Week 3 College Football Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Collin Wilson’s Betting Card, Including Miami vs. Texas A&M
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Texas A&M’s Kyle Field.
Week 2 of the college football season featured plenty of chaos, from two Sun Belt upsets over top-10 teams to a narrow escape for Alabama in its star-studded showdown against Texas.
Now, we turn the page to Week 3.
The schedule this week includes a number of stellar matchups that represent plenty of betting value on the board.
First, we take a look at an impressive BYU squad that tests its mettle against one of the Pac-12’s finest teams. Then, Michigan State battles Washington in a nonconference Power Five matchup. To close it out, Miami heads to College Station to face a Texas A&M team that just lost to Appalachian State on its home field.
After a week full of chaos in the college football world, it would feel great to take a trip to visit Green Dot City in Week 3.
Read on for full breakdowns and betting picks for three of Saturday’s biggest games, and be sure to check out the rest of Action Network’s college football betting coverage.
Collin Wilson’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 of 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.|
BYU vs. Oregon
Kalani Sitake entered his weekly press conference and labeled Oregon “a great challenge.” The seventh-year coach could say that just about every week on BYU’s schedule, which includes games against Notre Dame, Arkansas and Stanford.
Considering they already faced (and defeated) Baylor last week, BYU has one of the toughest schedules in the nation.
After beating the Bears at home, the question for Sitake is whether the Cougars can bring the same energy when they hit the road for the second time.
Oregon recovered after its Week 1 blowout loss to Georgia. Head coach Dan Lanning is still looking for the offense to peak in explosive plays, specifically in blocking downfield. Against Eastern Washington, the defense gave up two touchdown drives that equaled 19 total plays.
The Ducks are a work in progress with their new coach and quarterback, but a victory at home over a soaring Cougars squad would signify the Ducks are ready for Pac-12 play.
Offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick has put together two impressive showings without the services of the Cougars’ top two targets: Wide receivers Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney. Nacua suffered a high ankle sprain that limited the NFL prospect to just one target against South Florida.
If the two star receivers are unable to play, Chase Roberts and his 3.26 yards per route run are still available:
Jaren Hall wow
Chase Roberts wower pic.twitter.com/i8cv1se6TX
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) September 11, 2022
Quarterback Jaren Hall has done just enough to lead BYU despite an average depth of target drop to 7.6 and the highest Turnover Worthy Play percentage in his career. The return of Nacua and Romney is sure to improve Hall’s numbers, as the defense will be a key part of victory in Eugene.
The Cougars are top-25 in Defensive Success Rate, ranking 11th in Passing Success Rate defense. BYU was excellent in getting Baylor and South Florida into passing downs, but issues persist in creating Havoc: BYU has forced just eight tackles for loss and has yet to create a forced fumble.
South Florida and Baylor struggled to get offensive drives into scoring position, but when they did, BYU’s defense could stop them — the Cougars are allowing a high 5.8 points to opponents that cross the 40-yard line.
The Ducks posted a 70-spot against an Eastern Washington team that annually makes an appearance in the FCS playoffs.
The win is tough to gauge in translation to the remaining Power Five schedule, though, as the Eagles lost their offensive coordinator and previously beat Tennessee State by just a score.
A five-touchdown performance from Bo Nix is a surefire way to have the former Auburn quarterback riding high heading into BYU.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 11, 2022
Nix did not log a single big-time throw against Eastern Washington, allowing Troy Franklin and Dont’e Thornton to generate a high number of yards after catch.
The offense generated 33 missed tackles through the air and ground, with a handful of running backs generating an average greater than 3.6 yards after contact.
The offensive line has been excellent in pass and run blocking, but the inability of Nix to make the explosive play in passing downs is a concern.
Lanning specializes in defense after serving as the coordinator at Georgia for a handful of seasons. The overall statistics cannot be trusted after two contrasting games against the Bulldogs and an FCS offense breaking in a new coordinator, though.
The biggest area of concern is the missed tackles from the linebacker unit. Jackson LaDuke, Jeffrey Bassa and Justin Flowe all lead the team in missed tackles. While there has been good play out of the corners, defending Roberts or possibly the returning Nacua will be of the utmost importance.
