College Football: Week 3 betting odds, line moves and early thoughts

September 10, 2023 10:57 PM

Line moves for college football Week 3

The schedule is not very attractive next weekend in college football, but there are some fascinating spots coming up next Saturday. This weekend we saw the market continue to support some teams its been burned on early this season - Vanderbilt - while other teams like Colorado continue to get overwhelming upgrades from the bettors that shape the market.

College Football Odds | College Football Betting Splits

*Lines listed are Circa Sports opening lines*

Penn State Nittany Lions (-14, 45.5) at Illinois Fighting Illini

Circa Sports opened the total for this contest at 45.5 but within six minutes it was up 50 before some buyback on the under brought it to the current number of 48 which is across the board. It would seem that 50 is the market’s point of resistance on this total, so if we get to that point any time this week bettors should look to bet this number under.

Those who shaped the market on Sunday also came in on Penn State, driving the line to -16 before oddsmakers adjusted it back to -15 which is the consensus line as of Sunday night. The initial moves to both the over and the favorite correlate with what we have seen from Illinois in two weeks of action.

The Illini have allowed 955 total yards and 6.3 yards per play in two games thus far. Both facets of the defense have struggled, but it is Illinois’ rush defense which has been the weakest. Toledo and Kansas combined to run for 448 yards with an average of 5.2 yards per carry. Penn State crushed Delaware’s front with 315 rushing yards last week, and against West Virginia it averaged 4.3 yards per carry. It would track that Illinois would have some issues defending Kaytron Allen and Nicolas Singleton.

LSU Tigers (-7, 49.5) at Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State is back home after a somewhat fortunate trip to Tucson. The Bulldogs were out-gained by 124 yards and Jayden de Laura threw for 342 yards, but he also threw four interceptions and the Wildcats committed five total turnovers in an overtime loss. If Mississippi State’s defense is going to be this underwhelming on Saturday against LSU then the Bulldogs have a problem.

LSU took its frustrations out on Grambling this past weekend, and its offense continues to look extremely efficient. Through two games the Tigers are averaging 6.8 yards per play, and Jayden Daniels has accounted for 736 yards and six touchdowns while not committing a single turnover worthy play. 

His play - and the offense as a whole - is likely why the market has come in on the favorite as much as it has. Circa Sports opened the Tigers as 7-point favorites, but by the time the afternoon slate of NFL action was wrapping up they were 10-point favorites.

The total has seen a 3.5 bump toward the over as well, likely due to LSU’s ability to score and the questions that remain about a secondary which got torched for 346 yards in the opener against Florida State.

Alabama Crimson Tide (-31, 61.5) at USF Bulls

Situational handicappers likely have this game circled for Alabama, but the ones who shape the market do not seem to be buying in. DraftKings was first to market with this number on Sunday, and it hung Alabama as a 35-point favorite. When Circa Sports posted its opening number of -31 it was DraftKings that dropped its side to meet the market.

Those who like to play spots will likely view this as an opportunity for the Crimson Tide to blow off some steam after an ugly loss to Texas. Given the struggles of Jalen Milroe in the loss to the Longhorns, Nick Saban could elect to once again give both Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson some playing time in this game against the Bulls, and that means an open playbook for the majority of the game.

It’s not just the passing game that needs work for Alabama either. The Crimson Tide are averaging only 4.2 yards per carry and 156.0 yards per game. Jase McClellan is averaging only 3.9 per attempt and he has yet to surpass 85 yards rushing on the season. This could be one where the favorite runs up the score while trying to work out the kinks before a home game against Ole Miss next weekend.

Colorado State Rams at Colorado Buffaloes (-21, 58.5)

Adam Burke came on College Lines Revealed on Sunday and revealed he had upgraded Colorado by 16.5 points from where he had them coming into the season. It is warranted considering how well the Buffaloes have played in two games, but the bettors on Sunday felt the adjustments oddsmakers made weren’t enough.

Circa Sports and DraftKings both opened Colorado as 21-point favorites, but the market pounced and within minutes the line was -23 across the board. It would seem that we are getting to the point where the value will be on going against the Buffaloes, but is this the spot to do it?

Colorado State is coming off a bye week, but the last time bettors saw the Rams its secondary was getting ripped apart by Cam Ward and Washington State. Shedeur Sanders is the third-highest graded passer in the country by Pro Football Focus after two weeks, and should have no problem with Colorado State’s secondary. However, Clay Millen can be very good when given time, and Chandler Morris did some damage to this Colorado defensive backfield two weeks ago.

Other Games

Tennessee Volunteers (-4, 59.5) at Florida Gators

DraftKings was the first to market with this contest on Sunday, opening Tennessee as a full touchdown favorite on the road against Florida. Circa Sports joined the fray with the Volunteers as 4-point favorites, and they were hit enough that this number matched the opener at DraftKings within minutes. The Gators might have throttled McNeese on Saturday, but Graham Mertz looked mundane once again with just 193 yards passing. It would seem Florida is going to have a tough time competing with Joe Milton and the Volunteers’ offense.

Northwestern Wildcats at Duke Blue Devils (-18, 52.5)

Northwestern proved it wasn’t the worst team in the country when it pummeled UTEP on Saturday, but the offense now faces a stiff test in Duke. The Blue Devils used tight man coverage to limit Cade Klubnik and Clemson to 4.96 yards per play. Circa Sports opened the number at -18 and that was up to -20 in about 15 minutes. The total was bet down six points to 46.5 which is the current consensus number as of Sunday.

South Carolina Gamecocks at Georgia Bulldogs (-26, 49)

Georgia has looked absolutely bland on offense through the first two games of the season, but it could be due to the team opening against UT Martin and Ball State. Still, the defense has been as advertised, and now it gets to hound Spencer Rattler. In the loss to North Carolina the Gamecocks’ offensive line allowed Rattler to be pressured on 21 of his 55 dropbacks. The same could happen against this Bulldogs front. It’s likely why this was bet up a point from the open. The total has also moved up to 55.5 at a few shops after opening at 49 at Circa Sports.

Bet Recommendations

Vanderbilt Commodores (-2, 52.5) at UNLV Rebels

Tracking the betting market on Sundays gives bettors an idea of what the market-shapers think of certain teams. Last season, the market moved in favor of Texas almost every Sunday, but the Longhorns finished the year on a 3-4 ATS slide. This season the market has shown early support for Vanderbilt.

The line moved toward the Commodores last weekend only for the Demon Deacons to win comfortably. Vanderbilt also failed to cover against Hawaii and Alabama A&M in the first two games of the season, meaning it should be considered an overvalued team, but the market came in on them once again this Sunday, driving the opener at Circa Sports up three points before buyback on -5 brought it down a point.

UNLV has not shown much through two games against Bryant and Michigan, especially on defense which is supposed to be Barry Odom’s specialty. However, the Commodores have been overvalued by the market since the start of the season. Are we sure its getting it right this time?

Bet Recommendation: UNLV (+4)

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