Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2013 NCAA football betting campaign covered! Today, we’re taking a look at the best matchups for Week 3!
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) @ #6 Texas A&M Aggies (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Spread: Alabama -7.5, Total: 62
Kyle Field, College Station, TX – Saturday, September 14th, 3:30 ET
This is the game that we have all had circled all offseason long. The Crimson Tide and the Aggies are both facing their first test of the year, and it comes against each other in the biggest game of the campaign for either side. The loser will face the punishment of almost certainly being out of the SEC West race, and it will take winning out and getting a lot of help to stay in the National Championship picture. The winner will certainly know that winning out will put it in the title game, and even one loss will keep it alive in the chase for the SEC Championship. Alabama of course, has to get some vengeance for last season when it was beaten by the Aggies in Tuscaloosa, one of the most stunning results of the season and the one that essentially gave QB Johnny Manziel the Heisman Trophy. Now, it’s up to QB AJ McCarron to go on the road against the young gun to try to shut him up. Manziel is brash, and he isn’t backing down from the challenge, and why should he after last season? This is a heavyweight fight between the kid that is probably the most talented college football quarterback in the land right now and the franchise program that has won two straight BCS National Championships, and it is one of the first tremendously can’t miss games of the season.
Tennessee Volunteers (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) @ #2 Oregon Ducks (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Spread: Oregon -27.5, Total: 70
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR – Saturday, September 14th, 3:30 ET
These next two games for the Vols are tremendously difficult, as they have to go to Eugene and Gainesville to take on a pair of teams that they are absolutely outclassed by. They’re a 2-0 team, but they really haven’t played of anyone yet this year, and no one is giving them a chance in this one. Why? Because Oregon has really just run up and down the field over the course of the first two weeks of the season. Granted, we know that the level of competition hasn’t exactly been stellar either, but we already know that QB Marcus Mariota and the Quack Attack aren’t going to have problems going against any of the best teams in the nation. This club met three years ago in Knoxville, and the Volunteers were smashed 48-13 at that point as 10.5-point underdogs. We have a tough time believing that this one is going to end up being all that much better when push comes to shove.
#3 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) @ California Golden Bears (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Spread: Off, Total: Off
California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA – Saturday, September 14th, 7:00 ET
What once looked like a relatively easy cakewalk for the Buckeyes now all of a sudden looks a little more dangerous of a road trip. QB Braxton Miller is being classified as “sore” right now, and it is anyone’s guess as to whether he is going to take the trip to Berkeley and play or not. If he doesn’t, there is a real chance that the Bucks could be in some trouble. Cal hasn’t really played to its potential this year, but we know that this is a budding program under Head Coach Sonny Dykes, and that high octane look is going to surely end up being something that could be dangerous to try to defend. If things start to spiral in the wrong direction, OSU might find this to be a sneaky game. Remember that last season, the Buckeyes only just barely held on against a game Cal squad, winning by a touchdown as 17-point favorites at the Horseshoe.
#4 Stanford Cardinal (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) @ Army Black Knights (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Spread: Stanford -28.5, Total: 52
Michie Stadium, West Point, NY – Saturday, September 14th, 12:00 ET
It’s nice to see Stanford playing against one of the service academies in this one. The Cardinal came out in the first week of the season and beat San Jose State, a team that might be a heck of a lot better than most figure. Sure, Stanford didn’t beat the number, but it was able to tremendously overwhelm a team physically. If that remains the case in the future, it definitely bodes well for a team that has a chance to challenge for a National Championship. Whether it can cover more than four touchdowns against Army remains up in the air, but the Cardinal haven’t had a good history of going against these lesser teams as huge underdogs. Stanford is now 2-7 ATS in its last nine games when favored by more than four points.
#7 Louisville Cardinals (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) @ Kentucky Wildcats (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Spread: Louisville -13, Total: 59.5
Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY – Saturday, September 14th, 12:00 ET
The battle to turn the Commonwealth blue or red is going to be on come Saturday, and if there is a chance to beat the Cardinals, this is probably about as good of a chance that there will be. Louisville has absolutely destroyed two straight foes, and most have to like the chances of that happening again. There is a history in this series of really close games. Last year, the Cards did win by 18 points as a 14-point favorite at home, but in the end, the previous three games have been decided by seven, seven, and four points. This is a time for QB Teddy Bridgewater to shine on the national spotlight against an SEC team. Granted, Kentucky is at the bottom of the barrel of the SEC for sure, but beating an SEC team is about as good as an AAC team is going to end up doing.
Kent State Golden Flashes (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) @ #8 LSU Tigers (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Spread: LSU -37, Total: 55
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA – Saturday, September 14th, 7:00 ET
Last week, LSU was the biggest favorite on the board, and it lived up to that against UAB. It is clear that the offense is going to make all the difference for this team this year. New OC Cam Cameron is definitely working towards being a head coach again in the future (or at least an OC in the NFL again), and he has a talented team that can really do some damage. Perhaps QB Zach Mettenberger was just a bit inappropriately used last season. Now though, he and his mates look phenomenal. The defense is one of the best in the land as well. This Kent State team is probably better than you’d probably think out of the MAC, and though we don’t really believe that the team is going to be able to challenge in the Bayou at night on Saturday, sticking in front of the number is at least plausible.
