I went 17-6-2 last week against the spread. I felt pretty good about my picks going into the weekend and even hit on some I waited on and didn’t add to my picks last week. A few lines moved in the right direction and I put a few jellybeans on them last minute on Saturday.
I usually do well during Week 2 of the college football season. You have to know when to pivot away from a team or to keep riding a team that lost in Week 1.
I believe Week 3 is one of the most difficult betting weeks. You have two weeks of data, but half of that data is bad data. You can’t really use the data from a game against Gardner-Webb the same as data against other FBS teams. Since a lot of teams have played at least one ‘gimme game’, there’s a lot of bad information out there that you should just completely ignore.
We at ‘America’s White Boy’ pick 25 college football games against the spread in Week 3 of the NCAA Football season (September 16th, 2017). We also focus on small conference games…our bread and butter!
Clemson at Louisville (+3) – My pick is Clemson Tigers
This game fails the eyeball test. Clemson lost a ton of talent to the NFL Draft and Louisville still has Heisman trophy winner QB Lamar Jackson…easy, right? It’s not that easy. Louisville’s defense isn’t very good, at all. The Cardinals allowed Purdue to score 28 points and then North Carolina scored 35 points last week. Clemson is a much better team from A to Z. Their defense has only allowed 9 points so far and could be an issue for Jackson. Defense will be the key to this game. I’ll take Clemson to cover on the road.
Notre Dame at Boston College (+13) – My pick is Notre Dame Fighting Irish
I may have been a little too harsh on my judgment of Notre Dame last week. I did pick Georgia to win, but I saw some fight in the team. Their defense is better than I thought. I still think the Irish have to rely a little too much on RB Josh Adams to win games, but he should have a really good game against Notre Dame. The Irish do need to stop BC sack artist Harold Landry, who led the nation with 16.5 sacks last season. The half-point does scare me a little, but I’ve done well betting against BC the last two years.
Purdue at Missouri (-7.5) – My pick is Purdue Boilermakers
I feel weird picking a Purdue against the spread against any SEC team. The Boilermakers have looked pretty darn good against Louisville and Ohio. Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm has taken the pass-happy offense he learned while an assistant under Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino. Brohm isn’t a one-year wonder kind of coach that had one good season with a team left for a big pay day. Brohm bounced around college for a bit and found himself back as an assistant under Petrino, but this time at Western Kentucky. He took over when Petrino left to go back to Louisville. Brohm has success with the Hilltoppers and lead them to three-straight bowl games. There is something about his passing attack that seems fresh in the Big Ten. It reminds me of former Purdue head coach Joe Tiller’s ‘basketball on grass’ offense. I don’t see Missouri putting up that much of a fight on defense. Mizzou QB Drew Lock does have a big arm, but he struggles with accuracy. I have to take the points in this game.
Texas at USC (-17) – My pick is Texas Longhorns
I had to spend a long time trying to handicap these teams. It’s important to pivot early in college football. It’s easy to over-react to something that happened in the first two weeks. You still have to trust your pre-season rankings a little here. Texas did lose to Maryland, but then shutout San Jose State. USC has won by 18 points in both of their games this season. USC QB Sam Darnold hasn’t looked very sharp so far this season. Texas QB Shane Buechele might be healthy enough to start this game or Sam Ehlinger start again. This game could be within two touchdowns by the fourth quarter. I have to take the points here.
Kentucky at South Carolina (-6.5) – My pick is Kentucky Wildcats
This is another one that could be won or lost by a point. The line is really close to what could be the final score. UK head coach Mark Stoops has been piss-poor against the SEC during his career at Kentucky. Although the Wildcats do come into this game winners of the last three games against the Gamecocks. South Carolina are 2-0 ATS and beat Mizzou 31-13 in dominant fashion. South Carolina is just a difficult team to handicap. WR Deebo Samuel has ran back a kickoff in back-to-back games, so it skews what a normal South Carolina offensive output would resemble. They have been outgained in yards from scrimmage by both of their opponents, NC State actually had 258 more yards in their defeat. Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson has helped this team since he took over the starting job last season. He takes care of the ball and his athleticism allows him to tuck and run if the pass isn’t there. UK RB Benjamin Snell Jr. is dealing with a rib injury, but is expected to play. The Wildcats need Snell to play to keep this game close. I have to take the points in this game.
