Week 3 college football schedule situational betting spots

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

September 12, 2023 06:55 PM

College football schedule Week 3

I think I may have referred to Week 0 as the calm before the storm. Or maybe the appetizer before the main course. Well, that’s also a definition that can apply to Week 3. We are very, very, very light on meaningful games in the National Championship discussion or even games of significant consequence for the rest of the season. That is not the case in Week 4.

What that does mean is that we have the potential for some big-time lookahead spots, as some heavy favorites have much larger, even season-defining, games on the horizon. Those and a host of others will be included in this week’s CFB situational spots article.

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

(Games sorted by Kickoff Time; odds as of September 12, 5:00 p.m. PT)


Navy Midshipmen at Memphis Tigers (-14.5, 47)

Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Army Black Knights at UTSA Roadrunners (-9, 45)

Friday, 7 p.m. ET

Utah State Aggies at Air Force Falcons (-9.5, 47)

Friday, 8 p.m. ET

These games get token mentions because they are short-week games against option teams. The spot is worse for Memphis, in that it’s a Thursday game and the others are Friday. But, it is also a conference game and so is Utah State vs. Air Force.

The most difficult spot may very well be Army and UTSA, as the Roadrunners don’t see the option on an annual basis. QB Frank Harris also hasn’t played well, so I’d be concerned about his efficiency with a limited number of possessions.

Liberty Flames (-3.5, 55) at Buffalo Bulls

Saturday, Noon ET

This is a rather unique trip for the Flames from Lynchburg, VA to Buffalo, NY. It is also an interesting spot because Buffalo lost to FCS Fordham last week and teams that lose to FCS teams can sometimes be good buy-low candidates. We’re seeing money hit the board on Northern Illinois against Nebraska after the Huskies lost to the Southern Illinois Salukis last week, in a spot I mentioned in this very article. Here, we aren’t seeing the love for Buffalo, but maybe it will come. It’s definitely a spot where a team should be motivated to eradicate the stink of losing to a lower-division foe.

Central Michigan Chippewas at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-34, 54.5)

Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET

Central Michigan didn’t lose to an FCS team, but got really, really close in the win over New Hampshire. Notre Dame rolled over NC State in a weather-delayed game that took a long time to be over, though not necessarily on the scoreboard. The Fighting Irish have their biggest game in South Bend in upwards of 20 years in Week 4 against Ohio State. Will they be fully invested against lowly CMU? Will the starters even play the entire game? These are things to keep about, even with a game that looks like a huge mismatch on paper.

Similarly, we could say the same about Ohio State laying 27.5 against Western Kentucky.

Washington Huskies (-16, 58) at Michigan State Spartans

Saturday, 5 p.m. ET

It is always uncomfortable to talk about betting angles when something way more important than football is taking place. The Mel Tucker allegations and subsequent suspension (and likely soon-to-be firing) have definitely put Michigan State in a strange place. Defensive coordinator Harlan Barnett has taken over and former head coach Mark Dantonio has come back. Players can maintain a season’s worth of eligibility if they redshirt before playing in a fifth game, so we could see a mass exodus out of East Lansing soon, which makes you wonder how committed all the players will be to the program and if things can be patched up in the locker room with the interim coaches in time to avoid getting completely embarrassed by a really, really good Washington team. The line did not move early in the week, as the betting community isn’t very high on Tucker anyway, but this is a fluid situation.

San Jose State Spartans at Toledo Rockets (-8, 58.5)

Saturday, 7 p.m. ET

San Jose State gave up 98 points in two games against FBS teams before letting out some frustration in a 59-3 win over Cal Poly. Now the Spartans head to the Glass Bowl in scenic Toledo, OH for this non-conference clash. Along with the travel, what also makes this a tough spot for SJSU is that they host the Air Force triple-option in the conference opener on Friday night, so they have a short week and a quick turnaround with a mostly wasted day on Sunday thanks to a late arrival at home, if they even fly out on Saturday night. The Spartans did play well on a long trip to Auburn last season, so maybe they could surprise here, but this is a very tough spot.

Florida Atlantic Owls at Clemson Tigers (-24, 52)

Saturday, 8 p.m. ET

Clemson has more than enough to worry about internally, but the season will be defined by what happens next week at home against Florida State. The Week 1 loss to Duke likely took Clemson out of College Football Playoff contention, which is the standard set for this program. Blowing out FCS Charleston Southern last week had to feel good, but it didn’t really showcase much. FAU was awful against Ohio, so they have a lot of things to fix themselves going into a night game in Death Valley East. Tough handicap here between not only the play on the field, but the circumstances surrounding both programs.

Wyoming Cowboys at Texas Longhorns (-28.5, 48.5)

Saturday, 8 p.m. ET

The most obvious spot of all obvious spots comes to us from Austin, where the Longhorns are laying four tuddies and a hook against the Cowboys. That was the biggest win for the Texas program in a remarkably long time and now a physical, unafraid bunch heads to DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. To compound matters, Texas opens Big 12 play against Baylor next week. While the Bears haven’t looked the part, Texas now has its sights set on conference perfection and the College Football Playoff. Sometimes when you look past what’s right in front of you, it can be hard to cover a big number.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Oregon Ducks (-37.5, 68.5)

Saturday, 8 p.m. ET

Colorado State Rams at Colorado Buffaloes (-23.5, 59)

Saturday, 10 p.m. ET

One is a rivalry game and the other is not, but the situations are pretty similar otherwise for Oregon and Colorado. The Coach Prime hype reached a fever pitch after Week 1 and I don’t even know what the term is for it after Week 2. But, the Buffs will get tested in Week 4 and you better believe Oregon is ready for the challenge in the Pac-12 opener for both sides. Oregon’s line is quite a bit higher and their opponent is a few points worse, but let’s also think about the implications of what this means for the Week 4 line.

In my Power Ratings, I have Colorado State -4.5 on a neutral against Hawaii. Basically, that would put Oregon somewhere around -9.5 or 10 on a neutral against Colorado. Next week’s game is in Eugene, so Oregon right now should be around -12 or -12.5, depending on how you value home-field advantage for the Ducks.

I’m not sure either team covers the big price, but with a huge head-to-head battle looming, it’s interesting to see what the line looks like now and what it could look like if Colorado and/or Oregon cover in big favorite roles this week.


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