Nevada Wolf Pack (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) @ #9 Florida State Seminoles (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Spread: Florida State -32, Total: 65.5
Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL – Saturday, September 14th, 3:30 ET
They’re already calling him Famous Jameis, and that name is clearly going to stick. QB Jameis Winston knows that he is going to be under the gun over the course of the whole season, and after doing so well against Pittsburgh two weeks ago, playing a darn near perfect game, the expectations are only getting higher. We probably haven’t learned much about any of these teams yet. The game against Pittsburgh really wasn’t much of a fight for the Noles, and Nevada was a 20.5-point underdog against UCLA, followed by being a 22-point favorite against UC Davis. This probably isn’t much of a fight either, as this is just a pay-for-play game for the Wolf Pack and a huge home opener for FSU in Tallahassee.
Lamar Cardinals (1-1 SU, 1-0 ATS) @ #11 Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Spread: Oklahoma State -46.5, Total: Off
Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK – Saturday, September 14th, 7:30 ET
Lamar actually put up a respectable fight against Louisiana Tech last week when it took on another FBS team, and it was only outgained by 77 yards against a team that has an exciting offense to watch. Okie State has played two very different games against two very different opponents. The Cowboys took down Mississippi State 21-3 in a very uncharacteristic game in the opener, but they played a much more normal game against Texas San Antonio last week in a 56-35 win. This is going to be another one of these games when the Pokes put up a ton of points in all likelihood, but in this case, we have a tough time believing that the Cardinals are going to be able to really put up all that much of a fight when push comes to shove. OSU is unlucky not to be 2-0 ATS this year to go with its 2-0 SU mark.
Akron Zips (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) @ #12 Michigan Wolverines (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Spread: Michigan -37, Total: 56.5
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI – Saturday, September 14th, 12:00 ET
Many think that this is going to be a relatively easy game in Ann Arbor. The truth of the matter is that it almost certainly will. The Zips were crushed by UCF in Week 1, and they barely beat James Madison in Week 2. That’s not a good sign to say the least, especially going into a game in Ann Arbor, where there are going to be over 100,000 scream fans wearing maize and blue. That being said, we have a real question here about Michigan, especially laying more than five touchdowns. Remember that last week, Big Blue beat down Notre Dame. It’s not a vintage sandwich game, as there is only a road trip to UConn coming up next week, and there really isn’t a brutally tough game coming in a month, but we are still worried about the after effects of a 41-30 win over the Golden Domers.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) @ #13 Oklahoma Sooners (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Spread: Oklahoma -24.5, Total: 48.5
Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK – Saturday, September 14th, 12:00 ET
Oklahoma is going to need to get some offense going at some point if it is going to maintain this spot in the Top 15 in the country and challenge for a spot in the BCS. The Sooners are excellent defensively, and we don’t think that it is a mistake knowing that they have allowed a grand total of seven points in two games. This Tulsa team has been challenged offensively this year too, and it is going to be in for its toughest task in this one. These two Sooner State rivals have met every other season since 2005, and the results haven’t been pretty for the Golden Hurricane. They have been beaten in all four games, and three of the four have ended in covers for the men in crimson and cream. Tulsa only has 14 points scored in the last two games against the Sooners, and it’s tough to think that this is going to be a lot different.
Vanderbilt Commodores (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) @ #14 South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Spread: South Carolina -13.5, Total: 50.5
Williams Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC – Saturday, September 14th, 7:00 ET
Really the entire SEC East has been terrible over the course of the start of the season, and we know that this is going to be a really important game for both teams. Both clubs are 0-1 in the SEC this year, and a second loss would be damning for both. The Commodores are a heck of a lot better than you probably think that they are this year. They haven’t beaten South Carolina since 2008, but the team is 4-2 ATS in the last six in this series. It will be really interesting to see how the Gamecocks are going to respond after getting beaten relatively badly on the road against Georgia last weekend in what basically amounted to be the biggest game of the season.
#17 UCLA Bruins (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) @ #15 Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Spread: Nebraska -4.5, Total: 70.5
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE – Saturday, September 14th, 12:00 ET
We know that this is going to be a very tough early start for the Bruins, as they are going to be playing this game at the equivalent of 9:00 AM on the West Coast where they are used to playing. It’s going to be just as taking on QB Taylor Martinez and the Huskers for the second straight season. Nebraska knows that this is the type of game that the team needs to win, knowing that it gave up just a ton of yards and points to some of the best teams on its schedule last season. Heck, the Bruins, who were playing in just the second game with QB Brett Hundley in his collegiate career, accounted for 653 yards and 36 points in a narrow victory. It is quite conceivable that these two teams could be playing against each other in the Rose Bowl this year, but the loser of this game is going to have a tough time getting off of the mat for conference play.
