College Football Betting Picks for Week 3: 6 Toughest Situational Spots for Saturday Night, Including Oregon State, Florida, Texas
Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: USF Bulls wide receiver Kelley Joiner #10.
- The Week 3 college football slate rolls on, and plenty of teams find themselves in tough situational spots.
- Stuckey broke down six of the toughest spots for Saturday night, including Florida vs. USF, Texas vs. UTSA and Oregon State vs. Montana State.
- Read on for Stuckey's full breakdowns below.
Saturday’s college football slate rolls on, and there are even more tough situational spots for Week 3’s late games. Below, I will detail six of the trickiest spots I circled after last weekend for today’s evening and late-night slate.
To find these spots, one just has 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.
Ultimately, the actual number still reigns supreme. No matter how great a situational spot appears on paper, you still have to factor in how much value the spread holds. A good or bad spot may sway me one way or the other on a bet I’m on the fence for, however.
Motivation, injury situations and depth also come into play, especially early in the season.
Now, let’s dive into these six tough situational spots for Saturday’s late college football games.
Washington State -17 vs. Colorado State
5 p.m. ET · Pac-12 Network
After barely surviving Idaho in their home opener, the Cougars traveled to Camp Randall Stadium and pulled off a stunner as 17-point underdogs against Wisconsin.
Now, they return to Pullman to face 0-2 Colorado State before hosting Oregon to kick off league play. That’s certainly not an ideal situational spot.
However, the Rams are clearly struggling as they undergo mass scheme changes under a new regime.
Everybody expected a blowout loss in their opener at Michigan, but a double-digit loss as double-digit favorites at home last week against a Middle Tennessee squad undergoing similar changes was very concerning. The Blue Raiders, who got demolished in their season-opener against James Madison, actually led by 34 points early in the third quarter. Yikes.
The Colorado State offensive line has been particularly dreadful. If you include sacks — which it’s allowed five more of than any other team — the offense is averaging under one yard per carry.
To make matters worse, after losing one starting offensive tackle in practice last week, another one left last week’s game with an injury. That could spell doom for a unit learning new splits against a solid Washington State defensive front even if the Cougars are potentially missing their top cornerback and starting safety due to injuries.
I’m not sure I can stomach betting Colorado State after what I’ve seen. These drastic scheme changes generally take time.
However, the under may warrant consideration even with a likely high frequency of pass attempts. Keep in mind Washington State defensive coordinator Brian Ward came over from Nevada after working with Jay Norvell and Matt Mumme, who now run the offense at Colorado State.
Both staffs have a lot of familiarity with defending the Air Raid, and both revamped offenses have struggled so far in 2022.
Marshall -17 at Bowling Green
5 p.m. ET · ESPN+
This is a horrid spot for Marshall on paper.
After pulling off a monumental upset at Notre Dame and a week before their first-ever Sun Belt conference game, the Herd will stay on the road to take on winless Bowling Green, which is fresh off a 59-57 seven-overtime loss against FCS Eastern Kentucky.
I’m lower than the market on Bowling Green and higher on Marshall, so this is likely a pass for me after digging into it a bit more.
Keep an eye out on the status of Marshall star running back Rasheen Ali, who led FBS in scoring in 2021. He’s been away from the team to start the season due to personal reasons but was dressed at practice this week.
Ali’s backup, Khalan Laborn — a former Florida State product — rushed for 163 yards against Notre Dame, the most rushing yards any back has amassed against the Irish since 2016. Once fully healthy, this will be one of the nation’s top backfields.
Arkansas vs. Missouri State
7 p.m. ET · ESPN+
This is a brutal spot for Arkansas against a top-five FCS team on the rise under Bobby Petrino, who will make his highly-anticipated return to Fayetteville since getting canned a decade ago after an infamous motorcycle accident and a handful of other controversies.
The Hogs have one of the toughest schedules in the country. After starting the season against Cincinnati and South Carolina to kick off SEC play, here’s who they will face over the next five weeks:
- Texas A&M (in Arlington)
- vs. Alabama
- at Mississippi State
- at BYU
- at Auburn
It doesn’t get much tougher than that stretch, especially since four of the five are away from home.
I doubt head coach Sam Pittman — aka Sammy Covers to our Big Bets on Campus listeners — is too concerned with running this score up. He likely wants to lean on the run game and get as much rest and health as possible before the upcoming gauntlet.
Keep in mind Arkansas already lost All-American safety Jalen Catalon for the season and has dealt with a number of other injuries since camp.
However, if Arkansas isn’t careful, it could find itself in a game against the Bears.
