Predicting All Top 25 Week 3 College Football Games Against the Spread

Jonathan McDanal@@jdmcdanalContributor IIISeptember 12, 2012

Predicting All Top 25 Week 3 College Football Games Against the Spread

0 of 17

    UPDATE: Lines are current as of Sept. 15, 2012 at 8 a.m.

    The only team in the Top 25 that doesn't play in Week 3 is Oklahoma, which will be enjoying one of its two bye weeks as the other 24 suit up.

    Oregon State, UCLA, Arizona and Louisiana-Monroe all knocked teams out of the Top 25 last week, and there are some major teams on upset alert in Week 3.

    The biggest thing that has fans excited about Week 3 is Top 25 teams facing off against each other. From the Week 1 opening kickoff to now, the Alabama vs. Michigan and Boise State vs. Michigan State games have been the only Top 25 vs. Top 25 matches of the season.

    Here are the picks against the spread for every Top 25 team. All games are on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012.

    *Top 25 games with no betting lines:

    1) Furman at No. 11 Clemson. (Kickoff is at 3 p.m.)

    2) Tennessee Tech at No. 4 Oregon. (Kickoff is at 3 p.m.)

    3) No. 9 West Virginia vs. James Madison. (Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. at FedEx Field.)

    4) South Carolina State at No. 24 Arizona. (Kickoff is at 10:30 p.m.)



    *All betting information from and

No. 16 TCU at Kansas

1 of 17

    When: 12 p.m.

    Line: TCU -21

    Over/Under: 60 (up 0.5 from yesterday)

    Pick: TCU covers. Take the over.

    The scoring ability of TCU will allow it to blaze past Kansas in the Big 12 matchup. TCU is 1-0 ATS so far in 2012.

    TCU is also 3-2 ATS in its last five games. Although TCU was not playing against other members of the Big 12 for those five games, Kansas is hardly a representative sample of the power of the Big 12.

    The Horned Frogs have hit the over in all but one of their last five as well. Plus, Kansas will score enough to push this total past 60.

No. 13 Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh

2 of 17

    When: 12 p.m.

    Line: Virginia Tech -10

    Over/Under: 45

    Pick: Virginia Tech covers. Take the under.

    Virginia Tech has gone under in eight of its last 10 road games. The Hokies are 0-2 ATS in 2012 and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games.

    Virginia Tech has not shown its offensive prowess against anyone of importance this season, but Pitt has really struggled this year, shown by its loss to Youngstown State in Week 1.

    Virginia Tech is due to win one ATS, and Pitt will likely be the victim.

California at No. 12 Ohio State

3 of 17

    When: 12 p.m.

    Line: Ohio State -17

    Over/Under: 55.5 (up 1.5 from yesterday)

    Pick: Ohio State covers. Take the under.

    Over/under call changed due to line shift.

    Ohio State is knotted at 1-1 ATS this year, scoring like crazy in Week 1 and falling short in Week 2. The Buckeyes will have a solid offensive showing against Cal this week, as Cal is ranked 92nd in scoring defense. (The Golden Bears are allowing an average of 31 points per game so far against lesser teams than the Buckeyes.)

Wake Forest at No. 5 Florida State

4 of 17

    When: 12 p.m.

    Line: Florida State -27.5 (down 0.5 from yesterday)

    Over/Under: 54 (down 0.5 from yesterday)

    Pick: Florida State wins but doesn't cover. Take the over.

    Florida State and Wake have a rivalry similar to that of Tennessee and Alabama. No matter how good one side seems to be, the score always ends up nothing like it should on paper.

    Florida State has gone under since Nov. 19, 2011, which is also the last time the Seminoles lost ATS.

    FSU has been lighting up the scoreboard against scrubs so far this season. Wake Forest will give FSU a defensive test that the Seminoles have not yet seen this season.

    Still, Florida State will continue lighting up the scoreboard. The difference will be that Wake will actually score points instead of the Seminoles running roughshod over another team that's looking for a payoff.

    The Seminoles would be averaging more like 70 points per game if most of the second half of the Savannah State game hadn't been rained out.

UNC at No. 19 Louisville

5 of 17

    When: 3:30 p.m.

    Line: Louisville -3

    Over/Under: 56

    Pick: Louisville covers. Take the under.

    Louisville has been a solid football team this year, and will take the win over the UNC Tar Heels on Saturday.

    Louisville has met the over in four of the last five games. (The match against Missouri State didn't have an over/under.) However, UNC will bring a better defense than most of their past five opponents.

    Although the Cardinals are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games, UNC should fall by four or more points in Week 3.

UMass at No. 17 Michigan

6 of 17

    When: 3:30 p.m.

    Line: Michigan -45.5

    Over/Under: N/A

    Pick: Michigan wins but doesn't cover.

    Michigan will be working on depth throughout the season to build for the major games coming later in the season against other Big Ten powers.

    If the score approaches the line, Brady Hoke is likely to pull starters in favor of giving the backups more experience.

    Michigan hasn't covered the spread since the Nebraska game in November of 2011. Experience is more valuable to the Wolverines than covering a spread, especially since covering a spread doesn't factor into the BCS calculations. (At least, not any of the equations that we know of.)

No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas

7 of 17

    When: 3:30 p.m.

    Line: Alabama -20

    Over/Under: 53.5 (down 0.5 from yesterday)

    Pick: Alabama wins but doesn't cover. Take the over.

    Pick if Tyler Wilson doesn't play: Alabama covers. Take the under.

    The point total has gone over in four of the last six meetings with the Razorbacks. This will be an offensive fireworks show until adjustments are made by each side.

    Arkansas is underrated right now, due to the loss to Louisiana-Monroe in Week 2. Arkansas can get its season back on track with a win over the Tide, and will play like it.

