NCAA Football Predictions: Week 3 Opening Line Report and Picks
Welcome to the fourth installment of Doc's Sports NCAA Opening Line Report, where we give you an early look at the upcoming week's marque games. I'll analyze the opening line of select games that caught my attention and give a brief analysis of my initial lean.
While the storms that caused delays during numerous footballs this past Saturday have gone back out to sea, another storm is sweeping across the college football landscape and shows no signs of abating. Hurricane Deion is in full effect. The most talked about off-season hire has lived up to his billing. And if you took Colorado's season-win total before the Buffalos fired their first salvo against TCU, you're already halfway to cashing your ticket.
ESPN seems to have gotten on board the hype train, as College Gameday has announced they will be in Boulder for the Colorado State-Colorado game this coming Saturday. To put this in perspective, the last time Gameday was in Colorado, the third-string QB on Michigan was a freshman named Tom Brady. They chose this game over the normally more appealing matchup of Tennessee traveling to "The Swamp" to take on Florida. Sanders is being mentioned as a possible successor whenever Nick Saban retires at Alabama. That would make for a great Aflack commercial.
Surprisingly enough, there are actually other games that will be played. Another great rivalry game that sometimes gets overlooked on the national scene is "The Backyard Brawl" between West Virginia and Pittsburgh. Michigan State's has the task of defeating the visiting Huskies of Washington, and they'll have to do it with a brand new coach, as former HC Mel Tucker was suspended on Sunday and will most likely be fired.
All lines listed by the team headings are the opening line.
Doc’s Sports offers college football picks for every game on our college football predictions page.
Georgia Southern at Wisconsin (-16.5/62.5) Sat. Noon EST
It has not been a very happy honeymoon for new Badger HC Luke Fickell. First, there was the non-cover win over Buffalo that was much closer than the 38-17 final would indicate. On Saturday, with a chance to avenge a humiliating defeat from last season, Wisconsin dropped the ball, literally, losing 31-22 at Washington State. Yet bettors still believe in the Badgers, as this opening line has already moved up to 17 and the total jumping a whole point to 63.5. However, this continued confidence may be unwarranted, as another aerial power is set to invade Madison. Georgia Southern out of the Sun Belt comes a calling, with a passing offense that averages 344 YPG and is 11th in the FBS. While this conference doesn't get the notoriety that the Power 5 does, the "Mid-Majors" of football continue to improve. These Badgers seem to be lacking a fire to their play. And until they ignite it, they'll be a fade when giving out two-and-a-half touchdowns. Pick: Georgia Southern +16.5 and also the UNDER 62.5
#3 Florida State @ Boston College (+28/56.5) Sat. Noon EST
Given the fact that college football is being bombarded with Coach "Prime", it only makes sense that his college team, Florida State, is making waves of its own. I'm predicting here that Florida State and Colorado will somehow meet in a bowl or postseason. Florida State looks to hold up their end of that deal with a victory against Boston College. In what could have been a letdown game after their dominating season-opening win against LSU, the Noles looked incredibly focused is dismantling Southern Mississippi 66-13 on Saturday. Boston College is average, giving up 368 yards of offense a game, and that total might be north of 400 after FSU leaves. It is very difficult to lay 28 points, on the road, in conference play. But that 56.5 total looks ripe for the picking. Pick: OVER 56.5
Liberty @ Buffalo (+3.5/57.5) Sat. Noon EST
If the MAC opens its doors to expansion again, I would be willing to wager that Liberty would not get an invitation. Since joining the FBS in the 2018 season, the Flames have burnt their MAC opponents, going 4-1 in both SU and ATS. Included in that run was a 2019 win 35-17 over the Bulls as 6-point home dogs. There was some trepidation prior to the season, as the talented Hugh Freeze moved back into the SEC at Auburn. However, under the tutelage of new HC Jamey Chadwell, Liberty has two home wins and covers. This will be their first road game of the season -- and luckily for them, it's in the middle of September instead of November (or even late October). They have a balanced attack, averaging 457.5 ypg. Buffalo might have to recharge their batteries after they fought valiantly in the season opener at Wisconsin, losing 38-17 but covering as 28.5-point road dogs. This past weekend they lost their home opener to Fordham, which is an FCS school. Over their last 9 games as home dogs, they are 3-6 SU and 4-5 ATS. I like the Flames here as they have a strong ground game, which is a useful tool for road favorites to control the time of possession and take the crowd out of it. Pick: Liberty -3.5
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