College Football Best Bets: My 5 Top Plays For Week 3

min read
Dorian Thompson-Robinson is one of the best playmakers in Pac-12 football, but he'll face a dangerous Sun Belt team in Week 3.
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Sep 15, 2022, 12:38 PM
  • Week 3 of NCAAF is here, providing great spots to fade last week’s results.
  • College football best bets for Week 3 include two huge favorites.
  • The Sun Belt may continue its hot play when South Alabama goes to UCLA.

Week 3 of the college football calendar has arrived, and with it comes a  new table of NCAAF odds

Accordingly, I’ve got a fresh set of picks to hand out.

College Football Best Bets: Week 3 Predictions

After I’ve handicapped the whole board each week, I will publish my five best plays from the wider canon of NCAAF odds. 

I’ll provide a short explanation of why I like each bet, so you don’t have to go on faith alone.

If you prefer an audio version of this weekly article, you can always subscribe to The Lion’s Edge, my weekly handicapping podcast for BetMGM. 

In Week 2, the picks went 1-4. Yikes! But many professional handicappers struggled last week, so I’ll defer the more serious self-criticism for a later date.

South Alabama at UCLA (-15.5)

Earlier this week, I spoke with Chris Vannini of the Athletic about the impressive depth of Sun Belt football. 

Everyone is very impressed with Marshall, App State, Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern. Even JMU football wins are turning some heads.

But there are other good, mid-level Sun Belt teams that are also pretty good, and that’s where South Alabama enters the chat.

This is a simple handicap. Directional school bias is real, and this is too many points to give a good team. As a bonus, UCLA is playing at 11 a.m. local time. A sleepy game with some Pac-12 opener look-ahead potential.

UCLA wins, but South Alabama covers in a competitive game.

Play: South Alabama +15.5

Colorado at Minnesota (-27.5)

This is a big number, and I don’t care. Colorado is the worst team in the Pac-12. 

The Buffs lost by 30 points to Minnesota in Boulder last year; they lost to Air Force, 41-10, just last week. 

About 80% of tickets are on Minnesota here, which isn’t too surprising. But more than 90% of the market handle is also on Minnesota, which means even the sharps are smashing the big number. 

Come in on Minnesota before the number gets to 28. 

Play: Minnesota -27.5

Troy at Appalachian State (-12.5)

Unsurprisingly, App State is a double-digit favorite to open conference play after upsetting Texas A&M last week.

Sports Betting 101 tells us that public bettors who want to come in on App State late will have to pay a surcharge to back the Mountaineers. 

Computer modeling that I’ve looked at says that App State should be closer to -7.5 in this spot, which means Troy bettors are getting about five points of free value. 

I’ll take that spot every time, understanding that App State could always win by 40 and render that “value” irrelevant.

Play: Troy +12.5

More Sun Belt: Betting in the Sun Belt Championship Odds Market

Michigan State at Washington (-3.5)

One of the classic college football betting spots for advantage bettors like myself is the unranked favorite hosting the ranked underdog.

Michigan State is flirting with a top-10 spot in the polls, and nearly 80% of tickets are backing the Spartans.

Despite that, the line moved from Washington -3 to Washington -3.5 on Wednesday. That’s textbook reverse line movement.

Sharp bettors know that this is a tried-and-true betting spot. As a result, it’s one of my favorite picks of the week – though I am recommending late bettors consider buying back the half-point.

Play: Washington -3.5

Nevada at Iowa (-23)

I can hear you laughing now. Hahaha! Can Iowa even score 23 points?

But Nevada is really bad, you guys. Don’t just look at their record – it lost by multiple scores to FCS Incarnate Word last week.

Just like the Michigan State game, a huge majority (about two-thirds) of bettors are backing the underdog here for all the wrong reasons. 

Despite that, the line has moved from its opening mark of Iowa -20.5 to Iowa -23. 

Trust me: Your favorite online sportsbook watches the games too. It is not unaware of Iowa’s offensive struggles, and it’s not in the habit of giving away free money on dumb lines. 

This number is high for a reason. Nevada is not good at football.

Play: Iowa -23

College Football Parlay 

This week’s college football parlay is a moneyline three-teamer that will net out a price of about -105. The legs:

  • Central Florida -350
  • Oklahoma -400
  • Notre Dame -450

Central Florida has extra prep time to fix its issues after a second-half collapse against Louisville. Florida Atlantic should be far less troublesome an opponent.

Oklahoma has struggled to cover big numbers against Nebraska throughout the last 20 years, but their outright win/loss record is hard to argue. And regardless of who is coaching the Cornhuskers, that defense is leaky.

As for Notre Dame, I have a hard time believing they’ll fall to 0-3 with a matchup against Cal on the horizon. This is a great buy-low opportunity.

I’ve been disappointed in the parlay performance thus far, but the opening two weeks have been more chaotic than usual. I think we’ll get into the winner’s circle here.

College Football Predictions

Want to check out the full Week 3 college football podcast? Don’t forget to subscribe to The Lion’s Edge for intelligent, weekly insights into trends and betting tips across the online sports betting world. 

This week’s episode also includes an NFL betting preview with Allan Bell of CBS/Sportsline.

The Lion’s Edge is available on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

You can also listen to it in the web player below.

Build a College Football Parlay at BetMGM

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With hundreds of games each year, you can build a parlay bet from a variety of odds, including moneylines, spreads, and over/under totals. Whether you want to build a moneyline parlay with heavy favorites like Alabama, Ohio State, and Oregon, or a spread parlay with underdogs like Rutgers, Kansas, and Vanderbilt, there are a variety of options for everyone.

Check out the sportsbook today to start building parlays.

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.