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College Football Week 3 picks: why Alabama and Penn State will cover


While there aren’t any big Top 25 games this week – apologies, Florida fans – there are three ascending favorites that deliver some value and a Big Ten squad with an opportunity to not only cover the spread but also cause outright upheaval.

After a profitable opening weekend, regression hit this space hard last week. Let’s get it back!

Here are my five favorite bets on the CFB slate for this weekend (with all odds via FOX Bet).

CINCINNATI (-3.5) To INDIANA

Luke Fickell’s distractions aside – cough, USC, cough – it feels like a monumental game for the Bearcats. If Cincinnati wins, they will likely host a top 10 clash in two weeks with Notre Dame.

Poor Hoosiers. The Bearcats will be second in the top 25 against Indiana this month. We’ve already seen what happened when the Hoosiers faced a formidable opponent for the first time, getting pounded by Iowa 34-6 in opening.

Indiana entered the season overvalued for several reasons. First, they had three wins against the Top 25 teams, but those came in a covid-shortened 2020 season. Then their star quarterback Michael Penix entered the year due to an ACL injury.

The Bearcats will have the best QB on the field in a potential 1st round pick Desmond Ridder and don’t sleep on their defense, which is ranked ninth in the nation in yards per play allowed (3.74).

Cincinnati enters this game with routs of Miami (Ohio) and Murray State (FCS). There is a potential for another Bearcats rash here.

TO TAKE: Cincinnati (-3.5) wins by more than 3.5 points on FOX Bet

FRESNO STATE To UCLA (-11)

The Bruins come into this game after a week off, which could be a bad thing. You know, for the 13 days leading up to this game, all players could read on social media how awesome they are and how the program is back. If that’s the team’s attitude, they’ll be beaten by a dashing Fresno State team who covered and nearly beaten. Oregon.

But, I’ll keep riding at UCLA, that took a beating Hawaii and LSU in the trenches. Expect the same against the Bulldogs, who let Oregon run for 186 yards.

To consider: UCLA is going to Stanford next week for his first road game of the season. The Cardinal has just castigated the Trojans and forced them to fire their trainer. Stanford also won 12 of 13 against UCLA.

If the Bruins weren’t getting out of a pass, I’d be more concerned that this was a point of anticipation. Instead, I expect UCLA to take care of business.

TO TAKE: UCLA (-11) wins by more than 11 points on FOX Bet

ALABAMA (-14) in Florida

The Gators are 2-0 to start the season. But I wouldn’t put too much value on those wins, as Florida shipped two cans of tomatoes out of the top 75, and they haven’t had to leave the state yet.

Comes No.1 from Alabama, who led Mercer 38-0 last weekend before relinquishing two second-half touchdowns that left Nick Saban unhappy.

The public will surely remember Alabama struggling to fend off Florida in the 2020 SEC title game, a game they escaped with a 52-46 victory. More importantly, the Crimson Tide didn’t cover the spread in this game. Of course, three offensive starters (who scored three touchdowns) from this Florida team are currently on the NFL roster.

Alabama QB Bryce Young will play his first road game, but he faces a Gators secondary with three new starters.

On the other side, the Gators starter Emory jones threw four interceptions in two games, and Dan Mullen – who is 0-10 against Nick Saban – will mix in the reserve quarterback Anthony richardson.

This line is too high, but you’re going to pay Alabama tax until it no longer covers.

The Tide are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games as double-digit favorites. Ride the tide!

TO TAKE: ALABAMA (-14) wins by more than 14 points on FOX Bet

Lean strong: Over 58.5 points scored by both teams combined

MICHIGAN STATE (+6.5) AT MIAMI

Miami was pummeled by Alabama and then struggled to tidy up App State last week. Now they face another tough test from the Spartans.

As good as the State of Michigan looked in their victory over North West, you have to wonder if the Spartans will be ready for the speed and talent of this rebuilding Miami defense.

This game ultimately returns to Sparty RB Kenneth walker, who is fourth in the nation with 321 rushing yards. If Miami can’t stop the dynamic running back, Michigan State will control the tempo and possession time – which could also lead to an under (56.5, vs. 59.5). Walker, a 2-star rookie, is averaging an absurd 10.7 yards per carry.

Meanwhile, Miami has struggled in the red zone, scoring just two touchdowns in eight trips this season.

The line in this game opened at 8, and there was a lot of money from Michigan State at the start. Enough money to push the line to the key number of 7.

I’m also going to sprinkle a bit on the MSU silver line, so be sure to wear your favorite green and white shirt on Saturday.

TO TAKE: Michigan State (+6.5) loses less than 6.5 points (or wins outright) on FOX Bet

AUBURN to PENN STATE (-5.5)

Between the “White Out” atmosphere in Happy Valley on Saturday night and the galleys of Auburn QB Bo Nix, it’s hard not to like the homemade chalk here despite the curious line movement.

The Nittany Lions opened as a 7-point favorites, but the line was bet until the dead count of 5.

It’s a tricky place for the Tigers, who opened the season against FCS Alabama State and the 2nd lowest rated team in the FBS (by FPI), Akron. In fact, Auburn hasn’t beaten a ranked team since the 2020 home opener against Kentucky (29-13).

I went against Penn State in the first game, but they led against Wisconsin from start to finish, picking up an impressive road victory.

Nix is ​​one of the most accomplished high school QBs to enter Auburn, but he’s been below par on the road during his career. In 12 road games, Nix has never thrown 300 yards and has only 13 touchdowns and 12 INTs.

Penn State QB Sean clifford struggled in 2020 but had no two-game turnover. Expect it to continue this weekend.

I will ride with the Nittany Lions at this location!

TO TAKE: Penn State (-5.5) wins by more than 5.5 points on FOX Bet