CFB Week 3 best bets: The 'Saturday Seven'
Week 2 saw our second 4-3 effort with the weekly edition of the seven most valuable underdogs, but it was trumped by our early plays in the week's big games. No complaints, though, as our season-long record sits at 17-10-1 overall. On Tuesday, we already touched on the scariest of underdogs - Nebraska - only to see the team's spread shrink, which leaves more room for mayhem Saturday.
Toledo transfer Carter Bradley, as well as his receiving duo of Jalen Wayne and Caullin Lacy, can test the Bruins' secondary in a way their previous two opponents couldn't. Ideally, we'd like to see more from the Jaguars' defense before saying they'll slow down Dorian Thompson-Robinson. But since we're getting over two touchdowns, we'll favor South Alabama before the market does.
Pick: South Alabama (+15.5)
We're back on Old Dominion after the Monarchs struggled to get up for East Carolina following their upset of Virginia Tech. ECU may be better than the Hokies anyway, so we'll let ODU off the hook. Meanwhile, Virginia disappointed at Illinois by not being able to do anything with the Illini's repeated turnovers.
The Monarchs hang their hat on defense, so I expect them to be better on that side of the ball, especially if Virginia's Brennan Armstrong-led offense appears as lifeless as it did in Champaign. Even though this line has come down through +10, anything above a touchdown is still good.
Pick: Old Dominion +9
Houston dodged a bullet with UTSA in triple overtime in Week 1 but couldn't do the same in overtime with Texas Tech last week. Now the Cougars get a 2-0 Kansas team. (Yes, you read that correctly, the Jayhawks already have two wins!)
Last week, we were on Kansas, which won outright as a two-touchdown road underdog at West Virginia. There's nothing about this matchup that would suggest a blowout, so we're back on the Jayhawks since Jalon Daniels might be the best player Houston has seen this season.
Pick: Kansas +9.5
It's never a good time to go against any of college football's top three teams. And like many programs above, Toledo hasn't played anyone yet. However, that doesn't mean the Rockets are overrated. This line is as high as it is because we haven't seen the leap yet from DeQuan Finn, but the dual-threat quarterback can annoy Ohio State's defense. The Buckeyes have banked a win over Notre Dame and open their Big Ten schedule next week with Wisconsin. They shouldn't be overly concerned with the fourth quarter of this one.
Pick: Toledo +32.5
More relevantly, Pittsburgh has lost on a final-minute pick-6 in the "Backyard Brawl" and in overtime to Tennessee last week. Further, both Kedon Slovis and backup Nick Patti got hurt during the Volunteers game. It's unlikely either quarterback will be 100% for a road game against a capable team - if they're available - and it'll be even worse if Pitt has to dive further down the depth chart.
Pick: Western Michigan +10
Speaking of injuries, Texas' duo at the pivot took a beating in a valiant effort against Alabama. Not only have the Longhorns not bounced back well from close defeats in recent history, but they now get a visit from a capable UTSA team and a dangerous veteran quarterback in Frank Harris.
The Roadrunners could be gassed after back-to-back overtime games, but they've had this matchup circled on the schedule since the spring. Texas, meanwhile, has its Big 12 slate starting next Saturday. An outright upset would be very on-brand for both teams.
Pick: UTSA +12.5
Maybe USC's unsustainable number of created turnovers is actually sustainable, and we'll just drop units fading the Trojans all season. However, we have to rely on the metrics after both Stanford and Rice moved the ball against Lincoln Riley's inherited defense.
Riley's built-on-the-fly offense does look as hot as the midday sun in the Coliseum, but this game has a 74-point total. That suggests Jeff Tedford's team will get theirs, too. Given how good Jake Haener is, it's entirely possible Fresno can churn up yardage without giving the ball away like USC's previous opponents.
Pick: Fresno +13
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.
- Fantasy Podcast: Should you buy or sell these 14 stars?
- Bears' Eberflus: 'I feel the support' from team brass despite winless streak
- 76ers' Harris: Harden 'wants to go out here and compete with us'
- Burrow: 'Gotta win' Week 5 matchup vs. Cardinals
- Newly acquired Holiday: Celtics give me 'best chance of winning'