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A winning week is a winning week! Still need to be better, but trending positively, and I am shockingly perfect in our larger, individual game breakdowns. Maybe it's time to fade those and get hot here!
Oklahoma (-14.5) at Cincinnati
One thing I stress is to not go too overboard on last week's results, so don't view Cincinnati's loss to Miami (OH) in a vacuum. But rather, looking at their entire body of work, the Bearcats just don't look very good. Their Week 2 win over Pittsburgh is looking less impressive (and I'm targeting against the Panthers below), and who cares what they did in their opener against Eastern Kentucky. We can argue Oklahoma, too, is beating the brakes off of nobodies, but I like what I saw defensively from them against SMU. It's their first road game, so perhaps a slower start is in order, but I don't see how the Bearcats can keep up. This is one of two games I took Sunday evening when the lines came out, and it's moved a point since then. Less confidence over the two-touchdown threshold, but this still shouldn't be close.
Colorado at Oregon over 70.5 points
Loyal readers over the years know I rarely do totals. I also rarely do underdogs and am struggling to find games I feel confident in, so we'll break the mold and take a shot at some entertainment here. Both teams have scored at least 36 points in each of their three games, so if we get that again, we win. If only it were that simple. But we can feel great about the Ducks side, as Colorado has allowed 35 or more points twice. And I think we know the Buffaloes will keep slinging it even if they're in a big hole early or throughout. The Ducks allowed 27.4 ppg last year and have already surrendered 30 to Texas Tech this year. CU OC Sean Lewis will get his team's on the board enough.
Nebraska (-19.5) vs. Louisiana Tech
It's a lot of points for the scoring-challenged Huskers, but they got things going last week on the scoreboard, and their struggles to date offensively have come against Power 5 schools. Nebraska's defense has been borderline elite, allowing 1.74 ypc on the ground and under 200 yards passing in two of three, with Colorado being their outlier. Louisiana Tech simply looks awful. They're allowing 4.86 ypc and 205.3 rushing yards per game, which we know Nebraska will do as often as possible, helping negate their passing game issues. LaTech has barely beaten FIU, lost to North Texas, and was blown out by SMU. Another lopsided loss is in store here: zero short-term concerns over the Huskers RB injuries.
Mississippi State (+6.5) at South Carolina
The Bulldogs looked hopeless last week at home against LSU, while South Carolina rallied and was far more competitive at Georgia than expected. I'm banking on a reversal here. Winning on the road in the SEC isn't regular, and frankly, this is a game USC has to win, but I just don't think the Gamecocks deserve to be favored over anyone in the conference, sans maybe for Vanderbilt. Their offensive line is just woeful, and the run game is non-existent as a result. Mississippi State has been vulnerable to the pass, but that was against the Tigers and Arizona, more prolific air attacks with more weapons. South Carolina, sans Antwane Wells, is far less dynamic. I expect the Bulldogs to be competitive here.
North Carolina (-7.5) at Pittsburgh
This is the second game I pounced on Sunday evening and got the Heels at -6, which I feel very confident in. Perhaps you can shop around or buy a half point and get this back to a touchdown, but it shouldn't be necessary. It's difficult to put into words how bad Pitt QB Phil Jurkovec has been, but the Panthers appear set to stick with him here. There's a void of skill talent out wide and in the backfield, not helping anything. North Carolina has been vulnerable defensively, and Pitt still can defend, so this could be more of a grind than I'm hoping. But I just see no way Pittsburgh can score enough points to remain competitive.
Last week: 3-2; Season: 7-8
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I have to admit, I did not catch part two of bad beats this past week, so one of my wins may have ended up on there. Either way, that's two weeks in a row I needed a miracle to get above .500, but as always, I'll take it.
