Week 3 of the 2023 College Football season brings a new wave of fresh matchups as 24 of the AP-Top 25 teams are in action. The No. 3 Florida State Seminoles look to continue their strong start to the season against the Boston College Eagles at noon. A number of SEC teams are in action including No. 10 Alabama facing South Florida, No. 14 LSU against Mississippi State and No. 10 Tennessee taking on Florida in primetime.
Joe Fortenbaugh, Matt Miller and Dalen Cuff are here to break it down in this week's betting roundtable.
All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.
What was your biggest takeaway from Week 2 of the college football season?
Joe Fortenbaugh: Miami figured it out a lot faster than many thought the Hurricanes would, as they completely dismantled what was supposed to be a good Texas A&M squad. Tyler Van Dyke was just fantastic. Taking Miami to win the ACC at 8-to-1 is worth a good, long look based on how shaky Clemson has appeared through the first two weeks. I'd also say Alabama at 22-to-1 to win the national title is a hard pass. No two-loss team has ever qualified for the playoff, and the Tide still have LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Tennessee remaining before a potential SEC championship game showdown with Georgia.
Matt Miller: Texas is back? I'm not sure what "back" means for Texas, but the Longhorns are one of the most talented teams in the nation right now after a convincing double-digit win in Tuscaloosa over Alabama. In the past, highly ranked Texas teams would find a way to lose to Texas Tech or Oklahoma State after a convincing early win, but this version of the Longhorns has legit NFL prospects across the board and a host of young talent that should get Steve Sarkisian's team into the college football playoff.
Dalen Cuff: Texas is the headline, but following up on last week, the conference perceptions and rankings seem to be different this year. The SEC has struggled, 3-6 in nonconference Power 5 games, compared to the Pac-12 going 6-3 in those games while also now having eight teams in the top 25 (only 5 in the SEC). There aren't as many of these interconference Power 5 matchups yet, but when thinking about futures bets to make the college football playoff, the conference matters. And with the relative power of the Pac-12, its champion could sustain a loss and still make the playoff.
What is your upset pick for Week 3?
Joe Fortenbaugh: I wouldn't be surprised if Florida shocked the world and upset Tennessee. I think the Vols are a bit overrated based on what we saw last year. Keep in mind Hendon Hooker and Jalin Hyatt are no longer on the roster. This is Tennessee's first true road test, and it's coming at The Swamp.
Matt Miller: Mississippi State (+9.5) vs. LSU. Not only do I like the spread here, but I also like Mississippi State as this week's upset pick. LSU was flat against FSU and is still trying to find a rhythm offensively and a pass-rush defensively. Mississippi State has a talented quarterback in Will Rogers and is able to run the ball as well as any team in the SEC while boasting a defense allowing almost 100 yards per game fewer than LSU.
Dalen Cuff: Hard to say it's an upset, but West Virginia (+1) at home against Pittsburgh is my pick. WVU is still smarting from last year's meltdown and Pitt is coming off a tough home loss to Cincinnati. The Panthers are struggling to create pressure and disrupt at the line of scrimmage, which will allow Garrett Greene more time to attack downfield. Conversely Pitt has struggled to keep QB Phil Jurkovec clean and comfortable in the pocket as he's been pressured on 45% of his dropbacks (sixth worst in the FBS). I think the Mountaineers own the line and beat their rival at home.
Is there any other game on the Week 3 slate that you like?
Joe Fortenbaugh: If I can get +10, I'd take Mississippi State over LSU. I'm not entirely sold on the LSU defense just yet and I believe the Bulldogs can hang a number here. Covering 10 on the road in the SEC is no small task. I think this game will be much tighter than expected.
Matt Miller: Minnesota is a 7.5-point underdog at North Carolina on Saturday, and this is one to watch. The Gophers have a talented secondary led by safety Tyler Nubin, and UNC quarterback Drake Maye has thrown an interception in each contest so far. I'm not ready to pick Minnesota to win outright, but the Gophers can keep it closer than this spread.
Dalen Cuff: Never thought I'd be saying this, but I like Duke (-18.5) against Northwestern. Duke has a legit top-five QB in the nation in Riley Leonard, a solid defense (that held Clemson to 7 points at home, with some timely plays) and Northwestern's one road performance was putrid at a below-average Rutgers team. I think Duke is legit and flexes its muscles winning by three TDs or more