Week 3 College Football Picks and Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 9/17/2010
Week 2 in college football brought forth plenty of upsets and some major beat downs from high-profile favorites, but now it is time to turn our attention to some Week 3 college football picks and odds. This week we will concentrate on two games, the Connecticut Huskies at Temple Owls and the Air Force Falcons at Oklahoma Sooners.
UConn Huskies (-6) at Temple Owls (Saturday, Sept. 19, 12 pm ET)
Line Movement - This college football line opened at four, climbed quickly to as high as seven, and has now dropped back down to as low as 5.5. Action has been overwhelmingly tilted towards UConn - nearly 80 percent of bets have been on them. The total opened at 46, quickly moved to 48, and has been stable there since.
Pick - I really like this Temple team. They are very well coached, and they have a lot going for them. Their quarterback is efficient and avoids mistakes. Running back Bernard Pierce has yet to find his stride fully this year - largely due to a hand injury - but he’s feeling better and should have a good day here against a Connecticut team that showed against Michigan that they can be vulnerable to a dynamic running game.
The Huskies are riding high after beating up on Texas Southern, but I give them almost no credit for what they did there. Against Michigan they got intimidated by their surroundings and just didn’t play a good game against a team that they should have been able to beat - or at least play close. I don’t trust their defense, I’m not at all impressed by the accuracy of their passing game, and I think they have the second best running back here.
Temple is a team that has been down for a long time and is hungry to prove that they are for real. Combine that with the fact that they are at home and the motivation factor should be high. They match up well, the gap between the Big East and the MAC isn’t nearly as wide as it should be, and they certainly won’t be out-coached. Temple is also a very strong 10-2 ATS in their last 12 against the Big East. I like Temple a lot here - at the very least they should be able to keep it close.
The total is set at 48. Without too much thought the ‘over’ seems like the right side - UConn has gone ‘over’ in eight of their last 10, and Temple has gone ‘over’ in nine of their last 10.
Air Force Falcons (+17) at Oklahoma Sooners (Saturday, Sept. 19, 3:30 pm ET)
Line Movement - The Falcons are getting a bit of respect - the line opened at 18, but has fallen to as low as 16.5. Seventeen is a bit of a key number, so that move is somewhat significant. Nearly three quarters of all bets have been on the Sooners, so there is some indication that the smart money is looking at the Falcons. The total opened as low as 52, but hit 54.5 right away.
Pick - I love this Air Force team, and I don’t think they are getting nearly enough credit here. Last week they faced a BYU team with a great passing system and two talented but inexperienced quarterbacks and they shredded them. This week they face an Oklahoma team with a great passing system and a talented but not quite as inexperienced quarterback. I’m not expecting a blowout.
Air Force does two things well - they defend the pass pretty well, and they run better than anyone. Their pass defense will be tested by Oklahoma, but not as much as Oklahoma’s run defense - not particularly impressive so far - will be tested by the Falcons. Air Force runs so relentlessly that they can’t help but control the clock, and that’s going to be a major advantage here - Oklahoma can’t pile up the points if they don’t have the ball. Playing at Oklahoma is a lot tougher than beating BYU at home, but this is an Air Force team dying for respect, and they are going to be fired up being they have to smell blood in the water around the Sooners. Utah State played Oklahoma very tight in a game that was no fluke. They were obviously much better against Florida State, but that’s a Seminoles team I have little respect for. This is the kind of opponent that could be a trap for Oklahoma if they aren’t careful. I don’t think Air Force is likely to win, but 17 points is just too many.
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