College football Week 3 underdog plays: Clemson on upset alert
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Each week of the college football season, we'll highlight some of the best underdog bets, including ones that could net sizable moneyline profits.

Last week, New Mexico State covered a historic spread against a dominant Alabama team. Here are our best bets for Week 2:

Syracuse (+27.5) vs. No. 1 Clemson

Opening line: Clemson -24

Just a couple of weeks ago, this was hyped as an early-season test between the ACC's two best teams. Now, oddsmakers are pricing Syracuse as if it's one of the worst teams the Tigers have ever played.

In Dabo Swinney's previous 10 years at Clemson, his team laid 20 points on the road just five times and went 1-4 against the spread, with two losses coming in its last two trips to Syracuse, including an outright defeat in 2017. If it holds, Saturday would mark the second-biggest road line in Swinney's tenure.

Sure, the Orange didn't look stellar in a blowout loss to Maryland, but this is a historic level of disrespect from sharps and oddsmakers for a team that opened the year in the top 25 and has avoided major injury. Grab the points and sprinkle some on the moneyline if you can find it.

North Carolina (+3) at Wake Forest

Opening line: Wake Forest -3.5

Tar Heel quarterback Sam Howell has been efficient in his first two starts and showed flashes with two late-game comebacks. If the freshman is the real deal, this is his chance to prove it. Wake Forest's defense ranks seventh-worst in passing yards allowed (670) and 25th in yards per attempt (8.1), which could expose the Demon Deacons to an early deficit against Phil Longo's Air Raid attack.

UNC's reinvented defense is tied for 15th in sacks with seven - which could disrupt Wake Forest standout QB Jamie Newman's rhythm - but is vulnerable against the run. However, that won't matter if Demon Deacon star back Cade Carney misses his second straight game.

This week's spread is the shortest in this rivalry in 30 years. Hit the hot underdog on a short road trip.

Pittsburgh (+17.5) at No. 13 Penn State

Opening line: Penn State -17

Are we sure about this Penn State team? The Nittany Lions trailed at the half to Buffalo this past week in a home game. They struggled to establish the run with their four-man committee and had little success on third down, which was perhaps a product of the team's relative youth.

Penn State has relied on the big-play ability of quarterback Sean Clifford, but he could run into trouble against a Pittsburgh defense allowing just 5.9 yards per attempt. The Nittany Lions have also struggled to put the Panthers away in recent years. Despite winning five of their last seven meetings, they've covered just twice.

Neither offense scores enough to suggest a barn burner, so a line north of 17 is more than enough of a cushion for the road 'dogs in an in-state rivalry.

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

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College football Week 3 underdog plays: Clemson on upset alert
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