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College football week 3 odds: Why Oklahoma will cover against Nebraska, and more

A college football rivalry returns, while a monster SEC clash awaits in the Swamp. It’s another weekend to wager on college football. Let’s dig in!

Here are my four favorite CFB Week 3 bets on the docket, with all odds courtesy of FOX Bet.

Nebraska at Oklahoma (-22.5)

This storied rivalry resumes after an 11-year hiatus. Oklahoma is looking for its fifth playoff appearance, while Nebraska head coach Scott Frost is fighting for his job.

This one is simple for me. I get the better coach in Lincoln Riley, and the better quarterback with Spencer Rattler, against a poorly coached Nebraska squad. 

Coach Frost has yet to beat a ranked team as the leader of the Cornhuskers and has only covered the spread in four of those 12 contests. 

Unfortunately, Nebraska doesn’t have a sustainable offense to keep up with Oklahoma. Nebraska has no juice on offense, with quarterback Adrian Martinez only guiding the team to 30 points twice in his last 10 starts against FBS opponents. The Huskers only scored 28 points against Buffalo even after a long run by Martinez, a 68-yard touchdown, and a one-yard run score after a turnover.

I don’t expect the Sooners defense to let down its guard once it grabs a lead in this game, especially after an embarrassing second-half performance against Tulane. The Oklahoma defense can sit back and force Nebraska to march down the field, which I don’t envision the Cornhuskers being able to do.

On offense, Rattler leads the Big 12 in completion percentage and QB rating. Oklahoma has scored at least 27 points in 65 straight games. The Sooners are a scoring machine. After a second-half performance against Tulane that only saw three points, they scored 76 against an overmatched Western Carolina squad. 

I’m not sure what the Cornhuskers can lean on to stop this Sooners offense, other than hoping for turnovers, which is just not an intelligent way to handicap a game. And, in games where Oklahoma is facing a defense without a calling card, it scores a ton of points.

The Sooners roll!

PICK: Oklahoma (-22.5) to win by 23 points or more at FOX Bet

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Arizona State (-3.5) at BYU

BYU will be riding high after ending its nine-year losing streak to Utah in the Holy War this past weekend. That is exactly why I’ll be looking to fade the Cougars in this spot off that emotional win. 

While the Cougars deserve credit for that upset, the Utes cost themselves that game. Utah’s effort level wasn’t acceptable in that contest, and BYU took advantage. The Cougars only averaged 4.94 yards per play on offense, and out of 77 offensive plays, they only had five explosive plays.

BYU ended up with seven total havoc plays on defense, a metric used to determine how disruptive a defense was on a specific play. BYU’s defense this season has been bend or break, and nothing in between. The Cougars are only allowing a 27% third-down conversion percentage. On the flip side, they are allowing 69% of passes to be completed, and are giving up five yards a carry on the ground. Something has to give, and it will change this weekend when they face the best quarterback they’ve seen thus far.

The Sun Devils haven’t been world-beaters so far, but they’ve played two powder puff opponents. With the team’s first real test coming up this weekend, I expect them to play their best game.

Arizona State is led by Jayden Daniels, a dual-threat quarterback who is completing 73.2% of passes and has 165 rushing yards in two games. The Sun Devils have an offensive line that will keep him upright against an average Cougars pass rush.

Arizona State has simplified the playbook on defense, which has led to it playing faster, limiting mistakes, and allowing fewer points against sub-par competition. All plus points going into this matchup.

Lastly, BYU’s offense isn’t anything to write home about. After a magical season with Zach Wilson at the helm last year, the Cougars have done nothing special this season. The team is averaging only 25 points per game, and that’s against two Pac-12 defenses.

PICK: Arizona State (-3.5) to win by 4 or more points at FOX Bet

Alabama (-15) at Florida

Wagering against Alabama can often be a mistake, but if Florida can’t cover this spread at home, when the heck are the Crimson Tide ever going to play a close game? 

The Gators have been using a two-quarterback system, but it’s clear “backup” quarterback Anthony Richardson should be the guy. Richardson is a dynamic player who’s averaging 25 yards per carry this season.

Dual-threat quarterbacks give Nick Saban defenses issues, as it’s hard to game plan for plays made outside the structure of the offense. 

Dan Mullen is an innovative offensive mind, and I think he will design and set up ways for Richardson to have explosive plays. 

Florida comes into this game ranked third in offensive efficiency and 15th in defensive efficiency. While Alabama’s offense has almost no deficiencies, this will be Bryce Young’s first true road start. Florida defensive play-caller Todd Grantham will design some pressures to get after Young to make him uncomfortable early in the game. 

The Swamp will be loud and roaring, and Mullen has covered five of his last eight games against Saban. I’m going with Florida to cover the first half. I see the depth of Alabama overcoming the Gators in the second half.

PICK: Florida (+7.5) 1H point spread at FOX Bet

USC (-8.5) at Washington State

I’ve wavered back and forth on this game, as USC’s efficiency numbers are not good enough to back them in this spot. However, the firing of Clay Helton is a big reason why I’m supporting the Trojans in this matchup.

With Donte Williams taking over, we will see an inspired USC squad. Williams is a high-energy coach, and someone the players will be fired up to play for.

When a coaching change is made this early in the season, it sends a message that everyone is up for losing their jobs, and we will see a renewed energy from this Trojans squad. 

Talentwise, there is only one player on Washington State, their right tackle Abraham Lucas, who’d start on USC. The Trojans are the more talented team, and if they play with more focus, energy, and a determined mentality, they should dominate this game.

Washington State under Nick Rolovich is only 1-5 against the spread. Even dating back to coach Mike Leach, the Cougars are 4-14 over their last 18 contests.

Washington State had a quarterback competition throughout camp, and after an injury to their starter, last year’s starting quarterback Jayden De Laura has taken over. De Laura has played well, but that is mainly because he faced Portland State. De Laura lost the camp battle because he didn’t run the offense as prescribed. He’s best off script, which isn’t ideal long-term.

After USC’s defense was embarrassed against Stanford, I expect a bounce-back performance by that unit against just a mediocre Washington State offense.

I’m not fond of the Trojans’ offense, but against this Cougars’ defense, my hatred of USC’s offense won’t matter. Washington State’s defense ranks in the 90s in defensive efficiency, and it is 83rd on third downs. The team also only has a total of two sacks against the likes of Utah State and Portland State

USC’s offense will score points in bunches without much effort, which is why I like the Trojans in this situation.

PICK: USC (-8.5) to win by 9 or more points at FOX Bet

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