College Football Week 3 – Top 5 Bets in the Top 25

by Lee McDonald
on September 14, 2017

College football has a tendency to be loose and wild. Epic blowouts with scores like 62-0 happen on almost a weekly basis. Another big number weekly occurrence is the point spreads. Often times in the Top 25 when a ranked team is playing an unranked opponent or even one that isn’t Division I, you are likely to see point spreads that take three or four touchdowns to cover.

A common plight of sports bettors is how to navigate the college football scene. Those lofty point spreads often make people a little gun shy, but if you’re new to the scene or if you’re just unsure of where to place your money don’t fret, we got you.

In the wacky world of sports, James Buster Douglas will always remind us that no bet is a lock. Luckily, he doesn’t play college football. Let’s take a look at some of the games in the Top 25 that are worth opening your wallet for.

#23 Tennessee at #24 Florida (FLA -4.5)

Florida is looking to check one off in the win column after starting their season with a 33-17 loss to #7 Michigan in the opening week. They haven’t played since then as last week’s game against Northern Colorado was canceled due to Hurricane Irma.

Tennessee is enjoying a 2-0 start and is coming off of a nail biting week 2 42-7 win over Georgia State. The interesting thing about Tennessee is that quarterbacks Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano split time under center in last week’s win. Not necessarily a bad thing, just not a consistent one.

I like that Florida is getting 4.5 points here, especially after coming off of nearly two weeks of rest. The week 1 loss doesn’t scare me because it was against Michigan and was Florida’s first week 1 loss in 27 years.

This won’t prove to be an easy game by any means for Florida, but I’m giving them the nod here. Two weeks rest and getting 4.5 points should be enough to make you more trigger happy than gun shy.

Pick: Florida

#3 Clemson at #14 Louisville (CLEM – 3.0)

Clemson is coming off of a very tough win at home last week against Auburn, coming away with the one score victory of 14-6. While the defense was all sorts of scary, racking up 11 sacks, 2 turnovers, and limiting Auburn to just 117 total yards, the offense was anything but a good dancing partner.

While Louisville’s defense hasn’t been quite as stingy, yielding 28 and 35 points in their two wins, reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson has been staking a serious claim in his campaign to be a repeat winner of college football’s most prestigious award. In just two games Jackson has racked up 1,010 total yards and 8 total touchdowns.

Last September, Jackson put up 457 total yards against Clemson in a 42-36 loss at Clemson. This time, however, the game is in Louisville and Jackson no doubt has revenge on his mind.

With Louisville getting 3 and Lamar Jackson being on such a tear, I’m liking a bet on Louisville here. I definitely feel like we’re looking at a close game and quite possibly the game of the week, but I’m riding with Lamar Jackson more than anything.

Pick: Louisville

Texas at #4 USC (USC -15.5)

Some of the trickiest games for some sports bettors are when you have a highly ranked team taking on an unranked team. The spreads are often so large that novice gamblers think there is no way the ranked team will cover. Surprisingly, they often do.

USC really put it on Stanford last week in a 42-24 win. Both Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr rushed for over 100 yards out of the backfield, while quarterback Sam Darnold went for 316 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air.

Texas managed a 56-0 victory last week over San Jose State, but this is USC we’re talking about. With this game being at USC and Texas possibly without their top quarterback under center, even covering the point spread in this one seems like too steep of a mountain to climb.

I like USC to cover here and keep the momentum going as one of the top programs in all of college football. The point spread might seem lofty, but remember what they did to Stanford last week.

Pick: USC

#9 Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh (OKST -13.5)

Switching coasts to a game out east we find #9 Oklahoma State visiting unranked Pittsburgh. Oklahoma State is looking to move to 3-0 while Pitt hopes for the upset to get above .500 and improve to 2-1.

Oklahoma State is yet to be tested this season, outscoring their opponents by a total of 103-31. Quarterback Mason Rudolph is having a solid year with 638 yards through the air and 6 touchdowns against zero interceptions.

Pitt, on the other hand, struggled mightily last week against Penn State as expected. The Panthers couldn’t really get anything going and quarterback Max Browne struggled with 138 yards and two picks. I know that Penn State is a strong team, but Pitt looked heavily outmatched.

Oklahoma State will continue their march up the top 10 with a win here, and considering they don’t turn the ball over I couldn’t imagine them not being able to cover the spread.

Pick: Oklahoma State

#16 Virginia Tech at East Carolina (VT -21.5)

One final Top 25 game to consider is #16 Virginia Tech on the road for the first time this season when it takes on East Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The Hokies are giving up just a touch over three touchdowns, but East Carolina might just be a team they can get away with it.

East Carolina is having a myriad of defensive troubles. Their woes were so, well, woeful in their first two games that it led to a shakeup in the coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball. That coupled with quarterback Thomas Sirk possibly having to miss Saturday’s game due to the concussion protocol and ECU looks to be facing a very uphill battle this weekend.

While Virginia Tech’s offense hasn’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboard, they will be facing an East Carolina team whose defense is currently the second worst in the game. The Hokies have been good about not turning the ball over and that’s just going to put more pressure on the ECU defense.

I look for Virginia Tech to cover here despite the sizable spread. East Carolina just has too many things working against it and this is a perfect game for Virginia Tech to let its offense fly and build confidence going forward.

Pick: Virginia Tech

Roundup

Week 3 of College Football will be kicking off soon so don’t waste any time, get those bets in now. I like Florida and Louisville in the tiny upset along with USC, Oklahoma State, and Virginia Tech to cover their respective spreads. Check back next week for another Top 5 from the Top 25.

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