College Football Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Situational Spots for Week 3, Including Troy vs. Appalachian State

College Football Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Situational Spots for Week 3, Including Troy vs. Appalachian State article feature image

Steven Branscombe/Getty Images.

  • Week 3 is here in college football, and Stuckey is breaking down four of the toughest situational spots for Saturday's afternoon games.
  • This includes a matchup between Oklahoma and Nebraska, and App State coming off of a monster win against A&M.
  • Dive in below to get your college football betting card ready.

Week 3 is here, and the third week of every college football season is seemingly filled with potential land mines with the start of conference play looming. Below, I will detail four of the trickiest situational spots I circled for Saturday's early games.

It's key to look at a team's opponents the week prior and week after to get an idea of where any potential flat spots might pop up.

Other factors also warrant consideration; it's not pure science. There's an art and feel to using situational spots in one's handicapping.

Ultimately, the actual number still reigns supreme. However, a good or bad spot may sway me one way or the other on a bet I'm on the fence for.

Additionally, it's not always about the pregame market. There are times when I believe a team will take its foot off the gas a bit sooner than usual with an important game on deck, which could create a potential wagering opportunity in the second half and/or live side or total markets.

Understanding depth, coach motivation and team injury situations also come into play, especially early on in the season when a team might not want to reveal much of the playbook against an inferior opponent.

Now, let's dive into four of the toughest situational spots for Week 3's early games.

The must-have app for college football bettors

The best NCAAF betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Oklahoma -11.5 at Nebraska

Noon ET · FOX

After a 2-0 start, the Sooners will head to Lincoln prior to its Big 12 opener to take on a reeling Nebraska team that fired head coach Scott Frost earlier in the week.

The quantitative impact of losing Frost is a difficult thing to estimate. However, I imagine it can only serve as a positive based on his on-field decision-making and the overall vibe of the team I sensed.

During the Frost era, Nebraska lost more one-possession games than any other team by a wide margin. And after an 0-3 against-the-spread start to the season, he finished his time in Lincoln with a pathetic 7-17 ATS mark as a favorite.

That said, Nebraska did still thrive as a pup during his tenure (12-8-1 ATS), especially last year against every ranked foe, including a seven-point loss on the road as 22-point underdogs against these same Sooners.

Personally, I believe this line is too high.

The opening low-limit spread north of two touchdowns was outrageous, but I still like catching double digits Coming into the season, I projected Nebraska as a tiny favorite (yes, I’m dumb, we all know), and the lookahead line recently sat at Oklahoma -5

Now, Nebraska does get a severe downgrade after losing at home to Georgia Southern, but it's not like Oklahoma was firing on all cylinders last week. The Sooners actually trailed, 3-0, in the final minute of the first half against Kent State.

I think Nebraska will rally around a new interim coach and puts on a spirited effort. Let's just hope the defense remembers how to tackle because that's been the biggest issue by a country mile.

Kentucky vs. Youngstown State

Noon ET · SEC Network

Can Kentucky avoid a letdown after its massive road win over Florida? Head coach Mark Stoops has never lost to an FCS team (8-0), but he's only 3-5 ATS with a handful of serious scares.

That includes last year's Week 3 home game against Chattanooga, which came sandwiched in between two SEC contests. In a similar sleepy noon kickoff slot, Kentucky (-33) actually trailed after three quarters before rallying for the victory.

Kentucky also almost went down twice to FCS Eastern Kentucky, as 28- and 33-point favorites. In the 2015 meeting, it even needed to stage a comeback from down 14 in the fourth quarter before eventually winning in overtime.

Plus, Kentucky still has major offensive issues.

The line remains a work-in-progress after losing three paramount pieces, and star running back Chris Rodriguez is still presumably suspended.

The downfield passing attack still misses the element of explosiveness that Wan'Dale Robinson brought to the table. After all, Kentucky finished with just 272 total yards of offense against Florida.

Youngstown isn't an FCS powerhouse by any stretch. However, the 2-0 Penguins can lean on an intriguing pro prospect in running back Jaleel McLaughlin.

The Penguins have exceeded expectations in these spots recently with an 8-2 ATS record since 2010. They actually pulled off an outright upset at Pittsburgh back in 2012 as 18-point underdogs and came close to three other shockers against Illinois and Pitt two other times (including one overtime loss).

Lastly, I doubt Stoops will want to run this score up if Kentucky has a comfortable margin in the second half. He's not only conservative by nature with big leads, but he's also a Youngstown native with ties to the program.

We'll have to see where the line opens later in the week, so follow along in the Action Network App to see if I bet anything.

college football-odds-futures-picks-betting-kentucky wildcats-win total-2022
Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Kentucky Wildcats.

Coastal Carolina -14 vs. Buffalo

1 p.m. ET · ESPN+

It hasn't been easy, but a rebuilding Coastal Carolina squad won its first two games in large part due to NFL prospect quarterback Grayson McCall.

Meanwhile, Buffalo has stumbled out of the gates with two straight losses, including a heartbreaker on a Hail Mary against FCS Holy Cross last week.

Holy Cross with the Hail Mary to beat Buffalo! 🤯

— Action Network Colleges (@ActionColleges) September 11, 2022

Many people have seen that result due to the wild ending, but not as many saw Coastal Carolina give up nearly 500 yards to FCS Gardner-Webb.

Coastal actually got outplayed statistically and needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to take the lead prior to two straight Gardner-Webb interceptions on its final two possessions. Keep in mind Holy Cross is a much stronger FCS team (currently ranked 15th) as well.

Not only should the Bulls come out hungry here for their first win of the season, but they'll also be seeking revenge for last year's three-point home loss. More importantly, that preparation and game experience will help for this matchup against a very complex and unique Chanticleer offense.

Plus, Coastal is much worse overall this year after mass roster attrition, while Buffalo should be slightly improved.

I like Buffalo at 14 or above against a Chants group that could overlook this one a bit with their Sun Belt opener next week.

Appalachian State -12.5 vs. Troy

3:30 p.m. ET · ESPN+

Can Appalachian State avoid a letdown and back up its massive upset win at Texas A&M? It certainly helps to play your home conference opener with College GameDay in town.

Last year, Appalachian State won at Troy, 45-7, as 10-point favorites, outgunning the Trojans in total yards, 445-142.

Surprisingly, since 2005, teams have gone an uber-impressive 39-25-3 ATS (60.9%) the week after pulling off an upset as 17-plus point underdogs against a ranked opponent. Those teams have a ridiculous 17-4-2 ATS (81%) record as favorites of six-plus in this situation, covering by just under a touchdown on average.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.