The College Football Dogs: Week Three CFB Bets And Predictions

We share our best free College Football ATS and moneyline picks from CFB Week Three

I must admit this installment of The College Football Dogs was tough to write. Not because of the CFB schedule (which is rock solid) but because of a painful bad beat last week. We had App State to upset Miami as fourteen point underdogs and they came oh-so close to doing it. A late ‘Canes field goal won them the game and took us from a +3.1U weekend to -0.5U overall. Although thankfully because of our Lessons Learned series we did at least get the App State win ATS. That’s the nature of sports betting though so we roll up our sleeves and move on to Week Three.

Alabama @ Florida

There are two blockbuster games this weekend and the first one on most people’s lists will be Alabama’s trip to Florida. I won’t spend too much time on this because any regular readers of the article will know where I stand on ‘Bama. They are the best school in college football but I think they could be a bit overrated. Miami wet the bed in the neutral site opener and never gave themselves a chance. Then The Tide beat the Mercer Bears 48-14 in Tuscaloosa. Not to sound like Shannia Twain, but that don’t impress me much.

Mercer is an FCS school that has only ever played 6 games against an FBS opponent. Ever. Their record is unsurprisingly 0-6.  And they managed two TDs against Nick Saban’s men. Yes it is perfectly plausible that Alabama took their eye off the ball but to me they haven’t looked themselves.

One stat that stands out to me is how poor ‘Bama has been on the ground. They have rushed the ball 72 times, against very obliging opposition, for a total of just 302 yards and 3 TDs. It is no wonder Saban looks so unhappy.

Florida and Alabama met in the SEC championship game last year with the Crimson Tide winning a shoot-out 52-46. It was the only time all year ‘Bama looked to be under any pressure (the Ole Miss game aside, maybe) and the Gators will be licking their lips for a shot at revenge in the Swamp. It is one of the best atmospheres in the sport and the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be rocking.

I will not follow Alabama off a cliff this season and if they blow away Florida I will probably leave them alone (until the trip to A&M next month!). That being said, giving the Gators more than 2 TDs, at the Swamp, is too much. This is still an inexperienced Tide outfit that might not be used to the aggression they will face on Saturday.

Florida State @ Wake Forrest

The Florida State Seminoles travel to Wake Forest as 4.5 point dogs and this is exactly my sort of game. The Seminoles had high hopes coming into this season. They pushed the Irish all the way to overtime after an incredible late comeback. A massive scalp was just within reach and then it was taken away. Then FSU had a shortened week to prepare for their pesky neighbors Jacksonville State, who duly capitalized on Florida’s shakiness for one of the upsets of the season.

The SRD Crew are no strangers to a hangover and I think that is what happened to Florida State last week. I’m an Irish fan but once the dust settled on that phenomenal Jack Coan inspired win I felt a bit sorry for FSU. They would have been crestfallen the week after.

For Jacksonville this was one of their biggest games of the season and Florida State weren’t mentally ready. It happens. Remember these are young guys. They would have prepared all Summer for Notre Dame (and it showed) and to lose in the manner they did would have been galling.

FSU are really not bad at all. They put up 264 yards against ND on the ground and I think they could steamroll Wake Forest. No disrespect to the Demon Deacons but putting up big scores against lowly Old Dominion and FCS Norfolk State is not going to prepare you for a scorned Seminoles.

USC @ Washington State

USC are 8.5 point favourites on the road and I simply cannot get my head around it. The Trojans just got ravaged by Stanford last weekend, finally earning Clay Helton his marching orders. It finished 42-28 but half of USC’s points came in garbage time. Make no mistake, this was a hammering.

Washington State is not a top tier program, we all know that, but they do have some serious talent. This is the sort of game that should really suit HC Nick Rolovich. It’s probably fair to say his time at Wazzu has been underwhelming but his quality has been known since his time at Hawaii and I think this will be a breakout game for his program.

USC might produce a “play for the jersey” performance here but I don’t see it. Everyone knows their coach was in the hot seat and the players did not perform. At this stage I’m not even sure that these players can. Stanford put over 40 points on the board against them. I’m positive the Cougars can do likewise and win this one outright.

