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Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 3 Picks and Odds

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Conference play is approaching in college football. After a down week last Saturday, we've got a pretty solid slate in week three. Some teams are still dabbling with FCS opponents while others are officially entering the grind.

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With respect to me, it's been a rough start to the year picking games, but it's only week three and there's plenty of time left.

Record: 3-7 (2-3 last week)

North Dakota State (2-0) at Iowa (2-0)

Sat., Sept. 17 at 12 p.m. ET

North Dakota State has been dominant in the FCS level with five national titles in a row and are 8-3 against the FBS level having won five in a row. The Bison have struggled somewhat in their first two games, winning both in overtime, which is ironic because they had never played an extra period in program history previous to that. NDSU is led by QB Easton Stick, who was pivotal in the postseason last year. Meanwhile Iowa is a very good football team that has beaten Iowa State and Miami (Ohio) handily already this season. I wish there was a look-ahead factor here but a road trip to Rutgers is next for the Hawkeyes. NDSU is no slouch so I'll take the Bison plus the points. SELECTION: North Dakota State +19

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Ohio (1-1) at Tennessee (2-0)

Sat., Sept. 17 at 12 p.m. ET

Tennessee is back home to host Ohio after playing in front of the largest crowd to see a college football game. The Volunteers got off to a slow start at Bristol Motor Speedway before crushing the Hokies. Now they get one more tune up in the Bobcats. Last week for some reason, Ohio was an underdog to Kansas and the Bobcats presented us with a gift, beating the Jayhawks outright. This is a squad that is averaging nearly 600 yards of offense per contest. Tennessee has covered in just seven of its last 15 home games. Defenders Darrin Kirkland and LaTroy Lewis won't play for the Vols due to sprains. I'll take a chance at a lack of focus here and go with the road team. SELECTION: Ohio +27.5

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South Florida (2-0) at Syracuse (1-1)

Sat., Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Welp, my alma mater crapped the bed against Louisville last Friday night. Now Syracuse gets South Florida in a revenge game after the Bulls undressed the Orange last year. Syracuse has a better offense this year under new head coach Dino Babers and with quarterback Eric Dungey at the controls. The problem has been the other side, as the defense has allowed nearly 500 yards of offense per game. USF is coming off a pair of easy home wins over Towson and Northern Illinois and is staring at a home tilt with Florida State next week. Focus could be a bit of an issue here for the road team, which would love nothing more than to beat the Seminoles. Syracuse has won just one of its last 16 games as an underdog, but we are just asking the Orange to cover here. SELECTION: Syracuse +15

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Western Kentucky (1-1) at Miami (Ohio) (0-2)

Sat., Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Western Kentucky hits the road to play Miami from the MAC on Saturday. The Hilltoppers won this game 56-14 at home last year with Brandon Doughty under center. This season, it's Mike White at the helm. He left last week’s game because of an injury, but is expected to play Saturday. WKU is coming off a 38-10 loss at Alabama so the Hilltoppers have already been tested. The RedHawks meanwhile are 0-2 after losing to FCS member Eastern Illinois and Iowa. The offense has shown flashes, but the defense has struggled, especially against the run. They let Eastern Illinois rack up 142 yards rushing last week. Western Kentucky has gone over in 20 of its last 29, including 10 of 14 on the road. SELECTION: Over 62

UC Davis (1-1) at Wyoming (1-1)

Sat., Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. ET

This one seems to be too many points. UC Davis lost 53-28 at Oregon in week one, but the Aggies from the FCS ranks followed that up with some nice numbers against Southern Oregon. Wyoming was quite the opposite; getting a wild win against NIU in week one before getting crushed by Nebraska 52-17 last Saturday. UC Davis has a pretty solid passing attack that could give Wyoming some trouble. The Aggies also mix in the run with Manusamoa Luuga, who has five rushing touchdowns in two games. I think they can stress the Cowboys’ defense, which is giving up more than 500 yards and 43 points per game. SELECTION: UC Davis +21.5

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Delaware (2-0) aat Wake Forest (2-0)

Sat., Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. ET

Here's a general rule of thumb I would like to pass on. Whenever you see a game with a really low total (35) and a spread that is really high, the underdog isn't a bad play. In this case we are getting a decent FCS team with a good defense taking on an FBS team that struggles to score and is coming off a solid road upset. The Blue Hens are competent under head coach Dave Brock although I do wish running back Wes Hills was playing. I'm not a believer in the Demon Deacons offensively and I think they struggle in this one. SELECTION: Delaware +21

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Notes:

— Penn State is in a revenge spot on Saturday as the Nittany Lions host Temple. The Owls snapped a long losing streak to PSU last year, a game that featured 10 sacks of Christian Hackenberg. For this one, the road team enters a buzzed-up atmosphere a bit banged up with several key injuries on offense. The Nittany Lions are coming off a tough loss to Pittsburgh last week. They will be really angry and may cover the big number.

— Before the season started, I stated that FIU was going to win one of its two home games against Big Ten teams. Well, that didn't happen and now the Panthers head to play UMass in a sleepy game. The Minutemen kept things close with Florida and Boston College and are looking for their first win. I came really close to making them a play this week as I just don't know what FIU's motivation will be after blowing two home games against Power Five programs.

— I came really close to adding Liberty, which takes on SMU this week. The Mustangs are continuing to break in a new QB after Matt Davis suffered a torn ACL. Davis meant a lot to the offense, although almost anyone can get playmaking wide receiver Courtland Sutton the ball. SMU lost in this situation (home game vs. FCS team) last year at home to James Madison so the Mustangs may focus a little more in this contest. If I had gotten a few more points, I'd be looking for another upset.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.