College Football Expert Picks: Our Staff’s 15 Favorite Bets for Week 3
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jarrett Stidham, J.K. Dobbins and Tua Tagovailoa
- Our college football experts give their 15 favorite picks for Week 3 of the 2018 season.
- We have all types of bets covered with a healthy mix of underdogs, favorites and over/unders.
Despite cancellations related to Hurricane Florence, we still have a number of intriguing clashes between some of the nation’s biggest schools. And from a betting perspective, there is value to be had throughout the card.
The day will really start to pick up at 3:30 p.m. ET with a slew of high-profile games before we get some of the most anticipated matchups of September in prime time.
As we do every week during the season, we asked several of our staffers to give us their favorite college football side or total for Week 3 games on Saturday.
We will start with a few favorites a few of us actually agree on before finishing up with some underdogs worth considering and totals that look off the mark.
Let’s jump in with everyone’s favorite afternoon spot: the 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday SEC game on CBS.
*All odds for the picks pulled overnight on Sept. 14
Collin Wilson: Auburn -10 (vs. LSU)
3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
According to The Action Network power ratings, this number is short. The public perception has moved LSU from preseason No. 25 in the AP Poll to No. 12. Quarterback Joe Burrow has yet to play a game where he has completed more than half of his passes.
Nothing about the LSU rush or pass attack is explosive, and the one area to challenge Auburn is in its secondary. That challenge won’t come from the LSU offense.
I don’t think Auburn will have any issues protecting Jarrett Stidham, and the defense should force plenty of LSU three and outs. So far, Auburn ranks in the top 30 for efficiency on both sides of the ball. LSU made some offensive line changes this week, increasing the chances that the Auburn front seven causes havoc from start to finish.
Auburn gets its revenge in the Tiger Bowl.
Mike Johnson: Auburn -10 (vs. LSU)
3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
I’m on board with Collin here even though I actually was a huge fan of LSU after its Week 1 showing against Miami. Nick Brossette seemed to make people momentarily forget about Derrius Guice, and Joe Burrow looked like the quarterback the LSU faithful had been anticipating.
But the Tigers’ Week 2 showing against Southeastern Louisiana seems to be a better indicator of where this team is right now. Burrow and his wide receivers struggled in the passing game at times against an overmatched defense, and the offensive line struggled to get a push.
Every angle I usually look for to make my picks leads me to Auburn, which has an advantage in the following key areas:
- Front seven
- Head coach (although he makes me uneasy in this spot)
Add in the fact that Auburn has been incredibly good at home in recent years, and this has blowout written all over it. Auburn should put its foot down and expose the weaknesses of the Bayou Bengals.
Evan Abrams: Auburn -10 (vs. LSU)
3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
More Auburn love here. At the end of the season, I think we will look back at Week 1 and will have learned more about Miami in that game than we did about LSU.
Auburn has the advantage in this matchup in almost every phase, including offense, defense, coaching, QB play and experience. Not to mention: When two top-15 teams meet with a spread of a TD or higher, the favorite has covered the spread at a clip of 58.3% for 14.2 units, including 49-36-1 (11 units) in conference play.
A first-half play might not be bad either: In the same spot (two top-15 teams), a favorite of more than a FG in the first half is 68-54-2 against the first-half spread (+7.7 units), including 58-44-2 ATS (+8.7 units) in conference play.
Lay it with Toomer’s Corner.