Regardless of your thoughts on Petrino, he has turned this program around. Prior to Petrino’s hiring in 2020, Missouri State had not made the postseason since 1990. Petrino has taken the Bears there in each of his first two seasons.
Heading into this season, he has an abundance of experience (17 returning starters) at his disposal, in addition to 10 FBS transfers brought in during the offseason. For reference, last year’s team lost by only seven on the road against Oklahoma State and North Dakota State. They shouldn’t be afraid of this stage.
The Bears have started 2-0 this season with former Utah starting quarterback Jason Shelley leading the way under center. Also, keep an eye on Tyrone Scott, one of the best receivers at the FCS level.
Great Scott! Tyrone Scott hauls in the dime!
— MO STATE Football (@MOStateFootball) September 26, 2021
Missouri State remains a bit vulnerable in the trenches, which could obviously pose problems against an SEC team.
However, I’m still looking to back the Bears (depending on the number, of course) in a very favorable situational spot. Expect Petrino to pull out a few tricks in this one as well.
Florida -24.5 vs. South Florida
7:30 p.m. ET · SEC Network
I wouldn’t be shocked if Florida came out flat after a deflating home loss against Kentucky with Tennessee on deck. A classic sandwich spot.
Also, an improved and experienced USF roster has many players from the state of Florida. They should have an extra chip on their shoulder against in-state big brother.
Even if Florida builds a big lead, it may take its foot off the gas a bit early before the SEC slate. That could set up a potential backdoor cover if needed.
In fact, that’s exactly what happened last season. After Florida jumped out to a 35-3 lead at the half, it eased up in the second half en route to a 40-22 victory and non-cover.
Hopefully, USF, which saw Anthony Richardson last year, studies Kentucky’s brilliant defensive game plan ahead of this matchup. I like USF at anything above +24.
Texas -12.5 vs. UTSA
8 p.m. ET · Longhorn Network
Similar to Florida, the Horns will host an in-state Group of Five team following a highly-anticipated game with a conference bout (at Texas Tech) on deck.
Can Texas put that emotionally-draining loss against Alabama behind it and come out with a focused effort?
Additionally, things could get a bit more complicated with its murky quarterback situation. Quinn Ewers will miss time with an injury, and backup Hudson Card’s status remains in doubt due to an ankle injury he suffered last week.
With freshman four-star product Maalik Murphy also not healthy, freshman quarterback Charles Wright could get the start. He’s appeared in two games but has no collegiate pass attempts, creating plenty of uncertainty.
Running back Bijan Robinson should at least suit up. However, UTSA’s defense is much stouter against the run.
Its very shaky secondary just allowed over 300 yards through the air against Army. The Black Knights actually had more first-half passing yards than any single game total since 2007. That could prove ominous before facing the talented Longhorn receivers, even if it’s against a third-string quarterback.
“I’m healthy. My shoulder just hurts a little bit,” Bijan Robinson says about his injury status.
— Noah Gross (@noah_gross27) September 12, 2022
As of now, this looks like a pass to me.
Oregon State vs. Montana State
8 p.m. ET · Pac-12 Network
Like Arkansas, the Beavers will face a top-five FCS team before a brutal conference stretch.
After dominating Boise State to open the season, Oregon State won in walk-off fashion on the road against Fresno State. Now, it must stay focused for a very good Bobcats team prior to games against USC and Utah.
For reference, the Bobcats — the 2021 FCS runner-up— only lost by three at Wyoming last season. They have started out 2-0 this year, averaging over 50 points per game.
Keep in mind this game won’t be played on campus in Corvallis but rather at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. The Beavers will play their first home game here for the first time since 1986.
Unfortunately for Montana State, it’s dealing with a number of key injuries. Therefore, I’m not sure how much it will risk here with much bigger season aspirations at the FCS level.
Starting cornerback Simeon Woodard will at least return from injury. That will help a secondary that already lost a starting cornerback in camp and a starting safety to suspension.
Additionally, MSU’s top two running backs on last week’s depth chart got hurt and won’t play in this one. That especially hurts since All-American back Isaiah Ifanse is still recovering from surgery. Its starting dual-threat quarterback has also had some injury issues in the past.
Oregon State also sustained some key injuries, which creates plenty of uncertainty for this one. I may look at Montana State 2H based on how the first half plays out since I doubt Oregon State runs this one up late.
The Beavers will likely just want to secure a win and maintain health prior to a pair of massive league games.
Plus, Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith and many of his assistants have Big Sky Conference roots. Both head coaches have talked about the mutual respect for each other this week.