Week one got off to a slow start with some bad beats and tough breaks but things corrected themselves in week two as the column went 7-0! Sure hope you didn’t put all that cash in your wallet as your spine might be off alignment by sitting on all that cash... seriously though, it was a good week but any good bettor knows you are never as good as your best week, and never as bad as your worst. We’re off to a good start, but there’s plenty of football to go. Odds are provided by DraftKings Sportbook. Let’s get into week three!
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
Colorado State vs. Washington State Under 54
Washington State is off to a great start this season sitting at 2-0 after their upset win over Wisconsin. The same cannot be said for Colorado State which is having huge struggles, especially on the offensive side of the football. So far this season the Rams have put just 26 points on the board, but it goes much deeper than that. Colorado State is struggling to simply move the football. According to collegefootballdata.com, Colorado State ranks 128th in offensive success rate and 120th in standard down success rate. Success rate essentially looks at how often you put yourself in a position to move the chains, and it has a very high correlation to winning games. If you rank that low in success rate, you’re likely not winning games, ala CSU sitting at 0-2.
On the other side, Washington State has put together a very strong defense so far this season. The Cougars rank 5th in defensive success rate, and 1st in defensive havoc which measures sacks, turnovers, and disruptive plays. Jake Dickert has gotten this team playing really well on that side of the ball and I expect that to continue here. Additionally, Washington State is a pass-happy offense but not one that moves all that quickly. The Cougars rank 129th in plays per game which is tied with Iowa. All this screams under here.
Tulane (+15) @ Kansas State
Speaking of defensive havoc and offensive success rate, Tulane is a team ranking toward the top in both of these key metrics through two weeks. Now, you have to take that with a grain of salt as they have played Alcorn State and UMASS but overall numbers are looking up after a down year for the Green Wave in which they went 2-10.
Looking further into Tulane’s year last year the main problem was the pass defense as they ranked 120th in passing yards allowed per game. That unit could still be lacking and just not faced a test yet, but I am not sure Kansas State is going to be that said test.
Heading into week three Kansas State is showing once again to be a team that wants to establish the run. So far this season the Wildcats are running the ball 66% of the time, which ranks 8th in the nation. Quarterback Adrian Martinez has thrown the ball just 35 times for 150 yards. To add to that, the weather could be an issue for passing games as the projections call for 20 MPH winds in this contest.
All these factors sound like a good under bet, which I don't hate, but I have to trust my numbers here and they show more value on the spread. I make Kansas State just a two-point favorite in the contest and the market is offering up two touchdowns, so I have to take it. Lastly, underdogs often fair better in games with low totals, so I think Tulane is the play if you can find it at 14 or better.
Nevada @ Iowa (-23)
I put this last so you’d have to read all the way to the bottom before closing out. However, just stick with me here. Yes, it’s gross, but sometimes you’ve gotta get into the mud to make some money...
Has Iowa been the laughing stock of the week? Yes. Do they deserve to be? Yes. Are they prime examples of nepotism? Yes again! All that said, I do truly think they can cover this number here against Nevada. Sometimes you’ve gotta zig when people zag. The general betting public likely sees this 23-point spread and says no way Iowa can cover that, they’ve barely scored half that this season and now they take on a 2-1 Nevada team? Free money!
Rational, but I do think Iowa has a chance to get some things right here. This Nevada team is that bad. Yes, they are 2-1 but they’ve beaten two teams I rate as two of the worst in the country in Texas State and New Mexico State who I rate 130 out of 131. They also lost to FCS Incarnate Word last week.
Iowa has to get some things going offensively here before getting into Big Ten play. Due to that, I think they’ll either play quarterback Spencer Petras deep into the game to build him some confidence or they’ll switch to Alex Padilla and try to find a spark. Add in the fact that Nevada likely isn’t scoring against this unit and you’ve got a recipe to cover this number as gross as it may seem.
Pitt (-10) @ Western Michigan: Look, if Pitt hadn’t lost to WMU last year they are likely in the college football playoff over Cincy. Pat Narduzzi strikes me as a man who holds grudges, so I think he’ll take every chance to run this up and cover here.
BYU @ Oregon over 57: When are people going to start respecting the Cougars? This team isn’t scared of playing in Eugene. That said, I think I like the over here a little more. Oregon's defense has not looked great and BYU is top 25 in yards per play on offense. Feels like this could get a quick pace going.
South Alabama @ UCLA over 59.5: If you’ve read this column before you know I rarely bet overs as they are generally worse off than unders, but I think this one goes over based on the pace of these teams.
Troy (+12.5) @ App State: App State coming off a top ten upset over A&M and now hosting College Gameday feels VERY trappy. I’ll take the dog here.