BYU vs. Oregon Betting Pick
Oregon is dead-last nationally in Defensive Finishing Drives — a calculation of drives that extend past the 40-yard line and end in points.
Missed tackles persisted against Eastern Washington — primarily from players who logged second-half snaps — but all signals point to BYU’s offense continuing with its explosive plays against Oregon. The Cougars are 10th in Standard Downs Explosiveness — an area the Ducks have struggled on defense so far.
Graded as the second-best team in pass blocking, BYU is sure to have more tricks in the bag.
DOUBLE PASS 🚨
Jaren Hall takes it in for SIX as a receiver! @BYUfootball
— 247Sports (@247Sports) September 11, 2022
No Oregon defender has logged a forced incompletion, while safety Bennett Williams is one of the lowest-graded players of any at his position with more than 50 pass-coverage snaps.
The question is whether Nix will have the same success against the BYU defense. The Cougars are 99th in pass rush with one of the lowest Havoc rankings nationally.
Although BYU is undefeated, Sitake’s defense is near dead-last in defending the explosive play on passing downs.
There’s reason to think Nix will have success against a defense that is currently 127th in Defensive Finishing Drives.
Expect Hall to attack the Oregon linebacker unit with one of the poorest tackling grades in the nation. Nix will have similar success against the BYU safeties who have been targeted through two games.
Both of these defenses combine for 17 opponent red zone trips, allowing 13 of them to end in a touchdown.
Our projections dictate Oregon should be favored by 2.5 — just below the current market (see real-time college football odds here). Considering these defenses have consistent issues tackling and allowing offenses to steamroll the end zone, the over is the play.
Pick: Over 57.5 or Better
Michigan State vs. Washington
A hot start for two Power Five programs will come to a head when Michigan State travels to Seattle to take on an undefeated Washington team.
The Huskies are under new management with head coach Kalen DeBoer and already have two victories straight up and against the spread.
Long gone are the offensively-challenged days of Jimmy Lake, as the Huskies are top-five nationally in Passing Success Rate and scored a combined 97 points against Portland State and Kent State.
A victory against the Spartans is sure to put Washington in the spotlight as a potential playoff team from the Pac-12.
Mel Tucker continues to cover the spread in non-conference action for Michigan State. Now 6-0 against the number thanks to big victories over a pair of schools from the MAC, Tucker will travel with his team having a number of injury concerns just a week before conference play begins against Minnesota.
The road trip is lengthy and the Spartans have a starting quarterback who has had plenty of miscues, though Tucker is not concerned about either factor.
Despite allowing just a single touchdown through two games, there are concerns on the defensive side of the ball.
Linebacker Darius Snow suffered a season-ending injury in the opener, while safety Xavier Henderson was on crutches at the end of the game. Both players were among the top four tacklers on the team in 2021, and Henderson isn’t expected back for several weeks.
Both defenders were critical in defending the slot and free safety role, putting all eyes on Angelo Grose and Kendell Brooks in coverage against Washington.
The good news is the stability at the corner position. Chester Kimbrough already has a trio of forced incompletions and is graded as the 11th-highest corner in coverage through two games.
The bigger injury concern comes on the special teams unit and the offensive side of the ball. Jayden Reed was injured early last week against Akron but was described by Tucker as “sore” in the Spartans’ presser. Reed ranks second on the team in targets but is also a crucial piece to the kick and punt return units.
This didn't count but Jayden Reed is still freaking awesome pic.twitter.com/eV7DVJ6zz2
— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) September 10, 2022
While injury concerns are in abundance with every unit, it’s the play of quarterback Payton Thorne that has contributed to a point spread that has taken heavy action on the Washington side. Everything from happy feet to mechanics are to blame for his slow start.
Thorne had two interceptions against Akron and has more turnover-worthy plays than big-time throws through two games.
The pressure-to-sack ratio and drops are on the same rate as Thorne’s previous two seasons, but a crowded pocket has produced an NFL rating of 11.1 so far this season.
