Week 2 of the college football season didn’t disappoint. We saw a few major upsets, such as Oregon beating Ohio State outright and Texas falling to an Arkansas team that finished with 471 total yards. There were a few near-upsets as well, with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish narrowly beating Toledo 32-29 while Texas A&M held off the Colorado Buffaloes 10-7. And, of course, plenty of heavily favored teams trounced the opposition, with teams such as Georgia, Cincinnati, and Oklahoma easily defeating their opponents.
As you’d expect, the action-packed college slate resulted in a bit of a reshuffling in the rankings. Oregon had a major jump from No. 16 to No. 4, with Ohio State falling to No. 9. Iowa State dropped to No. 14 after losing to Iowa, who jumped ahead to No. 5. After their major upset against Texas, previously unranked Arkansas is now No. 20. Unsurprisingly, Alabama remains No. 1 after steamrolling Mercer. Now that Week 2 of college football is in the books, let’s look ahead to Week 3 and see what to expect in another exciting slate of games.
College Football Week 3 Lines
Alabama Crimson Tide (1) at Florida Gators (11)
The Alabama Crimson Tide have started their 2021 season more or less as expected. The team kicked off the season with a 44-13 blowout of the Miami Hurricanes, followed by Week 2’s 34-point win over Mercer. QB Bryce Young has excelled as a replacement for Mac Jones, throwing 7 TDs without a single pick in his first two games. The offense as a whole was humming against Mercer last week, racking up 425 yards while holding Mercer to 216.
Florida is in the midst of a bit of a quarterback controversy. Emory Jones will likely get the start this weekend, but Anthony Richardson is lurking right behind him. Jones hasn’t put up gaudy stats in two games so far, tossing 2 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. Meanwhile, Richardson had an electric Saturday against South Florida, tossing 2 TDs while attempting 3 passes along with 115 rushing yards and another touchdown. If Jones underperforms, don’t be shocked to see Richardson out there more often against the Crimson Tide.
Saturday presents Alabama’s biggest challenge this season. Florida has a defense capable of making stops and an offensive that’s explosive when needed.The uncertainty at quarterback is cause for concern, as Emory Jones is likely to struggle against a talented Alabama defense. Still, it wouldn’t be unbelievable to see the Gators defense hold off Bryce Young and Alabama just enough times while the offense makes enough plays to cover the spread.15.5 points is quite a big number, especially with a home underdog and two teams ranked in the top 11. Take the Gators with points and sweat this one out.
Best Bet: Florida +15.5
Prediction: Alabama Wins 41-27
Auburn Tigers (22) at Penn State Nittany Lions (10)
Has Auburn put up a crazy amount of points in their first few games? Yes. Have they played against stiff competition? Not exactly. But averaging 61 points in both games is not a bad way to start the season at all, even if the games were against Akron and Alabama State. Bo Nix has been impressive, tossing 5 TDs without a single interception. The running game has also been fantastic so far. In the first two games, Cartavious Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter have combined for 498 yards and 4 scores. This solid offense will be an interesting challenge for Penn State
This Penn State squad has been pretty dynamic this season, especially on defense. The Nittany Lions kicked off the season picking off Graham Herts twice while holding Wisconsin to 185 passing yards on the way to a major upset. Then, they enjoyed a nice win over the Ball State Cardinals while gaining 493 total yards to Ball State’s 295. Penn State’s linebacking core has been key to their start, with the Nittany Lions holding opponents to 2 TDs despite making it to the red zone 8 times.
Expect this to be a lower scoring game. While Auburn’s offense has been humming against less talented teams, a ranked defense that’s held their last two opponinents under 14 points is nothing to scoff at. Some bettors may be inclined to hammer the over after seeing the Tigers score 62 points while the Nittany Lions put up 44 points last week. Fight the urge, take the under, and watch these teams grind it out as Auburn takes time to adjust to Penn State’s defense.
Best Bet: Under 53
Prediction: Penn State beats Auburn 27-20
Arizona State Sun Devils (19) at BYU Cougars (23)
The Arizona State run game has been a major component in their early wins. In their first game against Southern Utah alone, Arizona State runners averaged 9.1 (RB Rachaad White), 8.7 (RB DeaMonte Trayanum), and 6.7 yards (QB Jayden Daniels). Overall, the running game has been responsible for 9 total TDs. Meanwhile, the defense has been doing its job, especially by holding lowly UNLV to just 155 total yards on Saturday.
BYU is sitting on a 2-0 record, both against Pac 12 teams. Most impressively, they just took down ranked Utah 26-17 in a game where the Utes were favored by a touchdown. QB Jaren Hall has been an impressive replacement for Zach Wilson, with 5 TDs and no INTs in two games. RB Tyler Allgeier is averaging 98 yards a game with a 4.5 average. Meanwhile, WR Neil Pau’u has been Hall’s most consistent target, hauling in 11 catches for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns this season.
The difference in this matchup will be BYU’s experience over the first two weeks. The team’s upset against Utah shouldn’t be overlooked. On the other side, Arizona State just beat a UNLV team that some bookmakers gave a win total of 1.5. The Cougars will simply be a bit more prepared for tough competition in this matchup. While Arizona State won’t make it easy, pestering BYU with their run game, BYU comes away with a close win as home underdogs on Saturday night. Take BYU moneyline (+150 on DraftKings) and watch the Cougars start the year 3-0 against Pac 12 opponents.
Best Bet: Penn State moneyline
Prediction: BYU beats Arizona State 30-27