While Week 3 of the college football season may not feature the marquee matchups of Week 2 or the thrill of the season starting like Week 1, but there’s still plenty of betting potential. Drew Goldfarb, Jim Beviglia, and Taylor Smith break down five of this week’s biggest or most intriguing games in this week’s edition of “Power 5 Picks,”, which you can watch above. When you’re ready to place some bets, check out our page featuring the top picks for college football betting sites.
ACC: Pitt Panthers at Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State is a perfect 2-0 this season, though their wins have come against the likes of Buffalo and Idaho. Pitt is just 1-1, having lost to Virginia to open the season before beating Ohio in Week 2. The Nittany Lions crushed the Panthers 51-6 in last year’s meeting of tThe Keystone Classic. That makes back-to-back wins for Penn State in this rivalry series, and 11 of 13 dating back to 1989 (Pitt won back-to-back meetings in 2000 and 2016, separated by a 15-year stretch where the teams did not play one another).
Kenny Pickett looked good at quarterback for the Panthers against the Bobcats last week, but the PSU defense should provide a much greater challenge. Sean Clifford quarterbacks the Nittany Lions and leads the team in both passing yards and rushing yards through two weeks.
Spread: Penn State -17
Moneyline: Pitt +600, Penn State -900
SEC: Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats
If you want to talk about a one-sided rivalry, it’s Florida vs Kentucky. The Wildcats beat the Gators in 2018, snapping a 31-game skid that dated back to 1986. In 2019, Florida opened with a nail-biter of a win over Miami (a team that fell to 0-2 thanks to a loss to North Carolina last week) and a 45-0 blowout of UT -Martin. Kentucky is also 2-0 on the season, with a 14-point win over Toledo in Week 1 and a 21-point victory against Eastern Michigan in Week 2.
Kentucky starting quarterback Terry Wilson suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2, so Sawyer Smith will take the reigns as UK’s starter for Week 3. The graduate player transferred from Troy to Kentucky this summer after starting seven games for the Trojans in 2018. This will be his first start for the Wildcats.
The Cy-Hawk Trophy is up for grabs this weekend in Ames, as the Cyclones host the Hawkeyes. Iowa has beaten Iowa State in three straight games played in Ames and four straight meetings overall. Saturday’s game could come down to the Cyclones’ defense. Hawkeyes quarterback Nate Stanley has yet to throw an interception this season, while running back Mekhi Sargent has 150 yards rushing and 77 yards receiving on the year.
Iowa is 2-0 this season and ranked in the Top 20, with wins over Miami (OH) and Rutgers. Iowa State has only played one game so far this year, a triple-overtime win against FCS Northern Iowa in Week 1 where the Cyclones needed a last-minute field goal just to get to overtime. That win knocked Iowa State down from Number 21 to Number 25 in the AP Top 25 rankings. They fell out of the Top 25 entirely after an open week in Week 2.
Spread: Iowa -2
Moneyline: Iowa -135, Iowa State +115
Big Ten: Arizona State Sun Devils at Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans had to enjoy seeing Army make Michigan sweat in Week 2. Michigan State has had no such trouble getting out of the gate in 2019, with a 28-7 win over Tulsa in Week 1 and a 51-17 rout of Western Michigan in Week 2. Elijah Collins is averaging over 100 yards rushing per game so far in 2019, and fellow running back La’Darius Jefferson has a pair of rushing touchdowns through two games. Week 3 will be MSU’s first game against a Power 5 opponent in 2019, though they’ll get to play at home in East Lansing.
The Sun Devils are also 2-0 and have also played non-Power 5 opponents, but it’s been a little different for Arizona State so far. The 30-7 win over Kent State in Week 1 looked fine, but the optics of their 19-7 win in Week 2 do not. That win came against FCS opponent Sacramento State (a team that went 2-8 in 2018).
Spread: Michigan State -13½
Moneyline: Arizona State +415, Michigan State -525
Pac-12: Hawaii Warriors at Washington Huskies
One of these teams is 2-0 against Pac-12 opponents, the other is 0-1. Yes, the wins have come against some of the worst competition the conference has to offer (Arizona and Oregon State), but Hawaii has had their offense rolling in 2019. The Rainbow Warriors won a thriller in Week 0 against the Wildcats, coming away with a 45-38 win in a game that opened the fourth quarter tied at 35. In Week 2, Hawaii overcame a 28-14 defiecit in the second quarter to close out the game on a 17-0 run, beating the Beavers 31-28.
Washington, on the other hand, remains ranked in the Top 25, slipping to Number 23 after a Week 2 loss at home to Cal (the Huskies had been ranked Number 14 prior to that game). There were some oddities involved in that contest, however, sparked by a weather delay of more than two-and-a-half hours.
The Husky defense has allowed just 577 yards of offense in two games. The Warriors have averaged 541.5 yards of offense per game this season. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Hawaii only a 6.8% chance to win on Saturday, and that Washington defense is a big reason why. The other big reason has to do with the Husky Offense vs Warrior Defense matchup –, the Huskies are averaging nearly 200 yards rushing a game, while Hawaii has allowed over 220 yards on the ground per contest in 2019.
Spread: Washington -21½
Moneyline: Hawaii +950, Washington -1800
For our experts’ picks for all five of these games, check out the video at the top of this page, and make sure to check back next week for another edition of “Power 5 Picks” on the Odds On Favorites YouTube channel and right here at GamblingSites.org.
Drew has been covering sports professionally since 2007, covering sports of all kinds in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA. In addition to covering college sports, he also spent two seasons working with the NHL's Florida Panthers as part of their TV broadcast team, as well as reporting and anchoring for AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports affiliates, CBS Sports Network and ESPNU. Drew has also ...
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