    Alabama will win, but not by three touchdowns if Tyler Wilson takes snaps.

No. 18 Florida at No. 23 Tennessee

8 of 17

    When: 6 p.m.

    Line: Tennessee -3

    Over/Under: 48

    Pick: Tennessee covers. Take the over.

    Florida has found this thing that it's been missing since Tebow left: offense.

    Tennessee has covered both of its previous spreads that were three or fewer points and will begin its return to power in the SEC this year.

    Tennessee and Florida will fight a grueling battle on Saturday, and Tennessee will pull out the win by a field goal or more.

North Texas at No. 15 Kansas State

9 of 17

    When: 7 p.m.

    Line: Kansas State -27.5 (down 0.5 from yesterday)

    Over/Under: 55 (new addition)

    Pick: Kansas State covers. Take the over.

    Kansas State and North Texas will total over 55 points. North Texas will find a way to score two on the Wildcats, and Kansas State will light up the scoreboard with a few more than the 41 LSU hit.

    Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein led the Wildcats to grotesque offensive numbers in 2011.

    Klein hasn't missed a beat this year, as the Wildcats have averaged 51.5 points per game and gone 2-0 ATS in 2012. The Wildcats will continue burning scoreboard circuits against the North Texas Mean Green on Saturday.

UAB at No. 8 South Carolina

10 of 17

    When: 7 p.m.

    Line: South Carolina -33 (down 0.5 from yesterday)

    Over/Under: 54 (new addition)

    Pick: South Carolina covers. Take the under.

    Connor Shaw is questionable for the game against the Blazers. If South Carolina's defense shows up to the game, the total will stay under regardless of Shaw's status.

    The only time South Carolina didn't cover in any of its last four games was against a Vanderbilt squad that was shockingly underrated.

    Of course, the Gamecocks didn't exactly play to their potential that day, either. UAB will fall to the Gamecocks by more than 33.5.

Florida Atlantic at No. 7 Georgia

11 of 17

    When: 7:30 p.m.

    Line: Georgia -42

    Over/Under: N/A

    Pick: Georgia wins but doesn't cover.

    Georgia will be in the same boat as many of the championship hopefuls. If this game's score approaches the betting line, Mark Richt will pull the starters to give the backups more experience.

    Georgia will win, but won't shut the Owls down completely. That will kill the spread.

No. 2 USC at No. 21 Stanford

12 of 17

    When: 7:30 p.m.

    Line: USC -9

    Over/Under: 57

    Pick: USC covers. Take the over.

    Against Stanford last year, the point total was 104. Contributing to that total was a trip to triple overtime and Andrew Luck leading the Stanford offense.

    Stanford will score on USC, but USC will constantly remind Stanford that Andrew Luck was a special quarterback. All Stanford needs to do is score twice while USC does its thing and hangs 40-plus points on the Cardinal.

No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 10 Michigan State

13 of 17

    When: 8 p.m.

    Line: Michigan State -6

    Over/Under: 44

    Pick: Michigan State covers. Take the over.

    Notre Dame and Michigan State face off in the Irish's second test of the season. (The first test if you don't count Purdue.)

    Michigan State dropped the Boise State game as far as the spread is concerned. As far as the over/under, the Spartans have hit some speed bumps after losing Kirk Cousins to the draft during the offseason.

    The Spartans should be clicking on offense much more in Week 3 now that the rust has been knocked off.

Idaho at No. 3 LSU

14 of 17

    When: 8 p.m.

    Line: LSU -42.5

    Over/Under: N/A

    Pick: LSU wins but doesn't cover.

    LSU will do the same thing that all the national championship hopefuls do: pull starters when the game is in hand.

    LSU doesn't have an over/under to worry about, but it will win. Idaho will find a way to score, which will kill the hopes of beating the spread for the Tigers. The last time the Tigers faced a spread like this, it was against North Texas.

    The Mean Green found the end zone twice, but the Tigers had only scored 41 points at the time. Even with a shutout, the Tigers would have missed the spread in that game.

    The Idaho game will play out the same way.

No. 14 Texas at Ole Miss

15 of 17

    When: 9:15 p.m.

    Line: Texas -10

    Over/Under: 51 (up 0.5 from yesterday)

    Pick: Texas covers. Take the under.

    Ole Miss is a program on the rise, but will have to rise for a couple of years yet to knock off a team like Texas.

    The Longhorns are 3-2 ATS in their last five games, and are looking for a season similar to 2009.

    Texas has also gone under for three straight games. These two teams will not be held under by strong defense. It will be lackluster offenses that keep the total under 47.5.

No. 25 BYU at Utah

16 of 17

    When: 10 p.m.

    Line: BYU -3.5

    Over/Under: 46 (down 0.5 from yesterday)

    Pick: BYU covers. Take the over.

    While Utah's starting quarterback, Jordan Wynn, will not be playing in this game, the total should still go over. Utah will still find the end zone, and BYU will find it even more.

    BYU is 2-6 in its last eight games against Utah, but the Utes' loss of Jordan Wynn will allow the Cougars to cover on Saturday.

Houston at No. 22 UCLA

17 of 17

    When: 10:30 p.m.

    Line: UCLA -17

    Over/Under: 76 (up 0.5 from yesterday)

    Pick: UCLA covers. Take the under.

    Houston is not the same without Case Keenum. The point totals for the Cougars will suffer until David Piland gets completely comfortable at Houston. His completion percentage has gone up from Week 1 to Week 2, but that will not be enough.

    Houston is 0-2, UCLA is its first ranked opponent and this is the first away game for the Cougars as well. UCLA will cover in Week 3.