Games are Saturday from 1 pm to 10:45 pm EDT
(20) Washington State -9.5 over HOUSTON, 9:15 PM EDT
This is as much a bet against the Houston defense as anything else. Mike Leach has another high-powered offense on his hands, and while they will give up their share of points to a strong Houston offense, they will win this shootout. We have learned through two weeks that the WSU Cougars will pour it on even when the game has long been decided. I expect this one to be a high scoring game that Wazzu wins convincingly.
COLORADO -3.5 over Air Force, 1 PM EDT
We haven’t accumulated too much information about this Air Force team, with them crushing lowly Colgate in the only game on their schedule thus far. Colorado has beaten real teams (Colorado State and Nebraska) this season and will overwhelm the Falcons with their relative size and athleticism. Air Force relies on a rushing attack that is not conducive to big wins against teams of Colorado’s caliber. I don’t have a strong belief in Colorado heading into Pac-12 play next week, but they will get a solid win this week.
(17) UCF -9 over Stanford, 3:30 PM EDT
This game is a set-up for Pac-12 embarrassment. If there is one thing I am sure of, it’s that when there is potential for a slap in the face to the conference, disappointment follows. UCF continues to impress as a group of five team and Stanford was incredibly disappointing last week against USC. Stanford’s season will continue its downward trajectory. The Cardinal offense will not be able to keep up with UCF and a big loss down in Florida will follow.
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(24) USC -4 over BYU, 3:30 PM EDT
I am genuinely surprised to see that USC is favored by less than a touchdown in this one. Despite the Cougars playing at home, they have not shown anything this season to compare with what the Trojans did to Stanford last weekend. A win over Tennessee means next to nothing this year and they got destroyed by Utah in week 1. I will admit that I had little faith in Kedon Slovis going into last week, but he looked so impressive that I am going to ride him on Saturday.
(18) MICHIGAN STATE -14 over Arizona State, 4 PM EDT
Arizona State had us fooled after their convincing week 1 win over a Kent State team that was supposed to be average this year. In week 2, ASU scraped one out against Sacramento State, and Kent State barely beat Kennesaw State, an FCS team. All of this is to say that Michigan State has not shown weakness yet in their first two games, and I see them winning convincingly over the Sun Devils. The Spartans have shown flashes on offense and displayed their typically strong defense in a pair of wins. They should handle ASU by more than a couple touchdowns.
Idaho State +36.5 over (11) UTAH, 4:15 PM EDT
This is a tough one to pick. Idaho State has only played one game on the year, against a division 2 opponent. Utah has a few solid wins under their belt, but has yet to truly blow out a team like this spread indicates. Idaho State may be the team to do it against, but I suspect Utah will push the ball on the ground in a blowout and won’t score enough to cover. They have nothing to prove going into games against USC and Washington State over the next two weeks and will want to make sure their key players stay healthy. Expect many freshmen to pick up snaps in this one, I recommend taking the points and Idaho State.
CALIFORNIA -14 over North Texas, 4:15 PM EDT
Cal showed how strong their defense is this year in a win at Washington last week. It was one of the weirdest games of the year, with a two-and-a-half-hour weather delay leading the game to end after 1 a.m., but it was undeniable that the Golden Bears kept the Huskies at bay all night. While their offense is still somewhat weak, Chase Garbers showed enough running ability to avoid the type of negative plays that can kill a team like Cal. North Texas had a sieve-like defense last week against SMU. They will struggle to score at all against a much stronger Cal D, and they will give up enough to lose by more than two scores.
OREGON STATE -16.5 over Cal Poly, 4:15 PM EDT
Oregon State came into the season with expectations of being one of the worst Power Five teams in the country. While losses to Oklahoma State and (especially) Hawaii keep the possibility of a one-win season alive, they haven’t been quite as hopeless as expected. Their offense has shown signs of life, scoring 36 and 28 points respectively. Of course, the defense is another story entirely. Luckily, they get an easy matchup at home against a Cal Poly team coming off a bad loss to a good FCS team, Weber State. The Beavers know that this is their chance to avoid a winless season and the embarrassment of losing to a middling FCS team. They will be more motivated than your typical Power Five team would be in this situation, and the score will reflect it.
(23) WASHINGTON -21.5 over Hawaii, 7:30 PM EDT
After a difficult loss last week to Cal, the Huskies basically cannot afford another slip up all year. While that will be difficult, a win this week is to be expected. Despite showing some uncharacteristic cracks on defense last week, the Huskies defense will be able to keep Hawaii down enough to win big. Hawaii’s two wins were both high scoring affairs, which makes betting the over on the 58.5 over/under possibly the smart move. Washington shouldn’t have much trouble moving the ball both on the ground and through the air. They might give up a few touchdowns to a Hawaii offense that showed it can score against Pac-12 teams like Arizona and Oregon State, but this defense is far better than those two.
(5) Oklahoma -23.5 over UCLA, 8 PM EDT
UCLA is likely the most disappointing team in the Pac-12. A win at Cincinnati would have been tough and a loss there is understandable, but losing at home to a pretty weak San Diego State team is a low point. It looks like Chip Kelly has yet to recapture the magic on offense that he had in his Oregon heyday. Oklahoma is going to be nearly impossible for them to slow down and a big win for the Sooners is on the horizon. I don’t see the Bruins holding Oklahoma under 50 points and it is difficult to find a route to covering for UCLA. Jalen Hurts should survive in the Heisman conversation for another week with another huge day. An 0-4 start is in the works for a UCLA team that has to travel to Washington State next week. This one should be a very easy win for Oklahoma.
Texas Tech -2 over ARIZONA, 10:30 PM EDT
Texas Tech has shown a much better defense than usual early in the season. Sure, they have played Montana State and UTEP, but holding an FBS team to 131 yards of offense in the latter game is no joke. Arizona won big last week against Northern Arizona after their disappointing loss to at Hawaii, but they still gave up 41 points. I think Texas Tech will match Arizona’s offensive ability, but their defense is far ahead of what the Wildcats have to offer. Texas Tech should win by at least a score.
(15) OREGON -37 over Montana, 10:45 PM EDT
The size of the line makes me a little nervous, but Oregon should win another blowout after beating Nevada by 71 in week 2. Montana is a good FCS team and this is their chance to put themselves on the map against a ranked team, but Oregon has shown that they will run up the score. Like Washington, Oregon cannot afford to slip up for the rest of the season after losing to Auburn in the opening week. The College Football Playoff committee pays attention to scoring margin, and Oregon could lose out to an equally qualified team for a spot if they have a close call on Saturday. I see Oregon running up the score and winning huge.