The DeBoer campaign could not have started any better after the program hit rock bottom in 2021. The once offensively inept Huskies have turned into a scoring opportunity juggernaut.
Washington has scored a touchdown on all 15 drives that extended past the opponent’s 40-yard line. With the transfer of Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr., the Huskies have gone from near dead last to the third-best Success Rate on passing downs.
The last two weeks have shown why Michael Penix is the QB in Washington.
He has my attention. pic.twitter.com/hnLFT5ge1x
— Christian Williams (@CWilliamsNFL) September 10, 2022
The offense has two wide receivers with at least 10 targets and a yards-per-route-run average over two.
The balanced attack also relies on a two-headed rushing attack from Wayne Taulapapa and Cameron Davis. Plenty of credit goes to an offensive line that consists of two tackles who grade in the top 22 nationally in Troy Fautanu and Roger Rosengarten.
There are not many questions for the Huskies on offense, but there are gaps on defense that could play a factor in Week 3.
Bralen Trice has been a one-man Havoc crew for the Huskies. The second-year edge has already tallied 14 pressures, twice as many as any other player on the defense.
Outside of the defensive trench getting in the backfield of Portland State and Kent State, there are troubling numbers. The Washington defense is outside the top 100 in Line Yards and tackling.
Coordinator Chuck Morrell will be heavily coaching technique prior to facing Michigan State, as the Huskies have recorded 29 missed tackles in just 126 defensive snaps.
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Michigan State vs. Washington Betting Pick
The early market was all on Washington and pushed the spread above a field goal.
There is reason to believe there will be plenty of explosive plays in this game. Although it was in the pandemic season of 2020, Penix lit up the Spartans’ secondary for 320 passing yards and a couple of touchdowns.
DeBoer has limited history against Tucker, but game planning for the Spartans’ defense is not new territory. Considering two of the best players in slot and safety coverage are not playing for Michigan State, a rank of 66th in defending Explosiveness on passing downs will be in play.
Tucker repeatedly stated the issues with Thorne aren’t a worry against Washington.
The Spartans may elect to run right into the poor tackling of the Huskies with running backs Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard. The pair have combined for 20 missed tackles and an average of four yards after contact this season.
The X-factor in the game is Reed, not just hauling in explosive passes, but in the return game. Kent State was able to generate explosive kick returns against Washington in Week 1, an indication Reed will produce highlights.
Expect fireworks with Washington falling just outside the top 75 against the explosive rush and pass.
Washington has not beaten a ranked Power Five team at home since 2001. Action Network projects this game at Michigan State -1, ostensibly giving the Spartans the nod when betting the side.
However, the better value comes on the total, with Michigan State’s injuries in the secondary and Washington’s poor tackling grade. Look for plenty of highlights in what is projected to be a nail-biter.
Pick: Over 56.5 or Better · Michigan State +3.5 or Better
Miami vs. Texas A&M
College football chaos was rampant in Week 2, and both Texas A&M and Miami were apart of the mania.
For the Hurricanes, a game against Southern Miss with a backup quarterback was projected to be scrimmage with a four-score point spread. The Golden Eagles led Miami with 30 seconds left in the first half, but the score that would not last through the second half. The adjustments by head coach Mario Cristobal were enough to dominate the final two quarters, avoiding an upset to a Sun Belt team.
Texas A&M wasn’t so lucky.
Appalachian State traveled to College Station and beat the Aggies on their home field. The numbers from the game are baffling, as Texas A&M racked up only 180 total yards.
The Aggies posted just two drives that crossed the Mountaineers’ 40-yard line despite having an average staring field position at their own 35. Jimbo Fisher’s pro-style offense was limited to just a 14% Success Rate in passing downs.
With a complete offensive reset needed, Texas A&M is a true wild card heading into the showdown with the Hurricanes.
The Cristobal era has started with two questionable starts against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss.
Although the final score indicates otherwise, the Wildcats started the season with a 10-play drive ending in a field goal. A couple of interceptions — including a pick-six — later, no one would remember that Bethune-Cookman held a lead against Miami.