Arkansas State @ Washington

The last big dog of the week I like is Arkansas State. The Red Wolves came out on the wrong end of a 100+ point game last week and are 17 point underdogs here. They started very poorly and coughed up a 2 TD handicap to Memphis early in the opening quarter. Ark State then went on rack up 50 points themselves but could never quite catch the Tigers. It is possible they will need some time to lick their wounds but I have a feeling they will travel to Seattle with a point to prove. The Red Wolves really showed a lot of fight last week.

Showing no fight whatsoever, the Huskies are 0-2 and have managed just 17 points so far, with ten of those coming in garbage time at The Big House. The other 7 came during a home loss to the Montana Grizzlies! Things are going badly wrong for Washington. They looked flat in that opening day reversal and I expected some sort of fight against Michigan. It never came. It took them nearly 40 minutes to score. Michigan ran around, through and over the Huskies on both sides of the ball and I’m worried about their season now. Remember, Washington were Top 10 in the preseason coaches poll. The last time they opened 0-2 they went on to finished 0-12.

Stanford @ Vanderbilt

Related to both of the above games is Stanford’s trip to Vanderbilt. Now I can already hear you sigh at this one. Yes, Vanderbilt is awful but hear me out. Stanford opened the season with a trip to Texas (where they were blown away by K-State). Then they traveled back to California to take on USC. Now they travel to Nashville, Tennessee. That’s already more that 6,000 miles of travel in the opening fortnight of the season, not to mention two big emotional fixtures. Everyone is up for the opening game and USC is one of the highlights of the Stanford calendar. Now they take on Vanderbilt in a game that looks little more than an inconvenience before the blockbuster visit of UCLA next week. I’ll take 12.5 points here, no questions asked.

Other Lines I Like

I mentioned in my season preview that Bo Nix would come undone this season. If that is going to happen it will probably be this week against Penn State. Auburn have looked near perfect so far, dismantling small programs, but the Nittany Lions will be a different story. I like the home side here but it’s a tough bar to get over.

Georgia is 100/1-on against South Carolina. This is the sort of game Georgia have mucked up under Kirby Smart. Then again, the win against Clemson really looked like the Bulldogs have overcome some of their old ghosts. As tempting as the moneyline is here I’ll take the points. Georgia are already struggling with injuries and I can see Kirby rotating guys out as soon as his side are a couple of scores ahead. My pick for the Heisman might not even play this one with lingering questions over his fitness. Southern Carolina are not all bad and if they can get even a couple of scores on the board this line becomes too hard for Georgia to cover.

With no justification I’m taking Arizona State to cover against BYU. The Mormons played some phenomenal football to beat the Utes but that is such a fierce rivalry I think it doesn’t count. Arizona State is a different challenge. This game could feel like a cold shower after a hot date.

Notre Dame always seems to start poorly ATS and that is certainly true this season. Brian Kelly has been slowly getting to terms with the new players at his disposal. With two tight wins under their belt I think this is when Notre Dame really gets moving. Purdue crushed UConn but that really means next to nothing. Back at South Bend ND will enjoy the fans and I think the Irish finally click.

SRD Selections:

Florida State @ Wake Forrest – Florida State ML win @ 17/10
Florida State @ Wake Forrest – Florida State + 4.5 @ 10/11

USC @ Washington State – Washington State ML win @ 5/2
USC @ Washington State – Washington State +8.5 @ 10/11

Alabama @ Florida – Florida ML win @ 5/1
Alabama @ Florida – Florida +17 @ 10/11

Arkansas State @ Washington – Arkansas State ML win @ 23/4 (0.5U)
Arkansas State @ Washington – Arkansas State + 17 @ 10/11

Stanford @ Vanderbilt – Vanderbilt + 12.5 @ 10/11

I also like the following parlay at slightly above 12/1: Notre Dame, Arizona State, Penn State and South Carolina all to cover. (0.5U)

The above picks are ranked in order of preference. All bets are for one unit unless noted otherwise.

High Bar, Low Hurdle

We mentioned something I like to call “low bar high hurdle” on our stream last week. It is a clunky phrase I use to describe games where there is a fairly significant spread but a relatively low points total. The two games I mentioned live on air were Kansas @ Coastal Carolina and UTEP @ Boise. Both home sides were about 25 point favourites with points totals in the low 50s. Both overs bets walked in. This week it’s the Kansas, Arkansas and Georgia games that look like good options. I can’t see how those teams cover the spread without the points total coming into play. To a lesser extent the Utah at San Diego game too. These aren’t official picks but it’s a strategy I’m going to keep tracking.