Western Michigan Broncos (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) @ #16 Northwestern Wildcats (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Spread: Northwestern -31, Total: 59.5
Ryan Field, Evanston, IN – Saturday, September 14th, 9:00 ET
Even without RB Venric Mark last week, the Wildcats roared to a 48-27 win over Syracuse, marking the second time that they scored at least 44 points this season. On top of that, Northwestern now has nine covers in a row, and the team has scored at least 34 points in four straight games. Western Michigan meanwhile, has had a disastrous season. The Broncos were beaten 26-13 in the opener against Michigan State, a game which didn’t seem to be that bad at the time. However, with the way the Spartans have played offensively, that result just hasn’t looked good. The next week, a Nicholls State team that was beaten 66-3 against Oregon came to Kalamazoo and beat up the Broncos. If they aren’t going to be able to score some points in this one, the Broncos will get bucked right out of Evanston without much of a fight.
#18 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) @ Arizona State Sun Devils (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Spread: Arizona State -5.5, Total: 52.5
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ – Saturday, September 14th, 10:30 ET
Here we have the second example of the season of an unranked team favored over a ranked team. The first time around, Washington beat the living snot out of Boise State. We really don’t know what the heck we think of the Badgers at this point. They have played two absolute nobodies this year, winning by a combined score of 93-0, but they aren’t going to win this one by 40 some odd points for sure. Arizona State has only played one game this year as well, and it won 55-0 against Sacramento State. So what can we really expect in this one? We’re pretty sure that only the unexpected can really be expected. Wisconsin won 20-19 when these two teams met in 2010 in the only meeting of the two, but the Sun Devils did cover the +11.5 in that game.
#21 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) @ Purdue Boilermakers (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Spread: Notre Dame -20.5, Total: 50
Ross Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN – Saturday, September 14th, 8:00 ET
Neither one of these teams have a cover this year, and both have failed to cover three games in a row dating back to the end of last season. The Golden Domers are coming off of their first regular season loss since 2011 against Michigan, and though they were overmatched in that game, they did prove to us that they are going to be able to play against these Big Ten teams in all likelihood this season. Purdue was beaten up by Cincinnati in Week 1, and the team then barely figured out how to beat Indiana State last week. However, the Boilermakers looked like a disaster last year when they went into South Bend as well, but they still had the lead on the Irish in the fourth quarter. They didn’t win the game, but the 20-17 loss was more than good enough to cover the +14 line. Notre Dame is 5-0 SU in the last five seasons against the Boilermakers, but Purdue is 3-1 ATS in the last four in this series.
#23 Washington Huskies (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) @ Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Spread: Washington -10, Total: 62.5
Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL – Saturday, September 14th, 6:00 ET
This game looks sneakily familiar for the Huskies, and Head Coach Steve Sarkisian is hoping that the result isn’t essentially the same. In Week 1, U-Dub was playing against a ranked team in Boise State, and both teams knew that the winner was going to be ranked in the Top 25 and the loser was going to be out. This week is basically the same thing against the Illini. The Huskies are good enough to stay if they win, but they are probably falling out if they lose. This is the second straight game in which the Illini have been relatively big underdogs at home. At least if last week’s 45-17 win over Cincinnati was any indicator, the team felt like it was playing possum against Southern Illinois in Week 1. The Huskies have covered six of their last seven games dating back to last year, but they might have their hands full in this one.
#24 TCU Horned Frogs (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) @ Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Spread: TCU -3, Total: 62
Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX – Thursday, September 12th, 7:30 ET
The Horned Frogs and the Red Raiders are going to be locked in what could be a great battle of a pair of backup quarterbacks. QB Baker Mayfield has been excellent thus far this year for the Red Raiders. With QB Casey Pachall nursing an arm injury, we know that QB Trevone Boykin is going to have to once again step up off of the bench. The Horned Frogs have looked very suspect this year in spite of the fact that many had high hopes for this team, but there is still plenty of time to get it together. This is when the games really start to count though, and both of these teams have to think that they can contend in the wide open Big XII this season. Last season, T-Tech won in Fort Worth 56-53 in overtime in one of the most exciting games of the season.
#25 Ole Miss Rebels (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) @ Texas Longhorns (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Spread: Off, Total: Off
Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX – Saturday, September 14th, 8:00 ET
The Rebels have cracked the Top 25 after winning their first two games of the season, and they have a chance to go on the road and beat Texas to reaffirm that stance. That said, this is the start of a horror stretch of schedule of games against UT, Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, and LSU, and just finding any wins in that stretch is going to be tough for the Rebs. Texas though, really could be in for a mess this year. The Longhorns just allowed 550 rushing yards to BYU last week, and the end result is that the team has a new defensive coordinator. If this game is lost, Head Coach Mack Brown is clearly going to be in a whole heck of a lot of trouble when it comes to keeping his job. Last year, the Rebels were beaten down 66-31 in Oxford, but at this point, Ole Miss looks like a much, much better team.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.
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