That same scenario played out again in Week 2, as the Golden Eagles led with under a minute left in the first half.
After being mentioned in Heisman circles over the summer, quarterback Tyler Van Dyke recorded three turnover-worthy plays against Southern Miss. The third-year quarterback was sacked four times in 11 pressures.
Van Dyke has been pressured 15 times on the season, but more shocking is the fact that his turnover-worthy plays came from a clean pocket.
The best plays under offensive coordinator Josh Gattis have come in the second half.
Tyler Van Dyke with the flea flicker TD 🔥 pic.twitter.com/XgAeOvV2M0
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) September 10, 2022
The Miami defense has also been slow to start in two consecutive games.
Just as the Wildcats took the initial drive down for points, Southern Miss also had a 12-play drive to start the game. The Golden Eagles would score on the next possession.
The primary concern for defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is the lack of tackling. Through two weeks of play, the Miami defense ranks 73rd in tackle grading.
The great news for the Hurricanes is the return of Havoc. Seven players have already recorded a sack, as 48 pressures have been created on just 112 defensive snaps.
Fisher’s recent press conference was filled with plenty of content deliverables.
When asked if the offense is too complex for the quarterbacks, the answer was a resounding “no.” The pro-style works in the NFL, where a quarterback who can read coverages is needed.
A college quarterback is responsible for reading whether the defense presents man or zone coverage, with that decision leading to checkdowns to other targets. If the Hi-Lo option for a seam route is not available or if the tight end is covered by a safety that didn’t bite, the quarterback has the ability to target a running back in the flat.
Whether it’s a 2-by-2 or 3-by-1 set, Fisher has been running the same offense for a decade without a successful quarterback in his time at Texas A&M.
Former Texas DB BJ Foster picks off Haynes King. Making his presence known early for SHSU. pic.twitter.com/52mH1QG98b
— CJ Vogel (@CJVogel_TFB) September 3, 2022
Fisher didn’t turn down the idea of giving up play-calling but indicated the crinkled homework sheets shuffled during the game were a collective effort.
This game against Miami could see LSU transfer Max Johnson at quarterback with potential wrinkles to the offensive play-calling. Those questions will not be answered until the Aggies take the field.
The defense did its part against one of the more electric offenses in the Sun Belt, limiting Appalachian State to just 17 points in six trips past the 40-yard line. The Mountaineers also struggled in passing downs, posting a Success Rate that was 20% lower than the national average.
Although the Aggies sit near dead last in Defensive Rushing Success Rate, a top-20 rank against the pass and in Finishing Drives has been the accountable factor on the team.
Miami vs. Texas A&M Betting Pick
There’s enough sample to believe the Miami offense will struggle out of the gate. Both the offense and defense have allowed an FCS and Sun Belt team to dictate the first quarter over the previous two weeks.
Van Dyke has been inaccurate passing, and the defense lacks fundamentals in tackling. The Hurricanes have already allowed 10 plays to exceed 20 yards.
Texas A&M will be the great unknown on offense, as both Johnson and Haynes King possess mobility.
Adding extra players outside of the pocket with Devon Achane and Ainias Smith could be deadly against a team that has issues tackling. If Fisher is open to changing the offense, allowing his quarterbacks outside the pocket could be the difference.
Haynes King days away from Aggie football pic.twitter.com/YPI8VP6KLI
— Sidelines – Texas A&M 💎 1-1 (@SSN_TAMU) August 21, 2022
The big factor in favor of the Aggies is the 4-2-5 defense. Even in a loss to a Sun Belt team last week, Texas A&M allowed just 134 passing yards at 4.5 yards per attempt.
Van Dyke’s struggles should continue with or without pressure applied from the Aggies defense. Texas A&M has allowed an average of just 1.9 points in nine opponent trips past the 40-yard line.
Action Network projects Texas A&M -1, well short of the Game of the Year number that resided over a touchdown in favor of the Aggies. The loss to Appalachian State gave potential Texas A&M investors an opportunity to get a cheap price.
Considering Miami’s struggles early in games, betting on the Aggies with an element of surprise on offense is the correct side.