Week 3 College Football Picks: Our Favorite Favorites, Including Western Michigan vs Iowa & USF vs Alabama
Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images. Pictured: Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry (left) and Jermaine Burton (right).
- What better way to celebrate the arrival of college football Week 3 than by betting a couple of ginormous favorites?
- Stuckey and Collin Wilson have two "overdog" bets for Saturday, including picks for Western Michigan vs Iowa and USF vs Alabama.
- Read on for their favorite favorite bets of Week 3.
You may be familiar with our weekly moneyline underdog article. Well, we decided last year we needed to show love for the other side by also sharing our two favorite college football favorites that we share weekly on the "Big Bets on Campus" podcast.
We affectionately refer to them as "overdogs," thanks to one of our beloved callers. After a split in Week 1, we swept last week with Liberty and Wake Forest both avoiding the dreaded backdoor cover late.
This week, we're taking two heavy favorites in the 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff window — one perennial dynasty and one of the worst offenses in college football over the last couple of years.
Stuckey: Iowa -28.5 vs. Western Michigan
How about we kick things off with a four-touchdown favorite in a game with a total of 43? If that sounds wild to you, it's because we haven't seen that happen between FBS teams in 15 years.
I've probably lost my mind (again), but I actually like the heavily-favored Hawkeyes in this spot. Hopefully, it doesn't take as long as the seven hours (due to multiple weather delays) the Hawkeyes needed to barely cover as 24-point favorites for us against Nevada last season.
In that particular game, Nevada had no chance of ever really scoring, averaging 2.9 and 1.9 yards per pass and rush, respectively. When the final whistle blew, Iowa's defense had allowed a meager 151 total yards.
I'm expecting a similar output for a similarly inept Western Michigan offense.
The Broncos lost all of their best skill-position players in the offseason and still haven't even identified a starting quarterback with all three expected to take snaps on Saturday, which could spell doom against Iowa's ball-hawking secondary.
Last week, the Broncos lost to Syracuse, 48-7, but that could have been much worse if the Orange didn't pack it in after leading 45-7 at the half.
Admittedly, the Iowa offense still has its limitations, but Cade McNamara — who now looks fully healthy — gives the Hawkeyes the highest ceiling at quarterback they've had in quite some time.
In a game where WMU could very easily get shut out, I'll trust this Iowa offense to open it up a bit more to get at least into the 30s against a bad MAC defense.
Plus, with the Big Ten slate starting next week, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz could really use an offensive explosion for his contract's scoring-based incentives.
Lastly, I wouldn't be surprised to see Iowa score on defense or even special teams, where it will have a massive advantage. The Hawkeyes won, 59-3, when these teams last met in 2013; don't be shocked at a similar result this weekend in Kinnick.
Wilson: Alabama -33 vs. USF
I'm looking for a major bounce-back performance from Alabama after the Tide went down in a rare nonconference home loss to Texas in Tuscaloosa last week.
If you thought that was rare, Alabama heading out on the road to play a Group of Five team is even rarer, as that hasn't happened since 2003 against Hawaii.
While this is a road game, I'm not expecting much of a home-field advantage for South Florida. Plus, it might be good for this Alabama team to get out on the road to refocus after last week's defeat.
For what it's worth, Saban has pounded non-Power 5 teams like a drum over the past few years, including a cover earlier this season against Middle Tennessee. Since 2021, Alabama has outscored seven non-Power 5 teams by a score of 375-45 — an average of 54-6.5.
The talent mismatch on the field on Saturday could lead to a similar result, especially if Alabama comes out with a vengeance like I expect.
It's just hard to fathom South Florida doing much on offense. Alex Golesh will eventually get the passing game working, but it's currently a work in progress, especially with projected starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon still out with an injury.
Even against Florida A&M last week, USF could muster only 4.1 yards per attempt on passing downs — while half of its rushing attempts got stuffed — in a game the advanced stats suggest the Bulls actually should've lost.
Meanwhile, the defense, which was one of the worst in the nation last year, still can't buy a stop. Even the aforementioned Rattlers of FAMU recorded 10 passes over 15 yards and seven over 20.
There's no reason why Alabama shouldn't get whatever it wants on offense. Plus, I'm sure Saban wants to get a very good look at Jalen Milroe in the passing game after his struggles last week. He probably wants to see his backups prior to the start of SEC play as well.
Therefore, Saban and company might not just sit with a big lead in the second half as he has done at times in the past.