Week 3 College Football Odds, Best Bets: Late-Night Picks, Featuring USC vs. Fresno State, Arizona State vs. Eastern Michigan
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- This fantastic college football Week 3 Saturday isn't over yet.
- Our staff came through with four best bets for Saturday's late-night games, including USC vs. Fresno State and Arizona State vs. Eastern Michigan.
- Check out all four of our best bets for Saturday night's college football games below.
Week 3 is winding down — man, how time flies — but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to call it quits from a betting perspective.
In fact, this is arguably the best Saturday night slate we’ve had yet this season, including Miami (FL) vs. Texas A&M and Fresno State vs. USC.
Our staff dives into those two games — and one other matchup — to provide you with four late-night best bets to complete your Saturday college football betting card.
Saturday Night’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.|
Miami vs. Texas A&M
After the biggest upset of this young college football season and what had to be a brutal comedown for Texas A&M, the Aggies look to regroup heading into Saturday’s game against Miami.
Well, hold onto your carbonated beverages — there’s more drama brewing in College Station. It was reported late this week that the starting quarterback job formerly held by Haynes King has been usurped by Max Johnson.
After arriving on campus from LSU, Johnson will look to recreate his productivity from last season when he was the primary starter in Baton Rouge. No stranger to the bright lights of big-time college football, Johnson has thrown for just under 4,000 yards in his career.
Last season, Johnson completed 60.3% of his passes for 2,815 yards, 27 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
Johnson’s touchdown-to-interception ratio — which is reflective of his excellent decision-making in the pocket — was likely the key determinant in Jimbo Fisher’s decision to pull the rip cord in his quarterback room.
We have seen Fisher in a back-against-the-wall situation a number of times in his career, and he has a clear penchant for fight instead of flight. Fisher’s method of fighting is opening the playbook all the way up and slinging the ball downfield.
Johnson is a prototypical pro-style quarterback with an elite pedigree.
The son of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Brad Johnson and the nephew of presumptive College Football Hall of Fame inductee Mark Richt, Johnson will have his chance to showcase his skills on behalf of the Texas A&M program and allow Fisher to open the playbook all the way up.
Look for Fisher to hand the reins over to Johnson right out of the gate at home. It’s imperative the Aggies remedy their offensive woes before marching into the thick of SEC West play.
I also see value on the first-quarter spread of -0.5 in favor of Texas A&M, as I’m expecting a hot start for the Aggies.
Pick: Texas A&M -6 (Play to -6.5)
Fresno State vs. USC
There’s a reason this game’s total is the highest on the board for most sportsbooks.
USC and Fresno State both have deep rosters featuring talented skill-position players and an NFL-caliber quarterback. Defense is also optional.
The Trojans’ offense has carved through both Rice and Stanford with ease. USC is second in the country, scoring 53.5 points per game, and its 355.5 passing yards per game is 15th best.
Caleb Williams, who has the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner to throw to, has completed nearly 80% of his passes while throwing for six touchdowns and no interceptions at a 12 yards-per-attempt clip.
But the defense has been an eyesore for the Trojans, who have been the beneficiary of some major turnover luck that is due for regression.
USC has a whopping 52 points off of eight turnovers this year, including three turnovers in its red zone. Rice had multiple scoring drives of at least 10 plays and 70 yards, and the Owls and Stanford combined for over 350 yards rushing.
Those are worrisome numbers, especially against an offense like Fresno State that includes Jake Haener.
The Bulldogs aren’t short on receiving options, with the likes of Jalen Cropper, Josh Kelly and Erik Brooks all back from 2021. That’s without even mentioning the addition of Cal transfer Nikko Remigio, who already has 200 receiving yards.
And outside of the wealth of receiving options, running back Jordan Mims has been on a tear since getting an increased workload.
Since last season, Mims has four games of at least 20 carries. He’s never averaged fewer than 5.7 yards per carry in those games, and scored two touchdowns in three of the four. He could have a huge day.
This should be a pretty close game, with the winner scoring somewhere in the mid- to upper-40s.
Play the over up to 76.5.
Pick: Over 74 (Play to 76.5)
Last week, Fresno State lost a heartbreaker to Oregon State, surrendering 35 points to the Beavers. Given the Bulldogs’ inability to slow a run-centric team, I’m fairly certain USC will be able to score at will in the Coliseum.
So, this total will really come down to Fresno’s ability to keep up with an elite USC offense. Luckily for over bettors, Fresno has the scheme and personnel to shred a USC defense that I believe to be a paper tiger.
Yes, the Trojans have forced eight turnovers through four games, but their run defense has been a turnstile (106th). Even Rice gashed them for 5.6 yards per carry from its running backs. Fresno State’s Jordan Mims is a star and will find the sledding pretty easy on Saturday night.
If Fresno has the running game going, passing lanes will open for Jake Haener and his deep receiving corps. I believe this is the best collection of receivers in the Group of Five, and they should be able to pitch in 31-plus points in this game.
I would play this all the way up to 77.5, and may look to play over 81.5 at +200.
Pick: Over 74
Eastern Michigan vs. Arizona State
I had Eastern Michigan +11 last week at Louisiana. The Eagles went up 14-0 and lost 49-21.
I didn’t have any fun watching the game, thanks for asking.
As painful as it sounds to relive those memories, I firmly believe Eastern Michigan is a buy as a large ‘dog at Arizona State.
Let’s get the cons out of the way first: It’s a back-to-back road game for the Eagles, with conference play on deck and in hot conditions.
However, I think you can make a case to, at least, smooth over all three disadvantages.
Arizona State is also in a tough scheduling spot, coming off of a loss at Oklahoma State with Pac-12 play on deck in Week 4.
Eastern Michigan head coach Chris Creighton was one of the best bets as an underdog during his heyday, and I love the prospects of playing a team that, despite the result last week, doesn’t quit.
Plus, after failing to cover in the previous game, Eastern Michigan is 20-9 against the number under Creighton.
Let’s talk about the weather, because it’s important. A few years ago, another team from the mitten state (Michigan State) came down to Tempe and succumbed to the heat, losing outright to Arizona State as a favorite.
The good news for Eastern Michigan is it’s cooling off in Arizona, and the Eagles will miss the peak window of heat on Saturday.
But more importantly, can Arizona State actually challenge Eastern Michigan’s endurance in this spot? The Sun Devils are running at the fifth-slowest pace nationally offensively.
I don’t believe an ASU offense that’s 127th nationally in Line Yards is just going to bully Eastern Michigan around all night. I’ll take the points up to +20.