College Football Betting: Questions to be Answered in Week 3
Throughout the week I make countless college football wagers. Shortly after openers are posted I look to take advantage of lines that I’m confident won’t be around very long. Tuesday and Wednesday’s bets are predicated more on research from last week’s box scores and articles. And as Saturday nears, I’ll place a few more bets on numbers that I missed out on early in the week but are now available thanks to market “buy back.” It’s only Week 3 and while I have a good read on a number of teams, there are a fair number of unknowns; games I may have a “lean” but simply not confident enough in to pull the trigger. Below I discuss some of those contests and what I’m curious to find out come Saturday.
It is clear Temple has taken a step back since Matt Rhule left for Baylor. Rhule went 20-7 overall and 14-2 in AAC play his last two seasons in Philadelphia. Last year, under Geoff Collins, the Owls managed to slip into the postseason but were severely outclassed against better competition with blowout losses to Notre Dame, USF, and UCF. After losses to FCS Villanova and Buffalo, it’s hard not to downgrade the Owls even further as they were favored in both games. Saturday’s point spread is tempting however. Had Temple faced Maryland in Week 1, the Terps would have likely been around a touchdown favorite. It’s looking more like an addition by subtraction situation now that Matt Canada is in charge of the Terps and that’s what’s keeping me from pulling the trigger on Temple. Perhaps if I see +17 I’ll get involved.
It’s crazy how the markets react to offensive improvement. Kent State failed to top 23 points against FBS competition a season ago. Eight of their games featured totals in the 40’s. Under first-year head coach Sean Lewis, the Golden Flashes have already scored 78 points in two games. My question is can they move the ball against Penn State? The Nittany Lions are young on defense but looked much improved in last week’s 51-6 win over rival Pitt. The other factor is how does James Franklin play it? Franklin’s built a reputation as someone who doesn’t mind punching in an extra score late. Does he do the same against a first-year head coach that is trying to turn around one of the worst programs in the country? PSU will still score plenty but over bettors need to envision Kent scoring more than two touchdowns. I’m close but really want to see how KSU’s offense operates against top-level talent.
Last season, Iowa State hung 41 points and 467 total yards in a near upset loss to rival Iowa. Last week, the Cyclones produced only 3 points and 188 total yards of offense. That’s a massive discrepancy. Was last year’s film and better Iowa game planning the reason? How much does ISU miss offensive coordinator Tom Manning who is now with the Colts? Did Iowa State not playing in Week 1 (rained out) have an impact? These are answers I’d love to know because the 55.5 against Oklahoma feels low. Last year’s game closed 61.5 as Iowa State sprung the 38-31 upset in Norman. I expect the Cyclones to find the end zone a time or two this week but their offensive performance vs. Iowa has me concerned.
Following BYU’s upset win at Arizona, there was an article in the Salt Lake Tribune that talked about first-year offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes and his affinity for the jet sweep. The Cougars ran it a bunch and had success. But did BYU and the article give away too much? The Cougars ran for 183 yards and averaged 5.52 yards per play against the Wildcats. Last week, favored at home, BYU managed only 91 yards on the ground and 3.88 yards per play in a 21-18 loss to Cal. BYU still doesn’t have many offensive weapons and the play calling remains pretty vanilla. If Grimes truly is an upgrade over Ty Detmer, it’ll show in this weekend’s play calling at Wisconsin. An off-tackle and dink-and-dunk game plan may result in zero points.
What’s up with Alabama’s totals? Week 1’s game vs. Louisville opened 53.5 and closed 60. Last week against Arkansas State, it opened 59.5 and closed 62.5. Both games went over the closing total but not by much. This week, more Crimson Tide over money as their game at Ole Miss shot up from 63 to 71. Now, all three of those opponents are dead nuts over-type teams. I’m going to sit this week out and see how the market reacts moving forward, especially when Alabama faces a more conventional opponent. There’s an under or three on the horizon for the Tide, especially with totals moving as much as a touchdown.
My biggest question for Week 3 is can Purdue clean up its act? Turnovers (5 in 2 games), penalties (180 yards), a home loss to Eastern Michigan? Jeff Brohm may be an ace play caller but this team looked totally lost last week. And Missouri’s offense against Purdue’s inexperienced and lackadaisical defense is a total mismatch. Poised for a bounce back, I missed +7 on the Boilermakers not because I was lazy but rather on-the-fence about what type of product I’m going to see this weekend.
Herm Edwards is 2-0 SU and ATS. Let that sink in. He inherited a good team, one with better overall personnel than this week’s opponent San Diego State. But I’m not even close to convinced that Edwards can coach. In fact, Rocky Long is -14.5 vs. Herm Edwards – and that may be short. May not get there but at +6, I’m on the home dog Aztecs.
Andrew Lange nailed both of his college football 2-unit BEST BETS this season and looks for a third this Saturday. Pick up Lange’s top play for only $29 exclusively at BettorIQ.