During the college football season, the Stadium staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice in this roundtable. Here are our thoughts on the Week 3 slate.
Note: Ben and Nate will discuss all of their college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: Maryland -2.5 over SMU.
This is strictly a number play for me, as I made Maryland a six-point favorite in this game. Maryland’s offense has done what it’s supposed to do in a pair of tidy victories against Buffalo and Charlotte, averaging 43.5 points per game and 8.6 yards per play. I don’t expect the Terps to steamroll the Mustangs in College Park this weekend, but Mike Locksley’s team should be able to handle an SMU squad that is taking a big step up in class in this matchup.
Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: NC State -10 over Texas Tech.
Granted, I’m on the NC State win total over, so I’m already high on this Wolfpack team. But they’re facing a team coming off a huge overtime win against Houston, which is the perfect spot for a letdown.
As long as the formidable Wolfpack can slow the Red Raiders’ speedy offense down even a little bit, they should have a good shot to cover — especially during a home game under the lights. Tech should hang around for about a half, but once Devin Leary and NC State’s offense get rolling, they’ll be able to run away with it in the second half.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: Western Kentucky +6.5 over Indiana.
I bet Western Kentucky earlier this week and also have a regular season win total bet on Indiana under 4.5, so my eyes will be glued to this early kickoff on Saturday. The bet for this game is a play against the Hoosiers, who are fortunate to be 2-0 this season. They benefitted from turnovers and a very questionable call to beat Illinois, and then trailed FCS foe Idaho 10-0 at halftime before winning 35-22.
IU catches a Western Kentucky team who is coming off a bye week after playing in Week 0 and traveling to Hawaii in Week 1. This is a great opportunity to sell the Hoosiers in the favorite role because they won’t be a favorite much more this season with Cincinnati on their schedule next week and a gauntlet of a Big Ten East slate.
AS: Tulane +14 over Kansas State.
Kansas State has been marvelous to start Chris Klieman’s fourth season at the helm in Manhattan with workmanlike victories against South Dakota and Missouri. However, with Oklahoma on Kansas State’s schedule next week, I’m going to back Tulane with the points in this spot. The Green Wave haven’t played anyone tough yet, but the early numbers make me think Willie Fritz’s team has put last season’s 2-10 disaster behind them and they’re up for the challenge of keeping it close in the Little Apple.
BW: New Mexico State team total under.
I haven’t even found a number for this play but yet I’m still on the under. Why? New Mexico State is bad. Like, incredibly bad. They’ve scored 25 combined points in three games and were blanked by Minnesota. Now, they’re not only playing a Wisconsin team that will be trying to bounce back after an embarrassing loss to Washington State, but they’ll be facing a Badger defense that’s even better than Minnesota’s. Add in the fact that it’s hard for even good teams to play at Camp Randall, and I don’t think the Aggies score any points. At most, they’ll get a field goal — so as long as the team total is 3.5, hammer the under.
NJ: Colorado State +17 over Washington State.
This is a “sandwich” scheduling spot for Washington State, who pulled off a 17-14 upset as 17.5-point underdogs at Wisconsin last Saturday before starting Pac-12 play against Oregon next week. There is definitely some concern about backing Colorado State, who just lost 34-19 as two-touchdown favorites against Middle Tennessee, but last week’s results create line value to back the Rams, who I expect to improve weekly under new head coach Jay Norvell.
AS: Western Kentucky (+220) over Indiana.
My apologies to Ben, but I’ve gotta fade his Hoosiers this week. Indiana is 2-0 but has some warts. The Hoosiers had just a 35.2 percent postgame win expectancy in the opener against Illinois and got shut out in the first half against Idaho before finally getting it together. Western Kentucky still has an elite passing offense despite Bailey Zappe’s departure (8.5 yards per pass attempt), and I think the Hilltoppers have a real shot to score an upset in Bloomington.
BW: Troy (+370) over App State.
If we’re talking letdown games, this is a prime candidate. App State is coming off a massive road win over Texas A&M, and now they’re hosting “College GameDay.” No doubt there’ve been distractions left and right for the Mountaineers, who now face a Troy team coming off a win that saw them gain 464 yards through the air. Guess what the one weakness of App State’s defense has been? Pass defense. At +370, I’ll sprinkle a bit on the Trojans.
NJ: Nebraska (+340) over Oklahoma.
Nebraska plus the points could’ve been used in either of the first two sections, but I’ll use their moneyline here because there’s a wide range of outcomes for this game. The big storyline going into this game between former conference rivals is Nebraska firing Scott Frost on Sunday after the Cornhuskers lost to Georgia Southern to start the season with a 1-2 record.
I usually like the angle of betting a team the game after their coach gets fired. It’s a principle I consistently apply in pro sports, but I think it also works here because the team should play inspired football with Frost unable to collapse late. I also have some doubts about new head coach Brent Venables and Oklahoma after they only led Kent State 7-3 at halftime. Nebraska played a close game against Oklahoma last season in Norman, and I’m hoping with Frost out of the picture they can solve some of their late-game issues.
AS: Iowa -23.5 over Nevada.
Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz is currently public enemy no. 1 in Iowa City. His offense has scored one touchdown in two games and is averaging 2.8 yards per play, and Iowa fans have gotten Bob Stoops and Fran McCaffery to inadvertently troll Ferentz on Cameo this week. So why am I considering laying 23 points with the Hawkeyes? Because Nevada is bad — like, “We have one of the worst rosters in college football!” bad. The Wolf Pack just lost 55-41 to FCS school Incarnate Word and despite being 2-1, they have a total yards differential of -204. This feels like a get-right game for Iowa, so there’s a good chance I put in a bet on the Hawkeyes by Saturday.
BW: Alabama – 49.5 over Louisiana-Monroe.
I know that Alabama is going to look to dominate after a near-loss at Texas. BUT 50 points?! I just don’t know if I can lay that much in this spot. The Tide clearly have some holes, but are they going to have much trouble against UL-Monroe? Call me a coward but as much as I want to, I just can’t lay the 50 for the Tide.
NJ: UTSA +12.5 over Texas.
I like looking into situational angles in college football, which is why I circled this game as a possible letdown spot for Texas before the season started. I was hoping Texas would play a competitive game against Alabama in Week 2 so I could bet against them in Week 3 with the Roadrunners in town.
I got my wish with Texas playing a close game, but they came out of it banged up with starting QB Quinn Ewers set to miss at least a month with a left shoulder sprain and backup Hudson Card hobbled with an apparent ankle injury. The injuries have shortened this line to -12.5, and I was really hoping to get at least two touchdowns with UTSA. If Ewers didn’t get injured, I would’ve likely bet on UTSA at a larger number, but now I have to pass.