College Football Betting Against the Spread: Week 3
Every Friday, Braden Gall picks his top college football games against the spread.
By: Braden Gall | 9/14/12, 6:00 AM EDT
Every Friday for entertainment purposes only, I will bring you my top college football picks against the spread. I do not condone, approve or encourage gambling on sports in any way. But if you are a fan of football — college or pro — and you don't think gambling has played a huge role in the growth and popularity of the sport, then you are simply being ignorant. And behind closed doors, the powers that be understand the impact betting has had on the game of football.
2012 Record Against The Spread: 10-7
Last Week: 3-5
Let's just say, Week 2 was not my finest hour. Games that I decided not to include in the final minutes? Western Kentucky +40, Maryland +10, UCLA +5.5, Mississippi State -3 and Florida +2.5. Clearly, I made some bad decisions, but there is no rest for the weary and Week 3 features plenty of chances to bounce back.
Note: All lines are as of date of publication
Virginia Tech (-10) at Pitt
No, Pitt isn't as bad as its 0-2 record suggests. But the reason the Panthers have played so poorly is due to lack of locker room cohesion and commitment. With four different coaches in three seasons, the players clearly lack identity. The Hokies, on the flip side, are a team built on 26 years of Frank Beamer's identity. And Logan Thomas has Va. Tech off to a hot start — something that Beamer and company rarely seem to enjoy at the start of the season. Defensively, the Panthers will find sledding extremely tough as some believe this could be the best Bud Foster unit ever. This one should get ugly very quickly and the line seems considerably off-base. Prediction: Virginia Tech (-10)
Western Michigan (+2.5) at Minnesota
Jerry Kill knows all about Western Michigan when he beat them twice while at Northern Illinois. Now he has a balanced Big Ten attack that rushes for 224.5 yards per game and passes for 220.5 yards per game. The Gophers are 2-0 behind key plays at key times from senior leader Marqueis Gray. He is fourth in the Big Ten in total offense at 273.0 yards per game and is leading the league in passing efficiency. The Broncos played better in Week 2 against Eastern Illinois after rushing for minus-6 yards against Illinois in the season opener. Kill has the Gophers playing better than they have in years, and while Alex Carder could keep WMU in the game, Gray and company should pull away in the fourth. Prediction: Minnesota (-2.5)
Houston (+16) at UCLA
The Bruins are one of the best stories in college football thus far and have been equally effective against the number (2-0). Houston beat UCLA last fall and revenge will absolutely be on the mind of Johnathan Franklin and company. Quarterback Brett Hundley has been near perfect in two career games, Franklin is leading the nation in rushing and this unit is playing with a toughness on defense fans haven't seen in Westwood in years. The Cougars, on the other hand, are 0-2, have allowed 86 total points and give up 521 yards of offense per game. If UCLA could toss 653 yards up on the Black Shirts of Nebraska, imagine what they could do this weekend? Predictions: UCLA (-16)
Texas A&M (-12) at SMU
The Mustangs allowed Baylor to roll-up 613 yards of total offense and 59 points two weeks ago in the opener, 220 of that came on the ground. Texas A&M might boast the best running game SMU will face all season and the TAMU offensive line should have its way with the over-matched Mustang front seven. The Aggies and new head coach Kevin Sumlin lost a gritty battle with Florida and this game should feel like practice after having to block the Gators defenders for sixty minutes. In search of his first win, Sumlin will allow his offense to make a statement. Prediction: Texas A&M (-12)
Boston College (+3.5) at Northwestern
The defensive performance by the Wildcats last week against Vanderbilt was one of the more surprising performances of the entire Week 2 slate. After getting destroyed on that side of the ball by Syracuse in Week 1, Pat Fitzgerald's bunch held the Dores completely in check. It also made Northwestern the only team in the nation with two BCS conference wins thus far. The purple Cats are 2-0 against the number as well and Boston College isn't in a position to challenge for the win on the road. Northwestern has played two totally different games thus far and this one should be somewhere in the middle. Prediction: Northwestern (-3.5)
Texas (-9) at Ole Miss
Had this game been played in Week 1, the Longhorns could have been a three touchdown favorite. Two relatively easy wins over bad competition for Ole Miss has brought this number down under 10. The issue, however, is that Texas has been better than anticipated as well. David Ash isn't turning the ball over, the defense is downright salty (shutting out New Mexico last week) and a host of elite play-makers on offense has Mack Brown's squad thinking Big 12 title. Keep a keen eye locked on freshman No. 27 Daje Johnson. In his first game of his college career, he touched the ball four times for 70 yards and a score. He will be used in a variety of ways and has special big-play talent. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace has played well to start his Rebel career, but has never seen anything like this Texas defensive front. Prediction: Texas (-9)
USC (-8) at Stanford
The Cardinal have won three straight and four out of five, but Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck are both gone. But Matt Barkley nearly upset the Luck-led Stanford team last fall and there isn't a defensive back on the team who can cover Robert Woods or Marqise Lee. Josh Nunes played better and Shayne Skov's returns is a big boost to the defense. But one team is a national title contender and the other may struggle to win eight games this year. This was a bizarre cover last year for Stanford with a two-point conversion in overtime giving the Cardinal the win outright and against the number. It shouldn't be that close this time around. Prediction: USC (-8)
Mississippi State (-16) at Troy
The Trojans of Alabama have had an impossible time getting stops on defense. Against UAB and UL Lafayette, Troy has allowed at least 29 points and 424.0 yards of offense per game. The Bulldogs have been extremely impressive in two easy wins, one of which came against Auburn last weekend. Tyler Russell is playing well, the defense is fundamentally sound and this team sees and opportunity to move up in the SEC West with Arkansas, Auburn and Texas A&M stumbling out of the gate. Hail State will roll big. Prediction: Mississippi State (-16)
- by Braden Gall
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