The week started with an easy winner on Boston College, which was getting nearly four TDs and was in position to win or take the game to OT. That was followed up by a bad loss, not bad in that it breaks your heart, but bad in that you never had a chance. Alabama was pick number two, and man, was I wrong on the 'Tide. Perhaps they came out with fire, and they just aren't that good, or they are good and had to fire; either way, this is an Alabama squad unlike any we've seen in over a decade. Minnesota could have been a winner, but too many mistakes, and Duke was an easy winner. The luck factored in on the Ole Miss over, which should not have hit, but as happens in college football from time to time, there was a bunch of scoring very late in the game.
All lines courtesy of draftkings.com
Wisconsin (-5.5) at Purdue
A couple of factors in play here. First, Purdue entered this past week at a bit of a crossroads; the Boilers had lost at home to Fresno State and won on the road at Virginia Tech. Next up was a home date with a decent, but not great, Syracuse team, and they were simply outclassed, never in the game. I think that says a lot about this team. Wisconsin was also 1-1 entering this past week, and while the Badgers' Week 3 test was much easier, they passed with flying colors. Yes, the game was tight for a half, but it's what happened in the second half that makes me think they can take care of business here. The Badgers started their game with a pass-heavy approach, and it just didn't work. When they went back to a balanced attack in the second half, everything clicked. I'm expecting the Badgers to build on that performance and start off conference play with a road win.
Florida State (-2.5) at Clemson
Clemson opened as a three-point favorite, but the line has moved all the way in FSU's favor. This seems a little odd, considering FSU is coming off a very sketchy win at B.C., right? It's that line movement that bolsters my opinion on this game. You'd think the public would be all over Clemson as a home dog against a team that could barely win at B.C., but the opposite has proved true. If this game were at night, I'd give Clemson more of a chance, but I don't think the atmosphere is going to give the Tigers that needed push. Clemson has beaten up on very weak competition over the past two weeks, and while I'm sure that's helped the confidence, I doubt that will help them get ready for this test. FSU slept through its win this past and got away with it; there'll be no sleeping on Clemson this week.
Over (70.5) Colorado at Oregon
I'm a little surprised at the size of the line in this game. I knew Oregon would be favored by a good margin, but three TDs seems a bit much. With that said, the Buffaloes did not look good this past week, and they lost a very important piece of their offense and defense in Travis Hunter. I'm still not sure this game will be a blowout, so I'm focusing on the total. Colorado State came out very aggressive this past week, and I think it caught Colorado off guard, on offense at least. I don't expect the Buffaloes to have as difficult of a time getting going this week on offense. On the other side, though, with the loss of Hunter and seeing how easily CSU ripped through that defense, I have to imagine that the Ducks are going to have a field day.
Mississippi (+7) at Alabama
I'm admittedly not sure what this Alabama team is, but if it shows up like this past week, the 'Tide is looking at another loss. Mississippi is undefeated to this point in the season, but the Rebels haven't earned many style points. Sure, the final scores have been impressive, but they've been in some dog fights through the past couple of weeks. With that said, I'm expecting their best effort this week and the same from Alabama, but honestly, I'm not sure Alabama has the firepower to cover a number like this against a team with a capable offense like Ole Miss.
Minnesota (-11.5) at Northwestern
I have a feeling that Northwestern is going to be a great team to fade all season, especially in roles like this, where it's a midsized underdog. Last week's game played out just as expected; the Wildcats were never in that game, and only a late score made it look closer than it was. This team has nothing to offer on offense or defense. The Gophers didn't look great this past week either, but I think the problem for them was getting out of their comfort zone too early. The Gophers were forced to pass to stay in the game, and that's just not their game. This week, they get a team that's allowing over 164 yards per game on the ground, so they'll be able to run all day and only pass when needed. This is a big number to lay in conference on the road, but I don't see the Wildcats scoring much in this spot, so if the Gophers can get 24-28 points, that should be enough.