Oregon at Wyoming (+14) – My pick is Oregon Ducks
In the last two seasons, I haven’t had any faith in Oregon due to their poor defense. It’s not perfect, but I like what I’ve seen so far. It helps that QB Justin Herbert and 50-year-old running back Royce Freeman (I’m joking, it just seems like he’s been at Oregon since the 1990s), are there to push the tempo of the offense. Wyoming QB Josh Allen was getting some shine this preseason as a possible first-round draft pick if he performs well this season. He’s 6’5 and has a big arm, so you can see why he’s getting a lot of attention. He has yet to perform well as he only has two touchdowns and two interceptions. He is completing 62.5% of his passes, but he should have had a much better game against Gardner-Webb last week. A top quarterback has to be able to dismantle a lower-tier program. I would feel better about my pick if it were +13.5, but I have to take Oregon to cover this spread at Laramie.
LSU at Mississippi State (+7) – My pick is LSU Tigers
Both teams have out-performed their point spreads so far (LSU had a 35-point push last week). I guess one could say that Mississippi State has been the most outstanding since they have covered both of their point spreads by over double, but they faced minimal competition. LSU opened the season at BYU and shut them out. I can’t remember the last time any team shutout BYU. I’m not sure how much I like LSU QB Danny Etling, but as long as he has the running backs, he’s the perfect manager at quarterback. The two-headed running attack of Derrius Guice, Darrel Williams (and even Nick Brossette) can make any good offense look great. Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald is a dual-threat and was responsible for 37 TDs last year. LSU will need to pressure Fitzgerald to cover this spread. LSU’s defense is stout and they should be up for the challenge. I’m taking LSU to cover in Starkville.
Tennessee at Florida (-5) – My pick is Tennessee Volunteers
Butch Jones hasn’t lived up to the hype some of his recruiting classes have received. I was curious how junior QB Quinten Dormady would respond to being the starter and he has done his job. He has relied heavily on RB John Kelly in the flat, but is still completing 60% of his passes. Florida hasn’t played since getting smoked by Michigan in Week 1. The Gators come into this game with a new starting quarterback, Notre Dame-transfer Malik Zaire. He relieved then-starter Feleipe Franks in the loss to Michigan. Zaire is athletic, but I’ve always worried about his accuracy. There’s a reason he has never won or kept a starting job in college. I don’t see much firepower in Florida’s offense, but it’s hard to get a good read when they’ve only faced Michigan’s steel curtain defense. I’m not sold on the Gators, so I’m taking the points.
Army at Ohio State (-30) – My pick is Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State got spanked by Oklahoma last Saturday. To make matters worse, OU QB Baker Mayfield planted the Oklahoma flag at the 50-yard line in the Shoe. Ohio State will do either one of two drastic things this weekend. The Buckeyes will either pout and struggle to get back their confidence or they will smoke Army from whistle to whistle. Ohio State still has a lot of football left to play and they should have enough mental focus to cover this spread at home against Army.
Coastal Carolina at UAB (+1.5) – My pick is UAB Blazers
This is when we pick a game with smaller conference teams. Many popular college football preseason rankings had UAB as either the absolute worst or near-the-worst FBS team in the country. The reason? They actually shutdown the football program for two seasons. That is why the newest FBS team Coastal Carolina is actually favored in this game. The Blazers did get some transfers and have some talent on offense. They primarily run the ball and have three or four guys they rotate in and out. I do worry about UAB’s ability to stop Coastal Carolina RB Osharmar Abercrombie. UAB is at home and I see these teams as equal, so I’ll take the points.
Appalachian State at Texas State (+23) – My pick is Appalachian State
Air Force at Michigan (-24) – My pick is Michigan
UCLA at Memphis (+3) – My pick is UCLA
Utah State at Wake Forest (-13.5) – My pick is Wake Forest
San Jose State at Utah (-26.5) – My pick is Utah
Fresno State at Washington (-33) – My pick is Fresno State
Troy at New Mexico State (+7) – My pick is Troy
Cincinnati at Miami (OH) (-5.5) – My pick is Cincinnati
Kansas State at Vanderbilt (+3.5) – My pick is Kansas State
Iowa State at Akron (+10.5) – My pick is Iowa State
New Mexico at Boise State (-14.5) – My pick is Boise State
Northern Illinois at Nebraska (-14) – My pick is Northern Illinois
Arizona State at Texas Tech (-7.5) – My pick is Texas Tech
Idaho at Western Michigan (-20.5) – My pick is Western Michigan
Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh (+13.5) – My pick is Oklahoma State
Sweetbob’s college football picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.