Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dwayne Haskins and JK Dobbins
- A wild week of college football is in the books. It featured marquee matchups and plenty of moneyline upsets.
- Alabama and Ohio State survived their tests, while top-10 teams Wisconsin and Auburn went down.
- Here are 10 betting takeaways from Saturday's slate.
Remember when Alabama and Florida State met to open the 2017 season? Billed as the Game of the Century?
Yeah, it’s been a different 54 weeks for those programs.
Alabama is the first SEC team to score 50-plus points in its first three games, while Florida State has scored 10 points total in two ACC games.
We learned a lot about those teams Saturday, and even more about some others. Here are 10 takeaways bettors should know from Week 3.
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1. Alabama’s Secondary Might Be a Strength
Nothing that happened between Alabama’s offense and Ole Miss’ defense was terribly surprising. That includes the Tide’s 62 points and 516 yards (400-plus of those in the first half).
But what we wanted to see was how the Rebels’ passing attack, with maybe the best receiving corps in the country, tested an inexperienced ‘Bama secondary — maybe the only exploitable part of an otherwise flawless team.
Surprise: the Tide passed.
After a 75-yard touchdown on the first play, Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu was 6 of 21 for 58 yards.
2. Hey, Remember Oklahoma State?
Prayers to the folks who faded Oklahoma State hard enough to push the Pokes from -3 to +2.5 on Saturday afternoon.
Mike Gundy’s squad blew out Boise State to improve to 3-0 in what is supposed to be a rebuilding year. The total yardage was almost even, but Oklahoma State averaged 1.5 yards per play more, a significant gap. And that’s against a Broncos defense ranked 30th in defensive efficiency last year and brought a ton back.
OSU should be favored in every game until Bedlam against Oklahoma on Nov. 10. Don’t run to buy national title futures tickets now, but don’t forget that this program has won 10 games in four of the last five seasons and is a serious Big 12 contender.
3. Good Day to Be a Dog
Underdogs went 37-27-2 ATS on Saturday, including a few huge moneyline upsets:
- BYU+1102 at Wisconsin
- Akron +977 at Northwestern
- Temple +502 at Maryland
- Troy +406 at Nebraska
- LSU +318 at Auburn
- N Texas +209 at Arkansas
- San Diego St +185 v ASU
Contrarian bettors also had a good day: teams getting less than 40% of bets went 23-15 ATS; less than 30% of bets went 12-6.
Find all betting percentages here.
4. Hey, Big Ten *pokes with stick*
On Sept. 16, your unbeaten Big Ten teams:
- Penn State
- Ohio State
If a $100 bettor faded every Big Ten team on the moneyline Saturday, he would have made more than $2,500.
Akron beat a Big Ten team for the first time since 1894. Wisconsin (-23.5) losing to BYU was the biggest point-spread upset of the year. Rutgers got its teeth kicked in by Kansas.
5. Tua is the Heisman favorite, but Kyler Murray might be leading
Murray went 21 for 29 for 348 yards and ran for another 71. Iowa State really hung tough, but this Oklahoma offense is loaded and humming in the post-Baker Mayfield era.
Murray should be the second betting choice in Heisman markets this week behind Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and Oklahoma’s national title odds will be rightfully in the top 5.
Tua, as our Ken Barkley has pointed out, just isn’t putting up monster numbers because he doesn’t have to. He went 11 of 15 for 191 yards and two scores against Ole Miss.
6. I’m Still out on LSU
If you’re buying in, that’s cool. I don’t blame you.
LSU ground out a 22-21 win at Auburn as a 10-point underdog. That’s a really great win. But not an impressive one.
Quarterback Joe Burrow looked better, but he still completed only 15 of 34 passes (for 249 yards). The Tigers rushing attack couldn’t muster much.
We keep doubting Ed Orgeron, but he’s 8-1 ATS in his last nine SEC games. He’s outcoached Gus Malzahn two consecutive years. His special teams unit has been really good and the defense is ferocious, like always.
Eventually, the inefficiency on offense will catch up to LSU. I’ll be trying to find those spots for the rest of the season.
7. Purdue Is 0-3…
And its losses have come by a total of eight points. That will correct itself.
8. TCU Gave Ohio State Its Best Shot
And the Buckeyes survived. They needed some defensive and special teams scoring help, but they’ll head into a road date against Penn State in two weeks with plenty to feel good about.
The offense looks great under Dwayne Haskins. The defense has tons of potential, but needs to limit explosive plays — it gave up touchdowns of 93 and 51 yards on Saturday.
Oh, and Urban Meyer is back next week against Tulane.
9. Texas Isn’t Back; USC Just Stinks
Maybe that’s not fair. It was a good win for Texas. We’re just not big fans of Clay Helton here at The Action Network. And without Sam Darnold, his team is showing some serious warts.
USC has major issues and injuries on the offensive line. It ran for minus-5 yards on 16 attempts against the Longhorns. The defense is also banged up.
Already 0-3 against the spread this season, USC is another team I’ll be looking to fade again in the coming weeks.
10. Florida State…You OK?
We’ve aired it out here already. It’s not just that Florida State is losing. It’s how inept everyone looks — players and coaches included.
The Seminoles are averaging 5.0 yards per play, 110th of 130 FBS teams. They’ve given up 10 sacks and 27 tackles for loss in three games — both bottom 15 in the country. The offensive line is a complete debacle.
Willie Taggart isn’t on a one-year leash, but it might not be much more than that. Especially when players look this ill-prepared.