Last Week: 3-2-0; Season 8-7-0
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Lane Kiffin decided to run up the score in the final minutes against Georgia Tech, ultimately keeping me from a perfect 5-0 for the week. I went with Florida when most of the public doubted them. Penn State, Air Force, and the Under for Tulane-Southern Miss all came through, but the perfect 5-0 was elusive again. Let's take a look at how I'll go 5-0 this week! It's not included below, but look for my pick for Colorado-Washington when it's released on Saturday!
North Carolina State (-9.5) @ Virginia
It's somewhat of a dubious homecoming for Brennan Armstrong and former OC Robert Anae. Both men left of their own accord, which strongly indicates the revenge intangible. Armstrong was held hostage by a sluggish passing game after Anae left, and they are producing excellent results in Raliegh. took care of the Wolfpack, but the recent 45-7 win over VMI shows what this offense can do. While VMI is a weak opponent, the Cavaliers aren't much stronger. They are 0-3 to begin the season and are terrible on both sides of the ball. The knowledge Anae and Armstrong have against the Cavs, and a pretty good defense leads me to believe in a cover for State. Although they are 2-8 ATS over the past ten games, they'll win by at least ten points here.
Maryland (-7.5) @ Michigan State
Maryland is off to a great start at 3-0, and Taulia Tagovailoa is dialed in as the offensive catalyst. He has a host of excellent targets in the wide receiver room, and they're throwing for an average of 305 yards per game. If you look at how badly the Spartans fared against the pass-happy Washington Huskies last week, you get a glimpse of how this game will go. The Spartans have talent on the offensive end, but they can't seem to move the ball, and the whole Mel Tucker situation casts a long shadow over this team. Now that he's officially gone, it's not enough of an intangible to galvanize a team. Maryland's defense could give up a touchdown or two, but I believe in a multi-touchdown advantage after four quarters.
Notre Dame (+3) vs. Ohio State
I'm never one to shy away from a big game. For starters, this game is in South Bend, which has proven to be a challenging place to visit. Secondly - who has Ohio State actually played? They destroyed a halfway-decent Western Kentucky team last week, but compare them to Notre Dame's defense. The Irish have kept opponents to an average of 83 yards on the ground. Notre Dame will force them to win via the arm of Kyle McCord, who is no Justin Fields or C.J. Stroud despite some decent stats to begin the season. Some people think he is the answer. Until he plays a quality opponent, I think the jury's out. Sam Hartman is the key for Notre Dame, and I don't think the Buckeyes' defense will scare him. If you doubt me, look back at Hartman's results against Clemson's top-notch defense last season, where he threw for 337 yards and EIGHT (yes, eight) touchdowns. I would argue that Hartman has more weapons at his disposal than he had at Wake, and the defensive comparison between 2022 Clemson and the Buckeyes makes some sense. The game is basically a pick 'em with a slight advantage for State, but I think the Irish is the way to go. Sam Hartman will make fewer mistakes than McCord, and the Bueyes will get a clear sense of what it feels like to play a good team.
James Madison (-6.5) @ Utah State
Jordan McCloud and the Dukes have run up a 3-0 record to begin the season. The Aggies are 1-2 and facing a crisis at quarterback. Cooper Legas was benched for freshman McCae Hillstead, and it's anyone's guess who will take the reins this week. I also think the Aggies look better on paper than they actually are, as a win against Idaho State padded their averages. Utah State's offensive line is horrendous, which should give Kaelon Black plenty of holes to run through, and with the way McCloud is playing, the Aggies will struggle to keep the Dukes off the field.
Southern Mississippi @ Arkansas State UNDER 49
With two terrible offenses squaring up, the Under should come through. I think we can discount some of Southern Miss' defensive numbers because they were clobbered by Florida State. I think they are better than what's on paper. Bottom line, these offenses are awful. They've only put together 89 points COMBINED over a three-game period, and each team had a soft FCS opponent to beat. I think this is the best O/U bet on the slate.
Last Week: 4-1-0
This season: 8-7-0