Week 3 college football predictions and previews for Thursday September 14

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com Managing Editor) 

September 12, 2023 06:20 PM

Week 3 Thursday games include Navy vs. Memphis

After not having a Thursday game last week, we’ve got two of them on tap this week, as Navy visits Memphis and Miami (FL) hosts Bethune-Cookman. It’s not exactly a great Thirsty Thursday slate, but any excuse to crack open a cold one and plant roots on the couch is a good idea. And, hey, at least the Thursday Night Football game between the Vikings and Eagles could be a good one.

Anyway, let’s look at the AAC opener for both Navy and Memphis and also check in on the Hurricanes off of a huge win against Texas A&M.

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

(Odds as of September  12, 4:45 p.m. PT)

Navy Midshipmen at Memphis Tigers (-14.5, 47)

Memphis has the unenviable task of preparing for the triple-option on a short week, but with games against Bethune-Cookman and Arkansas State to open up the season, it would make sense that they’ve put in a lot of prep already. While the Middies are going to have a bit of a modified version of the option attack this time around, as the service academies have been using more of a spread-option approach thanks to the college football rule changes regarding low blocks, the Tigers have seen it a lot.

And the Tigers have had success with it in recent seasons. Navy has only scored 37 points over the last three head-to-head meetings, while Memphis has scored at least 35 points in each of the last two games. It was a 10-7 struggle during the COVID year in 2020, but everything was weird that season and the game was actually postponed and pushed back a couple of weeks.

Navy has had a lot of offensive issues this season, mustering just three points in Dublin against Notre Dame and 24 points last week against a Wagner team that went 1-10 last season and lost 66-7 to Rutgers and 59-10 to Syracuse. Tai Lavatai has only averaged 2.5 yards per carry in his career and lack of a QB running game has had a major impact on Navy’s performance.

Memphis has outscored the opposition 93-17 through two games, but Navy is at least a step up in class relative to what they’ve played so far. I recently made Arkansas State the worst team in the country in my College Football Power Ratings and Bethune-Cookman is an annual punching bag for teams early in the season.

I don’t have a bet in this one, though, as Navy is capable of having some really long drives that take a lot of time off of the clock and that would limit Memphis’s ability to go out and win this game by margin. If anything, I would lean towards Memphis, since it’s hard to see Navy scoring much. I could also see the game staying under the total, especially with a little bit of wind in the forecast.

Lean: Under 47

Other Week 3 Thursday Games

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Miami (FL) Hurricanes: No line will be posted on this game until probably Thursday morning. Sagarin has about a 50-point difference between the two teams, so expect a line somewhere in the 40s. Bethune beat Savannah State 31-7 last week after losing badly to Memphis in Week 1.

Miami has hung 86 points on FBS teams, including 48 on Texas A&M last time out, so I would presume that they can put up a number on the Wildcats. It’s just a matter of how long everybody plays.

Miami plays Temple in the next game, so there are no concerns about a lookahead spot.


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