Ben Wittenstein: Purdue +2.5 over Syracuse.
Are we sure the Boilermakers are bad enough that they should be underdogs at home? I know they lost to Fresno State in Week 1, but this is a different team after two weeks. The offense is continually improving with QB Hudson Card under center, including a run game that showed out in Week 2. Add on a defense that has continuously been improving under defensive-minded HC Ryan Walters, and Purdue is starting to look more and more like a complete team.
Maybe it’s because people tuned out of Purdue’s lightning-delayed win in Week 2 or because people have simply been box-score watching Syracuse beat up on bad teams, but I think people are misreading what Purdue can do and what Syracuse is capable of. Back home, with a chance to get their first home win of the year, I think the Boilermakers will be more than ready to cover this number.
Nate Jacobson: Under 54.5 in South Carolina vs. Georgia.
There are two paths for this game between SEC East rivals to go under the total in Athens. The first is South Carolina’s offense not being able to do their part to score. I’m not a fan of the Gamecocks new OC Dowell Loggains, who struggled to call plays for years in the NFL. South Carolina’s offensive line gave up nine sacks in Week 1 against a North Carolina defense that had 17 total sacks in 2022. Uncreative play calling and a bad offensive line is a nightmare situation against the most talented defense in the country.
The other way this can go under is Georgia’s offense getting out to a big lead and running the ball in the second half. South Carolina HC Shane Beamer used to be an assistant for Georgia HC Kirby Smart, so maybe Smart will take it easy on one of his old friends. The new college clock rules could help here with no clock stoppages on first downs outside the last two minutes of each half.
Colby Marchio: Fresno State -3 over Arizona State.
I am all over Fresno State this week, as they are far and away the better team in this matchup. Their offense is explosive, putting up 36.5 points per game this season. Sure, every stat I rattle off is going to be a small sample size, but Arizona State beat Southern Utah by three in their first game of the season — yes, the powerhouse that is the Southern Utah Thunderbirds. In their second game, they lost to Oklahoma State. If the Bulldogs can step up on defense and continue racking up points offensively, this will be a breeze.
BW: Troy -2.5 over James Madison.
I love me a good situational bet. Troy is coming off a loss to Kansas State, and James Madison is coming off a comeback win over an in-state opponent in Virginia. Now, the Dukes have to go on the road and face a Troy team that really isn’t bad. Defensively, they’ll be a tough out, with the starters only giving up 13 points in Week 1. As a short home favorite playing a team having to travel after a big win, I’ll take Troy in this spot.
NJ: Georgia Tech +18.5 over Ole Miss.
Ole Miss’ 37-20 win over Tulane in Week 2 will probably go down as the most misleading 17-point victory of the season. Tulane was without star QB Michael Pratt, but still led the Rebels 17-10 at halftime. The game was tied going into the fourth quarter. Ole Miss was only up seven in the final two minutes before kicking a 56-yard field goal to go up 10 and then scored a defensive touchdown 28 seconds later to make the scoreboard look better than reality.
Georgia Tech hasn’t been a team I’ve looked to bet on in years, but now they have a real QB in Texas A&M transfer Haynes King. The former four-star recruit impressed me at times in the Yellow Jackets’ 39-34 loss to Louisville in Week 1.
The narrative-based handicap of this game is that Ole Miss has a trip to play at Alabama next week. That matchup is especially important for Ole Miss HC Lane Kiffin, who revived his career at Alabama as Nick Saban’s OC from 2014-16. Kiffin might be using this game as an audition to become the head coach after Saban retires. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s begun game-planning for the Crimson Tide this week instead of fully focusing on this game.
CM: Western Michigan +28.5 over Iowa.
Yes, I think this is a disgusting play too, but how many times has Iowa scored 28 points this season? Yup, not once. Iowa has not scored 28 points since October 29, 2022. Iowa does have an incredible defense, but if the Broncos can get in the end zone once and maybe add in a field goal, we are golden. This will be a sweaty one, but I believe the Iowa offense will struggle again.
BW: Indiana ML +300 over Louisville.
This is the week, baby! IU gets it together for a neutral site matchup against Louisville. After two weeks, they finally named a starting QB in Tayven Jackson. This is not only important for team morale but for having some kind of consistency for the offense during practice. Add that to the clear development of the defense since Week 1 — including a rise in physicality that the group lacked last season — and this Hoosier team is bound to give Louisville some trouble. If they’re able to lean on their defense, they have a shot to win this one.
NJ: Florida ML +205 over Tennessee.
I’ve been looking for a way to bet against Tennessee all summer and a night game in Gainesville is the first spot to do that. I’m expecting regression from Tennessee after a very strong 2022. New QB Joe Milton is very talented, but has been inconsistent during his college career and now has to play in a very tough environment.
There’s an opportunity to buy low on Florida in this game. Everyone saw them struggle in Week 1 at Utah on a Thursday night, but the Utes have one of the best home-field edges in the country, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into that game. The uncertainty of what Tennessee will look like makes Florida live to win this game outright.
CM: Purdue ML +115 over Syracuse.
The Boilermakers have been undervalued early in this season in my opinion. Their offense has been surprisingly good. Syracuse is solid, but they haven’t really played anyone this season. They beat Colgate and Western Michigan in their first two games. So any stat you find on Syracuse is going to be misleading. Purdue had a tough loss against Fresno State in Week 1, and they are coming off a win over Virginia Tech. I think these boys will be ready to show up and show out at home.
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