an underwhelming 3-5 in the games he played. Nevada already showed road prowess by beating Cal in Berkeley, and the offense has the potential to be explosive. Give me Nevada with a big road win over the Big 12.

    KC: Under 49 in Northwestern-Duke

    Last week’s matchup between Northwestern and Indiana State was one of the most boring games I’ve ever watched. Northwestern’s offense couldn’t get anything established, QB Hunter Johnson made a handful of questionable decisions and the Wildcats only put up 24 points against the Sycamores. As for Duke, their offense hasn’t been all that exciting either this season. Sure, they put up 45 points against North Carolina A&T last week but they’ve struggled to stay on the field, ranking third-worst in the nation in time of possession.

    In looking at the trends, the total has gone under in:

    • 6 of Duke’s last 8 games against a Big Ten team
    • 6 of the last 7 meetings between these two teams
    • 8 of Northwestern’s last 11 games
    • 9 of Northwestern’s last 11 games against an ACC team

    NJ: Under 52 in Auburn-Penn State.

    There are a few ways I’m thinking of attacking this game. I’m tempted to bet Penn State -5, but I have some concerns about their offense under QB Sean Clifford. However, I do believe Auburn will struggle to score in what will be a hostile environment in State College.

    While Auburn has 122 combined points over their first two games, it came against Akron and Alabama State. This is a much bigger test for QB Bo Nix and new head coach Bryan Harsin. Since I lean to Penn State and like the under, I’ll also make a bet on the under for Auburn’s team total when the number becomes available.

    3. Which underdog of +200 or more on the moneyline has the best chance of an outright upset?

    AS: Colorado State (+400) over Toledo.

    I’m going to throw a dart here and make a case for Nate Jacobson’s “Kitchen Sink Game Theory” (patent pending) with Colorado State (+400) at Toledo. If you don’t want to follow this pick, I completely understand because the Rams stink. Colorado State is 0-2 with a loss to an FCS opponent, has given up nearly five yards per carry on the ground, and coach Steve Addazio has been testy with the media as his seat gets hotter in Fort Collins.

    My hope is that this coaching staff throws everything but the aforementioned kitchen sink at the Rockets on Saturday to try to get a win in non-conference play. In addition, Toledo is coming off a heartbreaking loss at Notre Dame last week and could come out flat.

    BW: Utah State (+280) over Air Force.

    Utah State’s offense gives me some hope that they can pull off the upset. The Aggies are first in the Mountain West in offense with over 500 yards per game, while Air Force is one of the best defensive teams. Simply put, I’m taking offense over defense in this one. When swinging for a big underdog, I’ll put my money on the team that can score with ease.

    KC: Ball State (+210) over Wyoming.

    I don’t love any of the heavy underdogs this week, but I’ll go ahead and throw out Ball State to upset Wyoming. Cardinals QB Drew Plitt is completing 62.7 percent of his passes and has found WR Justin Hall 14 times, including two touchdowns. If Ball State’s defense comes to play and disrupts Cowboys QB Sean Chambers, Wyoming could suffer its first loss of the season.

    NJ: Fresno State (+330) over UCLA.

    UCLA was very good for the roundtable in Week 1, when they beat LSU straight-up. But now I’m going to take a shot against the Bruins, who were off last week and have to be feeling good about themselves since that impressive win over the Tigers.

    Fresno State is a formidable opponent, who had a fourth-quarter lead against Oregon in Week 1 before losing by a touchdown. That performance against Oregon looks even more impressive after the Ducks pulled off an upset over Ohio State in Columbus last week. Hoping that UCLA comes out flat, I’ll have a small bet on both Fresno State +11.5 and the moneyline.

    4. What is one bet you are tempted to make this week, but know you probably shouldn’t? 

    AS: Florida +14.5 over Alabama & South Carolina +31 over Georgia

    I’ve got two games that qualify here, and they’re both in the SEC. The numbers and situational spots tell me to play Florida and South Carolina, but I’m going to stay away from betting either game. Alabama is a runaway train right now, and I’m not sure that either of Florida’s two quarterbacks will be able to get within two scores of Bryce Young and the Tide, even if there is ample garbage time. When it comes to the game in Athens, I’m too snakebitten from betting against the Dawgs last week to go back to that well.

    BW: Alabama -14.5 over Florida.

    I love betting Bama… But something about Florida being at home, having a pair of QBs that can hurt you in different ways, and giving Alabama a scare in last year’s SEC Championship makes me hesitant to lay this many points. This might be an Alabama first-half bet for me, but certainly not the full game.

    KC: Auburn +5 over Penn State.

    I haven’t been a huge Bo Nix fan over the years, but he’s looked good this season, completing 74.4 percent of his passes under new Auburn coach Bryan Harsin. The Tigers’ running back duo of Tank Bigsby (great name!) and Jarquez Hunter will test Penn State’s loaded defense. What really concerns me is Penn State’s “White Out.” This has become one of the coolest spectacles in college football and with 110,000 fans — all wearing white — packed into Beaver Stadium, Happy Valley becomes a tough environment to play in.

    NJ: Purdue +7 over Notre Dame.

    I’m not sure if Notre Dame is good this season. Their overtime win over Florida State looks uglier after the Seminoles’ loss to Jacksonville State this past Saturday. Then in Week 2, Notre Dame needed a late touchdown to get past Toledo. With games against Wisconsin and Cincinnati on deck, it seems like another good spot to fade Notre Dame. But this could also be the “buy low” spot for ND at home while giving only a touchdown.

    MORE: NFL Betting: Week 2 Best Picks and Advice

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