Wilson: College Football Week 3 Games I Bet Right Away, Including UNC-Wake Forest

Wilson: College Football Week 3 Games I Bet Right Away, Including UNC-Wake Forest article feature image

Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell (7).

  • College football Week 3 spreads and totals have already been released at some sportsbooks.
  • Below I give projected lines for Week 3 games and hit on bets I've already made.

Once again, Las Vegas-based Circa Sports was the first operator to put out college football sides and totals. Oddsmakers have limits of $2,000 over the counter at the Golden Gate Casino and $1,000 through the Circa App.

Other operators were tardy in Week 1 with the release of totals. Circa numbers held for more than 24 hours before the rest of the market posted numbers. The accuracy of Circa’s numbers have benefitted other oddsmakers and limited sharp players on Sunday, but I was able to get multiple bets down on Week 3 openers — and there are plenty of other numbers on the cusp of investment.

This article will look at the numbers I have already hit, plus my projected spreads for every Week 3 game so you can keep an eye on lines as they move.

College Football Week 3 Projected Spreads

Note: A negative number indicates the home team is favored by that many points; inverse for a positive number.

North Carolina at Wake Forest (-3)

The Tar Heels will play the role of road underdog after a short 70-minute bus ride to Winston-Salem on Friday. UNC is on a bit of a heater, defeating both South Carolina and Miami as an underdog.

Head coach Mack Brown has delegated the offense to coordinator Phil Longo and the defense to coordinator Jay Bateman. While both coaches have had success, it’s true freshman quarterback Sam Howell who has made next-level throws.

Prior to that game winning touchdown, Howell completed a 20-yard pass on fourth-and-17. North Carolina has been able to generate multiple explosive plays on the ground and through the air against the Hurricanes and Gamecocks.

Wake Forest has taken a different path to this Week 3 showdown, failing to cover against Utah State and pushing vs. Rice. The offensively inept Owls put up 321 yards on the Demon Deacons, while the Aggies racked up 596 yards in the opener. Through two games, Wake Forest is 112th in total defense and 103rd in opponent yards per play.

Pick: North Carolina +3

UMass at Charlotte (-20.5)

The University of Massachusetts will always have the first quarter against Rutgers to hang its hat on. In the past seven quarters of play, UMass has been outscored 86-20 by Rutgers and Southern Illinois. The Salukis, who did not receive a vote in the latest FCS poll, held the Minutemen to 2.6 yards per carry on 47 rush attempts.

Meanwhile, through two games against Appalachian State and Gardner Webb, Charlotte ranks in the top 25 in the nation with 7.14 yards per play. The 49ers have an efficient offense that controls the clock and moves the chains, ranking ninth in time of possession thus far.

And don’t be deceived by the 49ers’ 56-41 loss to Appalachian State. Charlotte had more total yards and first downs. An onside attempt at the end of the game turned into a Mountaineers touchdown, masking the actual competitiveness of the game in the final score.

The Action Network power ratings make this game Charlotte -19.5, while other systems hover around 17. I expect UMass money to hit the market from math groups that have not actually watched either of these teams. Try to snag the best number under three touchdowns.

Pick: Charlotte -20.5

Northern Illinois at Nebraska (-14)

Nebraska should not be favored by two touchdowns over any team in the top 100. My power ratings make this Nebraska -7; the latest SP+ has this at -9, where I expect it to settle.

The Cornhuskers had just five more total yards than Colorado this past week; QB Adrian Martinez ran for 66 yards on 19 attempts.

Our preseason material made mention of the Huskers losing key pieces on the offensive line that may ultimately end up impacting the health of Martinez. After two games against South Alabama and Colorado, Nebraska ranks outside the top 100 with an average of 3.1 yards per rush.

I don’t have a ton of love for Northern Illinois — the Huskies do rank inside the top 50 in total defense after playing Illinois State and Utah — but this line is simply too high. The large point spread should have value in what’s expected to be a lower-scoring affair.

Pick: Northern Illinois +14

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