10 College Football Picks Against the Spread for Week 3

Ohio State poised for a big win over TCU in Texas

The Week 3 edition of college football picks against the spread (ATS) is highlighted by Ohio State’s trip to Arlington to play TCU and Boise State’s visit to Oklahoma State. Elsewhere, Wake Forest hosts Boston College in a key ACC Atlantic Division game and Arizona State travels to San Diego State. Here are 10 predictions for games against the spread.

 

Ohio State (-12.5) over TCU (in Arlington, Texas)

The competition hasn’t been taxing — though both Oregon State and Rutgers are Power 5 teams — but Ohio State has been downright scary, especially on offense, in its first two games. The Buckeyes are averaging 64.5 points and 650.0 yards per game and 8.3 yards per play while converting 72.4 percent on third down and scoring TDs on 10 of 12 trips into the red zone. TCU has been solid in its two wins, beating Southern 55–7 at home and SMU 42–12 on the road. This pick, however, is all about Ohio State and its dominance. Ohio State 41, TCU 17

 

Tennessee (-30) over UTEP

UTEP is riding a 14-game losing streak, with only one of the 14 losses coming by fewer than 14 points. In 2018, the Miners have lost to Northern Arizona by 20 at home and by 28 at UNLV. We aren’t quite sure what to make of Tennessee just yet, but we know one thing: The Volunteers are a lot better than UTEP and should have little trouble rolling up a big number at Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Tennessee 51, UTEP 0

 

Boise State (+3) at Oklahoma State

Boise State has quietly put together two dominant performances. The Broncos have defeated Troy (on the road) and UConn by a combined score of 118–127 and outgained those two teams by an average of 4.5 yards per play. Oklahoma State has overpowered two overmatched teams (Missouri State and South Alabama) in Stillwater. The key for the Broncos will be to slow down the Oklahoma State run game and force OSU QB Taylor Cornelius to make big plays on third down — something he has yet to do in his career with the Cowboys. Boise State 38, Oklahoma State 34

 

Wake Forest (+6.5) over Boston College

This is a key early-season game between two teams that will be jockeying for position in the ACC Atlantic Division. And with Florida State’s struggles, who knows: Maybe one of these teams can emerge as the second-best team in the division, behind Clemson, of course. Boston College has looked terrific in home wins over UMass and Holy Cross, but I’m a bit surprised that the Eagles are favored and even more surprised that the spread is almost a touchdown. Wake Forest is more battle tested, with an overtime win at Tulane on the résumé. True freshman Sam Hartman has been solid at QB, and the Deacs feature an outstanding one-two punch at receiver in Greg Dortch and Sage Surratt. Wake Forest 34, Boston College 27

 

Oregon State (+3.5) over Nevada

Oregon State is still one of the weaker Power 5 teams in the nation, but the Beavers have done some good things on offense early in Jonathan Smith’s tenure. They managed 392 total yards in the loss at Ohio State — including a more-than-respectable 190 in the first half — and followed up with 649 yards in a 48–25 win over Southern Utah. Running back Artavis Pierce is out with an injury, but freshman Jermar Jefferson has averaged 9.6 yards on his 30 attempts through two games. Nevada struggled on both sides of the ball in a 41–10 loss at Vanderbilt last week. The Wolf Pack had trouble with Vanderbilt’s size at the line of scrimmage. Oregon State 38, Nevada 31

 

Arizona State (-4.5) over San Diego State

Arizona State hits the road for the first time under Herm Edwards — and the Sun Devils are doing so with a ton of confidence after Saturday night’s big win over Michigan State. ASU is getting quality play from its stars on offense — notably QB Manny Wilkens and wideout N’Keal Harry — and the defense has allowed only 20 points in two games. San Diego State hasn’t been impressive early this season — a 21-point loss at Stanford and a 14-point win over Sacramento State — and the Aztecs will be without starting quarterback Christian Chapman and top defensive lineman Noble Hall. This is a good spot for Arizona State. Arizona State 30, San Diego State 20

 

Louisville (-23) over Western Kentucky

Few programs have dropped further down the college football food chain in recent seasons than Western Kentucky. After winning a total of 23 games in 2015 and ’16, the Hilltoppers slumped to 6–7 last season (and it was a very soft 6–7) and are 0–2 in 2018 after losing at home Saturday night to Maine. Louisville rebounded from its sobering 51–14 loss to Alabama by beating Indiana State 31–7 in a game that was stopped multiple times for weather delays. The Cardinals are ready to erupt. Louisville 41, Western Kentucky 10

 

Virginia (-3) over Ohio (in Nashville)

This game has added intrigue now that it has been shifted from Charlottesville to Nashville (it will played at Vanderbilt Stadium) due to the impending weather issues along the East Coast. Virginia appears to have found a quarterback. Bryce Perkins, a one-time Arizona State Sun Devil, has run for 100-plus yards in each game while combining to throw four touchdowns and one interception. The Cavs are 1–1, with a convincing win over Richmond and a 20–16 loss at Indiana. Ohio has played only one game, and the Bobcats — the preseason favorite in the MAC East — had to rally to beat a Howard team that lost to Kent State by 30 points the following week. Virginia is the better team and should win by at least a touchdown. Virginia 27, Ohio 17

 

South Florida (-10) over Illinois

South Florida rallied to beat Georgia Tech last week in Tampa despite giving up more than 600 yards of total offense. The Bulls have found a quarterback — one-time Alabama starter Blake Barnett — but defense could be an issue all season. Is Illinois, however, good enough to capitalize on that questionable D? The guess here is no, especially since the Fighting Illini might be without starting quarterback AJ Bush. South Florida 37, Illinois 20

 

FIU (-4) over UMass

FIU has played relatively well early this season, losing at home to Indiana by 10 followed by a solid 10-point win at Old Dominion. UMass posted gaudy numbers in a Week 0 win over Duquesne but has since struggled against FBS competition, losing at Boston College 55–21 and at Georgia Southern 34–13. The Minutemen have been dominated at the line of scrimmage, giving up 272 yards rushing to Boston College and 334 to Georgia Southern while gaining a total of 173 yards on the ground in those two games. Go with FIU at home. FIU 37, UMass 27

 

Last week: 4–6

Season: 8–12

 

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