Bearcats celebrate

Cincinnati wide receiver Tyler Scott (21) celebrates with teammate Michael Young Jr. (8) after making a catch for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Murray State Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

  • Week 3 of College Football features a loaded slate of games on Saturday, September 18th
  • Alabama and Florida faceoff in their SEC opener, while G5 powerhouse Cincinnati visits Indiana
  • Read below for the best ATS picks for Week 3 of the college football season

The 2021 College Football season is in full swing, and there are no shortage of intriguing matchups on tap for Week 3. The loaded slate on Saturday, September 18th features several games with enticing betting value.

Alabama vs Florida, Cincinnati vs Indiana and Michigan State vs Miami are among the matchups worth wagering on this weekend.

Here are betting odds and four ATS picks to consider for Week 3.

Alabama vs Florida Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Alabama Crimson Tide -15.5 (-110) -720 O 58.5 (-110)
Florida Gators +15.5  (-110) +500 U 58.5 (-110)

All odds as of Sept 15th at DraftKings

Pick #1: Crimson Tide Steamroll Gators

Alabama is now a 15.5 favorite against the Gators in Week 3 after opening as two-touchdown favorites. The Crimson Tide are worth jumping on now before the line potentially jumps even higher leading up to kickoff. Alabama has impressed against Miami and Mercer to open the season, while Florida has failed to cover the spread against inferior opponents FAU and USF.

Alabama and Florida played a close game in the 2020 SEC Championship, but these are completely different rosters. The Tide are getting strong quarterback play from freshman Bryce Young, while Florida QB Emory Jones has struggled. Fans are lamenting for impressive freshman Anthony Richardson to start, but coach Dan Mullen is sticking with Jones.

Alabama has its best defense in a long time and should stymie a Gators offense that lost all its weapons from one year ago. Jones is turnover-prone and should get picked off a couple times by this feisty Alabama defense. On the flip side, the Crimson Tide offense should feast on a Gators defense that just gave up 20 points to South Florida – one of the weaker teams in FBS.

Nick Saban was seen on the sidelines last weekend ripping into his team following a defensive breakdown vs Mercer. The Tide committed nine penalties for for 95 yards against the Bears, which is something that should be cleaned up in Week 3. Saban’s team will be extra motivated for their SEC opener and should continue their trend of dominating Mullen’s Gators. Alabama is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games vs Florida.

  • Pick: Alabama -15.5 (-110)

Cincinnati vs Indiana Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Cincinnati Bearcats -3.5 (-105) -170 O 50.5 (-105)
Indiana Hoosiers +3.5  (-115) +150 U 50.5 (-115)

Pick #2: Bearcats Eat Up Hoosiers 

It’s time for Cincinnati to make a statement when they travel to Bloomington to face the Hoosiers in Week 3. The Bearcats are receiving some early CFB buzz, but will need to prove they’re legitimate contenders by beating top opponents. That starts against Big Ten opponent Indiana in Week 3 before they take on Notre Dame two weeks later.

Cincinnati (2-0) has looked impressive in back-to-back weeks against Miami Ohio and Murray State, while Indiana (1-1) has underwhelmed against Iowa and Idaho. The Hoosiers’ passing attack has really struggled with QB Michael Penix Jr. under center. He’s only completed 53.2% of his passes for 22 yards and three picks. Cincinnati’s secondary is allowing just 129 YPG.

Bearcats QB Desmond Ridder is rising in the Heisman odds and should lead his team to victory Saturday. The senior pivot has thrown for over 500 yards with six TDs, while also being a factor in the ground game. He’s got several talented receivers at his disposal, including Tyler Scott and Trey Thompson, who should pick apart a vulnerable Indiana secondary.

Cincinnati proved they can hang with Power 5 teams when they lost by only three points to UGA in last year’s Peach Bowl. This is Luke Fickell and Cincinnati’s moment to show out. Look for the defense to capitalize on a struggling Indiana pass attack, while Ridder and emerging running back Jerome Ford get the job done on offense.

  • Pick: Cincinnati -3.5 (-105)

Michigan State vs Miami Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Michigan State Spartans -7 (-115) +215 O 56.5 (-110)
Miami Hurricanes -7  (-105) -265 U 56.5 (-110)

Pick #3: Spartans Cover Against Hurricanes

Michigan State (2-0) is a good bet to continue their impressive start to the season when they face struggling Miami (1-1) in Week 3. It’s surprising the Hurricanes are favored by a touchdown after almost losing to G5 school Appalachian State in Week 2. Manny Diaz’s club lost the possession battle and required a late field goal to defeat the Mountaineers.

Michigan State is rolling right now, covering the spread in back-to-back victories over Northwestern and Youngstown State. The Spartans boast one of the most dominant offensive lines in college football, rushing for over 300 yards in each game thus far. After getting some rest in Week 2, Wake Forest transfer Kenneth Walker should have a monster day on the ground against Miami’s weak rush defense.

MSU’s defense has been much better than Miami’s, and it won’t get easier for the Canes with starting linebacker Keontra Smith out with an injury. Spartans QB Payton Thorne has thrown for almost 500 yards with five TDs this season and can go toe-to-toe with Miami’s D’Eriq King. This is a matchup where sprinkling on the MSU moneyline plus taking the points is a smart play.

  • Pick: Michigan State +7 (-115)

Oklahoma State vs Boise State Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Oklahoma State +4 (-115) +160 O 57.5 (-110)
Boise State -4  (-105) -190 U 57.5 (-110)

Pick #4: Broncos Beat Up Cowboys

Boise State (1-1) will look to defend their blue turf when they welcoming struggling Oklahoma State (2-0) to Albertsons Stadium in Week 3. The Broncos put up a great fight against UCF in Week 1 before winning and covering the spread against UTEP in Week 2. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have underwhelmed in victories against Missouri State and Tulsa, failing to cover as double-digit favorites both times.

Boise State has proven they can compete with the big boys and are catching the Cowboys in a down year. The OSU offense has been lifeless so far and was outgained 347-313 by the Golden Hurricane in Week 2. QB Spencer Sanders has struggled, while the run game is only averaging 2.73 yards per carry.

It’s unlikely Oklahoma State’s offense suddenly rounds into form against a solid Boise State defense. The Broncos held UTEP’s offense to only 336 yards last weekend and forced six turnovers. The Cowboys have turned the ball over four times already this season, which could be the difference against this feisty Broncos defense. It also doesn’t help that three of OSU’s top receivers are injured.

Boise State QB Hank Bachmeier is having an excellent start to the season, throwing for over 600 yards and four TDs with only one interception. He’s developed great chemistry with WR Khalil Shakir, who should exploit Oklahoma State’s vulnerable secondary (229 YPG allowed). The Cowboys have been underwhelming in two home games this season, and they’re in for a rude awakening with their first trip to a hostile environment.

  • Pick: Boise State -4 (-105)
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Brady Trettenero

Sports Writer


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