The college football season is in full swing, as Week 3 features some very intriguing nonconference matchups and a bunch of good situational spots. This week runs the gamut, ranging from letdown and lookahead spots to more Big Brother vs. Little Brother games. Teams are getting a little bit more predictable with more data points, but situational advantages can play a huge part.
Here are some spots to consider betting in Week 3:
Ohio Bobcats at Iowa State Cyclones (-18, 49)
The two Power 5 schools in Iowa are both in very bad situational spots this week as sizable favorites. We’ll start in Ames, where the Cyclones are laying three scores against the Bobcats after a very emotional win against Iowa. Ohio has been much more impressive than most people anticipated heading into the season and has a crack at an Iowa State team coming off of an enormous victory. The Cyclones shouldn’t be at risk of losing this game, but covering with a hangover after the CyHawk Trophy matchup is a very real possibility.
Nevada Wolf Pack at Iowa Hawkeyes (-23, 40)
The situation in Iowa City is pretty much the same -- the difference is that Iowa just lost to its rival for the first time since 2014. Nevada is going through a major offensive overhaul and Iowa is known for defense, so maybe the Hawkeyes can avoid falling victim to a bad spot, but this is also a lot of points for a team that is limited offensively. To make matters worse for both Iowa State and Iowa, conference play begins next week (Iowa at Rutgers, Iowa State hosting Baylor).
Old Dominion Monarchs at Virginia Cavaliers (-10, 54)
Old Dominion already knocked off one ACC Big Brother. Can the Monarchs make it two? Virginia is still trying to iron some things out with a revamped coaching staff, whereas Old Dominion had a lot of returning production from last season’s successful campaign. You can bet that the Monarchs will be amped up for this trip to Charlottesville. Not only are the Cavaliers going to get ODU’s best effort, but UVA has to go to Syracuse on Friday night to open up conference play. It’s a good spot for the Monarchs.
Pitt Panthers (-10, 53) at Western Michigan Broncos
This is a really weird spot for Pitt. The Panthers opened the season by rekindling the Backyard Brawl with West Virginia and an overtime loss against Tennessee. Now the Panthers head to Kalamazoo to take on Western Michigan. This is a place that Pitt would never really go, although they are going there on a mission since Broncos won 44-41 at Heinz Field last season. Pitt was -3 in turnover margin in that one, as both teams racked up over 500 yards. The revenge factor should keep Pitt engaged, but the revenge factor may also drive this line up quite a bit. Of course, the spot is also trickier for Pitt with injuries to quarterbacks Kedon Slovis and Nick Patti.
SMU Mustangs at Maryland Terrapins (-3.5, 69.5)
This is a huge lookahead spot for SMU. Week 4 brings the rivalry game against TCU and this year’s matchup has a little bit of extra vitriol because former Mustangs head coach Sonny Dykes is now the head coach of the Horned Frogs. It is an opportunity against a Big Ten team, but the TCU game means a lot more to the Mustangs, especially given the circumstances, so I’d be concerned about something of a no-show here from the visitors.
Troy Trojans at Appalachian State Mountaineers (-12, 54)
You won’t find a more obvious situational spot than this one. After an emotional loss to North Carolina, App State went on the road to College Station and upset Texas A&M. Now the Mountaineers get into Sun Belt play as a sizable favorite against Troy. A letdown is very much a possibility after back-to-back draining games against Power 5 competition. This does seem to be built into the line a little bit, though, as some may be surprised to see App State smaller than a two-touchdown favorite.