clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

College football's Week 3 best bets, lines paced by Georgia Tech-Notre Dame, Mississippi-Alabama

After last week's rather weak card, business picks up this week with some very tasty games on the schedule.

Justin Thomas leads Georgia Tech into South Bend on Saturday
Justin Thomas leads Georgia Tech into South Bend on Saturday
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Now that's more like it! The national games last week were perfect thanks to late comebacks by Oklahoma, Mississippi State, and BYU. The Big Ten wasn't quite as kind, but some gains earlier in the day cushioned a terrible finish. Here's hoping the national games for this week can pad my stats a little more.

Last week ATS: 10-6 (5-0 National, 5-6 B1G)

Season ATS: 17-13 (7-2 National, 10-11 B1G)

National games:

#14 Georgia Tech (-3) v. #8 Notre Dame - 3:30 p.m. - NBC

This matchup lost a little bit of the luster with the season-ending injury to Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire, but it still could turn out to be one of the most interesting of the third week of the season. Georgia Tech hasn't been challenged yet, feasting on a couple cupcakes. Meanwhile, Notre Dame rallied from the loss of Zaire and backup QB DeShone Kizer delivered a miracle to Will Fuller in the final minute to squeak out a victory.

The most intriguing matchup of the week might turn out to be the Georgia Tech triple-option attack against the Notre Dame defense. So far the Fighting Irish have given up less than 100 yards per game on the ground, but they haven't faced anybody like the Yellow Jackets, who are averaging 457 yards per game rushing. Justin Thomas also has the ability to stretch defenses with his arm, which makes Georgia Tech even harder to defend.

Not only is Notre Dame a home underdog, but now they are playing for their starting quarterback and running back, who both are lost for the season. Normally I'd take the Fighting Irish to use that as a rallying point. Georgia Tech is a whole different animal. I wouldn't be surprised to see them win the ACC and make the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame hangs around for a bit, but the Yellow Jackets are just too much,

Georgia Tech 34 Notre Dame 24

#18 Auburn v. #13 LSU (-7) - 3:30 p.m. - CBS

So much for all the College Football Playoff talk for Auburn as well as the Heisman chatter for Jeremy Johnson, right? Lucky for Auburn, they didn't end up losing to Jacksonville State last Saturday, or else they really could've kissed their CFP hopes goodbye. On the other hand, Johnson hasn't been anywhere close to as good as he was being hyped up to be, and things won't get any easier this Saturday in Death Valley.

Leonard Fournette was just as good to start his sophomore season as he was to close out his freshman season. There wasn't a whole lot else that really went right for LSU on offense, though. Les Miles' team almost choked away a lead to Mississippi State last week and it's scary to think of what an Auburn offense than can move the football a lot better than the Bulldogs can possibly do.

I'm wondering if this line might be too much of an overreaction to Auburn's close call against Jacksonville State. Sure Auburn looked bad, but I wouldn't bet on it happening two weeks in a row. I'm not sure what to think about LSU yet, but I know with their spotty offense I'm not exactly comfortable laying a touchdown against an offense that can put up a lot of points when they get going. This just has the feel of a game where Les Miles does Les Miles things.

Auburn 27 LSU 24

Stanford v. #6 USC (-10.5) - 8:00 p.m. - ABC

The recent history of how close Stanford-USC matchups have been lately has been ridiculous. Of the last five meetings, the largest margin of victory was in 2011 when Stanford won 56-48. The last two meetings have been decided by a field goal. This year has the feel like it's going to buck that trend.

Stanford is going to need their defense to be even better than it has so far this seaso, since they'll have to try and slow down Cody Kessler and a USC offense that has scored 114 points in their first two games. The opposition for the Trojans wasn't anything to write home about, but it's hard to think of a defense that could stop Juju Smith-Schuster right now.

Can the Stanford offense keep up if USC is able to put up some points on offense? I just don't think so. I wasn't impressed with Stanford against Northwestern and I just don't think they are that good. USC ends up winning this by two touchdowns, which for them against the Cardinal is pretty much a blowout.

USC 38 Stanford 24

#15 Ole Miss v. #2 Alabama (-7) - 9:15 p.m. - ESPN

Last year Alabama was able to recover from an early October loss against Ole Miss in Oxford to make the inaugural College Football Playoff. This tilt is a few weeks earlier this year, so a loss by either team wouldn't necessarily already end their season, but it would put them with their backs against the wall.

The Rebels have feasted on cupcakes early, scoring over 70 in their first two games. Chad Kelly has put up Playstation numbers in his first two starts, but he hasn't seen a defense anywhere close to Alabama's yet. Kelly does have the luxury of Laquon Treadwell at wide receiver to help to try and crack the Crimson Tide defense. Who knows, maybe we'll see some Robert Nkemdiche on offense!

It's just hard to pass up the value with Alabama just a touchdown favorite at home. SabanBot will have his team ready to smash, especially after last year's loss to Ole Miss. Kelly's first start in a hostile environment sees him make some mistakes which gives Alabama a double-digit win.

Alabama 28 Ole Miss 17

#19 BYU v. #10 UCLA (-16) - 10:30 p.m. - Fox Sports 1

I must've been entertained too much by BYU lately because when I saw this line I thought the oddsmakers were drunk. The most exciting team in college football so far this year has been the Cougars. If BYU could some way spring the upset here, their season would definitely get a lot more interesting. Freshman Tanner Mangum has been beyond clutch so far in stepping in for Taysom Hill, heaving late game winners in the first two games.

This should be quite the matchup of freshman quarterbacks, with UCLA starting Josh Rosen. The true freshman has impressed in his first two starts, but will have to take on a BYU defense that includes safety Kai Nacua, who picked off three passes last week. It'll be interesting to see how Rosen responds if the BYU defense is able to force him into making a few mistakes.

UCLA could end up being a really good team, but I'm not ready to lay this many points against a BYU team that I like a lot. I'm rooting this to be a back-and-forth game with a chance for Mangum to try to go for the hat trick in terms of touchdown passes inside the last minute to win the game. Too bad I see the late luck of the Cougars running out this week.

UCLA 33 BYU 27