College Football Odds, Picks: 4 Best Bets for Saturday Evening, Featuring Michigan State vs. Washington
Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
In betting, it's not always the best games that feature the most value. But during this college football Week 3 evening slate, that isn't the case.
There's juicy value in an all-SEC battle between Mississippi State and LSU, a clash between Nevada and Iowa, and an intriguing non-conference tilt between Michigan State and Washington.
Our staff has best bets for all three of those matchups — and one other game — as part of the evening slate in college football.
Saturday Evening's Week 3 College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Mississippi State vs. LSU
By Doug Ziefel
Mississippi State's Air Raid offense should find plenty of success in Baton Rouge. Just two weeks ago, we saw Jordan Travis and the Florida State Seminoles rack up explosive passes against this LSU secondary, as they averaged 7.9 yards per completion.
Now we're going to line that same secondary up against one of the best passing attacks in the nation, led by quarterback Will Rogers.
Rogers has been phenomenal, owning the fourth-highest completion percentage in the country and averaging 385 passing yards per game, which is good for the sixth-highest rate of all FBS quarterbacks.
The LSU defense did not use its game against Southern to make its metrics any better, as it enters this matchup ranked 127th in Passing Success Rate Allowed, 102nd in Passing Explosiveness Allowed and 121st in Passing Down EPA per Play Allowed.
Mississippi State should have plenty of success on offense and reach pay dirt at a furious pace.
Take any number under four touchdowns.
Pick: Mississippi State TT Over 26.5 (Play to 27.5)
Jacksonville State vs. Tulsa
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks are off to an impressive 3-0 start to the season under first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez.
While they are averaging 37 points and over 450 yards per game, they will face a considerable upgrade in competition Saturday night, as they head to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane.
Tulsa is led by senior quarterback Davis Brin, who ranks fourth nationally in passing yards.
Jacksonville State has been a force in the run game, averaging 388 rushing yards a game, while three different players are averaging over five yards per carry.
One major concern for the Gamecocks, though, has been turnovers. In just three games, quarterback Zion Webb has fumbled once and has thrown four interceptions.
However, Tulsa has historically had issues when it comes to playing down to its competition — 17 of the last 24 games for the Golden Hurricane have been decided by a touchdown or less.
Yes, Jacksonville State is an FCS school, but not one that should be overlooked.
The Gamecocks have one of the most productive offenses at the FCS level, led by one of football's most successful offensive-minded coaches. Add to that Tulsa’s struggles to close out games, and I have no problem taking the Gamecocks with a touchdown or more.
Pick: Jacksonville State +9.5 (Play to +7)
Nevada vs. Iowa
Having a total below 40 in a game that has a 23-point favorite is a thing of beauty. No other program in the country could have such odds other than the Iowa Hawkeyes.
If you took the sum of Iowa’s first two matchups — 7-3 and 10-7 — you still would have gone under this total by nearly two touchdowns. The Hawkeyes have scored one touchdown through their first 29 drives this season.
Kirk Ferentz’s group has scored seven points in both of its first two games while holding its opponents to only 6.5 points per game. The only touchdown the Hawkeyes allowed came from a 21-play, 99-yard drive from Iowa State last week.
The defense ranks fourth in the nation in yards per play, and it's no secret it’s amongst the top of the nation in points per game.
Now the Hawkeyes will match up against a Nevada program that was decimated in the offseason. The Wolf Pack ranked last in the nation, returning 10% of their offensive production, according to TARP.
Nevada’s offense is hard to watch. Quarterback Nate Cox is averaging six yards per pass attempt and completing 55% of his passes. The Wolf Pack have a rush rate of 62% this season, and won’t find any success against an Iowa defense that’s allowed 2.3 yards per attempt.
I’d be surprised if Nevada finds the end zone in this game. And we know for a fact that this Iowa offense isn’t scoring 40 anytime soon.
I love this under, and will be looking at playing alternative unders, as well.
Pick: Under 39 (Play to 38)
Michigan State vs. Washington
Michigan State heads west to take on Washington in what should be a very interesting Big Ten/Pac-12 clash. The Huskies opened as a one-point favorite, and this number has risen to where it currently sits at 3.
Indiana transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has looked phenomenal in his first two starts wearing purple after injuries derailed his season a year ago.
Penix had a ton of success against Mel Tucker and the Spartans' defense in 2020, and there’s good reason to believe he can do that again in this matchup.
Penix reunited with his former offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in Kalen DeBoer, and the two appear to be picking up where they left off in Bloomington.
The Washington defense has plenty of talent at all levels, and I expect it to make life difficult for Payton Thorne and the Spartans' offense.
Michigan State had a heck of a season a year ago, and I think it’s a bit overvalued in the market as a result. Expect the Huskies to take control of this one early and lean on the home crowd throughout.
Back UW at -3 in a game it should control from start to finish.