If you’re anything like me, you like to check out the weekend’s gambling lines ahead of time. On any given week, there are always a handful of numbers that stand out for one reason or another. Whether it be a questionably high spread or the wrong team is favored, at least in your mind, you always tend to ask yourself, “What does Vegas know that I dont?”
That is the question I'm asking with a handful of the lines for Week 3, courtesy of our friends over at the DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 12 BYU vs. No. 25 Oregon (-3.5)
Of all the spreads available for this weekend, this is the one that confuses me the most. Oregon, who sits at 1-1 on the season, lost its first ranked matchup of the new campaign in a 49-3 trouncing at the hands of Georgia. BYU, on the other hand, is 2-0 on the year with one ‘upset’ already on their resume as they took down No. 9 Baylor this past weekend in a 26-20 thriller in overtime. While that game for the Cougars was at the friendly confines and the Ducks are the ones with home field in this matchup, I dont see enough there to sway this game in Oregon’s favor.
Bo Nix has never quite lived up to the hype, and has generally been a turnover machine against the stiffest competition, tossing another two interceptions in the loss to the Bulldogs. On the flip side, Jaren Hall is usually quite economic with the football, completing over 67% of his passes this season. BYU also won that game against Baylor without both of its top receivers, who could potentially return this weekend. I worry a bit about an emotional letdown coming off that exciting finish, but the Cougars are the more physical of these two squads, and I like Hall far more than Nix.
No. 11 Michigan State vs. Washington (-3.5)
This is yet another game where it feels like the wrong team is favored, but I think I understand this one more than the aforementioned matchup. Both programs enter this contest at 2-0, with the 11th-ranked Spartans picking up wins over Western Michigan and Akron while the unranked Huskies boast W’s over Kent State and Portland State. I dont think we’ve learned much about either of these two squads based on their previous opponents, however much like in the BYU-Oregon matchup, I trust one of these two offenses far more than the other.
We saw what Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr. was able to do when healthy in the Big Ten, and he is off to a fantastic start in Washington to the tune of 682 yards on a nearly 70% completion percentage with six touchdowns to just one pick. Payton Thorne hasn’t been quite as impressive for MSU, tossing four TDs with three INTs through his team’s first two games. I’m not sold on Mel Tucker’s ability to build an entire team through the transfer portal two years in a row, and I think I trust Kalen DeBoer’s offense to take advantage of a secondary that was one of the worst in the country a year ago.
As far as trends go, it is worth noting that Washington was just 1-4 against the spread last season when favored by 3.5 or more points, while Michigan State was 4-1 ATS last year when 3.5-point underdogs or greater. Different teams with different rosters this year, but an interesting statistic nonetheless.
Nevada vs. Iowa (-23)
This game isn’t as much about the wrong team being favored, as Iowa is likely the more talented team in this matchup. My main issue here is that I'm not sure an offense led by quarterback Spencer Petras is capable of scoring 23 points. After a miserable offensive season in 2021, the Hawkeye offense is somehow even worse in 2022. Kirk Ferentz’s team has scored just one touchdown through two games, barely defeating South Dakota State 7-3 on two safeties and a field goal and then losing their rivalry game to Iowa State, 10-7.
Petras may very well be one of the worst multi-year starting quarterbacks in the history of college football. Over his last seven games, the senior has thrown just one touchdown pass — compared to nine interceptions! Even still, Ferentz maintains that Petras will be the team’s starter, and so until that changes and/or he fires his son as the team’s offensive coordinator, I cannot see a valuable reason to lay 23 points to this Iowa team. Considering the Hawkeyes have scored 34 points total over their last four games dating back to last season — an average of 8.5 points per game for you mathematicians out there — I can’t comfortably put actual U.S. currency on this team to cover any type of double-digit spread.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.