By: Matt Doherty and Liam O’Brien
With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas, this weekend shapes up to be a messy one in college football with multiple games being postponed. However, we still have some great matchups on the slate for what should be an exciting Saturday.
We went 6-2 last week and more profit is coming this week. Check out the Super 8 for Week 3.
Matt: Miami at Toledo (+10.5)
Tuesday night #MACtion on ESPNU with Anish Shroff and Desmond Howard broadcasting from a quarter-filed stadium in a random Midwest town is still a few weeks away, but we can make some money off a MAC favorite, Toledo, on Saturday.
The always reliable S&P+ has Toledo winning this game outright, 29-21, which is telling. The public is also hammering Miami, with the line moving from 8.5 to 10.5 since it opened.
Toledo is one of the stronger teams in the MAC and Miami is vastly overrated with a quarterback in Malik Rosier that is the Blake Bortles of college football. I love Toledo and the points in this one.
Pick: Toledo +10.5
Liam: Oklahoma at Iowa State (+17.5)
Last year, the Cyclones entered their matchup with the Sooners as 31-point underdogs. Not only did they cover the spread, they won outright and shocked Heisman winner Baker Mayfield on his home turf.
This result will not be repeated on Saturday in Ames, a place where Oklahoma has not lost since 1960. Iowa State looked putrid in their season opener at Iowa last week, gaining just 188 total yards and scoring three points in a 10-point loss. Making matters worse, starting quarterback Kyle Kempt, who threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns in Norman last season, sustained a knee injury and is questionable for this week.
Even if Kempt suits up, last year’s quarterback of the defense, middle linebacker Joel Lanning graduated, leaving freshman Mike Rose to fill the void. Expect Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray to drop some big plays on the Cyclones defense en route to a sizable win.
Pick: Oklahoma -17.5
Matt: BYU at Wisconsin (-22)
Wisconsin is a well-oiled machine. The Badgers have dominated inferior opponents so far this season, beating Western Kentucky 34-3 in the opener before trouncing New Mexico, 45-14, in Week 2. I know it’s early, but Wisconsin has looked eerily similar to the team that went undefeated in the regular season last year.
BYU began the season with an impressive win at Arizona in Week 1, but fell at home to Cal as a three-point favorite. The Cougars allowed 184 yards on the ground to Cal and they HAVE to be better against the run to have any chance Saturday.
Wisconsin running back and Heisman hopeful Jonathan Taylor should have a massive day behind another great Badger O-Line. Taylor’s offense will be more than enough for the defense to do its part against BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum, who I swear has been the quarterback since 2012.
Wisconsin knocked off BYU, 40-6, in Mormon Land last fall. Expect a similar result Saturday.
Pick: Wisconsin -22
Liam: Vanderbilt at Notre Dame (-13.5)
The Commodores were questioned heading into last week’s outing against a flashy Nevada offense and they posted a statement 41-10 victory.
Vanderbilt picked off quarterback Ty Gangi twice while limiting the Wolfpack to 250 total yards. This is a defense capable of holding the Fighting Irish below 30 points, especially considering the struggles Notre Dame has had offensively. Since scoring 21 points against Michigan in the first half of their season opener, the Fighting Irish have netted just 27 points over their last six quarters.
Quarterback Brandon Wimbush has been shaky over this span, throwing three interceptions last Saturday as Notre Dame beat Ball State by just eight points after entering the game as 34.5-point favorites. On the other side, Vanderbilt has a proven commodity at quarterback in Kyle Shurmur, who is creeping up on Jay Cutler’s program record for touchdown passes.
I’m not saying Vanderbilt will win this game, but they should keep it close enough to cover the spread.
Pick: Vanderbilt +13.5
Matt: Boise State at Oklahoma State (-2.5)
This is a HUGE game for Boise. With a win Saturday in Stillwater, the Broncos would be in fantastic position for a New Year’s Six Bowl and maybe even an undefeated season. Per FPI, Boise is favored by 80% or more in every remaining game after OK State.
The Broncos are a program known for the dramatics and upsets and Saturday should be no different. This year’s team is led by quarterback Brett Rypien, who’s been dynamite this season, completing 73% of his passes for 667 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Boise is ranked as the most efficient offense and third most efficient defense in the country. I’d say that’s a pretty good combo. They are a better team than Oklahoma State and it will show Saturday.
Cue the video of Boise State’s upset over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl:
Have fun going down that rabbit hole.
Pick: Boise State +2.5
Liam: LSU at Auburn (-10.5)
LSU is by far the best double-digit underdog we’ve seen yet this season.
They boast one of the most unheralded running backs in the nation in Nick Brossette, a kicker that doesn’t miss in Cole Tracy, and a defense that has been impenetrable. Per S&P+, LSU has the eighth-best defense in the country. This week, they are going up against an Auburn team that struggled to notch points against a similarly physical Washington defense.
The focus of Auburn’s offense is rushing the football, and LSU has the size necessary on defense to quell this threat. LSU held Miami to just 83 rushing yards in the season opener, a considerable figure considering the Hurricanes rushed for 239 yards against Savannah State this past week.
Brossette should be able to gallop on the ground against Auburn. In Week 1, Huskies starting running back Myles Gaskin tallied 4.4 yards per rush on 17 carries while reserve back Salvon Ahmed averaged 5.1 yards per carry on seven tries.
LSU has the potential to not only cover, but garner a victory
Pick: LSU +10.5
Matt: Missouri at Purdue (+6) and South Florida at Illinois (+10)
I’m going to finish off my Week 3 picks with a two-team teaser featuring road favorites. Purdue just lost at home to Eastern Michigan and Drew Lock and the Tigers should have no problem putting up points against a bad Boilermaker defense. I’m pretty confident Missouri will cover the normal spread but we’ll tease it down just to be safe.
South Florida will be the other half of the tease. They hung 49 points on Georgia Tech last week and former Alabama/Arizona State quarterback Blake Barnett has finally found a home in Tampa. Illinois has looked rather uninspiring in their two victories. There is a clear talent gap between these two programs and even though Illinois will have the home field advantage at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Bulls should pull off the win up north.
P.S.: This is also a phenomenal coaching matchup between two head coaches who took a steep fall from grace in Charlie Strong and Lovie Smith.
Pick: Missouri (-6 to +1) and South Florida (-10 to -3)
Liam: Washington at Utah (+5)
The Huskies entered the season with national title hopes, but they may end up with a 1-2 record after their trip to Utah is finished.
Rice-Eccles Stadium may be the toughest place to play in the Pac-12, and Washington is in for a rude wake-up call on Saturday night. Quarterback Jake Browning has been inconsistent this season, throwing the same number as interceptions as touchdowns (three), including a pair against North Dakota last weekend.
Meanwhile, the Utes are accustomed to capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes. Their offense was lackadaisical in the red zone in a 17-6 win over Northern Illinois in Week 2 but the defense made game-defining plays, including a 40-yard pick six by linebacker Chase Hansen. Utah’s defensive S&P+ is the best in the nation, and they will make life tough for Browning & Co. this time around.
Pick: Utah +5