Week 3 college football prediction and preview Virginia vs. Maryland, Army vs. UTSA, Utah State vs. Air Force for Friday September 15

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com Managing Editor) 

September 13, 2023 11:35 PM

Week 3 Friday games features Virginia vs. Maryland, Army vs. UTSA, and Utah State vs. Air Force

We’ve got a pretty active slate on Friday, including one conference game, as Utah State and Air Force battle it out in Mountain West action. The college version of Friday Night Lights will also include Virginia vs. Maryland and Army vs. UTSA. It is not the most exciting of slates, but there are some interesting betting angles in the games, including some situational spots to consider.

Week 3 Hub | College football odds | College football betting splits

(Odds as of September 13, 9:30 p.m. PT)

Virginia Cavaliers at Maryland Terrapins (-14.5, 48)

This past Saturday was a tough one for the Cavaliers. They played their first home game in Charlottesville since the tragic shooting deaths of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr, and D’Sean Perry. The three players were honored and their families were part of the walk to the stadium. A fourth player, Mike Hollins, was wounded and in critical condition, but he was able to get back on the field about six months later and actually had two rushing touchdowns on the emotional day.

Ultimately, the Cavaliers lost on a final-minute touchdown pass from James Madison and fell short 36-35. Now, they have to overcome all of the emotion from that day and play on a short week against Maryland. While the travel is minimal to be sure, it is still a difficult situational spot.

What is also difficult is that Virginia has allowed 85 points through two games. Maryland’s offense may not be on par with Tennessee’s, but the Dukes still hung over 30 points. The Terps haven’t played anybody through two games, as they’ve beaten Towson and Charlotte. Virginia would be a step up from those teams and a 10.5-point favorite according to my numbers against Charlotte on a neutral. So, we’ll see what Taulia Tagovailoa and his skill players can do in this one.

Tagovailoa and the Terps had 5.7 yards per play last season, but they really struggled to move the football when they faced elite teams. Virginia is not an elite team. Maryland had six yards per play last season against unranked foes, but 4.64 yards per play against ranked teams.

I lean with Maryland here, but I’d need 14 to consider it and would like it more at 13.5, if it did manage to come down that far.

Other Week 3 Friday Game

Army Black Knights at UTSA Roadrunners (-8.5, 44.5): UTSA has been one of the most disappointing teams thus far for me. They lost a very winnable game against Houston in Week 1 and looked really pedestrian in Week 2 against Texas State. The Bobcats are certainly better, but the Roadrunners came nowhere near covering the double-digit spread.

The play of QB Frank Harris has been the most concerning. The defense has played extremely well, holding the opposition to just 4.4 yards per play. However, the offense, which was extremely explosive last season, has only managed 4.74 yards per play.

Army had five turnovers in the 17-14 loss to UL Monroe to start the season, but then blew out Delaware State in Week 2. Unless UTSA can find some more offensive efficiency, it may be tough to cover this number. I want to believe, especially since I had such high hopes entering the season, but I’m not sure this is the place to buy in.

Utah State Aggies at Air Force Falcons (-9.5, 47): Utah State scored 78 points last week against FCS Idaho State after scoring 14 points against Iowa in Week 1. Suffice it to say that it was a bit of a downgrade in opponent. This week’s opponent is somewhere in the middle, as Air Force is an annual contender in the Mountain West under the guidance of head coach Troy Calhoun, but we don’t really know where the Falcons stand for this season.

An easy win over Robert Morris gave way to a 13-3 rock fight against Sam Houston State. The Falcons only had 253 yards, but also only allowed 80 yards on defense and held the ball for nearly 37 minutes of game time. Utah State has plenty of experience against the option and Air Force has only had six pass attempts this season. Usually, they’re the service academy that will throw the ball around a bit, but we haven’t seen it this season.

I don’t have a strong opinion on this one, but it could be a decent live betting game if Utah State is moving the ball early. That would make them extremely live in a condensed game with a limited number of possessions.

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