by DS Williamson
Below are ten NCAAF Week 3 free picks involving big name programs and ranked teams. The top games include OSU-TCU in prime time, and West Virginia battling NC State in the afternoon. Even though we’re only halfway through the week, it’s never too early to start talking about the weekend!
*All games are for Saturday, September 15th with game time in ET
Troy Trojans +11.5 over Nebraska Cornhuskers (12:00pm)
In Nebraska’s first game this season, the Cornhuskers mustered 28 points, but it wasn’t enough because Colorado scored 33. Nebraska now hosts a sneaky good Troy team that bounced back from their 20-56 Week 1 loss to Boise State to dominate Florida A&M 59-7. Troy’s the play in NCAAF Week 3 free picks.
Syracuse Orange +3.5 over FSU Seminoles (12:00pm)
I can see how Virginia Tech upset FSU 24-3 in Week 1 but I have no clue why Florida State beat Samford by only +10.0 during a 36-26 victory in Week 2. Florida State didn’t breathe on the -31 spread. Syracuse should beat the Seminoles on the money line on Saturday.
#5 Oklahoma Sooners -17.5 over Iowa State Cyclones (12:00pm)
Iowa State’s got a decent defense and the Cyclones beat Oklahoma 38-31 last season, but Iowa State’s offense is much worse this season than it was last season. We know Oklahoma will score. We don’t know if Iowa State will be able to keep up. Even though this line seems cavernous to some, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray can definitively run the score to temper the Cyclones in NCAAF Week 3 free picks.
Vanderbilt Commodores +14.5 over #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2:30pm)
My biggest issue with backing Notre Dame is that I’m not sure if they played a letdown game in Week 2. After beating Michigan, everyone believes the Irish had a right to suffer a letdown. That letdown happened against Ball State, though, a team that shouldn’t touch a Top 10 squad like Notre Dame. The Irish beat Ball State 24-16 as a -34 favorite and now they must battle Vanderbilt, a legit SEC team. I’m taking the points. Notre Dame is overpriced here.
#17 Boise State Broncos +3.0 over #19 Oklahoma State Cowboys (3:30pm)
Oklahoma State has outscored their first couple of opponents this season a combined 113-30. Impressive? Not really because the Cowboys beat Missouri State 58-17 and South Alabama 55-13. Oklahoma State will score against Boise State, but they won’t score nearly enough to beat the Broncos straight up much less cover the spread.
#13 LSU Tigers +9.5 at #7 Auburn Tigers (3:30pm)
Since 2014, the trend has been LSU wins one, Auburn wins one, LSU wins one, and so on. LSU won last year, which means Auburn should win this year. Auburn is very likely to take the victory here, especially given their home field advantage, but LSU is a dangerous 8-2 ATS when playing a home team with a winning record.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide -21 over Ole Miss Rebels (7:00pm)
Alabama coach Nick Saban loves to put the beat down on the Ole Miss Rebels even though he’s had a tough time doing that recently based on the head-to-head trends. Ole Miss is just 1-5 SU and 4-2 ATS in their last 6 meetings with Alabama, but you just have to wonder if the Rebels will figure out a way to score. Even with a current average of 61.5 points per game, Alabama is giving up just 10.5 against so far. Something’s gotta give, and I believe it will be Ole Miss.
#15 TCU Horned Frogs +12.5 over #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (8:00pm)
Ohio State finally plays a real football team after thrashing Oregon State 77-31 and Rutgers 52-3 when they battle TCU in Arlington, Texas on Saturday. TCU’s rushing attack averages 241 yards per game and points right towards one of the big weaknesses in the Buckeyes’ defense. Because Ohio State’s defense allows 132.5 rushing yards per game after beating a couple of bad teams, I’m all over TCU in my NCAAF Week 3 free picks.
#21 USC Trojans +3.0 over over Texas Longhorns
Maybe, Texas coach Tom Herman is learning the hard way that being a successful coordinator doesn’t translate to head coaching success. Maryland upset Texas 34-29 in Week 1 even though Herman’s fellas were -12.5 favorites. Then in Week 2, Texas barely beat Tulsa 28-21 as a -22.5 favorite. USC is better than both Maryland and Tulsa. So, I say play the money line for extra value on USC.